Category: politics

Top Ten Reasons I’m Not Voting for Trump

Right right right. I know just last week I posted about how I wish people would stop sharing content that does nothing but antagonize the people who disagree with them while getting the people who already are on board to shower them with praises. But then a friend asked me on Facebook why I dislike Trump. She’s on the fence and is interested in hearing me out, and it’s been a while since I actually got to the nitty gritty about why I could never bring myself to vote for him, regardless of policies.

So here I am. I have posted about Trump approximately 50 times, whether it’s been directly or indirectly. (That’s searching my posts for “Trump” and limiting it to “Current Events.” There might be some posts outside those constraints, but I also might have used the word “trump” at some point when not referring to him. We’ll call it a wash.) My first post on the man was what I still remember fondly as a fun little humor piece. A fake news article announcing a new book he planned to publish called My Struggle. That was back on December 8, 2015. Suffice it to say, my feelings for the man never warmed from there.

I could point out all the different articles I’ve written, but I’m going to try and sum up here. Less reading for you. Yay! Here we go: top ten reasons I dislike Trump.

TEN: His demeanor leaves so much to be desired, words fail. Even his own admirers will readily admit they wish he didn’t say what he often says, or that he’d at least say it in a different way. “He didn’t mean that, he meant this” is a justification I’ve heard time and time again. But often he goes and then restates what he said, clarifying that yes, he really did mean it. Whether he’s pontificating on shit hole countries or how he’d like to manhandle women, he rarely misses an opportunity to further lower the standing of the office he was elected to. I don’t really think this is debatable by anyone, but it’s also far from my number one reason to dislike the man. If it were truly the only thing wrong with him, I suppose I might (in theory) be able to get beyond it. However . . .

NINE: He panders to the worst aspects of our society. I’m not going to say he’s responsible for those aspects, though he has certainly cultivated their growth during his time in office, much as a gardener isn’t responsible for the existence of tomatoes, but can certainly be given credit for the crop they’ve raised each year. His disinclination to call out racism and sexism when they’re staring him in the face. He gleefully revels in name calling and mudslinging when it suits his purpose, and then he suddenly becomes a connoisseur of nuance and hidden meanings and motivation when his flunkies are being scrutinized for their behavior. Which leads me to

EIGHT: He’s a hypocrite. Yes, I realize he’s also a politician, and so those two words often might seem synonymous, but Trump has raised hypocrisy to an art form. As a deeply religious person myself, I am beyond disturbed by the way he panders to people of faith, giving lip service to his faith while showing absolutely no evidence of it. He excels at calling people out on behavior he himself practices on a regular basis, and when he’s taken to task for that, he resorts to his knee-jerk response:

SEVEN: He lies. About everything and anything. Whether it’s the size of the crowd at his inauguration or any number of other items over the years. 20,000 lies and counting. And again, yes he’s a politician, but his willingness to embrace blatant lying as a political tool in such an overt, regular way is disappointing to me. I would never continue to interact with a person who lies as much as Trump lies in my personal life. Why would I tolerate it in my leader? He has lied so often about so many different things, those lies no longer register as important. By lying so frequently, he has made the country immune to those falsehoods.

SIX: He’s dangerously ignorant. I readily admit no one knows everything, and I don’t hold ignorance against a person, up to a point. But when that person is in charge of a major global superpower, I’d like to expect they would be ready to become more informed and do their best to get up to speed on what needs to happen and why. Trump has shown little interest in doing the actual work needed to combat the ignorance he arrived in the White House with. Worse yet, he’s ready and willing to act on that ignorance, often to the detriment of our country. Whether it’s blithely wondering aloud in a news conference if drinking bleach would cure Corona or ignoring the findings of his own intelligence agencies, choosing to pay attention to what Putin has assured him instead of what our own efforts have brought to light, Trump has consistently ignored information that conflicts with what he’d like to do. As an information professional, that’s pretty antithetical to a huge chunk of my worldview. He has contributed to the tendency of so many to ignore experts, choosing instead to listen to the pundit of their choice.

