Tag Archives: United States

Happy Veterans Day 2022!

Today is Veteran’s Day.

For some, it’s just another federal holiday that may or may not afford them a day off.

For others, it’s a bittersweet day to remember those who are serving in the military, as well those who have served. It’s also a day in which we take the time to acknowledge and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service.

These brave men and women are worth honoring. And if you have any veterans or active military in your family or community, please use this day to show them some appreciation. Whether it involves donating to a military charity, volunteering to help wounded veterans, or just being extra kind to those you know who have served, there’s plenty you can do to support these people.

It takes a special kind of person to serve their country. Even those who are willing aren’t always able. And those who are able aren’t always willing. What they do and why they do it requires a rare set of traits that only a handful can willingly channel. These same remarkable individuals are the ones we trust to defend our country, our values, and our way of life. Throughout our history, we’ve called upon them and they’ve answered. We can argue the merits and politics behind these conflicts. But we should never doubt the bravery and spirit that our veterans wield in carrying out their duty.

I also think that Veteran’s Day this year holds even more significance than usual. The world has become a much more dangerous place these past two years. Between the threats coming from reactionary forces within this country and emerging threats overseas, there are still conflicts for which we may need to rely on these rare souls. Hopefully, it never comes to that. Talk to anyone who has ever experienced combat.

Nobody hates wars more than soldiers.

Sometimes, it’s necessary and unavoidable. We still don’t know just how dangerous things will get in the near or far future. Whatever happens, we will need these brave men and women to answer the call as they’ve done before throughout history. It’ll be hard then, but that’s all the more reason to support them now.

I have close family members who have served. I also have relatives and ancestors who did see combat. There’s no getting around how it affected them. They needed more support than most when returning. Some are lucky enough to have family, friends, and various mechanisms of support. But not everyone is that lucky. They’re the ones who need today more than most.

Our nation is what it is because of the veterans who fought to defend and preserve it.

So, whatever you do to honor them, please make today special for them.

Happy Veterans Day!

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My (Genuine) Worries About Election Day 2022

It’s almost here, my fellow Americans.

Election Day is almost upon us.

As per the constitution, Election Day occurs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. That means November 8, 2022, is a day every American should have marked on their calendar. Whatever you’re doing that day, please plan on voting, if you haven’t already. Make whatever accommodations you need, be it time off work or finding transportation. It’s not just an important responsibility, as an American. It may very well be necessary for the continued survival for this country, as we know it.

I know that sounds a little dire and hyperbolic. I also doubt I’m the first one you’ve seen make such a claim. Doom and gloom tends to come with every election. Every year, it seems, the election is framed as the most important election of our collective lifetime. I think I’ve heard that message in some form or another since I became old enough to vote. As a result, it’s hard to take seriously.

That being said, this year is different.

Yes, I know every year is different, by definition. But 2022 brings us a unique set of circumstances the likes of which this country has not encountered before.

This year, we’re not just voting for new candidates to represent us at multiple levels of government. We’re voting on the continued existence of real democracy, itself.

This time, it’s not hyperbole or a marketing gimmick. This a real, tangible issue that we can’t avoid.

That’s because this year, a sizable chunk of the American electorate will have to vote on a ballot in which at least one candidate still denies the validity of the 2020 election. That is not a trivial issue to overlook.

We’re not talking about radically different opinions on tax policy, budget allocations, or welfare programs.

We’re talking about people who believe an election is not valid if their side loses. That’s not a simple difference in opinion or political ideology. That’s an unequivocal denial of both democracy itself, as well as reality.

Now, I don’t want to get too heavy into the objectively absurd claims that a bunch of right-wing whiners have been making about the 2020 election. There’s are plenty of legitimate news outlets that counter those claims and provide clear evidence that the results of the 2020 election reflected the will of the American people. If you are someone who refuses to accept that for whatever reason, then I’m sorry. You’re no better than a creationist and a flat-Earther at this point.

But regardless of how provably wrong such claims are, plenty of candidates, mostly within the republican party, cling to this absurdity. What makes it even worse is that a non-insignificant part of the electorate believes it too. And they will vote for candidates who share those beliefs, no matter how wrong they are or how stupid, corrupt, or cruel the candidate is as an individual.

I’m convinced these people would vote for Satan, Lex Luthor, and the corpse of Ted Bundy if it simply told them they would vote in line with their regressive Christian Nationalist platform. And make no mistake, that platform is completely un-American with respect to democracy, human rights, freedom, liberty, and overall decency to your fellow human being.

