Goodbye 2016 Plus 10 Things I Want For 2017

I will refrain from joining the chorus of voices on social media extolling the horror and dread they have felt over the course of 2016 by making a post explicitly about that topic. Although, I agree that 2016 has been like the world’s worst boss – somehow in charge of decision making but every decision made seems to be the wrong one.

But enough of that, instead, I will share my hopes for 2017 in no particular order.

First and foremost, who is going to tell the Emperor that he has no clothes? Yes, our country can now be summed up by the children’s book The Emperor’s New Clothes. It has come to this. We have elected a President-elect whose orange and tanned celluloid ass is exposed for the world to see and he doesn’t seem to notice or care about the brisk winds of problems blowing against his crack. He walks around smugly, admits to not reading briefings, has no convictions, butchers the English language, insults, demeans, and tweets  – TWEETS – about issues of national importance on a medium used by every Joe Blow.

Where is that vampiress and stealer of souls Kellyanne Conway to make this stop? But really between now and January 20th, can someone enroll the President-elect in an 8th-grade History course? If that is not available can we get him that Schoolhouse Rock video “I’m Just a Bill” because he also seems confused about separation of powers and what he can actually do alone as President?

Lastly, before someone says Hillary Clinton lost the election and to get over it, I will “get over it” once the President-elect begins to behave presidentially as his been historically expected in this country. I am not sure why a collective decision was made by the electorate and the media to say – this particular guy does not have to play by the rules and norms that have served our democracy well for 240 years.

I want to “get over it” and even give Agent Orange a chance, but he refuses to give me the opportunity. He will need to earn my support by his deeds and actions, and a start could be NOT praising a Russian dictator and murderer as “smart” while insulting the current and sitting President – via Twitter as he did yesterday.

Second, I hope that all the Trump supporters realize the error of their vote and while they don’t have to publicly admit they were wrong, or even declare they have tired of their no policy belief reality star, I hope they secretly go to the ballot box in 2020 and help to undo the horror they have unleashed upon the country and the world.

Third, I hope that God, the universe, the force…whatever is out there…decides to spare a celebrity or two. Specifically, hands off my Madonna. Her music and reincarnations have provided a soundtrack of sorts for my own life so her demise would sadden me immensely.

Fourth, I hope and pray for a muzzle for Mr. Kanye West and while we’re at an invisibility cloak too as I’d prefer not to hear or see him. Seriously, Mr. West lost quality person points with me long ago for a variety of reasons (hello Taylor Swift, Beyonce obsession), but walking out of Trump Tower this month with the President-elect was the last straw. Really dude? Goodbye.

Five, I want Americans and our political leaders to wake up and agree – once and for all – that climate change is real. It’s not a hoax, it’s not the Loch Ness Monster that no one can see and feel – it’s science people. We can see view time-lapsed footage of sea ice melting in the Arctic. It’s science and science is a great thing. And no, just because it snows does not mean there is not climate change – not what it’s about people. Let’s start believing in science again and making sound policy based on facts.

Six, and if I am writing this blog at the end of 2017, I, unfortunately, suspect it will be on the list again, but I am going to need men – usually old white Republican men – to get their sticky fingers off the wombs of American women and out of their medicine cabinets. LET IT GO. Reproductive rights and reproductive choices should solely be made by women. I mean, honestly, perspective is a peculiar thing. If we are so concerned about life, I propose we fund, with federal dollars, a roving Masturbation Unit that somehow magnetically screens for boners and hard-ons in households (don’t say it can’t be done folks, we went to the moon. Science is an amazing thing!). If no woman is present, clearly we’re not procreating, the criminal masturbatory act should be stopped at once. Suppose we will need to the roving police to enforce this. Maybe we can use the same folks who are expected to round up the 11 million Mexicans from their homes as proposed by the naked Emperor. Not sure if we propose a fine for males caught in the act or possibly prison time for the murder of ejaculate hitting the floor. Sperm is life too folks. Oh, our ridiculous patriarchal society. Leave women alone on this issue once and for all damn it!

