Let’s Talk About God

Yes, you read that title correctly, I am going to talk about God in the Christian sense. I have been writing this blog for almost three months, and it has given me the opportunity to do two things I love – writing and discussing my viewpoints on politics. The writing aspect has remained enjoyable, but the highlighting of the latest Trump action that degrades our democracy is not always so enjoyable.

When I decided to start the blog, I wanted it to be entertaining while discussing a subject matter that always revs up my personal engines and I feel is important.

I am beginning to struggle with the Trump and the entertaining part of my mission.  I sincerely believe that Trump is trashing our democracy. He is turning our system of government into something I don’t recognize. Too many of the American people and our elected officials are allowing it to happen. I don’t even give two shits at the moment about party affiliation. As an AMERICAN, I am horrified and I feel like everyone should be mortified as well.

The FBI is investigating members of the Trump campaign and maybe the President, although we can’t know for sure, to what would amount to treason. Collusion with a foreign power against our election and democracy, a historic adversary at that, would be treason. For those who think that is hyperbole, take some time to look up the definition of treason as defined by our Constitution and additional laws passed by our Congress and tell me that this is not what this potentially, and appears, to be. See, that’s not so entertaining when you put it like that.

Eh, treason smeason – what’s the big deal about that? Let’s all keep calm and carry on and remain in our partisan tents.

But for now, you know what, I am going to carry on. I have to believe that the truth will come out and the American people if thumped on the head long enough will see the truth. THIS IS NOT ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON. SCREW HILLARY CLINTON. For those who know me personally, you know I must be serious as I have tons of affinity for Mrs. Clinton. THIS IS NO LONGER ABOUT POLITICAL PARTY!

Oy vey!

So I am going to carry on and drink red wine and write. I don’t drink and drive, but I do drink and blog and so today we are going to talk about anything other than Trump – so why not God.

I guess let me just say, I have an estranged relationship with the concept of God – at best. I have to call it a concept because as Whitney Houston told Diane Sawyer, “I wanna see the receipts.” Show me the receipts!  I’ve seen no receipts, no empirical evidence of the existence of God. I have, however, seen evidence of the Congressional Budget Office report about the numbers of people who would be thrown off their health care plans if this horrendous plan circulating through Congress were to pass. I have seen those receipts. I kind of just happen to be a facts sorts of guy. I sometimes wish Americans would get more upset, be more passionate about the things that are happening right in front of them, here on Earth.

Now let me get my disclaimer out of the way right at this moment. It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post. Several of my favorite people on this planet would proudly proclaim their faith in God and how he, she, or it – has helped them get through major trials and tribulations in their lives. They are thoughtful people, intelligent people who I admire and respect.

This is not a knock on anyone who is a person of faith. I am just expressing that this has not been my experience. By the way, if there is a God, I hope it’s a woman and that she’s fabulous and fashionable and calls people out for their crap at the end of days. I hope she is sarcastic and bitchy and says things like, “Gurl, you know good and well you can’t get into heaven after sleeping with that woman’s husband!” Yeah, I hope she says things like that.

Women rock and are strong and stylish and are able to wear thigh high boots and so often have to clean up all the crap men screw up. And just because I feel like God should most definitely be a woman, with my luck that would mean God probably isn’t. Oh well.

There have been moments in my life when I have wondered about a higher being, or the “universe” speaking to me like the time I was playing Neil Diamond at work on the one year anniversary of a co-workers Grandmother passing. Don’t judge me for listening to Neil Diamond by the way! Actually, if I put on my playlist for the public there might be lots of judgment to go around.

It was exactly one year from the day she passed, and I learned that her Grandmother, who she was extremely close with, loved Neil Diamond. The moment seemed to bring her such peace and made her so happy on a day that I am sure was not pleasant for her. My playing music in my office was not unusual, but my listening to Neil Diamond certainly was not my norm.

