News, politicians, politics, travel

Do letters to the editor ever sway your vote?

Well, we’re now in Croatia. Our hosts had a nice fire ready for us, but the house is still a bit chilly. I think we’re going to like it here, though… it’s in the middle of the country, with lots of beautiful views and plenty of peace and quiet. It took us about seven hours total to get here from Wels, because we were stuck at the Croatian border for a short while. We had to stamp out of Slovenia and into Croatia. They didn’t seem too concerned about our vaccines, but they did want to see passports.

We had lunch at a truck stop. The food was very good… in fact, I was delighted by how tasty it was. I am full enough now that I think we’ll just stay in and watch Netflix by the roaring fireplace.

On our way over the mountain to the house where we’re staying, I decided to read the letters to the editor in my hometown’s newspaper. As Election Day is approaching, the letters were all about the people running for local office. Since Gloucester, Virginia is a conservative town, most of the letters were bitching about how awful Joe Biden is and how Virginia needs to vote for Glenn Youngkin for governor and for all of the conservative candidates. I think I saw one letter for the lefties…

As I was reading, I wondered how many people rely on letters to the editor to help them choose the person they wish to cast a vote for on Election Day. I will admit, there are often local candidates I don’t know anything about, especially since I now vote in Texas absentee. But when it comes to the governor, or the president, or other higher ranking folks, I usually have a good idea of who my choice will be before I hit the polls (or by the time I get my ballot). I figure anyone who is going to take the time to read letters to the editor are probably not the ones who are undecided. It’s the ones who don’t read who may need assistance. But really, even those people should be allowed to choose without too much harassment.

The people of Gloucester are, by and large, pretty good people. They’re salt of the Earth types… especially the ones who have lived there for many years. Unfortunately, a lot of them vote for parties over people. From what I’ve heard about Glenn Youngkin, he has very conservative values, but is trying to suppress them. If he is elected governor, he’s going to do everything he can to overturn everything Ralph Northam has done. I think Northam has done some really amazing things. But I am no longer a Virginia resident, so all I can do is watch from the sidelines.

Anyway… I just wonder why people bother writing letters to the editor in newspapers. How many people even bother to read newspapers anymore? I get a kick out of the Gazette Journal, because that was my HOMETOWN paper, when I was growing up. It only comes out once a week, but it has all the local news. And since I still know a lot of people in Gloucester, it’s fun to read. But I do have to sigh when I read some of the conservative and extremely religious views… even as I also find them interesting and kind of entertaining.

I didn’t like Gloucester when I was a kid, but I can see now why people stay there. It does have a lot going for it. And once you’re accepted, as I finally was after a year or two, the people can be very good. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can go “home” again. I do have a lot of memories, there, though. Many of them are good… and some are not so good.

Well, this is our first time staying in Croatia, so this should be an interesting trip. On Monday, we’ll move on to Slovenia, which is one place we’ve been to a couple of times. Unlike a lot of people, we didn’t come to Croatia for the coastal towns. We’re here to see Plitvice Lakes, which I’ve been wanting to visit for years. The fall colors are beautiful, so I expect I will have some gorgeous photos… as long as the weather holds.

Hopefully, the good people of Gloucester… and the Commonwealth of Virginia… will get the best leaders on Election Day. I hope they don’t get dragged back to 1950, though. I’m sure most of the people I still know in Virginia know who will be getting their votes by now.

The fireplace in this house rocks.

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musings

This week is going to be historic…

I don’t actually feel too much like bashing Trump today, even if he did cheer on the gang of idiots in Texas who swarmed Joe Biden’s campaign bus. I would like to think his actions speak for themselves. I also know that nothing I write in my blog is going to convince people who have already made up their minds about which way they want to vote. I truly hope decency prevails.

I have long believed that people should be free to vote their consciences anyway. I have not made it a secret that I despise Trump and his ilk, but I do understand why some prefer him to Joe Biden. I think they should be free to vote for Trump if they want to, even if I also think they’re ignoring the fact that he has some pretty serious character deficits and ignoring those deficits does not make them look too good themselves. As I posted in my last article, I am not big on shaming people. At the same time, I fervently hope and pray that this political circus will end at some point soon. It’s exhausting, and I would like to have something else to write about besides Trump’s shenanigans.

