Speaking Truth

February 10, 2017

I was reading something the other day about how Tom Perez and his bungling a comment about last year’s Democratic Primary.  He acknowledged that the primary process was rigged against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton and that the next DNC Chair Person would have to be “honest” and “transparent” to succeed.  Then he essentially retracted the statement, stating that he “misspoke”.  Or rather the party elders and establishment got wind of it and voiced their disapproval.  Cue the groaning and eye-rolling.  He was right the first time.

I’m trying to be a little less political, but this article I read kind of fits with my general train of thought on a number of matters.  Our whole political system needs an influx of new ideas.  Why do you think Bernie Sanders, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party had such a significant impact on the election last year?  However, those ideas cannot be expected to flourish if truth cannot be acknowledged.

One of the overarching themes I’ve tried to deal with in my writing this blog has been the “Idea of Ideas” and how important it is to always embrace new ideas and information.  When it comes to truth, I often quote Obi-Wan Kenobi from Return of the Jedi.  In explaining his misleading account of what happened to Luke’s father, Kenobi states that “Many of the Truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  I keep throwing that line out there, but it is a good line.

Ideas were a focus of mine here, but how we regard those ideas is also worth looking at.  Truth and belief can be subjective, but they can inspire ideas.  I will admit that something I’ve struggled with is knowing when to challenge people’s truths and ideas.  Where the lines are drawn.  I have disregarded a myriad of them, but sometimes that needs to happen too.  Although I would hope my writing here does occasionally inspire people to look at their beliefs, ideas and truths from a different perspective, I don’t claim absolute authority on right or wrong here.  I’m sure there a number of opinions on that.  I simply hope I challenged some truths and some new ideas came as a result of them.  Even if it is just an expanded perception, I think it would be a benefit.

Regardless of the situation, ideas and truth need to be challenged.

Right now the song “Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” from Hamilton has been stuck in my head for the last couple of days.

  • Getting political again.  I’m making plans to get more involved in some political stuff.  Looking into some local groups, going to try to help out.  Advocacy groups and the like.  Voices need to be heard.  Thinking of starting a new blog with more focus on politics.  Might help to organize and focus my thoughts.
  • I was watching Bill Maher’s season premiere the other night and he said something I found interesting.  Talking about the Clintons, he expressed the thought of, “Thank you for service, now I never want to see you again.”  When Bernie Sanders really began to pick up momentum in the primaries, I read that as a sign that the political world was changing.  The era of the Bush and Clinton dynasties was coming to an end.  For a number of reasons, I look at it less as Trump winning and everybody else losing.  Trump’s election was less the will of the people and more… backlash from the attempt to resist the natural direction our political landscape was trying to go.  Trump is very much an establishment figure.  Power is going back to the people, but Trump is not the champion of that.
  • Enough political talk.  Let’s talk about sex.  Was working on a comic script and there was a sex scene.  In writing it, I was going through a bunch of sex positions I had bookmarked at various times.  One stuck out to me.  This has intrigued me for some time.  I think there was a variation where the man and woman are reversed, but it makes me wonder how likely a back injury would be with this.  Admitted I’m in pretty good shape right now, but I’m not sure whether or not I have enough body fat to pad myself or enough flexibility.  It would be a hell of a reason to call out from work though.
  • After being sick for most the last two weeks, I did end up losing a bit of weight.  I had been hovering around 180 pounds.  Now I’m sitting at 175.  I was going to do a bit of a cut, not to serious of one because I like where my weight is.  Basically I’m going to use up what I have left for Serious Mass and maintain for the foreseeable future.  175 was right about where I wanted to be anyway.
  • Reading about how lack of sleep affects your stomach bacteria.  Hint: it isn’t good.  I have noticed I am more prone to upset stomaches and related issues lately, despite improving my diet.  One more reason it was a big mistake to make the jump to working nights.
  • Thinking a little further on the post I did on Monday, I’m going to make a bit of a declaration.  I’m going to think of myself in one word: Human.  Stop with seeing myself as a male, absurdist, romanticidal, feminist, nerd, athlete, artist, writer, loser, etc…  Just see myself as “Human.”  We’ll see how that goes.
  • I realized the other day I actually do have fifty-something followers on this blog.  I find that mind-boggling sometimes.  I mostly do this more for myself, so I’m never really sure how to feel about people actually reading it.  I hope I’m putting some good ideas out there.

Am I done hacking up a lung yet?

