Talking About My Father

My father always said that Uncle Sam would take care of him. I don’t know if he said that because of incredible faith in the system or because he was like a lot of people of that era and felt he was owed by the government after years of sacrifice and service.

Right now, from what I can see, Uncle Sam isn’t taking good care of him.

My father is like a lot of men from his era. He joined the Navy because there was little opportunity in his small Georgia town. With my father’s barely serviceable education, the Navy wasn’t a way to serve God and country, but it was a steady paycheck and maybe a chance of adventure.

I think in the back of his head, he figured with the guarantees he was promised after 25 years of service, he would have a relative easy retired life. His pension was good, and it seemed like he was doing good by supporting his family.

Now, this is where the story gets a little murky.

There were some questionable choices made with finances. Because of the retirement fund, I think my father took some risks with money because he assumed, with the government money, he would have a backup of funds. For a few years my father had a security guard business. This is when I started to notice a struggle between my parents. I’ve learned in later years that my father was not a good business person. He was too nice in all aspects of the business. He would overextend himself on contracts and allowed contracts not to be enforced. My father would accept payments months late, sometimes three months later or longer. Because of the income flux, employees where hard to hold on to. The family had income from other areas, such as a few properties we rented out, but that was Section 8 housing and many times my mother was chasing out for payment on rent or spent in court getting money that was owed.

Things came to a head when my father had to close the security company and we learned he owed the government $100,000 in back taxes. My parents got out of that financial hole, but the strain on the marriage was noticeable to me. My father started taking little security jobs, but he still lived by the philosophy that Uncle Sam would take care of him because he was owed that. So, when he started having health issues, he assumed the government would take care of him.

I remember seeing him at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. There was a growth that needed to be removed. He joked about this was the only way he could lose some weight. A few weeks later, he was pretty much back to the way he was, as far as health. He was still pro-Navy, because he told me the reason why he was in the Navy so long was so in his older days, he could be taken care of. That’s the way he always thought; he would be taken care of because of his service.

When they moved to South Carolina, there was a change in my father’s spending habits. The fighting got less transparent because, and this is the account from my mother, he started acting like a big shot and spending the money for his side of the family. He was mister big money, and the relatives were always around asking for handouts.

My mother has given me horror stories of lost monies, with no explanation as to what my father did with them. My mother complained about this so much I assumed it was exaggerated; lingering anger from the back taxes episode. On one visit to South Carolina, I got a glimpse of bank records for my father. It confirmed a lot of the accusations my mother stated. He was supporting relatives from his side of the family, and the only reason why I assumed he did this because he had the government retirement payments coming in. The thing I realized was he was spending money faster than the money could be replenished.

As my father’s health failed, my mother took on more responsibilities of the household, including finances. My father has asked a number of times to put the house up for a reverse mortgage, which my mother has refused to do. From talking with him this past visit, he has the feeling that his days are numbered, but he still wants to spend money, for his relatives, in a freewheeling fashion. He’s not thinking about the wife and family he will leave behind.

It’s tough talking about my father this way because of a number of factors I have to realize. I saw a photo over the weekend I have in my house. It is my parents smiling and happy. That’s not the image I have of them anymore. The photo was taken five years ago. Now my father has aged dramatically. He is weaker and struggling. He uses a walker to get around and has shortness of breath due to mesothelioma; another gift from years in the Navy. There are times when I believe he doesn’t have dementia, but his actions are suspect sometimes. When I look at the photo all I see is the fighting, arguing and petty sniping like children.

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Trump and Guns

I heard several comments about the meeting Wednesday between Trump and survivors of different mass shootings. There were a few takeaways from that meeting and his response to the meeting Thursday morning that were, to me, troubling.

On a talk radio station out of Los Angeles Thursday, the early morning commentator was, and this is the only way I can put it, making excuses for Trump about the clear notes he had for the meeting. Now, I understand why he would have talking points and questions that needed to be asked in the conversation. I get that and I’m sure many people would get that, however, here’s what the talking points were on that list –

1 What would you most want me to know about your experience?

2 What can we do to help you feel safe?

3 ** Not clear what it said **

4 Resources? Ideas?

5 I hear you.

It was number five, I hear you, which people made a lot of comments about. Why would you have to have notes that said “I hear you?” Everything else on the list makes sense as talking points but why would you have to remind someone, especially an accomplished business person as Trump claims to be, a reminder to say he is listening to their concerns. That should be a no brainer.