FIVE: When Trump was elected, I tried to console myself with the thought that the Republican Party would help shield the nation from the worst of his tendencies. That he was just a single man, and that he’d be surrounded by experts who would steer him toward something resembling an okay future. But Trump has, instead, packed his Cabinet and his counselors with yes men and sycophants and people singularly unqualified to lead in their respective areas. Often he’s chosen to put people in charge who are vocal critics of the areas they are supposed to be leading. Yes, putting a fox in charge of a hen house might make sense, because foxes love hens, but it’s the wrong kind of love. He has insulated himself from any real criticism by sticking his family and past associates into key areas of government. They have responded in kind by doing damage to many of the things they touch. An easy example would be the way he has handled the Corona pandemic. It’s been one huge botched “solution” after another. A string of lies and half-truths to assure us the nation has it fixed, while it’s plain to see we do not. He talks about “Draining the Swamp,” but I think he understands that phrase differently. What he means is “Developing the Swamp.” Getting the most out of it he can, like some sort of two-bit real estate shyster. Can’t let all that lovely swampland just sit around idle, after all.

FOUR: He has ruined the Republican Party, a party I’m still officially registered in. I am incredibly sad to see so many people I am friends with taken in by this charlatan. I am disgusted to see the way the Republicans have embraced Trumpism instead of vomiting him out the first chance they got. (And they have had many, many chances.) In return for their tolerance of the man, they have gotten a number of their stated goals pushed through government, but it’s a scorched earth approach that is destroying the nation they supposedly want to help. I’ve seen a Facebook post making the rounds, summarizing all the things Trump has done for the nation. I’m glad there are items on there that people feel good about. There are certainly some to be proud of. (Though how many were actually accomplished by him or even during his time in office is most definitely up for debate.) I’m not going to pick the list apart item by item. I’ll just say that even if all those things were all to be placed to Trump’s credit, they would not counterbalance the effect he has had on this country or on Republicans as a whole. The ends do not justify the means. Whether it’s abortion or religious freedom or the conservative balance of the Supreme Court, none of those is worth what Republicans have had to sacrifice in return. It’s a Faustian bargain, but one so many of them seem unable to acknowledge.

THREE: He embraces an America of the past. He talks about making America great again, referring to a time period when many aspects of American life were truly broken. A more accurate slogan would be “Make America Great (for Some) Again.” But the “some” refers to straight white Christians. I prefer an America that is forward facing. That acknowledges we have made mistakes and that strives to continually improve. An America that realizes the fundamental thesis statement that started this country: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” An America that acknowledges that statement didn’t end up applying to all races or all genders, and that it should have.

TWO: He evidences many fascist traits. I realize “fascism” is an easy word to lob around these days. It seems to have grown to stand for “things we don’t like in politicians” in the way many people use it, but if you go through the actual characteristics of a fascist government, Trump has done much to try to bring America closer to that fate. His continued admiration for dictators on a global stage is disturbing, and his proven track record of using scapegoats to unite his base smacks all too strongly of Nazism. I’ve made multiple comparisons of Trump to Hitler, and I recognize it’s simple enough to dismiss those as “just another comparison to Hitler.” But a paranoiac isn’t paranoid if everyone really is out to get them, and just because Hitler comparisons haven’t been justified in the past doesn’t mean they’re not justified now.

ONE: Perhaps the thing I find most disturbing about Trump is the way his presence on the political scene in America has warped the political landscape. There’s this sense of false equivalency that’s cropped up, comparing Trump to Obama, and saying “Well, half the country didn’t like Obama, but they put up with him. Now the other half don’t like Trump, but it’s their turn to stomach him.” I voted for George W. Bush. I voted for Romney. I voted for Obama (when McCain picked Palin, and there was no way for me to support that choice). What I mean to say is I am not a Democrat by any stretch. (Though I hate that we’ve come to this: having to pull out our voting record to make it feel like we have a leg to stand on in this debate.) It is true that both Democrat and Republican parties have many issues. Things they do a bad job at. But to put Trump and Obama on two sides of a scale and to try and claim those two sides balance out is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. To try and repeat the practice with Biden and Trump is more of the same. Trump, to me, is a fundamentally different politician. He is dangerous to the core, and he never should have ascended to be our President. The sooner we can be rid of him, the better.