  • I’ve been reflecting on Barack Obama’s presidency a bit.   It was a mixed bag in a lot of ways.  I think there were ways he could have done more and been a much more progressive president.  I also think he could have done more to strengthen the Democratic Party.  When he won in 2008, I think the Democratic Party assumed too much about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton and the advancing of the Liberal Agenda.  I was a bit guilty of that too.  As Bernie Sanders has shown, more can be done and people are ready to listen.  And there needs to be a chorus of voices, not just one.  In retrospect, Obama tried to do too much and too little–this could be a much longer post on its own, but I’ll keep it brief–early in his presidency and struggled a bit more as a result.  So… it had a lot of good and bad to it.
  • How did I miss it when Thin Mints went Vegan in 2015?  I’m sorry, but I feel like somebody is missing the point of Thin Mints.  Somebody at work brought in an order sheet.  I ordered the Samoas and the peanut butter ones I can’t remember the name of right now.
  • Been sick the last few days.  Bad cold.  I was going to finish my bulk for the winter and start cutting this week, but I think I’ll bulk for a couple more weeks to try to get a bit more mass and strength back.  Not that I really lost much of either–still weighed 179 at the gym this morning–but I’d like to keep going while I can.  Probably not going to do a real “cut” anyway.  I’d rather avoid losing too much weight.

Some hardcore wondering going on today…

  • The Brexit case is in the Supreme Court over in the UK right now.  Basically deciding whether or not Parliament has a say in the conditions of their leaving the EU or leaving at all, which could complicate the issues at hand.  I will be keeping an eye on this if only because there is so much potential for problems on all sides.  Plus the EU has basically set a deadline for the Amendment 50 negotiations to be done.  When all is said and done, I have to wonder if Britain will be any better off.  I don’t think their trade deals will be anywhere near as good as they hope and the big wildcard in this is what what will happen with Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales–More so the first two, I don’t believe that Wales has discussed breaking away from Britain as much.
  • I saw something about how members of the Electoral College are considering voting against Trump to keep him from becoming President.  Sounds kinda weird, but he did not in fact win the popular vote.  And in an odd twist of history, the Electoral College was originally implemented to keep someone like Trump–an unqualified demagogue–from taking power.  Somebody said to me, “Hell would break loose” if the Electoral College did not vote for Trump.  Hasn’t Hell broken loose already?  Has everybody missed the twitter rants, massive spike in civil unrest and shady double deals?  It is far too late to worry about Hell breaking loose.
  • Taking a moment to ponder the legacy of Barack Obama.  I think he too often had to make the best of a bad deal and compromised too much early on.  First Black President, I think there was a sizable portion of the population that wanted to see him fail.  Maybe because he got the Nobel Prize so soon, maybe he was too ambitious…  It might not have been racism or ego, it could have been a lot of things.  I look back and I say, “You could have done worse.”  Really, that’s all you can say in the end.  He could have done worse with the hands he was dealt.
  • Enough politics.  My birthday was Sunday.  Other people tend to get more excited about it than I do.  Got the usual rounds of “happy birthday” posts on Facebook, a set of storage containers, cash.  Nothing too exciting.  Bought myself some workout stuff of Flex Comics.  Bought this shirt.  And Final Fantasy XV.  Those were my birthday presents to myself.  I really spent most of my birthday and the day after playing FFXV.
  • Enjoying my vacation so far.  Lot of FFXV.  Going to see Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them at some point this week.  Saw there was a bit of controversy about Johnny Depp playing a part.  Apparently playing Grindelwald?  He’s a fine actor, weird guy in general from what I’ve seen, but I’m kinda tired of seeing him in movies.  Heard that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child might be coming to Broadway at some point.  That could be worth seeing.
  • Not really related to anything, but I’ve noticed over the last few months I cannot stand to be wearing much more than a pair of boxers when I go to bed.  I used to wear flannel pants and a shirt, but lately I can’t stand it anymore.  Might be a side effect of putting on weight/muscle in that my body temperature is higher than it used to be?  Just an odd thing I noticed.

I’ve started rereading Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. I’ve read it all the way through two or three times, must have started it three or four more times.  In the last week or two, I’ve come to start thinking about a lot of concepts that have been nagging at the back of my mind.  The story is essentially that a man was born on Mars and raised by Martians, coming to Earth as a young man.  As a result of being raised by Martians, Michael Smith follows their beliefs and practices, bringing strange abilities and philosophies with him to Earth.  One of the early episodes of Star Trek in the 1960s–Charlie X–dealt with a similar premise and themes and was likely influenced by the novel.

