A Handy Little Test

First off, those of you who know me understand I like the middle. I don’t have a D or an R by my name and proudly choose the better of the two candidates when there is one.

You also have most likely noticed that our country has taken a drastic turn towards polarization. Us versus Them. If you don’t think like me, then you’re a bigot or a racist or just a downright evil person. And that’s sad.  We’re the same people we were before the most recent presidential election, yet we’ve allowed the major parties to shape how we think. Right now, the only game being played is how to villainize the other guy.

For a brief while, I noticed a push to try and talk out our differences. To be civil and to discuss politics. It gave me hope, because it’s through discussion and comparing points of view that we can move towards a compromise and work together as Americans.

If you insist on being caustic, bitter and angry and view that as a solution to our country’s problems, you have the absolute right to do so. However, if you’d like to begin the journey out of this cesspool and start the slow climb back to being civil to one another, may I suggest this little test?

Every time there’s a slam on Donald Trump, would you have laughed as hard if we were to substitute in the name of Hillary Clinton?  My guess is, probably not.  It’s a simple little filter I put to most of the stories that come out about our current president.  For example, if Bill Maher had made an incest joke about Bill Clinton and his daughter, or if Martha Stewart was photographed flipping off a portrait of Hillary, would that have been equally as funny?  I can beat the 5-second timer on that response. It comes down to basic decency and respect.

Don’t respect the office or this president?  Good for you. Take a craft class at the senior center, create a gold medal out of construction paper and put it on your coat and wear it proudly.

On the reality side of the world, this is the time to come up with better candidates, better ideas, ways to fix things, to make things better.  The problem with whining and complaining is that, eventually, people just quit listening.

And now more than ever, we need to listen to each other.

Tim Hunter

 

View From The Middle–The Trump Election

kelllllPick an analogy, any analogy.

I believe it was baseball’s Casey Stengel that once said, “You’re going to lose 50 games no matter what you do. You’re going to win 50 games no matter what you do. It’s the other 62 you try not to screw up.”

Donald Trump did what it took to win the other 62 games despite all the cool-kids pulling for Hillary.  Both sides did everything they could to sell their candidate and smear the opponent more than any other American presidential election.

Die-hard Democrats are in shock. As close as the popular vote was, what was the biggest factor in all this? I believe the number one reason was that the Hillary Bone’s Connected to the Bill Bone. I heard more than one person say, “I don’t want him back in the White House.”

This is where some might jump in with “He’s not running!” or “It’s because she’s a woman, isn’t it?”

No.

Remember, just because people think differently than you, they’re not wrong.  We’re a country of different religions, different book clubs, organizations, MeetUp groups, ethnic communities, Mac versus PC—we are all over the friggin’ board.

The west coast—or, as some call it, the Left Coast—tends to be on the liberal side. Go east away from the bigger cities and folks tend to be more conservative.

I’m a Los Angeles kid that moved to Washington state, spending three of those years in the eastern Washington town of Yakima, then back to Seattle for the past 36 years.

Wow, I sound old. But I digress. Old people do that.

What impressed me most about Donald Trump’s election is that he did it despite being the non-hip, “in-crowd” choice.

What we saw constantly in the media and late-night talk shows was making fun of him and portraying Trump as a buffoon each week on Saturday Night Live.  Popular culture mocked his hair, his business dealings, his character. Pop performers like Katy Perry and Beyoncé threw their celebrity behind Hillary.  Madonna went as far as saying she’d give oral favors to anyone voting for Hillary. I’m not kidding.

It was trendy to be “With Her.” That’s who the cool kids wanted for president. To even think and say anything out loud against her or for Trump always resulted in bad feelings. I saw it first-hand. So, anyone who refused to vote for Hillary had to just suffer in silence. Until election day.

Notice I didn’t say “for Trump.” Just not for Hillary.

She was chosen by the party to be their centrist candidate. Whether it was her, her people or the party leaders in control, they undermined Bernie Sanders and made sure Hillary became the anointed one. To help sell her, we were constantly reminded that Hillary Clinton was “the most qualified person ever to run for President.”

Take that Eisenhower!  Eat it, Washington!

If she truly was the most qualified person for the job, why did people have to keep saying that over and over?  That’s like going to an attorney and having the conversation goes like this:

“Hi, I’ve got a legal problem.”

“Great. I’m really honest.”

“Uh, yeah. Well, about my problem….”

“You know, other attorneys say they’re honest, but I’m REALLY honest.”

“Why do you keep saying how honest you are?”

“Honestly?”

Experience should speak for itself.  Just because you say something over and over doesn’t make it true. Agreed, she had more political experience than Trump, but so do I. I was at least Senior Class President and A.S.B. Vice-President back in high school. Go Tartars!

My theory is that the Democrats became too cocky. They believed there was no way to lose to Trump so they focused everything on the 50 games they were going to win, rather than the 62 additional games they needed to add.

I’m making these observations as being one of the proud “62.”  You don’t get my vote just because you have a D or an R next to your name. I’m going candidate by candidate, and may the best person win.