Here’s one of the major issues people have about Trump. There is an image of him lacking empathy. Maybe he is empathetic in his own way, but he comes across as a bully at worse and uncaring at the very least. With the photograph of the talking point with the note stating, “I hear you,” it lends credits to the notion that Trump or his staff are so concerned about that image that he has to be reminded. To be frank, a normal person wouldn’t need to be reminded of that, especially in a situation where you have grieving members in the room relating the tragedy of the death of friends and children in gun violence.

Another troubling moment for me was his initial response to hearing from the people in the room. There was a moment where a young man, who sat next to a Sandy Hook mother, tearfully told Trump about how the shooting affected him personally. Even I felt moved when hearing this young man, still dealing with the events from a week ago, relate the pain he felt. He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t disrespectful, but he shared his emotions to a person, Trump, whom he felt would give comfort and hope to.

This is a quote from CNN about what Trump said at the meeting Wednesday. To put this in context, Trump heard from another person who talked about arming teachers before he made the comment.

Your concept and your idea about, it’s called concealed carry. It only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many. And it would be teachers and coaches. If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy, that coach was very brave, he saved a lot of lives I suspect, but if he had a firearm he wouldn’t hadda run. He would have shot and that would been the end of it. This would only be obviously for people that are very adept at handling a gun. It would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.

You’d have a lot of people that’d be armed, that’d be ready. They’re professionals. They may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force and they very adept at doing this. You’d have a lot of them and spread evenly throughout the school. So, the other thing I really believe that if these cowards knew that that was at the school was, you know, well-guarded from the standpoint of having pretty much professionals with great training, I think they wouldn’t go into the school to start off with. I think it could very well solve your problem. So, we’ll be doing the background checks, we’ll be doing lot of different things but will certainly be looking at ideas like that.

His whole response was to arm teachers, basically putting more guns in schools. He’s not talking about making students safe, but making schools more like prisons. It’s sadly a direction this country has been moving towards for decades. With metal detectors, armed officers on campus and shooting drills, I think it’s clear to say our schools don’t resemble institutions for learning; they are more like detention centers.

Thursday, just before I started work, I saw where Trump sent off a series of tweets, which the first was criticizing the coverage from CNN and NBC.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC. What I said was to look at the possibility of giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience – only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to

5:26 AM – Feb 22, 2018

 

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!

5:40 AM – Feb 22, 2018

 

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!

5:54 AM – Feb 22, 2018

 

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!

6:05 AM – Feb 22, 2018

 

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!

6:13 AM – Feb 22, 2018

OK, as with many issues with Trump, he’s just lying about the coverage. Personally, I got a copy of the statement Trump made on Wednesday through the CNN website and instead of relying on the transcript I wrote down his spoken statement, just to make sure I got his statement correctly. He never said give teachers guns and I guess if he’s implying that he said those exact words he would be correct. He did say that if the coach had a gun he could have stopped the gunman. He did say give guns to gun adept teachers, estimating 20% of teachers could be armed.

His big problem is he wants to play the parsing word game, but he blows it by essentially proving that he said the exact same thing that he called fake. Also, in the subsequent time that has passed on the issue, he had doubled down on arming teachers by suggesting that teachers with guns should get extra pay. At CPAC on Friday, he talked about having armed teachers. I guess in his mind, he has an odd disconnect with the definition of armed teachers. If every teacher isn’t packing, then he isn’t calling for giving teachers guns. I guess in his mind he’s making it a suggestion that “the bad guys” assume all teachers have concealed weapons.

The myth that Trump and the NRA cling to is a movie fantasy about guns. A good guy with a gun can take out a bad guy with a gun. They will site instances where a robber is stopped because of a citizen with a gun. They will hail that person has a hero. They will conveniently ignore or dismiss instances where the opposite occurs.

There was an armed resource officer, a deputy on the police force, who was on the school grounds when the shooting occurred. He didn’t rush into the school to take down the bad guy. He took a defensive position and didn’t enter the school.

A trained person with a gun, who was there to protect the lives of students and teachers, didn’t go into the area to confront the gunman.

That not the heroic scenario Trump and the NRA wants to present.

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Hell Is For Children

Before I left work Tuesday, this headline from CNN that made me sick to my stomach –

The Florida state House on Tuesday rejected a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines as dozens of survivors of last week’s school shooting headed to the state Capitol to turn their grief into political action.

Lawmakers voted down a motion to consider the ban during a session that opened with a prayer for the 17 people killed by a former student last Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The vote was 36-71.

