Go Home, Byron

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet.

This morning I was scrolling though Twitter and one of the local news stations mentioned an upcoming Q&A with India Walton and Byron Brown.  Some background:

Brown is the current mayor of Buffalo, where I live.  He has been such for many years, and brought great progress to the area.  However, despite the fact he’s a democrat, he’s always been the career-politician sort, and that leaves a slight sour taste on my tongue.  Then I investigated a little and found a bunch of things he could definitely be doing better with, so when I heard Walton would be challenging him in the primary, I was pleased.  New blood, so to speak.  She won, and I thought “awesome!  Buffalos first woman mayor!  What a great stride for the party and city!”  But, no.

See, Brown threw a hissy-fit.  The man barely even campaigned before the primary, and he was SHOCKED to have lost.  But instead of conceding and supporting Walton like he should’ve done, he ran a campaign to get on the ballot.  When the courts struck that down, he started a write-in campaign…with a healthy dose of smear, mind you.  Now, there are signs on every other lawn in my neighborhood that say “Write Down Byron Brown!”  Where were you people during the primary?!  My own parents have one on their lawn, not because they are necessarily supporters, but because their landlord put it there, which seems shady to me, frankly.  (Sidebar: my cousin G saw it yesterday and said “hey isn’t that guy my mom doesn’t like?” Yes, sweetpea.) Anyway, the whole city is now split Brown/Walton and it’s ridiculous.  1. They’re on the same damn team, and 2. What are you even doing here, Byron?  Which brings me to this morning.

So, some newscaster posted a tweet asking what qurestions he should ask the candidates.  I only have one, honestly.

Byron-what makes you think you have the right to be an option?  You didn’t win it; you don’t deserve it.  Dude is doing the same thing “that last guy” did…refusing to concede after a fair election.  Maybe, just maybe…we don’t want you anymore.

I wrote before about how the male ego plays a part in this and I stand by that but I think a lot of it is a thirst for power and control.  I just can’t imagine it: ”Oh, I lost?  Well, I don’t wanna.  So I say I didn’t.”  That’s not how adults behave, folks.  That’s the logic of a child.

Anyway, I can’t wait until election day when India Walton stomps the crap out of Byron Brown.  No, that doesn’t seem plausible where I live because South Buffalo is very pro-Byron, but the rest of the city is a different story from what I have seen.  I am hopeful…hopeful all these signs were put out by a handful of landlords.  Hopeful that Walton can weather the storm Bryon has created for someone from his own party.  Hopeful that Brown come to his senses and concedes, though I know that’s the most unlikely outcome of all.

A Political Pandemic

The other day I asked my parents if the government was like this when I was younger, and they were my age.  They both said no.  Dad elaborated that things changed after Clinton.  Sure, people didn’t like GHWB or Reagan, but congress was mostly fair and had our best interests at heart, it would seem.

I saw a question on twitter asking Republicans how they went from Terry Schiavo to “you can have a ventilator when you kiss my ass.”  This is just a random thought that is slightly related.

I’m a hardcore Democrat who is married to a middle-of-the-road Independent and occasionally we butt heads, particularly on GOP-brand stuff.  For the most part though, his beliefs are fairly liberal: equal respect and opportunities for all individuals being chief among them.  Hubs considers himself a Humanist, and does not like the way we separate people into groups.  I think in his head, any separation at all really only takes place between “assholes” and “non-assholes.”  That’s how he judges people.

I remember being young, maybe fourth grade, and we did a play for some patriotic holiday.  We learned the 50 states song, which I can still perform to this day.  We had a parade in the gym and sang and did skits about the presidents.  We were raised, through school, to believe America was the best country in the world, and was on the list of important things right behind God (Catholic school problems.)  We said the pledge every morning, we made flags in art class, we learned about the founding fathers.  Everything was tinged with “America is #1.”

High school.  They give us 2 years of Global studies first, in what I assume was an attempt to show us how worse off some other countries have it, so that by the time we got to American History and started learning about all the atrocities of our home country-all the way from slavery to segregation-we were still thinking “well, other places have it worse.”  I wrote a paper once, I don’t recall if it was for high school or college, but it was comparing the Salem Witch Trials to McCarthyism.  Two great examples of Americans acting like fools.