Biden would not be my first choice for President. But in this case, I view him as the only one. It’s like saying, “Would you like to slam your finger in the door, or would you like me to chop your head off?” Yes, they’re both not options I’m in love with, but it’s not exactly a decision I need to spend too much time dithering over. They are not two sides of a mirror.

So there you have it. A post I don’t really think is going to do much to move the needle for anyone. People who were going to vote for Trump will look at it and dismiss it (if they even read it at all), and people who weren’t going to vote for him will nod their head and move on. I find the whole thing discouraging, and the only thing I dread more than the next two months of the campaign is the next four years of Trump if he’s elected.

And I suppose that’s all I have to say about that for today.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

How I’m Voting in the 2020 Maine Primary

It’s Maine’s 2021 primary today, and I was too lazy to go get an absentee ballot. That means I’ll be going in person to vote. Honestly, if COVID case rates were worse in Maine, I would have been much more motivated to vote absentee, but they aren’t, and so I wasn’t. It probably would have been more responsible of me to get my absentee ballot, but . . . I wasn’t exactly on top of things. Such is life.

And as I usually do, I’m going to be very open about how I’m voting and why. None of these positions will be terribly surprising to regular readers, but I share them because who knows? Maybe me explaining my take on the issues will influence someone else to take the same stance. Because I’m just that good of a writer. 🙂

Anyway, here are the issues I can vote on today:

  • Bond Question 1: Should we issue up to $15 million in bonds to invest in improving our broadband services throughout the state? This is a complete no brainer in my book. When I moved to Maine, I moved backward 10-15 years, technologically speaking. In the aftermath of COVID-19 (when there finally is an aftermath), I would think Maine might be quite appealing to many people. We’ve been social distancing since before it was cool, after all, and more people are realizing they can do their job remotely. Get paid Boston wages and pay Maine real estate prices? Who wouldn’t want that? People who can’t get decent internet, that’s who. This $15 million will be matched by $30 million in private and public funding. We desperately need this to make our state more appealing to people who want to move here personally or professionally.
  • Bond Question 2: Should we borrow $105 million to improve our highways and bridges and public transportation? Again, an easy yes for me. It’ll be matched by $2.80 in federal funds for every $1.00. Our roads need constant help, because winter. If we want people to move here (and we need people to move here), we want them to be able to not fall into bottomless potholes on the drive up. (SIDENOTE: I know there are many lifelong residents of Maine who would rather no one ever come here “from away,” and I know that since I come from away, my opinion doesn’t really carry water with them. But I’m going to say it anyway. Our state is the oldest in the nation. The youth of the state flock elsewhere. We need people here to pay taxes, raise families, create jobs, and bring life back to the state.)
  • Republican primary: Yup. I’m still a registered Republican, so I could theoretically vote (using ranked choice voting!) for any of the candidates. I did take some time to check out who they are and what they’re running for. They’re all in a huge rush to say how much they support Trump, so that’s going to be a hard pass from me. I’ll vote for Jared Golden to maintain his House seat in November.
  • The school budget: 100% yes on this one, as I’ve already stated numerous times. Yes, it raises the overall budget by 2.86%, but the part that matters the most to locals (what locals pay in their taxes) is a 1.93% decrease (even more than I thought earlier). Voting no on this budget would amount to us turning down state help for our students. We already pay far below average for our schools, and we need people to move here. People move to where their kids can get a good education. It costs money to provide a good education these days. Therefore: vote yes.

Here are the poll locations and times today. See you there (with my mask on)!

Poll locations and times

Avon – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Community Room
Carrabassett Valley – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Carthage – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Chesterville – 8 a.m.to 8 pm – Town Office
Coplin Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Dallas Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Eustis – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Farmington – 8 a.m. to 8 pm – Community Center
Industry – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Jay – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Spruce Mountain Elementary School, in the gym
Kingfield – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Webster Hall
New Sharon – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Masonic Lodge
New Vineyard – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Community Hall
Starks – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Community Center
Phillips – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Rangeley – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Rangeley Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – School house
Sandy River Plantation – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office
Strong – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Forster Building
Temple – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Hall
Vienna – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Fire Station
Weld – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Hall
Wilton – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Town Office

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Did I Change More, or Did the Republican Party?