These individuals, as well as the people who vote for them, may sincerely believe they’re right. They may truly believe that anyone less conservative than Pat Robertson eats babies, worships the devil, and wants to utterly destroy America. But those individuals cannot and should not be taken seriously in any society that seeks a healthy democracy. These people are in a dangerous death cult.

The cult leaders are exploiting them for money, power, and exploitation.

The cult followers are enabling them by actually voting for these sociopaths.

Now, here in 2022, they’ve so weakened democracy and so polarized the country that they’re within a handful of votes from holding real positions of power. And once sociopaths have power, they never give it up willingly. If enough of them do get elected, they won’t just further the agendas of election deniers and Christian Nationalists. They will make it so that it’s much harder to vote them out of office and it’s much easier for them to hold onto power, even when the vast majority of the American people don’t share their positions.

It’s already been happening due to voter suppression and gerrymandering. It’s no longer enough for the will of the people to be against them. The people actually have to vote in overwhelming numbers to at least hinder or slow these sociopath’s pursuit of power. But if that doesn’t happen this year, then expect it to get much worse in the years to come.

Power seeks more power.

The powerful will always pursue greater power.

It has played out in history many times within many societies. America is not immune to it. All it takes for democracy as we know it to end is for people to willingly elect those who undermine it. At that point, your vote truly doesn’t matter. And America, as we know it, changes into whatever these sociopaths desire, be it a Christian theocracy or a corporate-owned oligarchy.

I don’t want that for the country I love.

Most Americans don’t want that.

But the only way to stop it is to vote in such overwhelming numbers that these right-wing sociopaths never gain the power they seek. That’s not to say those on the other side of the spectrum are angels. They’re not. I’m not too fond of the democratic party in America, but at least the candidates on that side actually believe in empowering people to vote, rather than subverting it. And for America to continue, as a functioning free society, we need to retain that, as well as improvement. We certainly can’t expect those who deny the 2020 election and objective reality to do the same.

So please, my fellow Americans, do what you can to vote this year.

Do whatever it takes.

Because this year, it’s not just a choice between a republican or a democrat.

It’s a choice between someone who believes in democracy and someone who seeks to destroy it for their own selfish benefit.

If you need resources, please use the following link:

https://www.usa.gov/voting

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Filed under Current Events, politics

More Young Men Are (Unsurprisingly) Getting Vasectomies (And Why I’m Considering It Too)

Every now and then, you come across news that’s so unsurprising that it should hardly qualify as news. To report it is asking to reporting that the sun rose the other day. You don’t need reporters, scientists, witnesses, or researchers of any kind to affirm you. Anyone with semi-average intelligence could’ve inferred the same events.

So when the United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and effectively ended the constitutional right to abortion access, most competent people could infer there would be consequences. You don’t strip half the population of a critical right that they’ve held for over 40 years without incurring some sort of reaction. While that reaction has played out in many ways since the ruling, I want to highlight one in particular. And it’s a story that I doubt will surprise anyone.

It has to do with men getting vasectomies. Because shortly after this ruling came down, there was a major uptick in men seeking vasectomies.

Many of these men were also quite young, some still being in their early 20s. Many didn’t even have any kids and were basically undergoing a procedure that would make it nearly impossible for them to do so.

Now, as a man and as someone who has a functioning news feed, I get it. This ruling was dramatic and far-reaching in so many ways. It’s enough to make anyone of any gender think twice about having kids. It has certainly given me pause. But I also think it’s worth putting this trend into perspective.

Yes, it will definitely impact women in a far greater way.

Yes, women will suffer much more as a result of this ruling.

That is beyond dispute. There’s nothing political about that statement. There have already been documented cases of just how much women are suffering because they cannot get an abortion. But for men, the concerns are still personal, albeit in a less direct way.

Now, depending on which state you live in, there’s a much greater cost to getting a woman pregnant, be it your girlfriend, your wife, or your mistress. Some of that can be measured in terms of dollars. If women are forced to carry that child to term, you’re paying for it one way or another. It might be in the form of child care, pre-natal care, or child support. Even without the emotional cost, you’ll still pay a high price.

Even if you’re happily married and actually want kids, you may still have to pay in other ways. If your wife can’t get an abortion and has a complicated pregnancy, then not only is she more likely to suffer greater, her life could very well be at risk. In the worst case scenario, she might end up dead because the state won’t allow her to terminate a pregnancy that’s doing irreparable damage to her body.

