Down With the Sickness

Let just say something because I need to say it. You know who is getting hurt by Donald Trump cutting subsidy payments to the ACA exchanges? Me. I’m getting hurt. And I’m pissed.

Let me explain. I lost my job earlier in the year. I hopped onto a ACA plan because we need insurance. And my plan is actually pretty good! It actually covers more out of pocket costs than my previous employer insurance did. Stuff that had copays doesn’t have copays anymore! The only real downside? I make too much money to qualify for any sort of subsidies. Do you know what that means? You guessed it! I’m the asshole on the hook for the inevitable premium spikes that are going to result from this decision. Now, I can absorb the cost increase and cut elsewhere and likely be fine, but how is that fair to me?

Look, I agree that the ACA was not a perfect solution to our nation’s healthcare needs. There’s a lot that needs to be fixed. Maybe the way this plays out and pushes us towards a more universal system is better in the long run. For now though, I’m expressing my right to be fucking angry that my healthcare situation is about to get much more expensive so a bunch of assholes in DC can drink salty liberal tears while placating an orange man who wants to fuck over anything the black man who came before him did. That’s goddamn fucked up.

My Country Tis of Thee

A bit of honest truth. I haven’t been sure how to sum up my feelings from the election. It’s already February 2017. Trump has been in office for about a month and is steamrolling our country towards a cliff it may not be able to avoid tumbling over. My anger towards asshole purists on the left who ate up the same bullshit lies about Hillary Clinton that the right has peddled in for so long has not abated. People who thought they were making some grand political statement voting for a third party candidate or staying home have not stopped pissing me off. Susan Sarandon is still full of shit. I really can’t read a lot of the political drivel that ends up on Medium these days. There’s a lot of places I could go here and we could go off the rails for a long while. Instead, I thought I’d tell a story.

I live in a very ethnically diverse blue collar town. My local polling place is at the local elementary school. It’s a consolidation of three voting districts in my town in the school’s gym. In the five years I’ve lived in my town, voting has been a mostly sedate affair (and yes, I vote every year. If only you Bernie Bros had that level of dedication). You’re in and out in only a few minutes. I think the longest I waited was for maybe three voters in line ahead of me in 2012. Voting in the Primary in June of last year was equally sedate. So, naturally, when I showed up to vote on Election Day, I expected the usual in and out speed of voting.

Imagine my surprise when, upon entering the gym where the voting happens, the line for my precinct was out the door. Seriously. I always hear those stories of people in big cities who wait for a long time to vote (especially when they’re in heavily Democratic cities in a state with a Republican leadership, because voter suppression and all). I’ve never actually had it happen to me.

And who was in line? A whole hell of a lot of minorities who suddenly had a very strong urge to exercise their voting rights. And, can you blame them? The candidate who won the election was advocating a policy of racial and religious purity. Scary words that whose fear has been proven since Trump’s inauguration. In a place where you can usually vote in under 10 minutes, it took over an hour to get the deed done. And this was with a hungry child who did not want to be held or wait this out (and why the one precinct worker who offered us pretzels for said hungry child was the real saint in this affair).

At the time, it was a bit annoying to have to wait this long, especially with the hungry kid. But when I think back on this, it matters a lot more. This is where the future of a progressive movement is. While the Bernie Bros want to keep the focus on white folks (and face it, this is the case), there are a lot of people who are just cutting their teeth on this forthcoming political movement. It’s easy to lose focus and backpedal where the Democrats need to go next. Looking at all these people get out and vote makes me hope they don’t lose sight of where life is taking us next.

San Francisco Days

Colin Kapernick

Sadly, I think that the whole Colin Kaepernick saga is very indicative of the overall status of race relations and police culture in our society. It is, I am sad to say, a large indication that we’re moving backwards at an alarming rate.

Look, I don’t know all that much about this kid, but it’s obvious that of late he has come around to stay woke. And that’s his prerogative. I’m not judging him. I think there are more constructive things he can do to fix issues, but let’s not dismiss that he’s getting people talking. The problem, of course, is how different sides are seeing this. Unsurprisingly, a lot of white people are againnit. Some woman went on a whole diatribe about how Kaepernick’s protest is killing our troops or something (honestly, my eyes glazed over before I finished reading this. But still). But then again, a lot of white people think if black people just kept their heads down, everything will be just peachy, right? Well, we know that’s not the case.

Even scarier is the way that the police have reacted to the whole thing. Did you hear that the Santa Clara Police union has threatened to boycott their job of security at the 49ers stadium because of this? Can we talk about fucked up? Of everything, this is the clearest example of the problem.

Police have always viewed themselves at something of an elite level. That’s not entirely unearned. We’re talking about people who voluntarily go into the face of danger to keep the rest of us safe. This is not under dispute, nor does anyone have an issue with this, I think. The issue is that the police also act like they’re more infallible than the Pope. Plus, after 9/11, we are supposed to elevate police to some super human elite status of hero worship. The side effect of this is that cops start to think and act like they’re super men and above the law. It’s a bad fucking mix. Kill some black kid in the hood? It’s OK, we’re the motherfucking police. That fucker deserved it. Who is going to say or do anything? Oh, and those Black Lives Matter people? They’re just inciting violence against us. It’s no wonder we’re in a virtual powder keg that might go off at any moment.

So back to Mr. Football Player. He may make a lot of money, but I’m sure he still looks around nervously if 5-0 rolls by. And maybe he was oblivious for a long time. But then maybe you wake up and see the world around you in a different light. And good for him on that.  It’s too bad that he even needs to do this, and that so many people are still so aghast about it all. Maybe, just maybe, we will have a day when this isn’t the case.

My Baby You

lizzy

So a funny thing happened on the way to my life last year. I became a father. That’s my daughter in the picture up there. As of this writing, she is 10 months old, and it’s hard to believe she’s gotten so big so fast. That’s cliche, I’m sure, but so is most everything else you hear about becoming a father. Except, it’s all so true.

Like, that deer in the headlights dazed and confused feeling that you get when your significant other tells you that she’s pregnant? Yup, that happened to me. I don’t even entirely remember the sequence of events when Nadine told me. It’s kind of a blur. There was a lot of shock, and even some awe. It took a while to get my head wrapped around the idea, especially because it was not expected. We were not trying to have a kid. It just kind of happened.

Then there is the requisite freakout when the baby is born. Yup, it happened to me too. I really am just a cliche machine.

You know that whole cliche thing about how you can fall totally in love with your baby just looking at them? That’s so true it’s almost sickening. From the moment I first looked at her, and held her, it was game over for me. Understand, I can be a sardonic, misanthropic asshole in this world, but this little girl melts my heart in ways I didn’t think possible. The way her face lights up when she sees me come into a room, or after she’s just woken up, is almost indescribable. Seriously, I did not know it was possible to love someone that much. That’s cliche too, but so true it hurts.

Anyway, I’m going to stop before I get all verklpempt, but when you think about it, sometimes the most cliche things in life turn out to be the most true. Who knew.

Aside time: I almost titled this post “With Arms Wide Open”, because it is a song all about finding out that you’re going to be a father. This is what having a kid does to you. You’ll take the scorn and ridicule of going with a Creed song because the stupid lyrics match up with your feelings a little too well. But, can we talk about Creed? Can we talk about how amazing of a run they had from 1997 to early 2001? Can we talk about how every goddamn song from their second album made it onto K-Rock in 2000? That’s absurd! Now Scott Stapp is just a punchline. Proof that fame is fleeting, I guess.