These days, when you’re in one camp or the other, people feel the need to brag about being on that side.  You post things on Facebook, as if your friends can’t wait to be converted to your way of thinking. You act disgusted at everything the opposing side says and does while praising everything about your candidate.  When someone says something negative about your candidate—even if it may be true—you go straight to saying something about the opponent to point out they’re much worse, ignoring any flaws of who you support.

You basically have built your own personal wall.

This wasn’t a true “throw the bums out” election, but it was a statement to our federal government that it’s time to shake things up. It’s happened in France, Britain, Australia, the Philippines and now right here.

The message “Let’s make America great again” resonated with people, as they looked around and saw things really weren’t so great.  Sure, we’re better off than the depths of the recession, but with a tremendous national debt. It’s the problem that just gets pushed off for future generations to deal with.

This election became the ultimate example of how it’s not the messenger, it’s the message.

Remember “Hope and change?”  Comparing how you felt in 2008 to now, are you still full of hope?  Did you see all the change you wanted to see?  “Hope and change” is not much different than Trump’s slogan. Change means doing things differently. How many times have you looked at what’s been going on in our country the past 8 years and said, “What the hell is going on?”  My guess is, you’ve been saying it longer than that.

Then there’s “Stronger together.” OK, Hillary-ites, to honor your candidate, don’t move to another country—stick around and help take this one in a more positive direction.  Get involved, donate to a cause, and most importantly, listen—don’t shout!

On Election Day, when all the pollsters seemed to be declaring Hillary the inevitable winner, I saw several feel-good posts on Facebook that declared, “No matter how the election turns out (nudge, nudge….wink, wink) we should all just come together and be happy and la-la-la-la…”  Part of that cocky attitude, “Yeah, we’re going to win so when your guy loses, don’t be bitter.”

Then, today, I woke up to this article talking about riots, fires and death threats from Hillary supporters.

Please keep that in mind whenever you read in the media that all Trump supporters were toothless red-necked hillbillies filling out their ballots while cleaning their guns. 

Ever watch Mad Men or read how advertisers manipulate you with their messages?  I know, that’s part of what I do for a living. You’ve just had a two-year-long brain washing with a pressure-washer.

What saddens me is how people allow themselves to be filled with poison and hate about the opposing candidate.  The Democrats did a masterful job of smearing Trump at every corner, using his own words at times, to paint him as a depraved, letch of a man. And he may be one. That kind of conduct is wrong, inexcusable and should not be tolerated. But why is it so wrong if he’s a Republican but OK if he’s a Democrat?  Bill Clinton is known for being a philanderer.  JFK put his back to the test frequently with women other than Jackie. It was practically a sport. But that’s when we hear, “Oh, well, that’s his personal life. That’s none of our business.”  And, you want crass?  Let’s talk about Lyndon Johnson and his flashing habit in the White House.

If anything Donald Trump did was wrong and punishable by law, then it should be a short presidency.

America has reached a saturation point on several fronts. I posted on Facebook the other day that last week’s Monday Night Football game had the lowest ratings for a MNF game in 9 years. A friend over in Spokane commented that they gave up the NFL when their players started disrespecting the national anthem and taking a knee. Once again, the cool kids were telling the rest of us that it was OK, don’t worry, they’re just expressing their 1st Amendment right over the contemporary issue of….STOP!  The short headline—They’re Disrespecting the National Anthem. That’s all some people needed to know. They voted with their TV and stopped watching.

Yes, you have the right to piss on the country where you make millions of dollars.  But Americans also have the right to stop feeding the cash cow that provides your paychecks.

Notice that trend hasn’t spread to other sports and now, has begun to fade in the NFL.  Life-learning observation: Doing something offensive on TV to rally your cause doesn’t really help.

The biggest point I’d like to make in this Election-Special edition ramble is that we are a country that covers a lot of territory with all kinds of different thoughts and opinions. That’ll happen when you have a free nation. We have some 360-million people that call the U.S. of A. home. Some very good, church-going, family-first people bit the bullet and voted for Trump because they just couldn’t vote for Hillary.

I voted for Hillary for the same reason.  I had to ignore the obvious corruption, cronyism and pay for play politics and vote for who I thought would support the issues I felt were most important.

Over the years, political parties like to put out scare tactics to get votes. One of the classics: The Daisy ad depicting Barry Goldwater as a guy who would drop the bomb back in 1964. That helped LBJ win by a landslide. During this year’s campaign, the cool kids kept repeating a collection of words about Trump: Hitler (always a classic—used for Reagan and a little bit for Romney).  There was also Misogynist, Narcissist, Egomaniac, Reckless, etc.

I remember as a kid hearing one of my parents’ friends say that if John F. Kennedy was elected, “he’ll have us all praying to Mary.” (he was a Roman Catholic)

On CNN, one over-reacting analyst had the nerve to say, “It’s hard to be a parent tonight.”  Really?  Presidential Election results is how you teach your child about the world?  Can I sit in on your Electoral College discussion?  Please?  Or, you could do what I did, using the Black Friday ads in the newspaper as a teachable moment.