By nearly every measure, it’s a bad situation for everyone involved. A world where the state can force people to have kids they don’t want or deny them certain care that would alleviate their suffering is not a tenable situation.

For that reason, I don’t blame any man for seeking a vasectomy. Whether they just don’t want kids, they don’t want to put their partner in danger, or they just hate wearing condoms, it’s understandable. And there’s a high probability that this situation will get worse before it gets better. It may even never get better.

That’s because more than one conservative mouth piece has said that they’re going to go after contraception now that they’ve won the abortion battle. These reactionaries aren’t being subtle anymore.

They’ve made it clear that they want to turn the clock back.

They want to undo the sexual revolution.

They want to undo feminism.

They want to regress society back to a state where women were just breeding mares and men were just drones who only existed to work and sire more drones/mares.

While we can and should fight back against these right-wing fascists, I no longer have hope that we can win that fight. These people don’t play by the rules. They’ve proven time and again that they will lie, cheat, and bully their way to impose their agenda, even when it’s unpopular. And since too much of the population is stupid, gullible, and ignorant, they’ll go along with it in the name of trolling people they don’t like.

That is not a promising future, nor is it one I’m looking forward to. I do hope I’m wrong. But based on what I’ve seen these past few months, I am starting to accept that we’ve already crossed a point of no return.

I’m still relatively young. I currently am not married and I have no kids. Just a few years ago, I was fairly confident in what I wanted for my future. I wanted to find the love of my life. And I wanted to have kids of my own one day. But in wake of recent events, that sentiment has changed.

It’s not that I don’t want kids or oppose anyone else having them. I just feel like if I did have kids at this point, I would be bringing them into a world that’s going to get progressively worse for them. If I have a daughter, she’ll grow up in a world where the state will gladly make her suffer in the name of conservative values. And if I have a son, he’ll grow up in a world where many of the fun, freedoms, and joys that I had will have been taken away from him.

Again, I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope the current trends change in a major way. But I’m old enough to have noticed a recurring pattern in the global political landscape. Things will get worse because there are too many incentives for those who have or are seeking power.

For that reason, and a few others I prefer not to share, I’m seriously considering getting a vasectomy. I know it’s a big decision and one that would have a significant impact on my personal life, especially if and when I do meet that special someone. But given the current state of the world, it feels like the right decision for me and for whatever children might have been born in this increasingly distressing world.

That’s not to say I’m ready to make my appointment with my doctor. This is just something I’m seriously considering at the moment. And when I do ultimately make my decision, I want to be certain it’s the right one.

I also understand that I may have to make this decision sooner rather than later. Because if the courts are capable of banning abortion, then they’re just as capable of banning vasectomies.

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Filed under Current Events, extremism, politics, sex in society, sexuality

A Brief Message To Those Who Threaten Election Workers And Officials

Ballot box fabricator navigates unprecedented demand for early voting

Fuck you.

Seriously, fuck you and fuck your bullshit excuses for doing something so stupid, cruel, and outright un-American.

Fuck you and your ass-backwards definition of patriotism.

I apologize for the harsh language, but sometimes some extra profanity is both justified and necessary to get the point across. In general, I try to be fair and understanding, especially for touchy issues that include hot-button political topics. I always make it a point to offer respect to those who might not agree with me on certain topics, be they abortion or religion.

I just can’t do that here.

I just can’t muster a shred of sympathy or understanding to people who go out of their way to harass, threaten, and denigrate the people who volunteer their time and energy to ensure American democracy functions.

In case you’re not aware of this deplorable trend, this has actually been an ongoing issue since the 2020 election. A sizable segment of the American population did not like how that election turned out and, like whiny children who didn’t get their way, those same people have been lashing out ever since. Then again, most children don’t make death threats to public officials, so I’m hesitant to call them childish.

Now, I’ve actively avoided this topic since the end of 2020. I’ve seen time and again how it brings out the worst people and the ugliest kind of politics. There’s really no convincing anyone something other than what they’ve come to dogmatically believe. They only ever consume news that tells them what they want to hear and assume every fact to the contrary is a lie.

Usually, I’m perfectly fine with someone living inside their own bubble, provided that they don’t harm anyone else. This is America. We can believe whatever we’d like. However, I draw a hard line when those beliefs become an excuse for making threats to election workers and people who volunteer in the name of democracy.

