A Couple Political Thoughts

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1) The Trump phenomenon has made me come to a rather depressing conclusion. I honestly do not think Trump is inherently more racist than many others of his social class and age, but the strong narcissist in him would do anything to please his adoring fans and many of them seem to WANT the racist rhetoric. They want someone to blame for the situation the country is in, and as always, the poor immigrants are an easy scapegoat.

It makes me rethink my own feelings about Hitler. Was he really that¬†racist to begin with, or like Trump, was he simply a narcissist that wanted the adoration and noticed that the crowds cheered louder when he would scapegoat the Jews and other minority groups? I’ve seen some of Hitler’s speeches, and indeed, some of the loudest cheers seem to be for any kind of hatred toward the “others” as they saw them.

Is the real villain the narcissistic leaders who feed off the hate, or the cheering crowds who WANT the hate in the first place?

2) Also, as a Bernie fan, I really like Bernie – both his policies and his old-grandpa-get-off-my-lawn personality lol. BUT we must remember that it is the policies that matter most. A movement should never be about one person, it should be about ideas and goals. If we make the progressive movement about one person, or even a few people, then we risk the danger of the movement dying when those people die, disappear, or let us down in some way as most humans eventually do.

(The above are my personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions. I welcome discourse and even disagreement, but please keep it respectful! No name calling or personal attacks on other commenters either please!)

Wanting to Be Special

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Do you feel “special”? Do you long to feel special? It seems to me that people strive so hard to be special, to be exceptional. Ordinary is for losers…or at least that is the message we seem to get from society.

I’ll admit that I share this obsession. Maybe part of my problem started with being an overachiever in grade school. I always had to be the fastest, the best in my class. I went to all the gifted programs and was praised for exceptionally high standardized test scores. I was highly competitive and a horribly sore loser…something I still struggle with to some extent lol.

The problem is that when you are told all the time growing up how “exceptional” you are, it sets you up for unrealistic expectations in the real world. In the real world, it isn’t always the smartest, the most talented, or the hardest working that succeed, and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

From my experience, the ones most likely to succeed are the ones that have wealth and powerful families behind them. Yes, some people do manage to crack the glass ceiling alone by sheer luck or being at the right place at the right time, but the majority at the top of any enterprise are generally those with connections the rest of us could only dream of.

Of course, you can focus on the feel-good, conciliatory message that “everyone is special”, which is undoubtedly true in some ways, but when I hear that, I always think about Dash from the Incredibles asking, “If everyone is special, is that really just a way of saying that nobody is special?”

Celebrity Deaths

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Today the world is mourning the loss of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others who died in a helicopter crash yesterday. Personally, I am not a sports fan, so I didn’t feel much emotionally in connection to Kobe, although I empathize with the loss that his family, friends, fellow players, and fans feel, and always feel sorrow at the loss of children who barely got to live.

When celebrities die, I’ve often heard people complain about all the fuss they get. About how we act like they matter more than any other person who lives and dies. People complain about the adulation celebrities receive after their death, while “real” heroes like soldiers, firefighters, police officers, emergency workers, and others die without much recognition at all.

While I understand this sentiment, I think the reason that celebrity tragedies get so much attention isn’t because we truly think their lives are worth more than anyone else’s, but because so many people feel like they actually know them. If we are fans of their art or achievements, we feel a bond with them, even if we have never met.

I know I felt this way with Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, and Alan Rickman. I loved their work, their personalities, even their flaws to some extent. It felt like there was a relationship between us, even though there wasn’t. Thinking about their deaths still makes me sad because I miss them, just like I miss my father and sister who have passed on.

I believe this feeling can even occur with people who died before we were born. I feel like I know Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and John Lennon in intimately real ways, when obviously I didn’t (unless I lived previous lives, but that is another topic altogether lol).

Who are some celebrity deaths that you felt deeply?