A friend asked me to sum up my thoughts on being registered as a Republican after reading my post on the primaries yesterday. My initial reaction was short: “A remnant of an earlier Bryce and an earlier Republican Party. Feels like both the Party and I have each moved in different directions in the past decade. Hard for me to tell who moved more.” But I’ve continued to think about the question, and I decided it warranted a full post. (Even though that makes for two political posts in a row. Sorry.)

I was most definitely raised Republican. My family was Republican, and my church was (and continues to be) dominated by Republicans. When I was old enough to start actually paying attention to politics (around seventh or eighth grade, as I recall), I would listen to Rush Limbaugh and agree with pretty much everything he said. I even got his book, The Way Things Ought to Be. Of course, I also didn’t really know anything other than Republicanism. (That I was aware of, at least.) Back then, Democrats were all misguided or nefarious. (I did and said a lot of things back then that I still feel very sorry about to this day. Jokes I made. Casual comments I tossed off here and there, without even realizing just how hurtful they could be. I’m honestly surprised some of my high school friends are still friends with me, and I’m thankful they managed to overlook some of my more egregious character flaws back then.)

I went to school at BYU, in a Republican-dominated state, surrounded by a Republican-dominated student body. Ironically, that’s when I first began to start questioning the assumptions I’d made my entire life. Having grown up on the East coast, I had been surrounded by people who believed different things than I did and came from different backgrounds. True, I just recognized those differences in some areas, like religion and race, but I still saw that there were differences, and that those differences didn’t make those people better or worse than anyone else. I loved a lot of things about BYU (and continue to love it), but one thing I was never a fan of was how uniform the student body could be. I felt like so many people were cookie cutter twins, and I realized that some of the thoughts and opinions I had were different than what everyone else had. My views on religion, for example, were less by-the-book.

(It’s a simple example, but it serves to illustrate my point: at the time, the church’s stance on R-rated movies was “don’t see any of them.” I didn’t like that stance, and disagreed with it for a number of reasons I won’t go into here. But that disagreement definitely marked me as Other on BYU’s campus. Once you’ve been marked as Other, you begin to realize that Other isn’t the same thing as “Bad.”)

Then I went on my mission to Germany. For two years, I was talking and listening to people from all walks of life. I talked with former and current Communists. Former Nazis. I met current skinheads. I made friends with a ton of refugees from Ghana and Sierra Leone. And these weren’t casual conversations. I would go up to people and start talking religion. If there’s a way to find out what people really think about life, try talking to complete strangers about a real hot button topic, day in, day out, for two years. This didn’t cause me to lose my faith. (It actually strengthened it, as I began to question things and figure things out for myself, until I was a member of my religion not because I was raised that way, but because I honestly believed in it.)

In any case, I came home even more Other than I had left. I know it sounds strange to say that a straight, white, Latter-day Saint would feel Other when he was surrounded by other straight, white, Latter-day Saints, but I believe there are many different ways to be Other. Sometimes, when almost everyone is so similar, “Other” begins to be measured in much smaller gradations.

Still, I was staunchly Republican. I voted for George W, and I thought it was divine intervention that made it so that he won the election in 2000, especially after 9/11 happened. I felt like Bush led the country perfectly through that, and I didn’t understand why anyone could see it any other way.

In 2007, I moved to Maine. Still Republican, though with a streak of rebelliousness that anyone else would call mild-mannered, but which had continued to set me apart in Utah. In Maine, of course, I felt like an arch-conservative. Like that liberal streak in me was only there in comparison to other conservatives. (True.) I participated in the local caucus process, rubbing elbows with other staunch Republicans, and it was all fine and good. I had a Mitt Romney sign in my yard in 2008.

Then John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.

I know it seems like such a silly thing to have such a big impact on me, politically speaking, but the more Sarah Palin spoke, the more disillusioned I became with her, and by proxy, with McCain’s decision to have her be his running mate. In the end, I voted for Obama, mainly because of that one decision. Part of it was that Palin presented the world in such stark terms, and that those terms seemed so . . . uninformed. Part of it was that in my short time in Maine, I’d already begun to meet many people who weren’t just sort of different from me. They were very different. LGBTQ+, different religions, different races (even in Maine), different politics, different socio-economic statuses. To hear Republicans paint some of these groups with so broad a brush felt wrong to me. It was forcing a black and white worldview on a situation that was anything but.