That being said… on to another topic.

I decided last night to reactivate an old Facebook group that was previously archived. When we first moved back to Stuttgart in 2014, there was a group for Americans renting houses in Germany. It consisted of people who are affiliated with the U.S. military. I found it very useful when it was active, but unfortunately, it eventually went dormant.

Given that Bill and I have now lived together in three different homes in two different German states, I thought I would be a good person to revive that group. And given that Bill sued our former landlords, I know that we have the experience to help people who decide to go to court to assert their rights. Some people might just want a place to share their stories. I know there are some doozies out there.

I don’t know how well it will go across. I probably won’t promote it heavily. I just feel like it might be a good tool for people who have come to Germany and need assistance. But even as I write that, I feel some dread because oftentimes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. I also think this group could be a lot more contentious than my wine group is.

We’ll see what happens…

I’d like to finish reading Lenny Kravitz’s book today. It’s surprisingly good. I’m glad I’m not in the States and can avoid the political shitshow that will be upon us tomorrow.

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politics

There is no such thing as a “wasted vote”…

So… the guy I wrote about yesterday, the dude who was flabbergasted that people think that racial relations are better under Donald Trump, posted another controversial thread. This time, he asked his Facebook friends what percentage of people who voted for Donald Trump are white supremacists. Naturally, that opened up a floodgate of polarized responses. Several of his conservative friends took issue with, once again, being lumped in as “white supremacists” or “racists” simply because they back Trump. I have already expressed my thoughts on that. Personally, I don’t believe that all conservatives are racists, though I do think that many racists support Trump. I think Trump emboldens and normalizes racist behavior. I also think that people who still support having Trump in the White House are willfully ignorant to what a shitty, unethical person he is. Why not demand a candidate who is more ethical and qualified for the job?

Having written that, I understand that some people always vote for their party, regardless of who the candidate is. Some people will support Trump simply because he’s an alleged Republican, or because he claims to be against abortion. Some will vote for him just because they can’t stand the other candidate, for whatever reason. I know a lot of people dislike Hillary Clinton and they voted for Trump simply because they couldn’t stand the idea of voting for her. To be honest, I can’t blame them for that. Although I think Mrs. Clinton was much more qualified for the job, I am not personally a fan of hers or her husband’s. However, I also think Bill Clinton was a much better president than Trump is.

I am sick of political dynasties from either side, and I’m tired of people in high places getting away with being narcissists, crooks, and leches. Guys like my husband can’t get away with harassing women or being so outspoken about certain groups of people without risking their livelihoods. I see no reason why Trump, Bill Clinton, and their ilk can get away with their shenanigans while in government service, when the rank and file employees who work for them must adhere to an ethical code to be hired, let alone keep their jobs.

I voted third party in the last presidential election because I was voting in Texas, and I knew Hillary Clinton would never win Texas. She did win San Antonio, which was the city where I was voting. So really, my vote didn’t matter in terms of the election’s results. I still don’t think I “wasted” it, though. I did make a choice. I think more people should choose the person they think is best for the job, not the specific party.

I have never made it a secret that I vote for people over parties. I have voted for people in just about every party, from Libertarian to Green and, of course, the two big parties that always win. When I do choose to vote “third party” and dare to admit it, I often get a condescending lecture about how I’m “wasting my vote” by not choosing Democrat or Republican. I’ve heard it from die hard liberals and dyed in the wool conservatives. Frankly, that kind of talk pisses me right the fuck off. I find it extremely rude, not to mention shortsighted and fallacious. Please, for the love of Christ and everything else that is holy, do NOT offer me another explanation of how the electoral college works. It’s not necessary, nor will it be appreciated.