I am not a huge Neil Diamond fan and, you know, we’re talking about a black gay man (me) and a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx here folks. Neil Diamond probably wasn’t the target audience – the entire thing was a little odd. I don’t know, I have my moments. But, that day always stuck with me, and it was one of those things that I just never felt like a report or science would be able to explain. It just felt larger than me so, anyway, I have my moments where I go…hmm…maybe there could be something to all this, but not usually.

Now let me merge God with my favorite topic…politics…and America.

First, let me say, I personally just believe there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God, or he or she is really passive, which would then seem to me that exact opposite of what a God would do. And, if God were a woman, we know she would be doing something – women are always doing. So, again, I guess I have my evidence that God must be a man. GROAN.

But, all jokes aside, there is too much suffering on this planet for me to fully be comfortable with the concept of God and if he, she, or it exists – the fact that he, she, or it would allow so much suffering to take place would not endear me to this God.

Second, there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to good people who suffer or bad people who suffer, or punishment for heinous actions, etc. It’s all so random which, again, for me defeats the entire purpose of the belief in a God.

I have always felt that God must be in over is head or has a really bad secretary or assistant who has not kept him or her abreast of the most important issues that need attention. I know lots of people are calling out for help, are the phones being answered in the God office?  Doesn’t seem like it. Does he only respond to e-mails? What’s the address?

It’s like God is a government employee and the paperwork on Syria, slavery, the Holocaust, fill in the awfulness of your choice, were lost. Do to all sorts of lost paperwork – horrible things are allowed to happen. God is a DMV employee it seems. I am sure there are some excellent DMV employees by the way. I need my God to be proactive on such matters – no shade to God.

If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I suppose it will be for this post, but in the spirit of free speech, I am going to risk it! And, besides, an omnipotent and all-seeing God would know all my thoughts anyway, right?

My father always told me that people who don’t do the right thing will get their justice, but you might not always be around to see it. I am kind of an impatient person, so that doesn’t work for me either. I am waiting on the couch, with my popcorn, waiting to hear and see the justice.

But let me get to my third point, and most important, which is the holy rollers and Bible thumpers that seem rampant in this great land that we call America. I think that this is my man problem. Jesus loving and sanctified on Sundays, and miserly, and mean-spirited on say, Monday, like  Paul Ryan – a practicing Catholic who has a serious boner for taking away healthcare for the poor and charging the elderly more for out of pocket costs so he can save a few ducats for his wealthy friends. Huh? Boy, bye! As the kids would say, where they do that at boo?

Hell, I am the gay, Madonna-loving New Yorker and even I know from the smattering of biblical teachings I had growing up that this is NOT what Jesus would do. And a large segment of Americans, belonging to the citizenry of the most wealthy country on this Earth, seem totally ok with this and would, of course, consider themselves to be Christian.

Yes, let’s talk about God. We so often put God into politics when it comes to abortion, how about health-care? How about taking care of the sick? Jesus was all about that, so I have heard.  How about banning the death penalty as the state shouldn’t be about the business of taking a life? Let’s talk about God and let’s talk about policy! Can I get an Amen? A witness? A hallelujah? No, not even one of those things? Eh, I tried.

Here is one thing I can respect about Trump (damn it, I am talking about him). While he is corrupt, vile, unintelligent, racist, narcissistic, ill-equipped, thin-skinned, a stooge for Russia, and most repugnant of all – ORANGE. Why is he still orange?  Anyway, does not bring God into the mix. He has the decency and the cojones to claim that all of his abhorrent thoughts and behavior have been squeezed out of that supposedly brilliant pea sized brain of his. He doesn’t wear his religion (although not sure he is religious), his Christianity, as a badge and then comes out and support laws that steal from the sick. On that account, he is better than someone like Paul Ryan – the supposedly smart and Catholic one.

I guess the worst thing about Christianity and religion, in general, are the so called members. Too many are not good spokespeople for the cause. Hell, most members of Congress belong to some sort of Christian denomination – that does not give me comfort.

