Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feeling Hopeless

Over the past several days... weeks... months... I've been feeling kind of hopeless about my country.  I want to feel positive, but it's growing increasingly difficult.  Everywhere I look, gone is the spirit of cooperation.  All that's left is bitter divisiveness.  I see it in the news, and I see it in social media.

I see Democrats and Republicans both choosing the least qualified, most divisive candidate possible for the highest office in the nation.

I see a very devout follower of Christ, saying that Trump's election is evidence of God's will, while ignoring our President's obvious distortion of facts and questionable behavior in the past.

I see friends saying if you voted for Trump, unfriend me because he's racist or sexist or whatever, while ignoring the possibility that a person could vote for Trump without being racist, sexist or whatever.

I see the liberal media excoriating Trump without considering the possibility that he might actually have some good ideas.

I see the conservative media extolling Trump's virtues without acknowledging that he's making questionable decisions.

I see outraged liberals rioting and indiscriminately destroying private property.

I see law enforcement arresting the media who were only reporting these aforementioned riots.

I see increased instances of overt discrimination.

I see liberals ignoring the fact that illegal immigrants, by definition, are breaking the law.

I see conservatives ignoring the fact that illegal immigrants generally take jobs that no American will take.

I see liberals saying that it's unreasonable to restrict travel to the US from certain countries.

I see conservatives believing that it's reasonable to restrict the rights and liberties of law-abiding Americans in the name of security.

I see conservatives saying that all liberals are whining, entitled children who need to grow up.

I see liberals accusing all conservatives of being heartless and thoughtless.

I see liberals wanting to increase my taxes, ignoring the fact that I work for my money.

I see conservatives wanting to eliminate welfare without considering that some people need, and are worthy, of our assistance.

I see both sides pointing to the behavior of the few bad apples and believing that it's par for the course.

I see radicals on the left burning our flag with the goal of inciting outrage.

I see people on the right ignoring the fact that flag burning is protected speech.

I see people on both sides saying oh look, when your guy did the same thing my guy is doing now, you supported it, while ignoring the likelihood that they engaged in the same hypocrisy.

And here I am, stuck in the middle, feeling hopeless, because both sides are adamantly refusing to even consider that the other side might have some legitimate issues with what's going on in our society.  I hope that we can get past this one day, but it's increasingly difficult to hold out this hope.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Back to Your Cave, Mama Bear

Yesterday I read a story about a B-52 bomber that lost an engine in rural North Dakota.  Nobody was hurt, and no property was damaged.  The B-52 was based in Minot, ND.  It so happens that a high school friend of mine has two sons, both of whom are in the Air Force, stationed at Minot.  When I saw the original story, I seized an opportunity to have a little good-natured fun at the boys' expense.  I logged on to Facebook, posted the article on my page, and essentially said that it looked like the boys had their first run at jet engine maintenance and repair.  (This, by the was patently not true.  One is an MP, and the other is a Parachute Rigger.)

Within an hour, there was a comment from the boys' mother saying "Not Funny."  I took a brief moment to sarcastically apologize to their mom, who apparently appointed herself as the supreme arbiter of all things funny.  She didn't reply, but I think that I've got a bit more to say to her, so here goes...

-Ummm, yeah, it is funny, so shut the fuck up.

-I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to your boys, so shut the fuck up.

-Your boys are no longer children.  They are grown men.  So, unless you want them to be emasculated boy-men, you should -- you got it -- shut the fuck up.

-Having never been a male (unless there's something I don't know), you will never, ever understand that men bond by insulting each other.  Therefore, you should just let the men have their fun.  This, of course require you to -- yep -- shut the fuck up.

-You've also never served in the military.  I, on the other hand, spent six years in the United States Marine Corps.  I have spent a lot of time giving your boys some good-natured ribbing over their decision to join the Air Force instead of the USMC.  That's what military veterans do.  My original smart-assed comment was as much about a US Marine teasing a flyboy as it was about one man teasing another.  Since you don't know what's what, I would like to once again suggest that you shut the fuck up and let the big boys play.

It kind of chaps my hide when people place themselves into conversations to which they were not a party.  That's what happened here.  I was talking to, and making fun of the boys.  Next thing I knew, mom was throwing out her comments, getting all offended on the kids' behalf.  Ummm... I know these kids... these men.  And they know me well enough to know that I was not being serious.

Don't get me wrong... I get the whole mama bear instinct.  I understand the innate desire to protect your young.  I'm a parent.  Hell, I'm a grandparent.   But there comes a time and a place for mama bear to acknowledge that the cubs are grown, and return to the cave.