Seven, criminal justice reform. We have to stop killing unarmed black men. It’s not new, technology has just made it visible. I am too exasperated about this topic today to say much more than that. There is a problem, and those that claim there isn’t most likely aren’t a person of color and are wrapped up, and are the beneficiary, of some sort of societal privilege.

Eight, more of Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live. If we have to live through a Trump presidency, we will need to erect a protective bubble around these two to ensure that they are always around to comedically lambaste the orange one for his seemingly enduring and unwavering stupidity.

Nine, my hope is for Hillary Rodham Clinton to find a new cause to champion. After the scorched Earth election that was 2016 and the years/months leading up to it, people probably have forgotten that this woman had approval ratings in the high 50s and mid-60s during her years as Secretary of State. It wasn’t until she sought power again that she suddenly was all at once was too weak,  an evil socialist mastermind, too corrupt, not warm enough, too robotic, too desperate, too rehearsed, too prepared, the moral equivalent to Trump, racist, not liberal enough, had the audacity to use a private server, worst that Nixon, couldn’t please her husband, didn’t leave her philandering husband, and the list went on and on.

But before all of this, this was a person who was on the front lines on issues like healthcare and children’s advocacy and in the trenches for a long time. A woman just as educated as her husband – had a career of her own. Unlike our current President-elect, she actually had a public record. The brutal sexism that reared its ugly head in 2016 should be a lesson to us all that we still have work to do on this front. Our country also needs to acknowledge that we have not had any Hillary Rodham Clinton’s and I don’t think we knew exactly what to do with her.  A woman who in her actions was basically saying I am just as strong, just as capable, just as ambitious (gasp!), just as capable of leading this nation.

We can write the entire thing off and make it about all of her failings, but it’s truly about us. It’s about what we value, how we perceive information and facts, and how we view women seeking power and authority. A large segment of the population chose an openly bigoted, thrice married, philandering fool who can barely construct a proper sentence. A man who has said he will make our country great without telling anyone how, while openly admitting he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he doesn’t care to know. That, folks, is not Hillary Rodham Clinton’s problem or about her damn e-mails. At the end of the day, women have to be perfect, white men can be mediocre and flawed as can be. Yes, I said white men because a black man would not be allowed near the Oval Office if he had three baby mama’s – and that’s real talk.

I hope that she is relaxed, not too depressed, and realizes she has had an incredible career in both the private and public sector, and that despite how boring and unlike her husband or President Obama in her oratory skills, her tenacity alone made her an inspirational figure to millions of people. I hope that she does not allow Donald Trump of all people to end her career.

Ten, I wish that all of my friends and loved ones have a glorious and prosperous 2017. It is a crazy world with so much seemingly out of our control, but we can choose to be decent and to share a kind word. To stand up for our beliefs when challenged and to do our part, in our own little spheres, to protect the marginalized. We can follow our own dreams and hearts and hopefully bring a little light into the world. See look what I did there – ending on a note of positivity!

Happy New Year everyone!





All I want for Christmas is a Beretta Shotgun…

Said no one ever. Well unless you’re a hunter maybe or come from an avid hunting family with a history of gun ownership or some other logical reason, but apparently this is the gift you just give to your offensive line if you are Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Let me say, I believe in the 2nd Amendment if for no other reason than it’s baked in the cake that is the Constitution. Out of all the amendments, it’s not particularly my favorite, but I respect the history, and like Prego – “it’s in there.”

As amendments go, the 2nd is not terribly important to me. I am partial to the 1st, 4th, 5th – and as a black man some others not originally in the Bill of Rights like the 13th, 14th, and 15th for instance.