Stoneman Douglas students in the gallery during the vote appeared stunned, according to CNN affiliate Spectrum News 13/Bay News 9.

You know, the Florida lawmakers have spit in those students faces. They have the nerve to open with a prayer? They looked into the faces of the students and told them they don’t matter.

Just to make it clear, they voted against a measure to CONSIDER a ban on semi-automatic weapons. They voted against DISCUSSING the issue. Meanwhile, they did take a stand declared pornography a public health risk.

This morning I was surprised, but in retrospect shouldn’t have been, with some fringe pundits and YouTube vbloggers making accusations that the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are liberal plants, crisis actors and paid activists. It’s too easy to pass these crazy theories as the rants of unstable people. The reality is these reports are making their way from the fringes to mainstream media. In the case of an aide to state Representative Shawn Harrison, it was suggested some students were crisis actors to a local paper. That aide was fired but other theories about the students have made their way into the press.

What is so disconcerting is a significant number of people, and I think this is safe to say, will hear a statements and will believe it at face value. They won’t take the time to investigate on their own, use a skeptical eye and judge the source of the information.

These are students with no agenda who have seen fellow students murdered. They did what we tell them to do. They saw, they went to the authorities and they weren’t believed. A former student went on campus and shot people. They are demanding action. They are demanding that adults to something, to look at the issue of gun violence and do something as adults.

What has the response of the adults? They blame everyone but themselves for the massacre. They ignored the signs the students pointed out to them. They refuse to even discuss the subject of banning assault rifles but will declare porn is a health issue. Some think it’s easier to believe the students are actors or plants by liberals rather than understand the pain and trauma the students are facing and take decisive action.

For young people today, watch your elders. Question authority. Fight the power. You are not a number, you are a person. Get angry. Make good trouble.

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Not 18 Shootings, But Still . . .

There is a trending series of articles that will undoubtedly trend in the wake of the shooting in Florida. It had been reported in a lot of publications that eighteen school shootings have occurred this year. Digging through the methodology done by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control advocacy group who supplied the statistics used by the news outlets, either six or seven school shootings have occurred this year, using a stricter definition of what a school shooting is.

According to an article in USA Today, which explains the discrepancy, “That data point … includes any discharge of a firearm at a school — including accidents — as a ‘shooting.’ It also includes incidents that happened to take place at a school, whether students were involved or not.”

Of course, conservatives, especially on Fox News, are shouting to the rooftops that this a perfect example of the liberal controlled media throwing out fake news.

I can’t just paper over the fact that this organization got the facts incredibly wrong by placing some incidents as a school shooting that clearly weren’t. What makes me angry with the right wing somewhat gleeful reaction to the numbers is the fact there were six of seven confirmed, no doubt about it, school shootings. Breaking it down, by the narrowed criteria, there has been a school shooting at least once a week this year which resulted in deaths or injuries. With the narrow definition, the new numbers exclude discharges of weapons on school campuses, which in the number count would make another eight instances. Two incidences in the original 18 were suicides.

UPDATE – A few hours after getting this written down, there were reports of gunfire at Highline College in Washington state. There are multiple agencies in the surrounding areas assisting and they are clear to state nothing has been confirmed. It has been confirmed a few hours later it was fireworks.

So, this particular incident was a false alarm, but looking at what happened there were multiple agencies that were called out to investigate the incident, the school was on lockdown and for a few hours, a lot of college students wee shaken by the idea of possible gunfire on campus. Of course, most will be relieved it was nothing but fireworks and will be able to push aside the frayed nerves and shaken emotions. They may be able to laugh about it, maybe make it part of some boring yet kind of dramatic story sometime in the future.

The sad thing I’m taking away from this incident will be the alert will be considered routine. Yes, I understand it was a false alarm, but I go back to those statistics that were sited by the Everytown group. They had incidents recorded of guns being fired on campus, but because no one was hurt, it is now considered questionable research and are discounted from the numbers. Two completed suicides are on that list. Because the deaths were self-inflicted, they are questionable results. Also, remember that what was looked at by the Everytown group were incidents of guns being used on campus, not the confiscation of guns by school officials.

From what I see, the underlying numbers, with the inclusion of non-lethal discharges and confiscations of guns on campus, makes for a potential dangerous opportunity for gun violence on campus. Furthermore, such as the incident in Washington state, the mere possibility of an active shooter on campus can be traumatic to a lot of individuals.