A Few Random Life Thoughts/Happenings

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  • The grief from losing my kitty is starting to ease a little bit. Still a big loss, but I’m trying to focus on the future and how to bring more good things into my life right now because it feels like I could really use some good things.
  • Tonight I’m attending a poetry class at the library. The idea of the class is to use everyday castoff materials (like old ads, receipts, junk mail, etc.) as inspiration to create poetry. Thought it sounded fun and I could use the social connections right now.
  • I’m seriously thinking about auditioning for a part in a local theatre production soon. It makes me nervous as I haven’t done anything like that since school, but I feel I need to grow and add a little excitement to my life. I don’t even want a big role or anything, I just want to be a part of something fun and creative.
  • Just a thought, but I noticed something recently I wanted to share. It seems to me that when people share their darker thoughts and feelings straight out in essay form, prose, or spoken word, they are often sort of subtly shamed and told to cheer up in one way or another, which I find interesting, because when those same dark thoughts/feelings are shared in artistic forms like poetry/art, I’ve never seen people react in the same way by telling them to simply focus on the positive or cheer up. It makes me think that our darker thoughts and feelings are only really acceptable to many when slightly masked in some sort of art form. Why is that?

Joker Movie – Thoughts and Feelings

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First off, I think this is a great film to really make you think about society and some of the true causes of violence and group anger. This movie can be interpreted many different ways and honestly can make you forget that it has anything to do with the superhero universe. It is gritty and realistic. Phoenix gives an amazing performance, just as everyone has been raving.

Now, on to my actual thoughts and feelings. The first 3/4 of the movie or so is just incredibly sad. I was actually relieved when it started turning to senseless violence because it was a break from the sadness, even though you knew the violence stemmed from that abuse and pain shown in the earlier parts of the movie. My heart ached for this man’s mistreatment at the hands of others all his life, partly because I have also experienced abuse and trauma for much of my life.

This movie brought to the surface many questions I have asked myself my entire life about accountability and assigning fault. In the Joker’s case, he has obvious mental health issues, seems to have suffered severe brain damage as a child, and would likely score sky high on the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) test. The brain damage, trauma, and abuse together may have not allowed this man to have any other kind of ending than the tragic one we see.

Think of it this way, we know that trauma can dramatically change an adult’s personality (think of veterans with PTSD). We also know that brain damage as an adult can make a kind, loving person cruel and abusive (think of athletes who have suffered severe brain damage and underwent entire personality shifts). Now, imagine these things happening to the brain of a child while the child’s brain is still developing. Also, imagine that the child doesn’t get medical care for the injury or illness quickly as the athlete or veteran hopefully would, so there is no hope of minimizing damage or healing appropriately. How much damage can that do to the child’s brain and personality?

It also makes me think about family legacies where abuse, malignant personality disorders, and mental illness have reigned for generations (much like my own family and probably Joker’s from what little we can see in the film). I’m fairly positive that most of my “ill” family members developed their personality disorders in very early childhood as is believed to be the case in psychology. From childhood they never developed empathy the way they should have. They never grew out of the petulance of the 2-3 year old attitude. Although they seemed terrifying to me when I was a child, I almost feel sorry for them now because they are permanently stuck in immaturity.

I wish they showed empathy, but I ask myself how I can expect someone to show something that they have never had. How can I realistically ask them to be something they could not be even if they wanted to be? Some might think this way of thinking is defeatist, but I simply see it as realistic. It does help keep my hopes from getting too high only to be dashed yet again.

 

Democratic Debates Thoughts & Opinions

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Did you watch any of the Democratic debates the last two nights? I watched and thought I’d share some of my thoughts and opinions. Most of my feelings of who I already somewhat liked (Bernie, Yang, Gabbard, Warren) haven’t really changed, even though I think some of them did better than others at the debates. Yang didn’t get to speak much and wasn’t high energy, so didn’t stand out to me in the debates, but if you listen to his longer interviews or read his book, he has some very important issues to bring up whether you agree with UBI (universal basic income) or not.

Bernie was Bernie as he always is. I think he did ok, although I’m not sure I entirely agree with just scrapping all medical insurance at once and forcing people onto Medicare. I think most people would choose Medicare over their high priced commercial insurance, but I don’t like the idea of forcing people to give up their insurance if they actually do like it.

I personally prefer the idea of a public option beginning the transition to (hopefully) a single payer system eventually. If you try to force Americans to do something, even something for their own good, many will likely hate it. Getting medical insurance off the backs of companies would be a good thing though and hopefully lead to higher wages if the companies don’t have to shoulder the health insurance burden.