So maybe we should talk more about what Jesus would do in the current political climate. Would he be building more prisons and be proud that the stock of private prison companies was going up? Would he advocate building walls and keeping out people literally fleeing death? Would he be so gung-ho to execute 10 prisoners in Arkansas because they are running out of the cocktail needed to perform lethal injections? Would he advocate revoking health care from millions? Again, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a Church, but I think not. Ah, what do I know, I am just a liberal gay sinner, burning in hell according to some.

Thanks for allowing me to take a sort of Trump break (I know he was mentioned, but come on – I didn’t completely rant about him!). I am sure I will probably end up breaking my no-Trump rule sooner rather than later as the news keeps on rolling in on the Russia front. But, for the next few days, I am going to try and lay off of him for a bit. I think most of us get that story by now.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

A Little More Grace

I am going to break a few of my own rules today first by posting twice in one day and second by going on a bit of a personal journey. Hopefully, you will indulge me as this will be devoid of my usual snark.

I truly enjoy blogging. I am able to do a little writing and some of you are kind enough to follow and read my political and cultural rants. I try to write these in an engaging and somewhat humorous, albeit extremely sarcastic at times, manner – and hopefully make a point at the same time.

I usually work on multiple posts at once and it might be days before I post one of the drafts. I also sit on a number of ideas until I feel the time is right – revising and waiting until I feel comfortable with the draft, or the right time. Of course, I always find something that I would want to change or express differently or a pesky grammatical error. I don’t know if I love that part of blogging, but it is helping me overcome some of my perfection issues that’s for sure! Once it’s out there in the universe – for better or worse – it’s out there.

Earlier in the week I wrote a post called “Kentucky Fried Stupid,” which I finally posted yesterday. I wrote it and then sat on it for most of the week. There was a hesitancy to post it – it just didn’t feel right. However, after reading more details about this health-care fiasco and being appalled at priorities of the Trump budget being set forth, I posted it in a snit.

I hope the blog is entertaining and topical, with a little comedic snark – maybe a bit sardonic at times, but never flat out mean spirited. Unfortunately, with my “Kentucky Fried Stupid” post I think I crossed the line into mean territory.

Listen, I do believe that a number of Trump voters have been conned and this circus around health-care is incredibly frustrating, but I could have expressed that in another way. I’m also an adult so I can admit when I am wrong or can see multiple points of view, unlike say – the President. See, I believe that was an example of appropriate snark – not mean – but sufficiently snarky for the subject matter.

I am troubled and disheartened by the things I have seen coming out of this administration and I do have a really hard time comprehending how Trump could have any supporters. But, you know, I am not sure if I have taken sufficient time to put myself in the shoes of people who might feel so economically insecure or stagnant in a world of rapid change around them that they can be taken in by a man who provides simplistic solutions and lots of blame for their predicaments. Trump must feel good and comforting for these people.

As I typed that last paragraph, there is a part of my brain that is screaming – no Kolbi don’t let these folks off the hook! Everything you said is true and they are horrible people and yada yada yada. But the truth is, while I doubt I have any Trump supporters reading my blog, if they were reading my blog yesterday that would not have persuaded those folks to my side of the argument.

Maybe as opposed to talking about what parts of the country make me scrunch up my nose, I could have taken more time to talk about the benefits of Obamacare. I could have expressed my sincere belief that whatever the faults of the law, I think most can agree that the goal of insuring people is not a deplorable idea and that some of the vitriol leveled at the former President was unfair. I could have said many things.

I often feel that the main problem of people on the other end of the political spectrum is their inability to put themselves in the shoes of the person  with no health-care, the woman in need of an abortion, the person in need of assistance, etc and then judge those people and support laws that ultimately will screw these people over. But, I must admit, I essentially did the same things with a group of people in my “Kentucky Fried Stupid” rant. Oh, and just because I jokingly said I was going to be biased and generalize, didn’t make it cute.

