Optimists Live Better Lives

Turns out that optimists truly are more successful and happy than pessimists.

I’m not sure that anybody knows exactly why, but the data bears it out.

Here are two of the main rules of thumb to follow if you want to lead a happy, optimistic life:

  1. Externalize fault, and Internalize success – I know that at first glance, that sounds like a cop-out, but the fact is, it works.
  2. Avoid words like “Always” or “Never” – Make whatever is happening, especially the problematic periods, something transitory. Keep an ear open to your inner dialogue, and avoid saying things like “I always do” such and such, or “I never get” whatever. By avoiding the absolutes, we keep can see our lives in a better perspective.

There are a few other keys to optimism, more of which can be found here, but those are the main points.

Try to remember that as long as you have time in this world, you still have time to change.

The Rich are the Enemy

If it’s not the first time I’ve said this, it won’t be the last: the rich are the enemy. The plain and simple fact is that the rich are far too rich, and there are far too few of them.

Literally, a few thousand people own and control almost all of the world, either directly or indirectly. Virtually nothing can be accomplished without their support and approval. This is not an exaggeration. This is a plain, simple, odious fact.

It’s the rich who stand in the way of protecting our world. They know that any meaningful effort to counter climate change will result in a loss of their revenue, and despite already having more money than half the world combined, they refuse to permit that.

Why do Fox News and other right-wing propaganda sites get away with all of the lies and outrageous claims that they make? It’s because the rich like it that way. Fox News is speaking on behalf of rich people.

Fox News is saying what rich people think.

How can Trump—a man so obviously and pathetically unfit for office—get away with all of the verifiable lies that he makes on a daily basis? Because he’s giving the rich exactly what they want, which is more money, which translates into even more power.

And as long as Trump keeps giving the rich what they want, the rich will support him completely.

War? Crashed economy? Ecological disaster? Doesn’t matter. All that matters is profit. Their profit.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that any and all efforts to make the world a better place will be met with harsh opposition from the rich.

Even the most modest of proposals to make the lives of the working class better will be labeled as communism.

That’s bad. That’s a hard hill to climb. But the truly pathetic thing is that if anyone dares to espouse this observation in public, some conservative yutz will accuse that person of “envy.”

And that’s what we’re up against, and it doesn’t look good. On the one hand, the grotesque perfidy of a few thousand billionaires and multi-millionaires who don’t have enough money, and on the other hand, hundreds of millions of brain-washed working class conservatives who are hopelessly servile to the powers that be.

Fox News vs. Saving Grace

Three dirty lying millionaires.

Fox News has to be the most despicable example of propaganda in the world today. Surely there is no source of right-wing propaganda so widely disseminated. Hate TV, USA.

Every day, with almost every show, they bend over backwards to demonize liberals. With each passing year the preposterous perversion of logic and reality just gets worse.

For instance, according to Fox News, it’s the liberals who are truly the party of intolerance, not the God-fearing Republicans who have a loyal membership comprised of 90% rich white men…and 10% poor, bigoted, working-class idiots.

The worst offenders are, by far, the three mainstays of their nightly “news” roundup: Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham. The mental acrobatics they perform in order to prove their specious arguments are truly breath-taking.

If you have even the faintest ability to reason, it is literally painful to watch more than five minutes of any of those shows.

As often as not, the broadcast is filled with nothing but outright lies, but on occasion they’ll address an issue, a current event, being careful to frame it as perfectly as possible so that it serves their agenda. So it’s not a lie, per se, but rather a carefully cherry-picked display of the “truth.”

The best example I can think of is the recent coverage of a Trump political rally in northern Florida. Every other news station showed the part where the crowd started chanting “Send her back!” and “Shoot them!” while Trump just stood there at the podium and smiled.

But if you were watching Fox News, you’d notice that they carefully edited and removed those scenes from their coverage. According to Fox, the rally was a rousing display of patriotic loyalty, a success story that only Trump’s haters would dare malign.

Fox News is evil, and I say that without a trace of hyperbole. The ruination of America is being lead by Fox News and the morons who watch it.

Thankfully there are saving graces, one of which I just recently discovered, the popular sitcom Modern Family.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it really is a funny-assed little show. It’s become my favorite go-to when the idiocy of the world, lead by Fox News, becomes too much to bear.