Four years went by. I heard many Republicans bemoan Obama as being terrible, even though I didn’t see anything that wrong with what he’d been doing. A different approach, perhaps, but I was more disillusioned with how little the rest of government seemed to get done. I continued to be dissatisfied with the way Republicans labeled other groups. It reminded me too much of the sort of ideology I’d seen skinheads espouse in Germany, and it made me very uncomfortable.

Still, when Mitt won the nomination, I voted for him. I believed he was a better person than how he was portrayed, and I thought he would do a great job as President. (Honestly, I still do. Though my criteria for “great job as President” has changed quite a bit over the Trump administration.) I wasn’t crushed when Obama won again, though. The last four years hadn’t been terrible, and I thought he’d gotten some good things accomplished. I knew many people who were desperate for good health care, for example, and I was happy that something was being done to get them access to it.

I met other politicians in the higher ranks of leadership. I met all of Maine’s Congresspeople. And Republicans began to stonewall just about anything that would come up for debate. I was very unhappy with their tactics, disappointed that they would dismiss as a matter of rule anything the Democrats came up with. Those four years of Obama’s second term made me like the Republicans less and less.

Cue the 2016 election. Clinton was far from my first choice. I had a deep-seated dislike of the Clintons that stretched back to my Limbaugh-loving days as a high schooler. I thought they were generally dishonest, and I had deep reservations about bringing them back to the White House. But the Republicans somehow managed to nominate Trump, and my opinion of him is well documented.

I voted for Clinton. It wasn’t even a contest in my mind.

Since then, my opinion of Republicans has fallen even further. The way they’ve thrown their values out the window in order to stay in power has nauseated me. All of that’s easy enough to trace on my blog, so I don’t need to go into details.

But let’s go over the main hot-button issues that separate the two parties today. (The non-Trumpian ones, at least):

  • Health Care: I believe our health care system is broken. It’s far too expensive, and it relies almost wholly on insurance. I would like to see affordable options for everyone. Do I want the whole thing socialized? Not necessarily. I just want someone to be able to be unemployed and still be able to get treated if they get cancer. I’m so sad every time I see another GoFundMe set up to help people pay for medical treatment. That’s a failure as a country to deliver basic care to all its citizens. The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction. I hoped it would be the first of many.
  • Gun Control: Again, this is something I have documented on my blog. I am 100% in favor of gun control.
  • Abortion: In general, I’m against abortion. But I believe there should be exceptions made for certain cases (rape, health of the mother/child, incest), and I’m not in favor of any laws that don’t allow for those exceptions. If the choice is “totally legal unrestricted” or “completely banned,” I will go with the first.
  • War on Terror: I’m very disturbed by our country’s escalating use of drones to carry out assaults around the globe. The latest strike on the Iranian general was just the next step in this trend. I don’t like it. Overall, I think we’re spending too much on defense, but ironically, I think we need to keep spending that much on defense because we’re being such an international menace to so many.
  • Immigration: The wall is a terrible idea. Closing our borders to so many is a terrible idea. The awful rhetoric being used against immigrants is despicable. The camps we’re stuffing refugees into are wrong on so many levels. Again, this harkens back to the days I spent befriending people in refugee camps in Germany. When you personally know people in these situations, it becomes much harder to ignore the plight of strangers in the same spot. You can’t dismiss individuals the same way you can dismiss labels.
  • LGBTQ+: Now having known many more people who identify on LGBTQ+ issues, it’s increasingly difficult for me to justify laws that discriminate against them. It’s the same principle as the immigration question, for me.
  • Environmentalism/Climate Change: How in the world anyone can continue to staunchly argue Climate Change isn’t real is beyond me. But then, people also believe vaccines cause autism and that the world is flat. People will believe all sorts of things, it seems. I would like to see an approach where we try our best to reduce our impact on the environment. Where we protect it instead of destroy it. Does that mean I’m going to stop flying? No. I’m not to that extreme. But we can do more, and I believe we should.
  • Education: I work at an academic library. I see the difference a good education can make for students. I’m fully in favor of more education and making it affordable.
  • Taxes/Redistribution of Wealth: I believe there’s a huge disparity today between the rich and the poor. The top tax rate is 40% right now. Historically, it’s been as high as 70-90%. I’m not saying it has to go that high again, but I do believe there are ways to pay for the different efforts we need to make to help our citizens have access to basic needs. Some of those ways are “higher taxes.”*

Overall, I find myself in the middle of many different issues. But lately Republicans have been painting things as an either/or situation. That black and white approach to all these issues makes me feel like I have to go with the option that’s more reasonable, and (to me) that’s almost always the one espoused by the Democrats. For example, would I be as staunchly in favor of gun control if some reasonable measures had already been passed? Doubtful.