First of all, as an American, I still have the right to vote for whomever I please. I also have the right not to vote if I choose. That’s part of being free. Many people chose not to vote in the last presidential election. If more people had voted, maybe the end result would have been different. Or maybe Trump was simply destined to be the president. It’s hard to tell, because there is no way to know which way the non-voters would have cast their votes. Due to the electoral college, it’s pretty hard for one person’s vote to matter that much, anyway. What matters is how people as a whole voted in the state and how many electoral votes and how much influence that state gets in the election.

I do think voting is very important, and I try to make the effort with each election. But when one candidate wins the popular vote by millions and still loses the election, that’s pretty discouraging. I’m sure plenty of average Americans were terribly let down by the results of the last presidential election. Some people blamed third party voters, although I don’t think third party votes had much to do with the results. There still aren’t that many of us, and people often make assumptions about which way third party voters will swing without actually knowing if their assumptions are valid.

Secondly, even if a third party candidate has no chance of winning, by voting for that person, I’m still making my voice heard. People often complain that there’s not that much of a difference between Democrats and Republicans, yet they refuse to make a different choice. As long as people only vote for the two big parties, there can never be any evidence that the system needs to change… that we need more than one viable candidate for such an important job. I’m pretty sure that there will never be a third party president in my lifetime, but if no one ever gives them a chance, how can the system ever change? If I just vote Democrat or Republican, yet bitch and moan about how much I dislike both candidates, that seems to be a big waste of time. There’s nothing less empowering than whining about how much something sucks, yet still making the same choices that led to the situation sucking. If something doesn’t work, why not try a new approach? Maybe if we had more viable candidates, the big parties might choose candidates who are actually more qualified and higher caliber, rather than the person with the most money, power, and name recognition.

A popular cartoon that circulated after Trump won. I don’t care if people are “impressed” by my voting habits. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even discuss them among “friends”. I didn’t used to do that, but Trump changed everything.

People who claim third party voters are “wasting their vote” jump to a lot of conclusions, many of which could be wrong. A lot of people think that if there wasn’t a Libertarian candidate to vote for, Libertarian voters would naturally vote for the Republican, instead. I voted Libertarian in the last election, not because I necessarily identified as a conservative, but because I thought of the candidates presented, Gary Johnson was the best person for the job and had the least amount of baggage. I liked more of his ideas, and appreciated the fact that I’d not heard of him being a pervert or a criminal. He was a popular governor, and I liked his comments about social issues, yet I didn’t see him threatening my husband’s livelihood working for the military, which, sorry, is a valid concern for us– Bill is 55 and I’m 47. We have to think about our futures, so we don’t end up in the poorhouse. Even though Libertarians as a party have some policies that I don’t agree with at all, Gary Johnson just seemed like the best choice to me, in spite of his “Aleppo moment”. That’s just my opinion.

If Gary Johnson hadn’t been on the ticket, I probably would have voted for Mrs. Clinton, not Jill Stein, even though Jill Stein ran in the Green Party and supposedly is more aligned to Mrs. Clinton’s politics. I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about Jill Stein, but I’m probably closer to the right than the left. I am extremely liberal about some issues, but more conservative about others. Jill Stein, who advocated for drastic cuts to the military and closing overseas bases, seemed to be too left for me, although after the last few years, I might consider voting for her if she ran in 2020. But then, in 2020, I plan to vote for whomever has the best chance of unseating Trump. I want him OUT of the White House, and unless the other major candidate is somehow much worse than he is, I will probably be voting for that person. Trump may win in 2020, but that will not stop me from voting my conscience, and my conscience says Trump needs to go, pronto.

The bottom line is, I think people should be encouraged to vote. If someone makes the effort to show up to vote, or mail in their absentee ballot, that effort should be respected and appreciated. You may not like the way I vote. I may not like the way you vote. But as Americans who value freedom, we should all have the right to make our own choices. While I think that voting is a responsibility that all free people have, part of freedom is being able to choose whether or not to exercise the responsibility to vote. And– if a person is completely uninformed about the candidates and uninterested in the results, it’s probably better that he or she refrain from voting, anyway.