In Senior year, we took Government and Economics, and my stupid senior-itis self slept though it all.  Of course, I have taught myself how the government works-in college I considered changing my major from History Education to just History or Political Science.  So, I figured things out on my own, which if I’m honest is one of the best ways I learn.  (Side note, besides 1:1.  What I would not have given for an aide like they have at M’s school!  But I digress…)  Economics still alludes me-it’s the numbers.  I am bad at numbers.  Words are my forte.

Anyway, the point is that around the time I wrote that paper (which I think was first semester of college) I started to realize that something was fishy.  GWB got elected, and I was just a few months shy of being able to vote.  I started paying attention to things he was doing, particularly on the social front, and I started to get angry.

Even with Obama, a president I adored, who came and improved a lot of the mess his predecessor made, I still felt like we were being gridlocked.  Congress had lots of trouble agreeing on things.  There was massive outrage from the right, all over the place.  And now we are a few years later, with 45, and that outrage has slipped over to the left, while the right sit there like “well, I don’t remember saying that…”  Why wouldn’t they take that tack?  The president does.

Anyway, in the same fashion that I slowly discovered the Catholic church was full of shit, I also discovered America was.  Not the country, the government.  Again, like the CC, the people in charge were ruining the message. 

So, when I saw the bipartisan work that brought our (decidedly crappy, but helpful nonetheless) stimulus package to life, I was encouraged.  I saw 45 sign it.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Then Hubs comes home from work all enraged because the Trumpoids he works with are all giving dear leader the credit when it was the work of both parties.  So, he goes on an anti-Trump Facebook rant, as he is wont to do on occasion, asking for someone to please tell him what 45 is doing to make America great again.  He got a lot of anti-dem memes (which piss him off, he’s not a dem but people assume that since he’s also not republican) and his bro arguing with him in what for them is a playful manner.  What he did not get was an answer to his question.  A lot of “Trump is great” but no actual “and here’s why…”  Meanwhile, I’m watching this with like 100 news articles in my head detailing why he is in fact NOT great, even for these people who defend him, but I keep quiet because I leave my Facebook arguing for that handful of Republican’s who haven’t unfriended me yet. 

See, there’s two kinds of those, though.  Take my friend C.  Politically, we could probably not be farther apart.  She’s a staunch woman for Trump, and I’m over here like “But…’grab ‘em by the pussy.”  Sometimes she will post some things I disagree with, and I will post things she disagrees with, and we just keep scrolling.  It’s that simple.  It might stick with us for a minute…we might think “well, what the hell would make her think that’s ok?”  But we keep scrolling, and we don’t comment.  I WILL comment on something that I agree on-because as different as we are, those things do exist.  Here’s an example: she is a correctional officer near New York City and they were being denied the ability to wear masks because it violated the dress code.  That is the biggest load of bullshit I have ever heard and I don’t care whose side it originated on.  THAT, I was up in arms about.  (Fortunately, it was announced yesterday that they can now bring in their own masks.)

But then there’s the other faction.  There’s the relative who shall remain unnamed who posted several anti-abortion memes to my Facebook timeline because I posted something about how the government DOES NOT fund Planned Parenthood’s abortions.  Instead of reading the thing, he just went nuts on the whole “you must not think life is precious” tack, like I’m not a childcare worker with four kids.  Get outta here, bub.  Eventually his trolling of my posts (anything even slightly liberal) got me mad enough to go hard.  See, I figured a couple of things out.  This man was related to me by blood, yes, but he wasn’t present in my life.  He has no idea about me at all, proven by his many off-base Facebook messages regarding my employment, relationship, income, family reputation, etc.  And while his wife had always been sweet to me, I could no longer abide his ignorance and unfounded hatred.  So, I wrote a couple paragraphs that told him to go play a round of golf or see his grandkids instead of harassing a 30-year-old relative online and stop worrying because he was going to be dead soon, and I won’t be.

