Trump’s Long Game, and: How It Will Benefit the Whole Planet

(This piece was an op-ed story I wrote for a website that felt it wasn’t right for their website, but I still think the points I make are valid.  Let me know what you think.)

What would you say, if I told you that world peace was within your grasp?  You have to admit it, that sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  Well, it can be a reality.  In order to achieve world peace—pretty much making the dreams of every pageant contest come true— all we have to do, and it is pretty simple, is let Donald Trump continue to be President.

You’re skeptical right?  Hear me out.  We cannot impeach him, and in 2020 we need to reelect, President Trump.

He hasn’t even been President for 150 days yet, and people are freaking out.  That’s because you’re all short-term thinkers, but President Trump is basically a Chess Grandmaster (or as he pronounces it ‘Grand Wizard’) because he’s playing the long game, and he’s so many moves ahead. That’s why he’s able to fire off tweets at 3 A.M. so deftly, because he’s planning ahead. If President Trump is unencumbered for the next seven and a half years, he is going to give us the best world peace that money can buy.

Do I finally have you on board with the premise?  Now you want to know how right?

Keeping Trump as President is going to continue to piss off pretty much everyone, there’s not stopping that. What we need him to do is lean into it even harder.  As he’s pissing off literally every person and nation, North Korea is testing nukes, and working on how to get them to the US.  Meanwhile, Trump keeps things going with ISIS, and giving bills to Germany, and frenemy-ing Russia, keeping those pots at a nice simmer.  Finally North Korea manages to nuke Guam—this may be pretty soon— and that’s when Trump’s plan takes effect.  After the first conflict nuke is launched, Trump goes responds in typical Trump fashion with the biggest greatest nukes. 

Now we’re in full blown nuclear war, and you’re thinking “what about mutually assured destruction?”  Well, in order to make this world peace omelet, President Trump is prepared to crack all of the eggs—other than those of him and his family, who are now all White House Staff members (except for Eric and the second girl one) who get to go into the underground bunkers with them.

When the radioactive dust settles, there in the midst of a barren wasteland will be world peace.  Trump will emerge (years of over tanning have made him impervious to radiation) and declare that the Earth shall be renamed Trump World.

Is the plan perfect?  No, but the goal will be accomplished.  It’s all outlined in the Art of the Deal, people just didn’t bother to look for President Trump’s subtext.

That’s Inappropriate!

In my book, I wrote an essay about “words we need to get rid of,” and I’m afraid that the 10 people who’ve read my book, didn’t get the message across. One of the big words that I championed getting rid of, was the word ‘inappropriate,’ and yet it is still extremely overused, and so I’m going to talk on here, perhaps more concisely about why this word is getting fucked up.

Here is the thing about the word, it’s subjective, and yet people use it as if it is objective. Not a day goes by that I don’t see some headline that says “hilarious but inappropriate.” What does that even mean? Today, I saw an article about people who were counter-protesting against pro-life protesters at an abortion clinic. The headline declared not only the sign’s hilarity, but again it’s inappropriateness. I clicked the link, and looked through reading the different signs, and while they were very funny, and perhaps slightly confrontational, there was absolutely nothing inappropriate about them (by my standards, but honestly I think they were pretty tame by most standards).

So, I guess I’m not sure what people think inappropriate means. Are they meaning confrontational? Controversial? Do they mean awkward? There are a dozen different words that more accurately describe whatever emotions they’re trying to conjure up. But inappropriate sells the point to other people who don’t have the best words as well.

Here’s the problem with using inappropriate when meaning something else. Inappropriate, isn’t only a subjective term, and also a contextual term, but its a judgment. Inappropriate means it shouldn’t have been said or done. Controversial doesn’t inherently mean that, neither does confrontational, or awkward, or uncomfortable. It’s ok for something to be any of those things, but ultimately, it is not ok to be inappropriate. All of those other terms can be necessary, there are controversial new medical practices, and confronting something wrong can obviously be right, and an awkward pause on a first date can lead to something awesome. The same cannot be said about inappropriate.

Lastly, the idea of context. The word is used in such a manner that implies inappropriate-ness as a blanket statement, but it is really dependent on situation, for example, it is not inappropriate for two grown adults in a committed relationship to have sex in their own bed, but it would most likely be considered inappropriate if those same adults had sex on the table during Thanksgiving dinner, with all of their relatives looking on. Very few actions, or statements are inappropriate across all situations, the only two that I can think off of the top of my head would be rape and genocide, those are both inappropriate no matter what, I would however argue, that perhaps using the word inappropriate is an understatement in this context.