I feel like the Republicans have shifted to the right by a great degree, and then dug in at that position and said that anything that disagrees with that position is terrible. I am concerned by the reaction of this (to have the Democrats go even stronger to the left), but until Trump can be shooed off the stage, I’m not sure what else can be done.

I have plenty of Democrat friends who think I’m far too conservative on many issues, and plenty of Republican friends who think I’m far too liberal. I tilt to the Democrat side of the aisle right now because of how repugnant I find Republican tactics, but I’d love a centrist approach, where reasonable measures are taken to solve big problems.

So . . . that’s the longer answer to the question. It still doesn’t feel like it’s the whole answer, but at least it gives some overview of where I was and why I am where I am now.

*I get a kick out of the current argument I’m seeing circulated among Republicans who want to support Social Security but say they’re against anything to do with Socialism. “Social Security is paid by the workers. They get out of it what they put into it.” Hogwash. I’m paying Social Security now with little hope that I’ll ever get out of it what I’m putting into it. I know it’s in precarious waters, and you know what? I’m at peace with that. Why? Because retirees need to live too, and me paying Social Security can help them. I pay taxes. Some of those taxes go to help me. Some of them go to help other people. But the thought that Social Security is somehow vastly different than other taxes just doesn’t hold water, in my book.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Who I’m Voting for and Why: 2020 Primary Edition

Another primary election season is upon us. This year, Maine is participating with a primary instead of a caucus for only the third time in its history. (For the record, I much prefer primaries. Let me go and vote and be done with it. I can’t stand the huge time suck that the caucus system always felt like to me. Sorry, people who actually like it.)

Due more to my inherent laziness than anything else, I continue to be a registered Republican. (If anything, I think I’d just unregister as a Republican and not register as anything else. But I have yet to be motivated to do so, because . . . why.) There’s only one option on the Republican ballot, and I would vote for literally anyone or anything other than Donald Trump. (I was trying to think of someone who would have to run against Donald Trump to get me to vote for Trump. Maybe if you had a necromancer bring Hitler or Stalin back to life, and then had one of them run for office, and the only other option was Trump . . . it would be a close call. I’d have to find out if the Republican party was going to back Zombie Hitler or not. Because if they weren’t, then I’d probably vote ZH, simply because I’d have to think he wouldn’t be able to get anything on his agenda passed without support from a major political party. What makes Trump so particularly awful is the way the Republican party has cashed in its values to embrace him. But I digress.)

So I won’t be voting for Trump. (I won’t bother to do a write-in vote, either, since a write-in vote will be counted as a blank vote, and remember: I’m lazy.)

If I were a Democrat, who would I vote for? Elizabeth Warren. Sorry, Bernie Bros and Biden Buds, I like Warren’s approach to things more than either of your candidate’s, and I certainly like her more than Bloomberg. Then again, to anyone making arguments of strategic voting (voting for a particular candidate because you believe the other candidates will lose against Trump), my response to that is a big “meh.” I think you should vote for whom you want to win. “Everyone” said Trump was unelectable. Everyone was wrong. I could see scenarios where a Bernie nomination results in hordes of scare tactics being used to keep Trump in office. I could see scenarios where a Biden win results in a bunch of disillusioned people just not voting at all. There’s a lot of time between November and now. Vote with your heart.

However, I will vote for whomever becomes the Democrat nominee, because I don’t care if we take out the Death Star by shooting an exhaust port right below the main port, or if we take it out by flying the Millennium Falcon right into the heart of the thing and blow it up there. All that matters to me is that Death Star comes out of the sky.