But back to the 2nd,  I don’t fear a British Invasion. I am not part of a militia and IF I had to fight off the government, I personally believe I would be out droned, out tanked, out nuked, and out manned – so a shit load of guns in my little home probably wont matter much – just my view. I suppose the idea of a gun for personal protection in my home from the would be intruder makes sense, but there is still no guarantee I’d get to the gun in time (depending on the circumstances) and I don’t intend to carry a gun on my hip at all times while I am grinding my coffee beans for the morning or sitting on the sofa watching crap on BRAVO. I just don’t live in that much of a state of fear.  The point is that I don’t have any qualms about the right to bear arms being a right, but I think there is an unnecessary obsession about this particular right. AND…AND…how could I forget this, President Obama is leaving and a few weeks and everyone still has their guns and Number 45 is coming in so now there is really nothing to worry about in terms of gun confiscation!

What I don’t understand is the glorification and romanticizing of gun ownership. This man really went out and purchased a shotgun for his offensive line? Who does that? What happened to buying everyone a tie or a nice watch? Cuff links? An order of Omaha steaks? How about some of that tired wretched cologne that wafts out of Abercrombie and Fitch in every mall in America? (Honestly, can we get a new scent? Who do I need to talk to so that happens?)

Look, at the end of the day guns are used to kill people or animals. I suppose they are used for target practice too – so you have better aim at killing something down the line – but they are designed and for the purpose of killing. Oh wait, no, people purchase guns with the intent to shoot up their homes and to put little circular bullet patters into their drywall when they decide to redecorate! Please! And don’t give me any of that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people crap.” By that logic, cars don’t kill people either – people driving them do. However, despite the fact that cars technically don’t kill people as we as people operate them after all, as a reasonable society we have still enacted laws around the wearing of seat belts, and speed limits – which vary upon location. We have designed air bags and have laws prohibiting driving while under the influence, etc. Oh, and you have to get a license and pass a damn test. I think responsible people should own guns – whatever the style and make – and that gun ownership should be taken seriously. You don’t give out guns as gifts like they’re Skittles to employees or a gaggle of football players on your offensive line.

Which brings me back to the Philadelphia Eagles. Do all of the the teammates have a license? He purchased a gun for 11 other people – really? Do you need a license in Pennsylvania? In the event that you don’t, why aren’t more people appalled by that? Do these fools even know how to shoot? Are all of the players living in such dangerous conditions that they fear for their safety and need a shotgun for immediate protection? Are they all avid hunters? Like, for real, who does this and thinks it cute?

I suppose the good news is that at least it’s just a shotgun and not an AK-47 or some other ridiculous gun. The entire thing just strikes me as irresponsible and flippant and potential dangerous. Maybe one day, all the 2nd Amendment loving, everyone needs a gun believing people of the world, will remember that other oft forgotten line within this particular amendment about the “well regulated militia.” Until them, let’s hope this entire offensive line will be taught how to shoot and safely store a shotgun.

Raising Israel

The United States attempted to reign in its wayward child this afternoon after years of praise and over indulgence. The U.S. has been the parent at the open house at school who learns their child is not the best in the class and has an attitude problem then responds to these critiques with an indignant, “not my child!” But there were some signs of good parenting today.

Everyone may not know that the U.S. has a child. A child who is rewarded with excessive military aid, where both parents – the mother Democrats and father Republicans – refuse to call out bad behavior and their love of said child causes both guardians to ignore unpleasant truths.

That child is Israel, but today Secretary of State John Kerry, in the role of an exasperated father, finally stated the obvious in regards to Israel. You cannot have anymore cakes and cookies because we care about you. No more cakes and cookies for you, your teeth will rot and you will grow obese and unhealthy. You’re being told no because we love you. We have to tell you no and hope one day when you’re older you’ll understand why we had to be firm.

The cake and cookies for Israel are settlements. Israel seemingly loves settlements even though every objective observer knows they are bad for the long term health and stability of Israel.

Continuing to settle in territory that, frankly, does not belong to them is bad. Encroaching more and more on land that belongs to the Palestinians and ostensibly would be used for the Palestinians in any two state solution – which will not be there if they continue this policy – is bad. Alas, Israel loves it’s sweets.

Secretary Kerry said publicly what other administrations have believed, but seemingly danced around, that the two state solution is threatened by the continued building of settlements. It’s really that simple.  Israel cannot be a “Jewish State” if it is population, it’s non voting population by the way, is increasingly Arab as it holds onto areas in Gaza and the West Bank.

