Before I head into it, I will ask anyone reading this entry to do one of two things - continue reading; or, if you are NOT interested in politics-talk (and are just flat-out worn out over the recent election), then "please proceed" (wink, wink) to the photos below.
Now, about that election...
I lost three Facebook friends over it, all three men. I'm saddened by this but not surprised. I get obsessed with politics and am very opinionated; this year was no different - except that it was like politics on steroids with all the nastiness and division in this country. We all know the outcome of last Tuesday's election, but will we ever get over the debacle of it all? (we might...or this year may just be a preview of 2016...shiver)
I'm an independent voter, by the way. I registered as a Democrat in 2000 just so I could vote in the primaries. Democrats appeal far more to me for many reasons, but a big one has to do with my own life experiences. I will try to explain.
I have been employed since age 15, part-time through the end of high school and college and full-time beginning age 20. Only time I haven't had a job was in 2003 (for two months; took no unemployment at that time) and in 2009 (for nine months; did take unemployment but searched for and secured a job long before using the full 1.5 years worth of benefits that President Obama extended at the time due to the recession).
I've never felt sorry for myself or entitled to anything (other than the right to live free in this country) and I've always paid my far share of taxes. I've made a variety of salaries and have learned over the years that time is undeniably more valuable than higher pay. I work now for a government agency, one that serves our future work force by educating them. It's a good job, a decent salary (well, it pays my rent, anyway) and I rarely work more than 8 hours a day. You won't catch me complaining other than when my fantasy of winning the SuperLotto's $150 million jackpot doesn't pan out. I'm fortunate even if I have had to work all my life with only a few instances of anyone giving me money or my being just lucky financially.
I have had many kind, generous folks (both family and friends) who've rescued me last minute - paid for a new tire on my used car, spotted me on a phone bill I couldn't pay, taken me into their home for a couple of weeks when I had no place to sleep, bought me dinner at a place I couldn't afford, gave me clothes, even paid my rent when I just couldn't scrape up the dollars for one month - and their generosity has always been appreciated by me, not taken for granted, and I do, in my own ways, try to pay it forward. I'm grateful for what I have, what I've accomplished and forever grateful to those who've helped me along the way - including the United States of America, i.e. the big ol' government.
When I was 17, I had the grades to enter college early but no money. My parents had no money. I had no one to go to and no way to pay for a higher education. I applied for and received a student loan (and partial scholarship). Thank God for government assistance. Without it, I'd have had no chance to earn any college credits, let alone an Associate Degree (I lack one semester from graduating, something I chose not to do as I was worried about the debt I was already in with Sallie Mae; plus, I got the chance to come to CA thanks to my very kind aunt and uncle - the rest is history). I paid every cent of my college loans back and never, not once, had a late payment (can't say the same on a credit card bill..blerg).
Then, as I mentioned above, in 2009, I was laid off from the company for which I'd given my best for seven years. I received government assistance (unemployment benefits) for nine months. Thank God for the government's "safety net," or I don't know how I've have paid rent and continued living out here until I could find another job. My father, bless his heart, has helped me from time to time although I try to never ask for it and reluctantly take it when he sends a check (he did, by the way, buy me Patsy - I owe him forever for that!). But he couldn't float me for nine months without losing some income that he needs for his retirement days (if he ever retires - the man still works his tail off!) So, I'm grateful that I had unemployment to fall back on in a time of need.
I'm sure you can guess what I'm leading up to. I voted for President Obama, but I didn't do this so that I could get "free stuff." I did so because I think he's done a very good job in the past four years given the shit mess he walked into (yes, some things could have been done better - but since I've never been President of the United States, I'll reserve further judgement). I also think he and the Democratic party understand the nuances of this country. We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes. Dividing America into "makers" and "takers" is beyond stereotyping and stigmatizing; it's just flat out untrue (I can use my own experiences that I've described in this entry as an example). Lastly, I voted for the Democrats, because the alternative was loony-tune-ville, sinister and just woefully out of touch with the world we live in - i.e. reality.
What the hell happened recently? Or have I been asleep? Who are the Republican party? Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Donald Trump aside, they used to be the GOP of at least some self- respect and dignity. Not anymore - and, unless they kick the kooks to the side, never again. The elephants have had one too many, stayed up way past their bed times or have simply lost their way. Their platform this year (yes, I watched the full RNC as well as the DNC) was scary. With their vitriol spewing, lying, nasty tactics and insane desire to time-travel back to 60 years ago is what did them in whether they want to blame anyone but themselves now that the dust has settled.
Here is what spooked me, in soundbites:
- Less government, privatized Social Security, Medicaid cut, Medicare vouchers, less firemen, less teachers, less policemen, do away with FEMA and let the states take care of everything
- 47% (those who won't take personal responsibility for their lives); not my job to worry about those people; kick the can down the road;
- "you people," "stop it! this is hard," "wake up"
- "If" you are hiring women; binders full of women
- Pro-life; no exceptions for abortions even in the case of the mother's health (life)
- No abortions even in cases of rape or incest; repeat - rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape
- Forcible rape, legitimate rape, honest rape, emergency rape, easy rape
- Rape babies are something God intended to happen if the female's body doesn't shut that whole thing down
- Sandra Fluke is a slut, so is every other woman who wants her employer to include the coverage of birth control in their health insurance policies; really, she just wants free birth control as do all women, because they are sluts, all of them
- Women are sluts
- Single women shouldn't be allowed to vote (Ann Coulter)
- Makers and takers, moochers
- Ayn Rand
- we don't just let people die, we pick them up in ambulances and take them to the emergency rooms
- borrow money from your parents
- make it so they want to self-deport
- it is fair that someone who makes $50K/year pays more Federal income taxes than someone who makes $14 million/year
- show your tax returns for the past 10 years? (still waiting)
- violence is due to single moms and poor parenting; Tagg Romney jokes that he would have liked to have punched the President of the United States after Debate II
- BLS employment numbers cooked
- Obama caused the hurricane; Hurricane Sandy helped Obama
- Obama: muslim,
- Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi
- Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Michele Bachmann, Joe Walsh, Scott Brown, Allen West, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan, Jack Welch, Glenn Beck, Jennifer Rubin, every talking head on Fox News
- Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump - "Mr. President, I will give $5 million to the charity of your choice if you will..."
- War on Nate Silver; polls are skewed toward Dems
- Voter suppression - John Husted (calling him a douchebag may actually be a compliment)
If I missed any, let me know, but the above list sums it up for me. Trust me, I'm not the only American (no matter what my sex, race and age) who was spooked by all this nonsense. This nation has not turned into just moochers. In fact, the majority of people on food stamps work. Welfare has not cost us a trillion dollars in the last year. President Obama is not Satan, he is not going to take away everyone's guns, he isn't going to make white people slaves to black people, he isn't going to bring in the UN or Illuminati to take over the country, the world and five other solar universes - for God's sake, Republicans, ditch the conspiracy theories, kick the extreme right faction of this country to the curb, stop the crazy, and come back to reality! Or don't - but you can forget Americans ever voting for a Republican president again if you keep this shit up. Just sayin'
Now, about the riding...I've been on my bike. 60 miles, 50 miles, 30 miles (multiple choice), road and dirt. Photos below are from some of the many rides I've been on of late with the wonderful companions I cherish as friends:
All of this riding has been over the last two months. I'm pushing to get back to my former riding self...I now have a century planned on my birthday - yay, a goal!!