There are many things politically that send me into a rage these days, but I still want to attempt to be decent and believe in my fellow citizens. I plan to extend a little more grace and a little more understanding in the future – or I am at least going to try. In doing this blogging thing, I don’t have a specific snark limit, but I think I feel it in my bones when I have maybe crossed the line. I’ll pay a little more attention to that in the future.

I Still Smell Bullsh*t

I don’t feel like sugarcoating stuff today. The bullshit kept rolling in last week. Sorry for cursing folks, but there is not a better word for what is coming out of Washington, D.C. other than bullshit.

I love blogging and really dislike when life gets in the way, but that’s what happened last week for me and boy did I miss quite a bit of absurdity coming out of Trumpland this week. Damn this day job of mine! Does anyone want to pay me to sit at home and drink coffee so I can watch and read about this lousy excuse of an administration with my mouth agape – and then write snarky blog posts about them? Ugh, that would be the life! A boy can dream.

What do we do when our President lies as he breathes and blinks? How do we take him seriously? At this point, I suspect it is not his fault. The President is not well and cannot be blamed that this horrible affliction of rampant dishonesty has washed over his mind, that he cannot separate fact from fiction and cannot discern real new sources from fake ones.

So, President Obama tapped Trump Tower. GROAN. Yep, there was Barack in a black skull and leather gloves breaking and entering into a most public of buildings on 5th Avenue to wiretap Trump’s phone lines. OY VEY. I am not going to even bother to get into the legality and logistical problems with those claims other than to say our President has a sickness. If he were just your 70-year-old orange Uncle who spouted off nonsense, you’d probably just roll your eyes or pat his head and just think to yourself – that’s just crazy old Uncle Donald. Unfortunately, our crazy Uncle Donald is President.

We received job numbers this week which were hugely, and bigly, good and poor Sean Spicer was trotted out to joke about how these particular numbers are now true but were somehow fake under President Obama. Meanwhile, the numbers are coming from the same Labor Department they have always come from. More lies and more insanity. The press giggled like schoolchildren at the joke. Appalling.

We had movement on healthcare which has been entertaining to watch and listen as Republicans try to remove their necks from the noose they tied for themselves almost eight years ago. Instead of critiquing certain parts of the healthcare law, they basically just said the entire thing sucked like hormonal angry, gothy teenagers. That was an easy position when they didn’t own the thing, but now they do own it and they have to govern. They’re learning that health care policy is hard.

Sean Spicer brought out props again to inform the American public of the virtues of their new plan. He pointed to two stacks during a press conference. Obamacare lots of pages. New plan not so many pages. See, even a toddler can get it. But, for real, can someone tell Mr. Spicer no more props? Stop trotting out paper to make political points and Spicer the fool wonders why it is so easy for Melissa McCarthy to skewer him on Saturday Night Live. Yes, let’s make judgments about health care based on the number of pages that came out of the printer – riiiight!

There was more dirt on Michael Flynn.

We had a new and improved Muslim-ban because Trump is like a dog with a bone and just want let that particular nasty, discriminatory bone go.

The Russia scandal that the Trump folks protest is not a scandal continues to look like one more and more each day.

Oh, and Ben Carson opened his mouth. As a black man, I really shake my head at his tomfoolery. I began a separate draft about his brand of stupidity earlier in the week, but never posted it as the days got away from me and the subject seemed outdated as the Trump folks love rolling out new hits of insanity each day. However, I may have to make an exception about that topic and post it anyway.

I am sure I am missing foolishness.

So I missed quite a bit of bullshit this week. I’ve got to keep my eye on the rolling fecal balls coming out of the White House each day. I will redeem myself with posting this upcoming week.

Thanks for reading!

 

Republicans in a Pickle

The object of Republican’s eternal wet dreams, the repeal of Obamacare, is finally coming to fruition in real life. They can touch it and feel it – it’s right there. But when grabbing the pickle that is health care, one should beware – if they’re not careful, they might drop the pickle and break the entire jar as well.