In any case, I posted my comment but decided to bow out of that thread because I simply can’t bear to read more sanctimonious drivel from either side of the argument. I don’t understand Trump supporters at all, even as I support their right to vote their conscience. I don’t see how supposedly decent people can admire a man who has such a long history of doing the wrong things. However… I am not yet at the point at which I assume all Trump supporters are necessarily bad people. I know a lot of them are simply ignorant or refuse to face the truth. They want to support their party. They think abortion is “wrong”, gun rights are “right”, and that certain people deserve fewer rights than others… and that making money is the most important thing. Or some of them simply believe that Republicans really are more “family friendly”… or Christian friendly, and they think being Christian is the only correct way to be. I’ve seen too much of the world to continue buying into that bullshit, but I know the people who believe it don’t really want to hear what I have to say. It would be a waste of my time to try to change their convictions when they aren’t open to the idea.

Not a fan of “tolerance camp”, either…

I also don’t believe in trying to force people to accept my point of view, shaming them into what I think would be a “more moral” vote, because that would be disingenuous. After all, I don’t like getting a liberal guilt trip about how I only need to think about the disadvantaged, when I would like to avoid becoming disadvantaged myself. There is no shame in considering one’s own interests when voting. While I can understand that many liberals would like to see the military drastically cut and installations closed, that would not be a good idea in terms of my husband’s livelihood. It wouldn’t be in our interest to vote for a candidate who wants to decimate the military, and as much as I appreciate a lot of left leaning ideals, I’m still sensible enough to know that I like having a roof over my head, food to eat, and the ability to pay the bills and help others. So I typically vote for the most moderate candidate, even if that person happens to be third party.

I don’t like heated arguments, so I’ll keep venting on my blog… and some people will read it and agree… or not. Isn’t it nice to still have that freedom?

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Trump

This is not the place to defend Donald Trump…

I’m not sure if I have made it clear in prior posts, but I’m making it clear now. I try to maintain an open mind when it comes to most things. Donald Trump is another matter. I cannot and will not excuse his despicable behavior. I don’t care if you want to bring up Bill Clinton. I wasn’t a fan of either of the Clintons and never voted for EITHER of them… even though I think they are both much better suited to the presidency than Trump will ever be.

I’ve been around a long time, and I was a teenager in the 1980s, when I first heard of Trump. Even back then, people were talking about what a scumbag he is. I didn’t pay a lot of attention back then, because I never realized he’d eventually be running the country. Let me make it crystal clear. I don’t think he has a single redeeming quality. He’s a raging narcissist. I think some level of narcissism must be a prerequisite for any extremely high level American government job, since Americans seem to adore narcissists. But raging narcissists are horrible people, by and large, and for that reason I would never support Trump as president.

Aside from his narcissism, he has made it very plain what he thinks of women and, more importantly, how very little he thinks of them. He raped his first wife. It was in their divorce proceedings. She later came back and kind of recanted what she’d said about what he did… but I think the damage was done. He has openly admitted to sexually assaulting women. He’s also been sued for racial discrimination as far back as the 1970s. Just today, there was a disgusting photo op with him giving the thumbs up as his wife, Melania, held a baby whose parents were just murdered over Trump’s bullshit. That child is going to have a very tough time growing up. Sadly, a lot of people just don’t see it. It’s all about the sound byte and photo op.

If you are a Trump fan, that’s your business. You can vote your conscience all you want. I would not want to try to change your mind, because I think people should be allowed to vote their consciences. But do not come on my blog and try to defend Trump to me. In my opinion, he’s a vile piece of shit. He does not care about anyone other than those who can help him further his cause. If you believe differently, that’s your business… but I think history will show you that you’ve been duped.

Most of all, though… I just don’t care to have these arguments on my space. You won’t change my mind about him. Every day, he’s more despicable and embarrassing. Maybe being abroad makes it easier for me to see… but to me, it’s plain as day. And I have not yet seen another candidate, Republican or Democrat, as morally bankrupt as he is… although there are a few Republicans who seem to come very close.

Now… back to my vacation and a nice long nap.

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