When I was a kid, the “grownups,” who were in their 30s and 40s, ran the country.  And those same people still are in charge in some cases.  Well, guess what?  WE are the grownups now, WE know what WE need, and WE are growing as the largest population while y’all die off denying climate change.  So, please go home and feed your cats, and stay out of the way.  I’m not saying your contributions haven’t been valuable, but just retire at 65 and move to Florida like everyone else.

I have tried to stay away from writing political based blogs, because I don’t care for your opinion if it is rooted in ignorance or hate, and those are the messages I get when I’m political.  But politics are playing a huge part in the pandemic here in the US, and I live in New York state.  Yes, I am blessedly 400 miles from the epicenter, but we also have over 600 confirmed cases in my county, the most cases in Western New York.  I don’t have times for your politics.  I’m not trying catch this thing, and I need my government on my side.  So far, I’ve seen encouragement.  Gov. Cuomo, who I never really liked even though I’m Dem (I feel like everything with him is a money grab and he focuses too much on the City,) has been a comfort to me in this time, providing insight and information that I frankly was not expecting.  Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also graces my television screen on a daily basis, talking to me about my community.  I have found strength in these leaders.  Then there’s 45…I will say there have been glimmers.  Little glimmers that he might do the right thing.  Some have already gone out, but others remain.  I pray that he finds it somewhere in his Grinch-sized heart to help his people in the way he was elected to do, and not play politics in the process.   I hope…but I don’t expect much.

Tigers never change their stripes.

That said…Tiger King, man.  Wild.

Get Up and Vote

Some people’s favorite holiday is Christmas.  My sister’s is Halloween, because that’s also her birthday, which I feel is a holiday in its own right.  I like both of these, but I also really love Election Day.

The midterms are the second-best version of this holiday. I don’t get to make my maps and do electoral math, but I do listen to my Election Day playlist on Spotify and hang out on the sofa with my local and national news anchors all night.  Some people think my love of Election Day is strange, but there’s something about all of us getting together to do a thing that really gets to me.  It makes me feel like community really is global, or at least national, and even if we are disagreeing, we are coming together for a moment to make a decision.

There is a lot of disagreement these days.  A fraction of the country has embraced hate and violence, and some of us find that unacceptable.  I have always, ALWAYS told people to vote no matter what, to cast your ballot whether it’s red or blue.  These days, however, I want to tell Republican voters to stay home.  More so, I want to ask them why?  Why are you so afraid to face the truth?  Why are you sticking to your guns?  Why are you so ashamed?  I have so many questions and the answers I’ve been given just don’t add up.

But I can’t lump all Republicans into one group, because every group has a normal faction and a crazy one.  There are regular Republicans and crazy Republicans, and they are two vastly different breeds.  I want regular Republicans to vote.  They, however, are less likely to get out there than the crazies are.  But no one is more of a sleeper on Election Day than the Democrat.

C’mon guys!  Republicans ALWAYS vote, and we only pick and choose our elections.  We didn’t show up for Hillary the way we showed up for Obama, and if we had we wouldn’t be in this godawful mess right now.  Get off your ass and vote!

You too, Republican.  I mean it’s your duty.  I may disagree but I can’t tell you not to do your job.

(Actually, the GOP in WNY has done me a great service with their attack ads this year.  I had no idea who some of these people were until you started telling me to hate them and their socialized healthcare.  Now I know who I’m rooting for.  Thanks Chris Collins!)

I am really hopeful that the Dems sweep the whole thing though I am also prepared for the possibility that they won’t, because I refuse to be caught off guard by an election ever again.  I am a liberal democrat, and I don’t shy away from that title like some would expect, because right now the Democratic party is the only one that isn’t locking children in cages or colluding with Russia.  I disliked Dubya, but I tolerated him and still respected the office of the President, as well as most Republicans.  These days, it’s really hard.  These days I see grown men throwing temper tantrums, which is something I absolutely abhor.

So please vote.  Do it for yourself, you family, the kid down the street.  Do it to save a life, because that’s what this one is about.  I’m voting blue because I lost my Medicaid this year.  I have thousands of dollars of medical bills and prescriptions a month.  I’m voting like my life depends on it, because it does.

I hope you do, too.

person dropping paper on box
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