It took me a while to get to know the characters, and I still don’t like the “loose, jerky” camera style (though I hardly notice it now)…but it’s just quirky, and lovable, and fun and every little story has a ring of truth to it without being too preachy.

I’m saying this in an effort to give my little life a bit more balance, because it’s easy to be subsumed by the glaring negativity that dominates our times. Trump is a truly dangerous man, and his supporters are either themselves dangerous or just too dumb to recognize the obvious. More the latter than the fore, I fear.

So to the half-dozen people who bother to read these words, I hope you have a little “saving grace” in your life, something that helps you get past the bullshit.

If there was ever a time when we needed it, that time is now.

PTSD, Anxiety, & Survivor’s Guilt

Had a panic attack today. Not the first time, but the first in a long time. Always seems to strike out of the blue.

Incapacitated, I did next to nothing and spent half the day hiding in bed.

Better, now. The day is lost, but maybe I can make up some ground tomorrow. It’s so strange. I had planned on getting a lot done today, but I woke up just flat-out feeling wrong, and that feeling lasted until around four or five in the afternoon, when I had a can of beer and a bite to eat.

Words fall short of an accurate description, but what I felt today was something akin to a sense of impending doom.

Nobody understands. I wouldn’t doubt if most people thought I was faking it. I can almost feel them rolling their eyes at me, behind my back. Hell, sometimes I can see them doing it right to my face.

Unless people can see some external sign of damage or harm, most of them will simply assume that a person is faking a panic attack, or a back injury, or the limp of a trick knee. Or menstrual cramps, too, I’d imagine….

Officially, my PTSD is based on a bloody, traumatic, deadly event that happened to me when I was thirteen. Unofficially, it’s based on a life pockmarked with hostility, violence, and several years of gross injustice from which I had no escape.

So they broke me. I’m a broken man, and nobody cares. I keep hoping that somehow I’ll put myself back together and make something of my life, or what I’ve left of it…but it just doesn’t seem to be working.

They say that optimistic people do better in life than pessimists.

Here’s to optimism.

Big Things, Little Things

My cousin died recently. Word is that she killed herself. Don’t know much more about it than that. I’m afraid we’re pretty estranged from that branch of the family. I haven’t seen her or her family in about thirty years, so I’d feel odd inserting myself into their lives.

My mind’s a blank. I don’t even know how to feel. She was a pretty good kid at heart. A little ornery, but not a mean bone in her body. She had three kids. I guess it wasn’t her first attempt. I hope her soul has found peace.

Add to that, the never-ending political bullshit, and the recent mass shootings that the Republicans won’t do anything about and…and the asshole gun nuts trying to convince us that it’s all perfectly normal and all we need are even more guns…from this perspective, the world can look pretty dark for an old poet.

Thankfully, I recently discovered the television show Modern Family. I don’t watch much television, and I frankly don’t care for shows like that, usually, but I started watching this recently and so far, it’s made life a little easier to bear.

I don’t know what it means, life. I don’t see how we can live one life and never live again. That makes no sense to me. What would be the point?

Because a pointless universe would be pure hell. Chaos would win every time. Our whole reason to exist is, at the very least, to give a little meaning to the world, somehow. To gain an insight, to share it, to just be there, as a human being.

I hope her soul finds a better place to be. She deserves it.

Corporate Control of Dem Debates

Not gonna watch. I know they’ll be gunning for Sanders and Warren, in that order. Lots of “gotcha” questions and an effort to stir up a fight.

We have public broadcasting. There’s no goddamn reason why CNN should make a bundle of money airing our debates. There’s no fucking reason why they should be in control of the moderators and the basic tone of the discourse.

Ten people are going to be on that stage forced to compete for two-hours of air time that will be about 25% to 30% commercials. It’s absurd, and I can’t believe nobody talks about it. At best, one lucky candidate might get 15 minutes of air time to talk about all of the policies that need to be addressed. Some candidates will be lucky if they get two minutes of time.

I’m sick to death of the corporate manipulation that we see constantly in our politics. Corporate manipulation is effectively an effort by rich people to put their thumbs on the scales, because when we speak of the rich and of corporations, we are talking about the same thing.

I know this for a fact: whoever the corporations like the most (Biden & Buttigieg as of this writing) then those are the candidates that we the people should avoid like the plague.