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Michael Cohen – Storm Provider

There are lot of issues swirling around the Trump Administration that are difficult to follow. It’s difficult, between the outside sources, denials by the White House and the spin by surrogates on both sides, to spate truth from fiction. The fun thing about watching the administration drama, is that they constantly contradict information. I guess they assume that we will be so into the woods, that when revelations that are different from statement months ago, we will dismiss it was old or settled news.

That’s the only explanation I can come up with the crazy story that was released today. It’s a head scratcher.

As you may remember, it was alleged that former adult film star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 in hush money by the Trump organization. There have been conflicting bits of facts in the story, such as if the campaign paid her money, did Trump know about it, was there an affair and other issues. There have been articles, corroborated by reporters, that Daniels did speak of an affair with Trump in 2006, soon after Melania Trump gave birth to his son Barron. Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s lawyers, had dismissed claims of a relationship and a payoff to Stormy Daniels as rumors.

For some unknown reason, a statement was recently put out by Cohen. After denying the allegations numerous times, he admitted that he paid off Daniels $130,000 with his own money. Now, the reason for the statement, especially the wording of the statement, seems to be in response to a legal filing by Common Cause, which they claimed the payment to Daniels was a campaign violation. That could possibly open the books, so to speak. The wording by Cohen makes it seem, with him paying the money out of his own pocket, that there’s no reason to look into the finances of the campaign because the funds didn’t come from the campaign and Cohen did get, nor was expecting to get reimbursed.

OK, possibly from a legal framework, this might make sense, but from where I sit, this is bogus. Let’s say we want to take on his word, as a fix-it guy (Cohen’s words) he paid the money to Daniels. Why would he pay her the money if there wasn’t any truth to the “rumor?” At the time the payment would have taken place, this was after the Entertainment Tonight tape came out, this was after a number of women had come forward and accused candidate Trump of sexual misconduct. If you were any sort of strategist, having Stormy Daniels come out to admit an affair would have competed with the other allegations and they could have ridden the storm.

It doesn’t make sense to pay off Stormy Daniels, and no other women, if the allegations were not true. Getting into who paid the money and if the funds came from the campaign are important in the long run, but now that Cohen as stated he paid Stormy Daniels, at the very least he assumes Trump is capable covering up the affair. At worst it confirms the affair.

The statement he added was curious. “Just because something isn’t true doesn’t mean that it can’t cause you harm or damage. I will always protect Mr. Trump.” Mr. Cohen, you damaged Trump more that Stormy Daniels could have ever done. By your actions, confirming that a payment was made to silence Stormy Daniels, doesn’t necessarily mean the Trump team are not above payoffs and cover-ups for their actions, but it does seem a credible theory.

With the other issues surrounding the administration, it has becomes less plausible to deny the accusations of rampant corruption with the formal absolute denial turning out to be true, and admitted by someone who previously denied the rumors.

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Irony is Ignored

This message was sent out by the person in the White House.

 

 

 

 

What is so hilarious about the statement is he has no sense of irony about the statement, so sense of context, which he claims which is missing about allegations. This person has made allegations without any proof, without due process.

Do you remember the time you claimed Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States? You demanded to see his birth certificate, something that hadn’t been demanded by any other President. When presented with proof, you claimed it was fake and fabricated. You never apologized. Well, you claimed you apologized, but the simple words “I’m sorry” never crossed your lips, which is something you have demanded people to say in the past.

Speaking of another incident of when you didn’t look at due process, what about the Central Park 5? Your knee jerk reaction was to lock them up and throw away the key. When, after being arrested, jailed then found innocent, you didn’t apologize.

Your problem is you have surrounded yourself with people who think like yourself, who feel that laws that apply to other people don’t apply to them. You want to talk about due process when pertaining to yourself and those around you, but will react to mere allegations and rumors without finding out the facts with others.

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Reflections

Something I dislike with dealing with people, especially someone I’ve grown fond of, is that sometimes I have to say something that is beneficial to the person in the long term that hurts me in the short term. A better way of putting it is I essentially must submerge my selfish feeling for them to give advice for the greater good.

I just got hit with that situation again. I want to say the right things, the logical things that will mean I have to sacrifice the feelings I have, but it’s the right thing to do. I know how easy it is to manipulate and change feelings, but deep down I’m a good person and will make the logical choices. It hurts because my happiness is sacrificed, and even typing this is sounds petty and selfish.