Never mind that fact, let’s start with the good news for Republicans. They can rejoice, millions of people may lose their health insurance! Let the church say amen! It’s a glorious day! Estimates are that 20 million people now have coverage. Hell let’s be really conservative and say it’s only 10 million, but to quote the President-elect, that’s a YUGE number. YUGE. What happens to those people?

It is time to dance with the devil to get the details – and the devil is a lie, doesn’t play fair, and steps on your toes while he twirls you around the ballroom.

How will they do this? When will they do this? What will the new plan look like?

Cue the crickets.

The Republicans have spent so much time trashing a law that has provided health care to millions (through private insurance by the way) and bringing down the country’s uninsured rate they have to find somehow a win that is better than that. What does the win look like? Is it going to be single payer? No, of course not – only all those other stupid Western democracies do that. We Americans are always so unique, thumbing our noses at healthcare and silly things like the metric system that all the cool kids are raving about. We’re like Raven-Symoné on the world stage with purple hair and one side of our head shaved. So unique and weird – we just won’t conform.

Will it be more access and cheaper prices? How? Do they have a plan to control the consistent rise in the cost of health care (not an Obamacare creation)? No, of course not. How do they deal with the problem of insuring the sick which is terribly expensive? One of the Republican “plans” floating around gives more subsidies to younger people to obtain health care and less to older people (who are usually sicker). I guess that’s one way to do it. Yikes! Don’t be in your fifties and ever lose your job. Eh, let’s just send the old folks to the glue factory – what the hell.

What do you do about the subsidies for low-income earners in a state like Kentucky where the uninsured rate has dropped precipitously? What do you do when you realize those on the plan in that state are overwhelmingly Republican? If you keep the subsidies aren’t you holding a main component of Obamacare? Do you give them tax credits? Who pays for the tax credits?The Affordable Care Act has many taxes – geared towards top income earners and on certain industries (tanning for example). Now, not surprisingly, the “plans” we have seen seem to shift cost burdens from the wealthy and virtually tax low-income earners by removing subsidies.

Kentucky is a red state. You take away coverage, you’re shooting yourself in the foot with one of those ak-47’s you believe everyone should have. Now even though some Kentuckians are dumb and know they have coverage, but don’t know it’s Obamacare now, they’ll find out soon enough. It’s not their fault; they call it “Kyncet,” which sounds so cute and non-Muslimy. Hell, it could be a little white kid’s name like River or Tripp. No, but seriously, I went to the website – so helpful and colorful. You’d never know Barack Hussein Obama had anything to do with giving those folks health insurance.

So many questions, so little time. What to do, what to do?

The funny thing is, you can be that rascally Kenyan, foreign-born Muslim President attempting to destroy the country through socialism, or the current anarchist and pussy grabbing President-elect, but the problems are the same. The Democrats, for all the laws flaws, put a plan out there. They have offered something that is an imperfect attempt to make things better for people. It needs work, but objectively how an anyone claim insuring millions more puts us in a worse position as a nation than we were in 2008 without the law?

But since we’re starting from scratch supposedly, all the aforementioned questions are the challenges presented before the Republican Party. Are they truly going to accept it?

The Republicans have full government control. What’s their solution? Besides, regurgitate the line repeal and replace in of every t.v. camera available. What are they going to do? Who is going to walk the tightrope from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on this issue? If anything, it should surely be fun to watch. Can they make the rhetoric and policy on this issue line up?

They have promised repeal for so long and used this issue as a boogeyman for so long. Presumably, the President-elect won many votes this issue (and some others) – now they must deliver. It’s Christmas for the Trump voters, and they want their new white pony.

Of course, despite all of the President-elect’s bluster of fixing this in a few weeks, the complication of the American healthcare system cannot be overstated. The President-elect talks about repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as if he is just replacing an ottoman for Ms. Smith in Smalltown, USA. There is a reason why this was a wishlist item for every Democratic President (and even Nixon) from FDR to Obama. This shit is hard, and it matters and healthcare coverage for people who don’t have it when they are sick matters.

