Friday, January 27, 2012

B. Jerri Byrnes

My mother passed away on Monday, January 23rd. She was 65.

We always had a rocky, yet always loving relationship. There isn't a doubt in my mind that I am the man I am today because of the principles and convictions instilled in me by my mother and stepfather.

We disagreed vehemently on politics, but I never doubted her heart. She was a great mother, evidenced by her taking the blame for her children's bad decisions while praising us for independently making the right choices. She wasn't the best mother, but there is no such thing as "best mother," but she was the best I could have hoped for.

My father walked out on us when I was 7 weeks old. I can't imagine the fear she must have had as a newly single mother of 4, including a brand new baby. She told me that whenever she was feeling down, little Baby Ghost would smile at her, and give her strength to keep going. I just wish I could've smiled a little more on Sunday when I saw her. Hell, I just wish I saw her more.

She taught me the importance of independence, to never let a group of people decide what I think. Anytime I would go to a church, she would ask if I knew what they stood for, or more importantly, what they stood against. Anytime I expressed a political viewpoint, she would challenge it, and likewise, I would challenge her.

When my parents bought my first guitar for my 14th birthday, my mom was always pushing me to try harder. There was a brief time when I wanted to quit (at the beginning, when my fingers were bleeding), and she pushed me to keep going. When I got grounded from my Sega for not practicing enough, I knew she was serious.

My mother was far from a saint (she voted for Obama fer chrissake), but she was a saint to her kids. She worked for the underprivileged and forgotten, both as a child support agent and in the department of human services. I might not agree with the power of the government to do some of the things it does, the federal workers, like the troops, are mostly there because they want to help. My mother was an example of that. She complained both about the desperate people she helped being screwed over, and the people who could obviously do for themselves but were taking advantage of a weak system.

When it came to love, my mother's wisdom trumped everyone else's. "When someone tells you who they are, listen. Or she'll tell you again, and again, and again." When she tells you, "I'm a fuckin crazy person with no grip on reality!" listen. Or she'll tell you again. And every time I ignored my mother's advice, she was there to listen to me pour my heart out.

I miss her. I don't think that will ever change.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dissecting the Republican candidates.

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, is currently leading in the polls. This tells me two things: republicans still vote for who's next; and the majority of voters aren't paying attention. Both these thoughts are perplexing to a degree, because we refuse to learn from history. The kids who vote for American Idol know more about who they are voting for than the average political voter. How in the hell does this make any sense? Why bother voting at all if you don't actually care?

As for the former thought, voting in who is next: The first election campaign I payed attention to was George HW. People really thought they were continuing Reagan's legacy (apparently discounting the very reason Reagan chose Bush as VP was because they were so opposed). So they voted for who was next. Then, to defeat Clinton, they chose Bob Dole. Then it was Bush again, then McCain. And we all knew in 2008 that Mitt Romney would be the guy in 2012.

But something happened in 2008 that the republican establishment hadn't counted on: the Tea Party. People caught on to the neoconservative big government ways of progressivism. Among all the clamor of whether or not redistributing wealth in the form of a universal health care system was constitutional, people started to read the constitution.

Suddenly, Libertarianism is trending. People are tired of the hypocrisy and the corruption that is inevitable with big government. They're beginning to understand that if government has the right to tell you what to smoke, they can tell you what to eat and drink. Some, like presidential candidate Rick Santorum welcome such nanny state interventionism, as long as he is the one deciding what the people are allowed to do. This is why santorum scares the ever loving shit out of me. He is no different than Michael Bloomberg banning salt because he knows what is best.

Slightly less frightening is the thought of a Newt Gingrich presidency. I understood his rise in popularity when taking on the media, but I never understood how that popularity resulted in higher polling. They are two separate things. Paris Hilton is popular. No one wants her running shit. But it worked for him for a few weeks. He frightens me because he's not nearly as intelligent as he pretends to be. He's faked it so long that he believes that he is that smart. And when he is wrong, which tends to be quite frequently, he is so confidently wrong, it makes Bush joking about weapons of mass destruction look tasteful.

Which leaves us with Ron Paul. I don't agree with everything Ron Paul says, but I do agree with everything he plans to do. I know he will veto any legislation that doesn't abide by the constitution. Most importantly, I know that at least for 4 years, we can be free in the ways that our founders intended. I know that if he says something on the campaign trail, he's going to stick by that.

If Obama is reelected, the country continues its downward spiral towards depression, riots, and a police state. If Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich get elected, we stop that downward spiral, and go on a different downward spiral that leads to depression, riots, and a police state.

So that's why I'm voting Paul. And if we're still holding elections in 4 years, I'll be voting for Rand.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Anti-choice

I've heard this term a lot whenever the topic comes up and I divulge that I'm not a fan of abortion. The saddest, most disheartening part of it, is that I actually have to defend why I'm against ending a human life. That's the position that needs to be defended. Is that where we are as a society? I understand when someone tells me that they're pro-choice, I know it's not because they love the idea of fetuses being dissolved, but they're concerned about the scared young girl who's run out of options.

But for someone reason, I must blow up abortion clinics in my spare time, or at the very least, throw a party every time an abortionist is gunned down in cold blood.

I'm not an absolutist on abortion. In the cases of rape or when the mothers life is in danger, but in this age of condoms, pills, patches, shots, implants, time release capsules... Why should there be such a need for abortion?

And why am I the one that needs to defend that position? I'm not antichoice anymore than you are antilife.