The only other issue on the ballot is an effort to veto the law that removed religious and philosophical loopholes to the requirement to vaccinate your children if they were going to attend public schools. Normally, I’d actually be fine with those loopholes. I respect the right for people to have religious beliefs that are different than mine, and as long as those beliefs don’t cause any serious harm, fine. But because so many people in our country have embraced the anti-vaccination movement, it’s causing our immunity to various diseases to crumble. And most of those people are using the religious/philosophical loophole to get out of the requirement. So . . . this is why we can’t have nice things, folks. I’m definitely voting no on that question.

Whether you agree with me or not, I hope you all go out and vote and participate in the process. Each and every vote matters, and the worst thing we can do is face our voting process each year with apathy. Vote!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Religion in Politics

As the political season ramps up even more(!), I’m already seeing plenty of posts on social media citing religion to back up political beliefs. You’ve got people who cite quotes from the Bible about the importance of independence, or the sanctity of marriage, or the evils of legalized marijuana, or the need to be more compassionate. And when I see these posts, I have a mixed response.

On the one hand, I’m a deeply religious person, and so it’s natural that my politics are influenced by my religious beliefs. On the other hand, I try to avoid making religious arguments, and I admittedly bristle when those arguments are made online for a number of reasons.

First of all, if you make an appeal to religion as a way of “solving” a political issue, you’re only going to further polarize an already polarized topic. If you have people who agree with you, they’re going to nod and give you a solid amen. You might have people who aren’t religious but still agree with you. They’ll likely just go wander off elsewhere, because why bother. If you have people who aren’t religious and don’t agree with you, they’re going to yell at you for bringing something irrelevant into an important conversation. (At which point you get to begin to argue about religion AND politics at the same time.) Finally, you also might have people who are religious but disagree with your conclusion. (In which case you’re back to arguing about religion and politics again.)*

Second, there’s no really good way to interact with a post that uses religion to prove a point. If you critique it based on religious grounds, then you’re called a heretic. If you critique it based on secular grounds, then you’re just a heathen who hasn’t properly been enlightened yet.

Again, I can and do have political beliefs that are influenced by my religion. But do I believe God agrees with those beliefs? To me, that’s what’s happening when these sort of posts are shared online. They’re saying “God wants you to vote against _________” or “God needs you to protect ___________.” And that kind of argument is really tenuous at best.

What if it’s a Muslim making the post? What if it’s a Jew? A Buddhist? If you would dismiss those religious posts as irrelevant, then why post your own version of them? Because your religion is right and theirs is wrong? If that’s the case, then we’re right back to arguing about religion and politics again instead of just politics.

It can feel very cathartic to find a religious quote or argument that really resonates with us, and that’s fine. It’s when we go on and use that quote to try and convince others that things just fall apart for me. Because a religious quote is using an appeal to an ultimate authority to prove your point. It’s saying, “Not only do I think I’m right, but GOD thinks I’m right too. So if you disagree with me, you’re just flat out wrong.”

“But, Bryce,” I anticipate some of you saying. “There are certain ultimate truths out there. Why *shouldn’t* I post something if God is clearly in favor of it or against it? I need to make sure everyone knows they’re wrong.”

To which I respond, “Unless God has decided to make you His ultimate mouthpiece on earth, maybe deciding to speak for Him on social media is a bit premature.”

If actual church leaders aren’t throwing up posts left and right in favor of a candidate or against a position, maybe we could learn a thing or two from that and follow suit. If they *are* putting up those posts, then go ahead and share and like them, I suppose, but don’t expect that post to be the sort of a Mic Drop post online that you want to think it will be.

Generally speaking, I believe there are good people with deeply held religious beliefs on both sides of the aisle. No party has a monopoly on virtue or faith. Almost every single hot button political issue I can think of is a thorny mess of contradictions, with no clear right and wrong answer.

I’m not sure what I think this post is going to accomplish. I fully expect to continue seeing posts from both sides drawing religion into politics. Maybe my best approach to dealing with it would be to just decide not to say anything on any of the posts. Probably safest for me . . .

But if you’re thinking about posting something in this vein, and this post makes you think twice about it, then maybe I’ll have done some good.

*If only we could somehow throw in a divisive sports reference into the same posts. Something like “God said the Yankees need to lead the country against socialism.” Maybe that could make things even more spicy in the Facebook comments.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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