People often times refer to America as being the greatest country in the world. By people, I mean of course, Americans. Now I could spew statistics or rankings all day but when it comes down to it, the problem is simple, it’s the people. The problem with being blindly confident that your country is the best in the world while having no real knowledge of why is that people become arrogant, cocky, and close minded. America is way behind several other countries in education, opportunity, and over all freedom. That’s right, freedom. The word that everyone wants to vomit out anytime they are met with a legitimate question or reason about why America simply isn’t the greatest anymore. Hell, it’s not even that great. America is way up on the list of number of incarcerated citizens per capita, national and person debt, number of obese citizens, and most allowed genetically modified food that has been proven harmful. One of the biggest problems with America is the intent behind which it was founded. People talk about our founding fathers being so great and America in its golden age being so much better than it is now, but was it? Columbus used the guise of religious conversion to gain funding and support on his exploration to this continent. He was told that the first man to physically see the new land would gain a new title and wealth. As it turns out the man who first saw the new land was killed by colobus for “mutiny” so that Columbus himself could gain the title and wealth. There is now documented proof that despite the Native Americans looking up to the explorers, and being very trusting and easily persuaded as a result, Columbus would kill any Native Americans that didn’t simply want to give up everything they owned or work for free. He was unbiased as to whether they were men, women, or children. This is just one example of one of the men who started this country moving. We also have a national holiday for him. That alone says a lot about our society. We came from greed and lack of empathy or concern for human life. Why would it be surprising that we’ve come full circle and have been for decades. Trump and Clinton are wonderful examples of this. They care little to none about anyone who doesn’t directly benefit them. They are consumed with the idea of greed and power and will say and do anything in order to gain more of either. One is a dictator and one is an extortionist. Both are liars and both couldn’t care less about America except how it relates to their title and pockets. Trump has declared bankruptcy several times over, has been sued for defrauding investors, and has almost always attempted to settle out of court to keep the publicity down. He’s said on national television that he’s physically attracted to his daughter, and listening to him speak is like listening to an angry child. Clinton is currently under federal investigation for crimes against this very country. She’s possibly the most bought and paid for presidential candidate there has ever been. Yet these seem to be the two candidates most widely backed by american society. Again, it says a lot about the people here. The people are not a result of poor leadership, the poor leadership being allowed to remain in control are the result of the people. We are a country of greedy, apathetic, falsely confident, prideful, ethnocentric, close minded, uneducated, and simply shit people who are terrified of any form of responsibility for their thoughts, words, or actions. America is full of pathetic children who need to be thrown out into the real world to see how things really work. America is full of politicians who need to be thrown into the sea to understand what being truly powerless feels like. Elections aren’t nearly as big of a deal as the media wants to make them. Elections don’t matter much at all. Things will continue down the same path. The numbers are not in favor of the intelligent, rational, logical, or observant. It is too late for America to come back. There will not be some great awakening or revolution. There will be spiraling into the gutter of the future. I don’t find myself caring about who the next president will be nearly as much things that are happening at a global level. I become agitated when people complain, argue, or bitch about current politics. This is the way things have been since this country started. What is the point of acting surprised or making a big deal out of any of it? Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. People seem to lack the ability to understand that politics are not personal. I’ve grown weary of the bickering, the complaining, the arguing, all of it. I’ve begun to largely question the intelligence of those who can’t have a difference of opinion with anyone else without making it personal or even understanding what is truly being discussed. Alas, people are people and this country is this country. Nothing has really changed and I’m doubtful it ever will.
There’s a song by Bon Iver called “Skinny Love.” If you haven’t listened to it, you should. It’s beautiful. There’s something beautifully tragic about love. When love is lost, the ties cut, and the blood spilled, love is just as overwhelming as when it was alive and well. That’s the danger of love. It’s the most powerful thing known to man but it can be the greatest feeling you’ve experienced or the worst. It can foster life or bring death. It can and will bring you to your knees at some point in your life. Love is an absolute. It doesn’t fade or die off. Love is like a magnet. It requires two poles to pull separates together, otherwise it’s empty and grasping at nothing. Love is a dangerous and blinding force. It can make us do things we never expected and even then look back in disbelief. Love is the most wonderful and terrifying thing in the world. Having experienced it myself, I can’t say it’s always worth the risk, but that’s the thing about love, it doesn’t always give us a that choice.
Now that the social media hype has worn down over Bruce, now Caitlyn Jenner, I had a few thoughts that I felt needed to be heard and pondered upon. Alright, here goes. People have referred to Jenner as a hero, and praised them for deciding it was time to be the person they are deep down. A lot of people have also said that Jenner has set a great example for the transgender community. I agree that to make any kind of step like that, it’s a very big deal, mentally and physically. Let’s take all aspects into consideration though. Jenner is a millionaire. She hasn’t had to “work” in years. When the decision was made to make the big change, she didn’t have to worry about missing work, not being able to cover the incredible medical cost of the surgeries, or even the cost of the medications and hormone therapy. When the decision was made there was literally almost nothing to think about other than the internal decision itself. Think about how uncommon this kind of situation is. For the huge majority of pre-op transgender individuals who can’t afford the surgery, the medications, the hormones, or even miss work without out losing too much income or even fear of losing their job. What kind of example was set for them? Oh, yeah, you’re brave as long as you can afford to do everything you need to in order to look how you feel. What about the individuals who can’t afford any of it? What about the people who are mentally stuck inside a body they don’t feel at home in yet can’t afford to do a single thing about it? What kind of message has Jenner set for them? Why hasn’t she come forward to say something to encourage the people who aren’t in her extremely unique financial situation. I.E., nearly everyone else. It sincerely bothers me that someone can allow themselves to remain such a focal point for the media, let people give them all sorts of positive titles, but not have any problems with the fact that every time someone talks about how brave they are there’s plenty of people out there who would absolutely take the steps she did… if they could. I’m not saying she’s a bad person or some sort of ass. I don’t know much Jenner’s personality as an individual. It just sincerely bothers me that everyone is, now was I guess, drawing so much attention to someone trying to set them as a positive example even though their circumstances are unattainable for almost everyone else.