Some of these threats aren’t vague, either. Here is one story from Reuters that offers some rather graphic examples.

Here’s another video from CNBC. Again, the examples they give are pretty damn graphic.

There are plenty more I could give, but this news is upsetting enough. I don’t care what your political affiliation is or how you voted in the last election or several. This is not how civilized people in a functioning democracy conduct themselves. This isn’t even how children conduct themselves at a little league baseball game.

This is fucking outrageous.

If you are a proud American and actually value the principles of democracy, then I hope this upsets you. These aren’t people with a political agenda being threatened. These are just ordinary Americans doing their jobs. Threatening them because you don’t like how the numbers are panning out doesn’t make you a patriot. It makes you an asshole.

Again, fuck those people.

Fuck them and all their un-American values.

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Filed under Current Events, outrage culture, politics, rants, real stories

Happy Memorial Day 2021!

Happy Memorial Day 2021 USA Quotes Wishes Poems Images Whatsapp Status DP  To Honor Armed Forces

It’s Memorial Day once more. This year promises to be very different from last year, but for the best possible reasons. The world just went through a serious struggle that cost thousands of people their lives and left thousands more reeling. Sadly, that’s something veterans know all too well.

As someone who has veterans in his family, including some who actively served in real conflicts, I can attest to the heart and strength of those who serve. It takes a special kind of soul and a special kind of patriotism to make that effort. Conflicts come and go. Times change and politics evolve. However, it is usually the soldiers and their families who bear the greatest burden.

To all those who have served in the United States military and the families of those who paid the ultimate price for their sacrifice, I sincerely thank you. I hope you do something special to celebrate your service and your sacrifices today.

To those who have not served, please consider donating to a veteran’s charity. Here is a list of notable organizations from Military.com.

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Was Socrates Right About Democracy?

Socrates - HISTORY

I am a proud American. I love my country, the ideals it espouses, and the vision it offers for freedom loving people. I consider myself lucky to have been born in the United States. I understand that being an American comes with many benefits that millions of others cannot enjoy. For that, I am eternally grateful.

However, I do not deny that this country I love has flaws. I am a patriot, but I do not overlook or underscore some of the objectively terrible things the United States has done in its brief history. We shouldn’t ignore those flaws. Loving your country doesn’t mean always believing it’s right, good, and just. I know that’s not a popular sentiment among certain Americans, but that’s exactly why I value it.

That same misguided sentiment also has a significant impact on democracy, one of America’s highest ideals. Regardless of your political leanings, that’s the one tradition that America holds more dear. We embrace democracy and empower the people to pick their leaders. Considering how leaders have traditionally come to power throughout history, it’s an admirable institution.

At the same time, it’s not without its flaws. Democracy, in principle, is great. It empowers the people. It allows the people to set the standards by which a ruler is put into power. Given how often power has been abused by rulers, that’s critical for a stable, functional society.

Despite that strength, it’s still worth asking an important question.

What are the greatest flaws of democracy?

I know just asking that will put me at odds with many of my fellow Americans. Thankfully, I’m not the first one to ask that question. In fact, this is a question that has been contemplated since before America was ever a country.

Democracy itself is not an exclusively American invention. Most educated people know that it existed in various forms throughout history, most notably in Ancient Athens. However, even back then, there were some who had major criticisms of democracy, both in principle and in practice. One of the most vocal critics was the Father of Philosophy himself, Socrates.

Now, I’m not a philosophy buff. I couldn’t begin to properly break down all the concepts, principles, and contributions that Socrates made to philosophy and Western Civilization in general. So, I won’t bother trying. Instead, I’ll just focus on what he said about democracy and why he viewed it so unfavorably.

To that end, this video form the YouTube channel, The School of Life, does a nice rundown of Socrates’ biggest criticisms of democracy. Watch it and follow his ideas. You may or may not agree with them, but they’re still worth contemplating.

Again, this is just a brief summary. The nuts and bolts of Socrates’ ideas and principles are far greater in terms of breadth and concept. With respect to democracy, though, his criticisms are fairly concise.

Democracy, namely the kind in which too many uneducated people have a vote, tends to lead towards demagoguery. Instead of diligent, qualified, well-meaning leaders, people will simply elect those who are capable of winning people over with promises and rhetoric. It doesn’t matter if they’re aristocrats or con-men. They just need to sway 51 percent of the population into giving them the power they seek.