Repealing and replacing a law of this size, and of this magnitude, will not happen without causing pain – and sensible Republicans know that. Even though the President-elect is mashing the gas, look for reasonable Republicans to start raising some red flags. There the fat bastards at Thanksgiving who cut a slice of Pumpkin Pie too big only to realize a few bites in that it may be more than they can digest.

The Anti Party

Last week Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced the House would repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. Is anyone surprised? I mean, really, is anyone surprised? These folks are nothing if not consistent. They have been harping about the injustice of President Obama daring to provide healthcare to the poor and working poor since 2010, and whining about a woman making their own reproductive health choices seemingly since the beginning of time. The absolute horror of those two things will destroy the republic!

The Republicans are so vile, but oh so determined, and I suppose that can be commended. I respect determination. It’s like watching a soap opera where no matter the year or the month – twenty years later even – the same old characters are doing the same old shit. Victor Newman will always love Nikki Newman on The Young and the Restless and Republicans will always default back to screwing women and the poor. I suppose when you think of it like that, while we watch the trampling of woman’s choice and the snatching of people’s healthcare – we can at least be comforted that the Republicans are like a dusty old blanket crocheted by your Grandmother. The entire thing feels like home.

Republicans are much better than Democrats when it comes to truly fighting for what they believe in. How Democrats have been unable to win the health care argument and reproductive rights argument is beyond me. But, alas, here we are with the Republicans doing what they always do. Who is going to resurrect Maya Angelou so she can remind is that “when people show you who they are, believe them.”

The fact that the American people cannot be persuaded that for whatever Obamacare’s ills – is providing access to healthcare to millions of people, quite a few Trump voters by the way. Millions and millions of people who did not have it before – that’s a good thing. Are there issues with the law, yes. Should we just throw it the entire thing and start from scratch again – no. That’s like burning down your home because the roof has a leak and needs a repair.

Planned Parenthood provides so many vital services for woman’s health, such as cancer screenings but can’t get past the fact that some woman may decide an abortion is a right choice for their life – even though abortions are not funded with taxpayer dollars. The fact that the American people keep voting for old white men who keep telling women what they should do with their bodies is also disheartening.

And yet a  bunch of stupid women and stupid poor people voted these people into office against their own self-interests.

But more than that, when are we – the American people – going to wake up and realize we are being sodomized without the sodomizer at least having the decency and kindness to provide lubricant? Put healthcare and women’s reproductive rights aside for a moment and think about the fact that a political party, that is against everything – has the levers of power of the entire federal government.

The Republican Party is a political party that on the whole does not believe in climate change, environmental protection,  healthcare, funding public education, women’s reproductive rights, any common sense gun control,  or immigration reform. I am sure I am leaving something out. This party generally believes that government is the problem on every issue unless we’re discussing the military at which point it can solve all the world’s ills.

The Republican Party is no longer a political party about the business of bringing positive change to this country. It is a party that is against any sort of progress, it is an anti-government and anti-progress party. The philosophy can really be broken down into two categories. Number One – a no government needed policy and number two – the market can handle everything.

So on issues of guns and gun control – the government should stand back –  millions of people, unrestrained by any common sense laws, can handle deadly weapons. No need for government or sound policy.

On issues like regulating Wall Street, public education, privatizing Medicare and Social Security and dealing with business and the environment –  get out of the way and let the private sector handle it. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing is sacred and if people can make money even better. The market unregulated and unrestrained always works for the people. Giving corporations the ability to do as they please has always been great for the American worker and the country. Sheesh!

So I am not shocked by this past week’s events and either, should you. We have seen this movie before, and we are watching the same script, and for the most part, minus Trump, the same old characters. I suppose it’s a sad sequel at this point.