What do you hold onto? What gets you through the day? When other things fail and people break promises, lie, and let you down, what do you count on? This past year has been the darkest of my adult life and despite so many terrible things happening around me, every time I try accept what is happening and find hope, more things go wrong, break down, fail, betray, lose. I have reached the point where hope feels not only naive, but foolish. My potential college majors and careers laid out in front of me all feel wrong. My home town feels foreign, and everywhere I look to move feels questionable. What is one left to hold onto at the end of the day? When the dark has overcome the light? When No potential options feel right and where you are feels wrong, where does one go? This is not a social commentary with a decisive point and direction at the end my friends. This is an admittance of defeat. This is a point of starting over and letting go of everything I once thought I knew. Caring less and living more. Focusing on being rather than planning. Life isn’t what I thought it was and now I’m forced to adapt.
The cruelest irony of all is that of the love story. The bitter truth is that the people we love the most, have the most potential to hurt us. The people that we give the most to, have the most to take from us. This is a constant and dangerous game we play in our lives. How can one truly love without being vulnerable? Yet, how can one truly love and use that vulnerability against someone? It is my humblest opinion that if one does in fact truly love another, they not only won’t, but can’t use those gifts given to them against their intended. If they at any point do, did they truly love? Were they mistaken? Was it infatuation? What causes the heart to become selfish to a level that it disregards the mental and emotional well being of someone close to it? People can sling blame and point the finger at past experiences, personal shortcomings, or a slew of other excuses but when it comes down to it, it is simply the lack of love that allows or causes pain in another. Many are not self-aware enough to even realize this but the ones who are have a responsibility to not let it happen. The most tragic part of this story is that more often than not it’s the ones who have been hurt the most who perpetuate the pain. They know the pain yet don’t take the required action or responsibility to end the cycle. This is one of the most tragic cycles of the human condition I’ve ever experienced. To the ones who have been hurt and made a decision to end the cycle I salute you. You, my friends are the lights of a world covered in shadow. This story is yet another that though I understand it, I’ll never truly comprehend it. I’m glad I don’t however, because if I found a way to understand it fully I feel like I would have to had justified it in my head. I am in no way advising that anyone should stop getting close to people or allowing themselves to love, but I urge you to be careful, as hard as that may be. I myself I’ve fallen prey to the swift fall into someone’s arms and I, better than most, understand how difficult it can be to take a step back and think when someone offers open arms and a kind heart. Learn from mine and your own experiences, though hard as it may be. Life is a series of ups and downs and then you die. The most important part of life is to make sure that no matter how much you love anyone, you make sure that your happiness is based in yourself. Once you’ve done that no one can ever take it from you. Understand the difference between happiness as a reaction to circumstances and happiness as a state of being. No matter how much anyone can offer, you have to make sure you they do not hold the key to the door that is your happiness. The happiest married couple I know once told me that as much as they loved each other and enjoyed being a part of each other’s lives, if something happened and they found themselves apart or alone, that life would go on. Tough as it may be, life would go on and they would find happiness not in another, but within themselves again. That, I believe, is one of the reasons they are the most happy, successful, and wonderfully married couple I have ever met. They know this one key element that so few others seem to. So to conclude my rant, I urge you to seek out the parts of yourself and things in life that make you happy and surround yourself mentally and physically with them.
A sarcastic doctor on a no longer airing television show once said “Everybody lies.” There are even college courses on this very philosophy. Why though? Why do we lie? For convenience? Greed? Fear? Do we lie because we are taught to or would that even matter? Would we just observe how the liar gets away with the injustice scot free? Would we constantly work out the pros and cons in our heads? The cost of getting caught versus value of getting away with it. Is that all it comes down to for us? People, as a whole, are lying, thieving, manipulating, greedy little bastards. People say that in everyone theres is good. Well then people must put an awful lot of effort into hiding that good. The facts are that if people can’t handle the weight of telling the truth in the small, minuscule times that it hardly effects anyone, why should they be trusted with anything more? The bottom line that all lies can be tracked back to is selfishness. Selfishness is an epidemic in society and they lengths that people will go and the effort they will put forth simply to get what they want is mind boggling. They will do so at seemingly no care or consideration to the effects their actions, words, or lack of either have on other people. There are good people, and there are bad people. The bad far outnumber the good. The saddest reason for this is that it’s simply easier to be a bad person than it is not to. To be a good person is to accept responsibility for one’s thoughts and actions. This is not a popular way of life currently. In fact most people are willing to put incredible amounts of effort into avoiding responsibility of any sort. Everybody may lie, but remember this one last beautiful and satisfying thought, everybody also gets caught.