I hope I don’t need to cite an example of this happening in the real world. I also hope I don’t need to name names of those who have carried themselves like demagogues in the American political landscape. In fact, there has been a distressing trend of American’s actively seeking to put their favorite demagogues for positions of power.

These are not skilled ship captains or trained doctors, like what Socrates described in his video. These are people who are just capable of persuading a large mass of people that they should wield power. They didn’t train to wield power like a doctor trains to treat illness. They just say they’re capable and it’s up to the people to believe them.

It’s not an unreasonable criticism. Does that mean I agree with it completely? No, I do not.

Does that mean I think there’s real merit to these criticism? Yes, I absolutely do and I think there are ways to address them.

Socrates’ issue wasn’t just with democracy in principle. He was more concerned about uneducated people who don’t appreciate or care for wisdom making critical decisions, such as who should lead a country. Another great philosopher, George Carlin, put it even better.

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

I think this sentiment is more relevant now, especially after last year’s Presidential Election and the horrors of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Me and my fellow Americans have never been more divided. As a proud American, this worries me a great deal.

I still love my country. I want it to be better. I want it to live up to its greatest ideals. However, I don’t think it can do so without taking the criticisms of someone like Socrates seriously.

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Filed under philosophy, politics, psychology

Happy Election Day! Now Vote!

It’s Election Day here in the United States of America. I don’t know how many people have been following the news for the past four years, but even if you’ve somehow avoided it, I hope one thing is still abundantly clear.

This election is a big fucking deal.

Regardless of which party you’re affiliated with or which candidate you support, this is the day where the rubber meets the road for democracy. This is where citizens exercise the power granted to them by the constitution.

As such, I encourage everyone to use it.

I’ve got no larger point to make today. I’ve got no sexy twist to put on it or larger narrative to explore. I’m just going to say what so many others have been saying for months now.

Go out and vote!

Get out there early. Bring water, snacks, and a lawn chair if you must. Stand in line as long as necessary. Just make sure you vote.

This is America. We value democratic principles. Those principles don’t work if people don’t vote. So please, my fellow Americans. I’ll say it again.

Go out and vote!

America will be better because of it. Thank you.

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Happy 4th Of July!

To my fellow Americans, but current and aspiring, I wish you a very Happy 4th of July.

I promise there’s no cynicism in that sentiment. I also acknowledge that 2020 has been one of the most trying years in the history of the United States in over a century. It has certainly been one of the toughest years I’ve been through in my lifetime. As much a patriot as I am, I don’t deny that this year has brought out the best and worst aspects of America.

However, as hard as it might be to maintain some level of optimism, I remain proud of my country. I’m proud to be an American. I also intend to celebrate this day in whatever way I can. There may be no cookouts or large gatherings, but you don’t need those things to appreciate America. I encourage all other proud Americans to do the same.

Find a way to celebrate your country.

Find a way to celebrate freedom, liberty, and equality for all.

Find a way to cherish the ideals of what America represents, even in times of crisis.

Tough times make tough people. Tough Americans make a tougher country. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. For now, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come.

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Patriotism Personified: A Tribute To Captain America

C6

The following is a video I made for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World, on the eve of the 4th of July. It pays tribute to the ultimate patriot, Captain America. It also covers on what it means to be a patriot a time like this. I hope it gets everyone in the 4th of July spirit. Enjoy!

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Filed under Jack's World, Marvel, superhero comics, superhero movies, YouTube

Happy Memorial Day 2020 (For What It’s Worth)

Today is Memorial Day. It’s an important holiday, but in a crazy year like this, it takes on a whole new meaning. If anything, those crazy circumstances make Memorial Day even more important. Whether you’re a former veteran, actively serving, or among the countless front line health care workers who are dealing with this terrible global pandemic, you understand why this day matters.

Soldiers put their lives on the line for their country. They sacrifice to keep us all safe. It’s a sacrifice worth acknowledging and celebrating. I have veterans in my family. I also have family who are no longer with us who served. They’ve tried to describe what it means to serve their country. I don’t think words will ever suffice.

On this day, we should all make an effort. Even if you don’t have any former or active soldiers in your family, this is the day to take a moment and thank them. If you can’t, then consider donating to some of the many charities that do the critical work of supporting our veterans during and after their service.

Once again, to all those who are serving now and have served before, I thank you. On a day like this during a year like this, your sacrifices have never been more meaningful.

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