Look, I know the decision the person is struggling with needs to be their decision. The opportunity is great, and she needs to make the choice without any hindrances, but it hurts. I’ve grown comfortable with her company. I feel selfish wanting to try for something that, for the moment, hasn’t been expressed. It seems selfish for me to try and convince someone to stay in a situation they are unhappy with. I’ve done the same thing myself and I can justify the choices I’ve made, but I can’t say I’m fully happy with those choices.

I can’t allow someone to go down a possible path I want them to go down because it makes me feel safe and comfortable. I couldn’t live with myself. My life is a complicated mess and I can’t hope that miraculously the person will see life as I do. Even thinking about it I don’t fully think I can convince someone to see the world as I see it.

I must give the logical and practical advice, as much as I dislike it. I’ve been down this road before. While I may want to hope that I’ll have some revelation that will make things work out in my favor, it’s not going to happen. Trying to force an outcome that will be beneficial, in my eyes, to me and not in the best interest of the other person is selfish.

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A Look at Corporate Retail Mentality

This is probably one of the more unusual calls I’ve gotten this month and to me illustrates something wrong with the American system. I got a call from a supervisor. His manager called up and the manager was the only employee at the convenience store. The manager was told by a customer that there was something burning in the back of the store, because this customer saw smoke. The customer didn’t see any flames, but there was a lot of smoke. The supervisor who called made a point to tell me that the manager was the only person at the store and a bus with over twenty people had just come into the store. The supervisor was calling to place a maintenance work order in for the store because of the smoke.

OK, hold up for a moment. Let’s take a step back, as I did when thinking about this call. A customer tells a manager there is smoke in the store and a possible fire. Did the manager check to see if there was a fire? Instead of calling the fire department or making a quick investigation of the issue, they called the supervisor.

Did the supervisor call the fire department? No. His first call was to us, because his worker was alone (which brings up some other issues I can think of). The supervisor didn’t tell me he was going to call the fire department, nor was he heading to the store to look in on his lone manager.

What about the customers? A customer went up to the manager and reported there was smoke and a possible fire. There were at least twenty people in the store, more concerned about purchasing cigarette, snacks and soda rather than leaving a smoke-filled room. I’m sure other people complained about the smoke, judging by experiences I’ve had with past calls, but no one did anything.

What bothers me the most about the call is that a lot of people down the chain, including the customers in the store, seemed to be oblivious to the danger at hand and wanted to continue business as usual. I’ve taken many calls with emergency situations happening at stores, such as flooding or sewage backups, and in those situations it seems funny to me that, for the most part, the store is more concerned about staying open and making sales rather than the safety of the employees or customers. In this case, there was a possible fire and visible smoke, but it didn’t occur to the manager or supervisor to call the fire department, or to evacuate the customers out of the building.

The concern seems about continuing to make sales and profit. It would be easy to blame the corporate culture on this, giving it an us against them portrait, but as the supervisor told me, there were twenty people in the store, with smoke in the room, who were more than willing to buy stuff in the store. Even if the manager were to say, hey, there’s nothing to see here with the smoke around, I would figure common sense would make people go out of the store with the smoke.

They stayed and continued to shop.

I’ve heard a lot of crazy things since I’ve been on this job, which is why the call about a fire in the store had me pause of a bit, but it didn’t freak me out. I’ve heard similar stories. There have been floods in stores, busted pipes, drains backing up and crap in the aisles, yet stores were still operating. You know what causes the most panic at the stores, more than running out of gas? Have the soda machine or coffee machine go down. For those types of calls, I will hear at least 1 to 3 times every hour a caller will tell me, “The machine is down and I’m losing sales.”

It just crazy that a possible fire in the store and business can go on, but the Coke or Pepsi is not dispensing or the ice maker goes down, then heaven and earth must be moved to appease the customer base. I get it from a business standpoint, but wouldn’t contacting the proper authorities, such as the fire department, make more sense to call first rather than the supervisor and then us being called to send a technician?

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Growing Wiser or Protective?

An interesting issue came up this morning. I was walking to the bus stop at 6am. Normally, there’s no one at the stop that early, but this morning there was a crowd of about 3-4 people at the stop. It wasn’t a quiet crowd. They seemed to be shouting, and I heard a woman’s voice as one of the shouters. I got a glimpse of them, while I didn’t see any physical contact with the people, they were extremely animated.

Because I heard the woman, I thought about going to the group to investigate, but I quickly halted. I didn’t know what I was going to get into. Were they drunk and fighting? Was my being there going to get the group agitated? Could I possibly get into an altercation?