Of course, Wall Street is wigging out. Why? Because Trump is more of an unknown than Hillary would have been. Plus, after paying for all those behind-closed-door speeches, they get nada.

And for those who want to believe that Trump bought this election:

campaignNo one candidate is as great as their side says or as big a monster as the opponent’s side claims. That, unfortunately, has become today’s style of politics.

Since originally writing this, I also heard some of the radio folks talking about how their Obamacare insurance was going to go up 30%+. So, the election came down between someone who planned to trash that insurance plan and come up with a better one, or someone who wanted to keep the current coverage.

I also offer up this piece of fine writing that may also help you understand what the heck just happened.

The Donald Trump presidency will either be a disaster, a non-event or a better-than-expected surprise. The entire school has voted and picked him to lead, so here we go. Our job now is to keep our eyes on him and the rest of our government.  Then, four years from now, we’ll review the situation and go from there. By then, maybe we’ll all be a little bit wiser.

Tim Hunter

Locker Room Talk

locker-room

Much has been made of the Donald Trump/Billy Bush video that was released a week ago.  The content was offensive, insensitive, disgusting and a warehouse full of wrong that the Trump campaign downplayed as “locker room talk.”

Let me be clear that the conversion does show the kind of person Donald Trump is when he thinks the microphone isn’t on.  He’s not the first guy ever to think he’s God’s gift to women, that because of his “celebrity” that he’s entitled to grope females where ever and whenever he wants. And for some reason, these are the kinds of guys who are drawn to politics. Great.

Today, of course, we live in an enlightened age where we all know it’s abhorrent and unacceptable behavior and you wouldn’t dare say anything like that within earshot of an electronic device that could record it. But remember, this was from back in 2005, when there were still quite a few remnants of the Good Old Boys’ club running around. Donald Trump is 70. He spent most of his life being a character from “Mad Men.”  Again, none of this makes it acceptable, but in Donald’s world, he has justified it as one of the benefits of celebrity.

So, to recap–what Trump said and his attitude displayed in the Access Hollywood tape, not surprising. What IS surprising is the rush to the front of the morality line, saying that “guys don’t talk like that in locker rooms.”  NFL players have stepped forward to boast, “We don’t talk like that!”  Radio talk show hosts go on and on how the locker rooms they’ve been in are closer to churches.

That may be true in most of today’s PC locker rooms, but my early life experience taught me differently. Not all locker rooms conversations exhibit the lowest form of humanity, but there’s always “that guy.” The insecure, I- insist-on-telling-you-how-I’m-a-sex-machine pervert that has to talk in a sexist, demeaning way about women.  Let’s say it happens in .0001% of the conversations that occur in the locker room, but they do happen. Sometimes, not even in locker rooms.

Back when I was around 12, my mom used to occasionally give me money to run down the street to the meat store. Yes, back then, there was a 7-11 size store not far from our house where they sold nothing but meat. I would go there with my hand-written list, purchase our carnivorous delights and being a kid, they’d give me a free hot dog to munch on (yes, uncooked) on my walk home.

One busy Saturday, I had to take a number and wait in line. While I was standing there, the guy in front of me turned around to inform that he had gotten two women pregnant at the same time. Can you imagine that? Ha-ha-ha, two women!! I most likely gave him a Billy Bush nervous chuckle and continued waiting in line, all the time wondering, “Why would he do that? That wasn’t very nice.”

Looking back, I wonder why anyone would feel the need to share that with a 12-year-old boy? Mind boggling. And for those of you wondering, this was in California, so it couldn’t have been Donald.

The other locker room talk incident that came to mind was back in my high school basketball-playing days.  All my teammates were in the locker room with assorted conversations taking place, as they always did. But this time, one of the players decided to let me know he had “done it” with my girlfriend’s younger sister, describing her breasts and ranking her sexual performance. (Cue the Billy Bush nervous laugh)

Ladies and gentlemen, that is locker room talk.  Both of those incidents occurred 40+ years ago, but that would put them smack dab in Donald Trump’s life experience time frame.  The difference in our stories is that I was the one listening, he was the one doing the talking.

To those who say that locker room talk that is demeaning to women doesn’t exist is along the lines of saying, “Well, that’s the last of racism in the south!” I’d like to believe we are evolving as humans and learning just a little bit more each day about treating each other with respect. But there are still some of “those guys” running around.

In the case of the Trump incident, Donald was trying to show off to Billy Bush and being a sexist braggart. Billy, having a chance to interview the millionaire, played along, laughing at each disgusting remark, feeding Donald’s ego. He just wanted the interview.

Now, the trendy thing is for people to say, “Oh, yeah, guys don’t really talk like that in locker rooms. Or, at least, not in MY locker rooms.” (insert Billy Bush laugh here) If you believe that, do let me know what color the unicorns are in your world.

Go ahead and use the Access Hollywood video to decide who you vote for president or not. I’ve known for a while who I can’t vote for. It’s been like sitting in the dentist chair, waiting for the Novocain to kick in so the drilling can start. Maybe the solution is as simple as building a huge wall around the locker room.

Can we just get this thing over with?

Tim Hunter