Conversely, the candidates most despised by the corporate wing (Sanders & Warren) are the most deserving of our support.

“I Know You Are, but What Am I?”

As I’ve said before, the conservatives like to imagine themselves as the party of adults, and yet time and again, this is the level of discourse we have come to expect of them. You can never win an argument with a conservative, just as you can never win an argument with a bratty child.

And that’s where America is today, worse than ever. Between the constant flow of lies being spread by Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, and the vault-like, day-care echo chamber of conservative social media, Republicans have become something of a monster, something that has taken on a life of its own, beyond its master’s control.

They literally live in a parallel universe of their own making.

So if a person were to write a letter to the editor in an attempt to sway people’s minds, those are not the minds to focus on. That would be a fruitless waste of time.

Logically, one might think that the political group to aim would be the people in the middle, the people who claim to be centrists, the people who think they can see both sides of an issue.

For instance, a Republican who claims to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative might have the mindset you’d want to address. But logic is filled with fallacies, and I contend that this is one of them.

Centrists are even dumber than conservative Republicans.

Think about it. I mean, anybody who’s still on the fence regarding Trump and the GOP is just too stupid to know a sound argument when they hear one. So why waste the time?

That leaves us with the final and, I think, the best alternative which is this: forget the Republicans and the centrists altogether, and focus on the apathetic leftists who agree with you. They can see quite clearly what’s going on. These people don’t suffer from a lack of reason but from a lack of faith. All they need is the inspiration, the encouragement, and the motivation to get involved.

And there are literally millions of people like this, people so disillusioned with the system that they’ve just given up and decided not to play anymore. But they will listen to reason, and many of them will respond if the reasoning is persuasive enough.

We live in a time where Trump and his supporters would rather win and be wrong, than lose and be right. In an authoritarian state, truth is always the first casualty; it is always the first step in the wrong direction.

And that’s a bad place to be.

Meaningless Letters

Writing letters to the editor used to mean something. I don’t think it does any more, especially in a town like Roswell that’s stuck with such a crappy, ill-run newspaper.

I’ve written several to the RDR, and I even wrote a column for them over the summer of 2017. While I did get a bit of feedback, it was rarely positive, but mostly it was as if nobody bothered to read my work at all. It was like shouting into the void.

Case in point: after 18 or 19 columns, my Twitter followers didn’t increase at all.

Still, here I am contemplating new letters to the editor, especially since I’m done with Twitter. Will it help? I don’t know. I just feel like I have to do something, and I hope against hope that I can find those magic words that a few hundred people might read and somehow be persuaded to stop supporting Trump and the GOP.

It’s a moon-shot. Nobody listens to anyone any more. Everybody’s mind is already made up, and little if anything will sway their conclusions.

But Trump has become even more dangerous now than he was when he took office. He has singled out the four most progressive members of the Democratic freshman congressional class (“The Squad”), and he’s spreading slander and nastiness at them, practically unchallenged. Everything he writes is a lie, but nobody ever seems to call him on it.

He calls them communists. They aren’t. Calls them anti-Semites. They aren’t. Says they hate America. They don’t. Then, laughably, he claims they aren’t very smart, which they obviously are, far smarter than Donald, but not quite as rich and corrupt.

So, yeah…it ain’t much, but maybe that “strongly worded letter” might be in order now. Maybe the golden arrows of my words might find their way to a few hundred hearts and be for the better.

The world depends on me to keep fighting. It depends on all of us to keep fighting evil, however we can.

And make no mistake: Trump is evil.

Conservative Demonization

Found this yesterday among the top images of a “send her back” Google search. I shouldn’t be surprised. This is exactly the playground mindset of the average Republican. Exactly.

Distort everything because they are unable and unwilling to address the issue itself. This has been going on forever. They have such teensy-weensy little minds that it’s impossible for them to cogitate complex issues, especially if they’re wrong. And they’re usually wrong.

I’ve been on the internet for about twenty (20) years and I’ve seen this kind of childish demonization of liberals from the very start. It hasn’t changed, and it isn’t likely to.

Conservatives like to consider themselves to be “the adults in the room.” You don’t have to dig very deep to see how that’s not the case at all, and more often than not, the opposite is true.

The modern conservative Republican is a child in an adult’s body.

And we’re stuck with them.

But one thing’s for sure: conservatives love their traditions.