Warren did ok too. I like Warren some, but she often comes across to me as one of the weakest leftists who too easily bows to the pressure of the system. I don’t trust she will fight for us like Bernie would, although I hope I am wrong, especially if she does somehow end up with the nomination.

I thought Gabbard and Harris both came across well in the debates. I like the show of strong women. I do have issues with Kamala’s past record on poor criminal justice reform and her support of the private prison system. If it weren’t for those things, I would likely warm up to her more. She does seem intelligent and confident, which is appealing.

Biden didn’t do himself many favors, at least in my opinion. Part of the problem of having such a long history in politics is being held responsible for your past actions and words, which can often make Biden look pretty bad. The accusations of past support of racists were especially interesting (coming from Kamala). Biden’s involvement with the Obama administration can be both good and bad, depending upon the subject, but since I don’t buy into the “Saint Obama” narrative, I see some issues there too.

I did feel bad for a few of the candidates that barely got to speak, but I know they try to give the most time to those who are polling higher (or who the establishment wants to push). Do you have a favorite of the bunch?

I’m Livestreaming on YouTube

I’ve started livestreaming on my YouTube channel just for something to do and another way to connect with people. I’m doing most of the streams on my personal channel, rather than my toys and books channel. My personal channel has a lot less subs (around 200 compared to over 3,000), so if you are a YouTube watcher, please consider subbing to my channel! Here are a couple recent livestreams if you are interested:

The YouTube playback for the livestreams is a bit blurrier than normal vids, but I’m working on that! You probably want to watch them in the highest quality available to minimize blurriness.

Bad TV Show Depiction of Ehlers Danlos

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I love the tv show House.¬†This medical drama, based around the character of a doctor with Sherlock Holmes mystery solving abilities is often smart, informational, and amusingly ridiculous. The main character (House) is often a total asshole, but he is so lovably grumpy, enormously flawed, and irresistibly outrageous that I can’t help but like him.

Last night I finally caught their episode that features an Ehlers Danlos patient, an episode I had been looking forward to seeing for a while. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed with the portrayal. First off, very little of the episode actually had anything to do with the woman with Ehlers Danlos. It focused more upon her husband for the first half at least.

When she was finally introduced into the storyline, she was presented as someone with a horrible mental illness (hoarding), which a casual viewer could easily think was due to her forthcoming Ehlers Danlos diagnosis. The last thing those of us with EDS need is to be confused with mental illness conditions even more.

Also, the only symptoms that are even discussed to be related to EDS in the show (and thus lead to the official diagnosis) are the fact that the woman’s heart responded badly to some medication and she had suffered several miscarriages. That was it. Yes, EDS can contribute to miscarriages, but it is far from one of the hallmark symptoms of many EDS sufferers. Nothing was mentioned about hypermobility, chronic pain, dislocations, joint issues, gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune issues, bruising/scarring, loose skin, etc.

Overall, a very disappointing experience as a viewer and EDS patient.

Fluoride Fears

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Sometimes I worry about fluoride…specifically ingesting too much of it. Too much fluoride can cause a condition called skeletal fluorosis, which is often mistaken for arthritis or fibromyalgia. Most people know our toothpastes and other dental products often contain fluoride, but many don’t realize all the other sources of fluoride we ingest every day.

There is fluoridated water of course, which has been a point of contention for years. Should the government put fluoride in the drinking water? Is it necessary? Especially when most Americans use toothpaste with fluoride anyhow? Did you know that both green and black tea (two of my favorite drinks) are a high source of fluoride? It often has way more fluoride in it than the water, often over the “safe limits” established by the government (which are still debatable).

Because our water is fluoridated, almost everything made with water stands a chance of being fluoridated too – all our drinks, alcohol, soups, fruits, grains, vegetables…even our meat! (Often our food becomes contaminated with fluoride more due to pesticides rather than our water, and our meat gets contaminated because animals eat food with these pesticides in them.)

Some people claim antidepressants like Prozac can contribute to fluoride poisoning, although this is definitely debatable. I’ve heard scientists argue that because of the way the chemicals bind together in the drug that the fluoride should all get washed out, but who knows for sure?

Maybe I am just an anxious, sometimes paranoid person (all true), but maybe this really is a problem that is often ignored or overlooked. After all, fluoride is still a poison.