So please, this is what I’m asking, let’s use other words. I would argue, that maybe, until we have managed to gain a better understanding of this word that we stop using it. Try to only use the word when it is truly appropriate.

Standing At The Edge of the Water

Today was the day, Sarah and I packed Logan up, left the house and drove to Wrightsville Beach.  Sarah has been longing for a beach day for weeks, and I had wanted to go surfing.  (For a brief history of my surf experience check out The Water Beneath Me)

Surfberry, the surf shop —at which I rented a board— was also a smoothie stand that smelled like a bushel of green bananas, a day before they ripen.  The desk for surf rentals is across from the smoothie counter, and looks as though any beach-going need you may have could be met there.

After a couple minutes of discussing my surfing needs, and where to find spots, the guy at the counter went around back to get me a longboard and help me tie it to the car.

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It took about forty minutes of driving around before we found parking and left a line of cars behind us to search for theirs.

There was a ton to carry; Sarah put Logan in a baby carrier—Yoda style on her back— and grabbed the rolling cooler, and giant beach umbrella.  I carried the surfboard, a beach chair, and the bag of towels/toys/etc. we would need for her and Logan. Here is something that you may never have thought about if you’ve never carried a surfboard very far, but they act like a giant sail, and can make walking fairly difficult, especially when your other arm is fully occupied.

We got to a spot where the signage said it was ok to surf, and there were several people doing so.  We had never used this umbrella before, and while attempting to set it up found out it is about as wind resistant as every other umbrella, and it turned inside out, and the cloth part flew off of the metal rods.  So, instead of relying on the umbrella to shade Sarah, and Logan, we used a healthy amount of baby sunscreen, and I was off on my own to attempt surfing again.

What I found as I progressed into the water, that I was much more able to keep my balance and control of the board during paddling out, and waiting.  Four years ago, when I first attempted to surf, I had almost no upper body strength, but due to carrying a baby around, and mowing lawns, and moving, that has changed a significant amount.

When it came time to pop up, I found that I hadn’t improved that much.  I was able to get up to my knees twice, but couldn’t maintain balance at that point, and I was never able to get to my feet.

This has nothing to do with surfing, but Logan and I have watched Moana together approximately fifty times in the last month, and the entire day, I have had the lyrics to “How Far I’ll Go” stuck in my head.  As I pushed myself back out into the water every time, I thought to myself “But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try…” There is almost no way, that I wasn’t audibly humming, and I can only imagine that the people I got close enough to, probably could hear me.  So, as you continue to read about me surfing, imagine me humming that song, especially in the defiant self-confident manner of the reprises.

As I lay face first on the board, I watched others.  I saw a couple of people doing surf lessons, and it seemed like a very helpful process—I had taken a lesson the first time, but instructor hadn’t really wanted to do anything, and as soon as we hit the water I was on my own.  I also saw a man, probably in his fifties, who definitely knew what he was doing, so I watched him, and tried to copy as much as I could.  This was when I was able to get to my knees.

After struggling for more than an hour, my arms and legs became tired, and it became more and more difficult to control the board.  The waves were choppy and they would throw me and the board around.  At one point, I was underwater, curled up with my hand protecting my head, because I had no idea where my board was, after a couple of seconds that felt much longer, I felt a tug on the strap around my ankle and realized my board was further inland than I was, which meant I was safe, but I needed to check to make sure everyone else was.  Luckily, I had left enough room around me so that any mistakes I made wouldn’t hurt anyone else, and so no one even seemed to notice.

IMG_3915(Sarah managed to capture this picture of my board flying)

A few minutes after that incident, I was pushed off the board, and wasn’t so lucky to be on the right side of it and the board slammed into my chest.  I didn’t notice at first, but afterwards all of the skin where it hit was tender, less bruising and more road rash (ocean rash?) feeling. Knowing that I was too tired, and that it would be getting dangerous I decided I was done for the day.

IMG_3906(Sore but not defeated.)