It took me a few moments, but I decided to avoid everything and walk to another bus stop down the street. Part of me was angry that I had to go to another stop, but I was equally disappointed that I didn’t do anything because of the shouting by the woman. I didn’t want to get involved, and that really disappointed me.

A few years ago, I want to think I would have ventured to the bus stop and would have figured out if the woman was in trouble. Now, I see myself as older, a little slower and not so willing to protect or stand up for someone in distress. I have been thinking I’m not sure if my trepidation is a sign of reasonable caution or an indication of not caring and keeping to myself.

When I caught my bus, the route took me to my usual stop. It turns out the crowd turned to eight people, not counting the usual two people who are at the stop. They were a motley, disheveled group of people who reeked of urine and alcohol. I have to assume the shouting I heard earlier was alcohol fueled bravado. I felt sorry for the two regulars that I normally see at the bus stop who had to endure the group of people, but by the same token I was relieved I didn’t have to spend time with them.

I have mixed emotions about what I did. Ironically, the feelings I’m struggling with now is something mirrored in the new Black Lightning TV show. This might be a reason why I relate to the storyline so much. In my younger days, I was less of an insular person. I would speak up for things. I had opinions and would respectfully defend them. I would try to get others involved, trying to rally them to a cause I felt strongly about. I want to say it’s been the past five years, but I suspect it has been longer, but I’ve been more protective of the routine I have. I haven’t wanted to stick my neck out for the other guy. I feel like I’m a rebel with a pause; wanting to stay in the background, keep my head down and not make waves. I feel like I’ve been domesticated.

Maybe because I’m older, the ramifications of what I can lose has made me protective of the little I do have. In some ways, especially in this political climate, I don’t see the reason fighting anymore because the struggle seems incredibly large. I fought in the Reagan years, fought in the Bush years, but this new administration, I don’t know. It’s demoralizing to think that all the battles and injustices I’ve seen and fought against seem to be for nothing. I would have thought others would take up the mantle, and this is where I’m going to sound like a grumpy old man, but these young kids today think that a Like post on Facebook or Instagram is a blow against the Man. Going to the keyboard or hitting the streets in protest takes effort. A click of a Like button is nothing.

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Slowly Getting My Voice Back

I’m not sure what is going on. I feel like I’m a spokesperson for a medical product when I write something online. Its a few seconds of opinion with a minute or two of disclaimers. Chaotic Fringe, when I’m on fire, it’s opinionated, passionate and fierce. However, I get those times when I need to retreat and get out of the spotlight.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal issues the past year, notably the poor health of my parents. It’s been pretty stressful and honestly I haven’t dealt with the issues too well. As soon as I think I’ve turned a corner, something happens to give me a setback.

This month I was hoping I was turning a corner. Some positive things have happened and I was sure I was moving in the right direction, but this weekend was a slight setback. I found myself retreating to bad comfort behavior. After last weekend doing a lot of activity and energy, this weekend I got thrown off by a number of things and cocooned myself.

I keep beating myself because I know the person I was and I desperately want to be that person again, but I think with the many setbacks I’ve had I’m stuck in a rut and routine I’m slowly becoming comfortable with. I’m struggling to push myself forward.

What I need to remember is I have to push myself forward because I want to do it. As much as I want to look for an anchor, a hope or goal to push me through all this, I can’t rely on a “crutch” to get me through. Here’s the thing; I’ve been disappointed in relying on others to give me strength or to lean on. I’ve had people who have “had my back” but have turned around and wanted to change me. I can’t be accepted for who I am, but I’m supposed to accept them unconditionally for their faults.

I’m trying to find a happy middle.

I don’t know how much of myself is principled and what is old person stubbornness. I’m was feeling I was moving forward until this weekend. Part of the reason I’ve not written a lot is that I feel like I’m having a whine fest, without the Shonda Rhimes engaging dialog. It comes of sounding like a pity party and that’s not I want. I’m struggling to feel confident, to have my voice, and I feel like I’m failing at that. I’m angry and frustrated that I’m writing about all the issues I see before me. That’s what Chaotic Fringe is all about, but I sometimes feel, especially now, that words are not helpful.

I’ve been told what I need to do is reconnect with my passions. That’s been a struggle with my current situation but I have to get myself back to the things that I’m passionate about. I can’t get emotionally dragged down because all that leads to is sitting around and feeling sorry for myself. That only hurts myself and no one else.

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