The overarching philosophy of the story being grok, which sort of means to understand and know intuitively, as though it is a part of you.  To drink of, I think is one of the more literal definitions in the novel.  It is intentionally difficult to define, as it is designed as a Martian concept.

Mostly I’ve just been thinking about how… little of what’s going that people are able to grok.  So many problems in the world seem to have a baseline in just failing to reach a deeper understanding of the world and how it functions.  On this planet, there is a growing interconnectedness about our cultures that cannot be ignored and we’re going to have accept.  You can resist, throw around ideas about making countries great again, but our concept of the world is changing everyday and you have to grok the things you don’t like about that as much as the things you do.

Politically, I think one of the biggest failures of our elected officials is to take too much of a… religious approach, for lack of a better term.  So narrow they cannot fathom the connections they would see if they grokked the entirety of this country.

And this isn’t necessarily a global or a national thing, it can be a personal thing too.  As I’ve said in the past, one of the more frustrating things about my break-up last year was her lack of personal responsibility–just one more brief anecdote about LMCBW.  A lot of the issues with us could have been resolved by simple efforts on her part to grok our situation as one of equals.  I like to think I understood her better than she wants to admit, albeit not perfectly.  I made mistakes and I take responsibility for them.  I’ve been wrong about some stuff, but I do think I grokked the big things.

Point is, I’m going to try harder to take more responsibility.  To realize how connected everything is and understand those connections.  To grok the world around me.

Reflecting on what we’ve learned…

  • Working on some short comics.  Think I’ll get rolling on those in the coming days, probably after I finish a few smaller projects.  Continuing to work on some sketch cards and more sellable stuff for the potential table at VTCC.  Skewing towards more Skyrim art right now.  Got some coloring work to finish up on a couple of things that might happen on my days off.
  • Been playing a lot of Skyrim.  Derailed my NaNoWriMo stuff.  Had a good concept worked out for it too.  Hazard of buying a Playstation 4 just at the end of October, I guess.
  • I’ve been thinking about the Election as more Hillary Clinton’s loss, than Donald Trump’s win.  I believe the Clinton campaign has pointed blame at a variety of things–FBI, Media, Bernie, etc.–but those weren’t the deciding factors.  Well, various members of the media have owned up to being less than their best, but that was not the whole problem.  I think Clinton took too much for granted and expected things to be handed to her.  She didn’t earn support like Trump or Sanders did.  True she actually did win the popular vote and lost some key electoral college votes by less than one percent, but it was the failure to truly earn those votes that hurt her.  I mean, the difference really was Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, who I’m not convinced made a public appearance without some level of marijuana in their systems.
  • Speaking of third parties, I’m fairly impressed with them right now.  The easy copout would be to blame them for Trump being elected, but as I said, it was really more Clinton’s failure than anything.  But regardless, I’m glad they had a strong showing even if it did skew the results.  I was a bit dismayed to see them nominate the people they did though.  I had an open mind about Johnson and Stein, but they kind of let me down.  I think the Green Party and the Libertarians can get stronger candidates on the ballot next time around and Make a much more serious impact.

Just some ranting.  Been a bit sick the last couple of days, starting to feel better.

  • How are we still discussing emails?  Seriously.  If the FBI wanted to bring this up again, they should make sure they have that proverbial smoking gun.  Otherwise, they are just embarrassing themselves.  While I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the Clintons, I do think the negativity about them is a bit hyperbolic.  I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to it, but I do think there is a heavy presence of conspiracy theory and smear campaign nonsense.  I also think the alternative is worse.  Policy wise, I think Trump has the wrong ideas.  The deciding factor for me has been that Trump’s proposal in most areas seem poised to crank up the deficit and that is certainly not a direction I would like to see us going.
  • Did actually get a Playstation 4 on Friday.  Coincidentally, that’s when the Skyrim Special Edition came out.  Well, not really.  I’ve dabbled with playing some Uncharted 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty, and one of the newer Final Fantasy games, but it has mostly been Skyrim.  Loving the Special Edition so far.  Was kind of annoyed to get attacked by the Cultists from the Dragonborn Expansion just after meeting the Graybeards–was only level four or five at the time–but it’s still been good.  Graphics look really good.
  • Started doing NaNoWriMo.  We’ll see how it goes.  Bringing back an old idea about werewolves.  It was something I toyed with years ago as a collaborative thing, but it never got going.  Might see if I can do it myself.
  • Working on art stuff.  About the same as ever.
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