Obviously, from an ‘actually surfing’ point of view, today was a failure, but from a ‘learning to surf point’ of view I think it was pretty successful.  I had fun for a good portion of the time, definitely improved over last time, and I think I learned that if I take a lesson down here it will be more helpful than it had been last time.

Right now, I’m just enjoying the lingering feeling of the day.  The sun has gone down, but I can still feel it, and I’m now two hours from the ocean, but I can still feel it also.  I still have the salt sticking to my skin, and I can feel the dry smoothness that I like about being in salt water.  It’s a paradoxical combination of clean and dirty.

4th of July!

I want to start off this post talking about the 4th of July.  When I was a kid, it was so exciting to get to see parades, and fireworks, and go to cookouts, but the idea of what it represented was fairly vague in my head.  I’m sure that’s fairly normal.  As I grew older, I grew to appreciate the real reason for the holiday, and I continued to enjoy the cookouts, but parades and fireworks started to lose their appeal (not just for 4th of July, I just don’t find either one exciting).

Then a few years ago, I was watching a show (I’m pretty sure it was Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell—a totally underrated show) and Chris Rock said “Happy White People’s Independence Day!”  Immediately, I was a flurry with thought, I hadn’t ever considered that before, but it was undeniable, it was the day that the founding father’s declared “that all men are created equal,” despite the fact that slavery was still legal, and many of those men owned slaves.  It was something that for whatever reason, my brain wasn’t able to realize without Chris Rock pushing me there.

Fast forward to last year, I posted a Facebook post about “white people’s Independence day” my hope was that I would be able —not to alienate, but— to kick start the same thought process I had gone through.  I don’t think I know any black people who don’t celebrate the 4th, so I don’t think skipping the holiday is necessary, but I think its something we should talk about.

The post which was relatively lengthy got me accused of “hating white men,” by a family member, and then when I walk talking about it the next day with a conservative friend he said “well you do hate white people.” (In case you’re reading this and don’t know I’m a white man, a very pale pasty white man.)  I was shocked by this as the image I was projecting.

After a few days of thought, I realized why I give off the impression that I hate white people.  I have no loyalty to my race, and while I recognize that I’m a white person, I don’t think of it as my identity at all—the ability to not identify myself by my race, may be a part of ‘white-privilege’ because it is very rare that I am confronted with it.

“I don’t have any loyalty to my race,” that is the kind of statement, that I think needs to be explained.  I’ll quote my father who said “I can’t think of a black person that I hate, but I can think of several white people I hate.”  I think that’s an important element of why I feel no loyalty, because when I think about the people who bullied me, the people made me feel less than, the people who made sections of my life a nightmare, every single one of them is white.  Going to a catholic middle school, where by virtue of my last name, and my big nose, I was different, I was called “kike” and “faggot” and whatever other disgusting thing they thought my suit me.  One of the few people from that period who I remember always being nice to me was black.

I haven’t known as many black people in my life as I would like, but every one that I’ve known has been nice to me.  Every Latino, every Asian, and—even though it’s not a race— every gay person I’ve ever met has always been nice to me.  I should mention, that nice and polite are different.  These people have been kind, and friendly probably because I have been kind and friendly, and they’ve had no reason to not be.  Those white people that I’ve had problems with in my life, I was kind and friendly to them too, but it wasn’t returned.

So, I don’t feel any loyalty to the white race, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have loyalty to white people.  Everyone in my family is white, and I love and am loyal to—most of— them.  The two people I love most in this world, the people I would do anything for, my wife and son are both white (even whiter in complexion than me believe it or not).

I didn’t tell you this to talk about race on the 4th of July, but to share with you a brief story of my journey with the holiday, and how I try to appreciate it for what it is, but not to forget it’s flaws.  I hope you have a Happy 4th of July!

#Heterosexualprideday

Have you ever seen a handicap person getting out of a car right in front of a store, and thought “why do they get all the good stuff”?  Or thought “how come black people get to say the ‘n-word,’ and I don’t?” Or thought “I bet they’re just dressing up like a girl to see other girls pee?”— thanks for this one Mike Huckabee.

If you’ve had any of the those thoughts you’re in luck, because today is #heterosexualprideday!  So throw on your ‘all lives matter’ paraphernalia and start making unoriginal jokes about Adam and Steve, because it’s your day to shine.

“But, why don’t we get to have White Entertainment Television?”  Because that would be W.E.T., and therefore would be porn.