Oh and I won’t say the word occu…occu…octopus. No, that’s not it. Hmm, I won’t say the word that is defined “as the action, state, or period of _________ by military force.” Gaza anyone? West Bank?

The U.S. has a wayward child and it’s about time the child was scolded publicly in the grocery aisle at the Piggly Wiggly – which in this case is the world stage – for being belligerent and knocking over the Pop Tarts on the shelves and making a mess of things. Good parents can’t always wait to scold privately at home.

Now before people’s head explode, I do not really think of Israel as a child of America. I state some of these things in jest as I like to infuse some humor into an otherwise frustrating and awful situation. Finding a way towards peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is important for Middle East peace and stability, and of course our own security.

Israel is not some infantile state – on the contrary it is a very strong and capable country, which calls into question the copious amounts of military aid we continue to provide it especially considering all the back talk and gruff we receive from it’s petulant Prime Minister. The U.S. is sassed on the world stage by Israel’s leaders even though, like parents, provide it food, shelter, and clothing. Maybe Israel is going through their teenaged years?

I want Israel to exist – I want the Israeli’s to have their Jewish state. But I also want the Palestinians to have their Palestinian state – their own country and boarders. More importantly, I want the U.S. to extricate itself from this mess (unlikely). You’re a parent for life right?

In truth, this post is really an indictment of America’s policies through various administrations on this issue. The United States has stated that we believe the best path forward to peace is a two state solution. Despite this, we have continued to provide aid and back Israel on virtually all measures at the U.N. (until recently and even that was an abstention), even if we have known Israel was wrong.

And so, in conclusion, this is NOT an anti-Israel rant but this is most definitely a rant about a wrong policy, that flies in the face of the supposed goals of Israel and the interests of the United States.

The Empire Strikes Back

It appears that the Gods of the Universe have decided to ensure that 2016 could not just be terrible, but that it would exit with an abominable roar that would make it impossible to ignore the overall wretchedness of the year in general.

When I learned of Carrie Fisher’s heart attack over the weekend, but that she survived, I was truly was hoping that she would hang on, especially after learning of George Michael’s death. I held out hope for no other reason than the feeling that there has been the death of so many things this year – talented people of course, but civility, belief in diversity, respect, and even truth itself – it is now completely subjective. It feels as though we have lost much.

Alas, as with so many things this year, the world was not to keep it’s Princess. While saddened by the loss of another pop culture icon, and feeling so may things as of late, I was inspired to stop sitting on the sidelines and to delve back into writing, which is something I love and always centers me a bit, even if the subject matter is not so “love and light” – to quote a Real Housewife. And while 2016 feels like it is ending horrendously, starting a new hobby for 2017 feels positive and right.

But as of today, it is still 2016, and the evil empire has struck back with a vengeance and has taken Carrie. And before today it took George, Bowie, and Prince …and yeah. I will just stop with Prince. It’s unleashed attacks – in Berlin and Nice and a cold-blooded assassination of an ambassador in Turkey. It’s given us Trump, his sycophants, mindless followers and basket of anti-science, anti-immigration, anti-black, anti-gay, anti-women – DEPLORABLES. Yeah, Hillary apologized for that line, but I loved it. The Empire has been busy and, for the moment, seems to be winning – in many areas.

To digress for a moment, I suppose I should type a disclaimer and get this out of the way now. I am black. I am gay. I am married to a white man raised in the South. I believe in liberal and believe in progressive politics. I am sure I have offended someone in that steaming cup of tea I just spilled, which is totally fine – I have a certain world view and am not here for everyone.

Back on track, as 2016 comes to a close, I am saddened by many things. The violence, the loss of talent, and the future of our country where so much progressive movement that I believe in seems to be on the line. But I am an optimist at heart and things always get better in the end, right?

So, here’s to Carrie. Bold, honest, a feminist, fierce…and a FORCE.

And to 2017…where are my Jedi????