I had not heard anything about #heterosexualprideday until this morning (which I consider a win), and so when I heard, I decided to look up the hashtag on twitter.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a significant portion of the posts that came up shared my viewpoint on how ridiculous this particular movement is.  Unfortunately, we can’t all agree that it’s absurd, if you take a quick look, you’ll see posts from people (one of whom had Hitler as his avatar) talking about how important this is, and going back to the worn-out ‘snowflake’-type name calling of the ‘libs.’ I’m not going to repost any of the tweets I disliked on here, because I don’t want to give them anymore of a platform.

Here’s a suggestion to those who might be in favor of this particular hashtag movement, if the people who like Hitler are on your side, there’s a good chance you’re on the wrong side.

Also, while there wouldn’t really be any good timing for this ’cause,’ putting it forward during #pridemonth seems particularly antagonistic.

I know that twitter has a bunch of trolls, and so it can be hard to determine which posts we find hateful are genuine and which are just for attention, but I want to say, I’m really glad at how many anti-heterosexual pride day posts I saw.

Now let me clarify one last point, when I talk about anti-heterosexual pride, I do not mean there should be heterosexual shame.  Here’s the thing, pride in the sense of having a day, or month, or parade celebrating it, is about getting rid of shame.  There is not now, and never has been any real systemic shame associated with being heterosexual.  No one is upset if you’re happy you’re straight, but pride when it’s not a reaction to shame comes across as aggressive and antagonistic.

Life in the Driver’s Seat

As you probably know, I was laid off back in November.  When that happened, two things really started to swirl around in my mind.  The first, obviously, was determination to get a new job—there was no way around it, I need a job in order to survive.  The second thing that entered my mind was taking steps toward independence.

Let me explain that second thought.  I have been laid off from multiple jobs now, nearly every job I’ve ever had has been underpaying, overworking, and still half of them haven’t thought that I was worthy of working for them.  Do you get how fucked up that part is?  I’m not good enough to work a job where they aren’t going to pay me enough to live.  Ultimately, I’m at the whim of a bunch of people that very often I never meet.

So, my plan became to free myself of that.  I’m not unrealistic, I know that it’s not an immediate fix, but ultimately in two, three, five, or whatever amount of years when the next underpaying asshole decides that I’m redundant, or unnecessary, or —incorrectly—overpaid, I don’t want to be left on my ass outside.

The day that I got laid off, I did my first vlog, and started posting more often on here.  My hope was that by working on these two efforts, I would open up opportunities for myself, or at least gain some mild following for when I finish the novel, that I had started.

The vlog proved to be an impossible amount of work for me with the grind of job searching, and taking care of my son, so I’ve reduced the frequency—at first I was trying to do one a day.  Obviously, I’m not at the point of getting rich off of this, but I’ve been able to interact with a lot of people in both the WordPress and Youtube communities, and I know that if I slowly and consistently work on these, that I’ll continue to move forward.  Sure, it may take a long time or never get me to full independence through these two outlets, but it has been enormously helpful for my mental state.

Through these last seven months, I’ve finished my Master’s Degree, continued to work on this blog, and my Youtube channel, I’ve done a little bit of freelance writing, and I’ve found that I have a love for copy-editing (again through freelance).

I finally found a job, and I don’t know whether it will be amazing, or awful, or somewhere in between.  What I do is it’s a one year contract, so maybe when that ends, I’ll have built up enough work with my freelancing to be independent, or maybe I’ll be job hunting again (job hunting is way more work than having a job in my experience).

So, I’m not independent, today that’s ok, but not everyday.  Some days, I realize that I’m nearly 33 years old, and that I get frustrated knowing that other people are able to do what they want.  I get frustrated that other people act careless, and are rewarded, while I’m careful and punished.  I often think about the fact, that if I am carrying a 3/4s full cup, I hold it with both hands, and yet somehow still seem to spill all over the fucking place, while I watch other people with the liquid to the rim, who manage to wave that glass around and it seems to obey their will to stay in the cup.  I have to listen to my wife, who always explains that the person spills too, they just don’t give a shit so I don’t notice that, where as when I spill it fucks up my day, and so of course it’s obvious.

I guess this example is just more about how little control I have, and less about who does have control over it, but hopefully you get the point. All of these extra things I’m trying, they’re me trying to get a bigger cup to hold that same amount of liquid.