Back to What I’m Good At, Maybe

Last Summer, I wrote a blog about how I went from Conservative to Liberal, after I spent some time outside my own little corner of the world, and observed that other people have problems and perspectives different from those of the people from where I come from. I had always felt that compassion is important, and at times, being Conservative felt contradictory to being compassionate. During this period of my life, I found I couldn’t reconcile my compassion with my politics, and I had to make a change. Unfortunately, I’ve come to this conclusion: these people don’t seem to exhibit the same compassion for people like me.

What began my slight turn back was probably moving back home, and being around the people I grew up with again. These were all good, kind, and compassionate people, who continued to lean towards the Conservative side of the spectrum. There were issues on the Conservative side that I never gave up, like abortion, but there were also issues on the Liberal side that I couldn’t give up on, like global warming and general human rights. It is my continued belief that many of those with money started out with certain advantages over those of us without, and my studies of our education system, economics and politics continue to give me that impression. A good cross-section of all my Liberal issues is the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Standing Rock. A rich oil company is hellbent on tearing through a Native American tribe land, Natives being the most persecuted and exploited peoples in our country’s history.

First of all, what started to sway me back a bit was my friends’ openmindedness about my ideas, and their willingness to listen. Next came a Summer class I took on water resources. While there were a lot of environmental and human rights causes highlighted here, there were human rights causes highlighted of another kind; those of the farmer. The people who produce what we eat. While there are certainly many more people in the urban areas than there are in the rural, if the farmer doesn’t have sufficient water, he or she cannot produce the food that we all eat. What we learned was that the urban areas took much more water than what was allotted to them, quite often, and the farmers had to make up for that. In particular, we observed this scenario in Southern California, in the midst of their droughts. A tall order has been placed in front of those farmers, and understanding of their dilemma would be advisable.

Another thing that set me off was the Democratic Primaries, and in particular, the treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters. I was closely following that community, paying attention to polling and voting, happy for victories while weathering defeats. There were a number of things wrong with those primaries. First of all, there were the Super Delegates, who were counted for Clinton before any caucuses had ever been held. Even in states that Bernie had won, the Super Delegates went to Clinton. Next, there was the voter suppression, in places like Arizona and Florida, where legal complaints have been filed, and the DNC lawyers’ response has been to say that they should’ve known they would be cheated. Thirdly, there was the collusion with the media, who ran bullshit stories about Sanders and his followers, and the name “Bernie Bro” that was bestowed upon the supporters, a dismissive title reminiscent of “dude bro.”

Eventually, a few days before the Democratic Convention, in spite of his promises to go all the way, Sanders dropped out and endorsed Clinton. Furthermore, Donald Trump had already been named the Republican nominee. So it was Clinton vs Trump, a criminal vs a blowhard. Yes, Clinton is a criminal. I don’t care what FBI director James Comey has said about “intent” (a previously unnecessary prerequisite to committing a crime). Those of us who have been in the military and have had to take our OPSEC courses at least once a year know that “loose lips sink ships,” and that we need to protect FOUO documents from our adversaries. No need for “intent;” if we fucked up, we’d be in deep shit. Comparisons do other politicians using private emails to transmit FOUO content are false comparisons, what’s more, because Clinton ran an ENTIRE SERVER from her home, without official knowledge. She clearly did this to circumvent FOIA. “Cash flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Urianium Deal” isn’t just a random sentence I just typed out; it’s a title to a NYT story that you can google right now. Clinton’s smug face during the Congressional hearings over this issue burned me even more.

Unable to reconcile my deep-seeded hatred for Clinton, I turned to Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, who was one of the few politicians who showed that she gave a damn about NoDAPL. She also had a slightly less extreme stance on abortion than the Democratic platform. As the Fall pushed on, I observed mainstream media either ignoring Stein or unfairly denigrating her, as they had done with Sanders. My distrust for these mainstream news sources grew, and I turned more and more to Redacted Tonight, HA Goodman, Tim Black, and Glen Greenwald. I followed Democracy Now! For a time, but they seemed to focus their ire on Trump and ignore Clinton’s sins, like everyone else. What I witnessed of the debates… I couldn’t fully blame the msm for preferring Clinton over Trump. Trump came off as an angry, incoherent buffoon in those debates, and Clinton was much more refined (even though I still hated her with a passion).

During the General Election, however, Wikileaks began to expose the sins of the Clinton Campaign, the DNC, and the MSM, showing us their emails, their own words, which pointed not only to collusion between all three,  but a “Pied Piper” strategy to elevate the most extreme Republican candidates—like Trump. DWS was forced to resign from her position as DNC Head (but was immediately hired to the Clinton Campaign) and her replacement, Donna Brazille, was fired from CNN. What did the guilty parties do? They insulted our intelligence. They attacked the character of Wikileaks found Julian Assange, they pretended that the emails either didn’t exist or were fake, and—the ongoing tomfoolery to this day—they accused without evidence Russia of the leaks. Initially, before election day, the FBI found no evidence to link Russia to the leaks (and Wikileaks, who have a 100% track record for authenticity, said that Russia hadn’t given the emails to them).

Still, with the exit polls as they were, I was fairly certain that Hillary Clinton would become our 45th president. I had agreed to help cover election day with my school newspaper, and realized only after committing that I was likely to hate that night. However, as we all know now, things did not go as expected. It was very interesting to watch the disbelieving, horrified college students, as they reacted to Trump coming away with state after state: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, etc., etc. I was actually softly chuckling to myself like a crazy person. I didn’t like Trump, but I figured that if Hillary won, status quo would continue on, and people would remain asleep. Plus, I had hated her for longer than I had hated Trump. My hatred for Trump only began with the primaries, where he defeated much more seemingly viable candidates like Rubio and Kasich. I wasn’t sure I could believe a word he said; he always talked in circles. He turned the Republican primary debates into utter nonsense. Entertaining nonsense, but nonsense nonetheless. And now, he had defeated the “most qualified candidate.” How had he done this?

The aforementioned Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—the “Rust Belt” states—had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 80s. They had faithfully turned out for Obama during both of his elections. Why would they vote for Trump? Because the status quo sucked for them. Their industries (coal, steel, cars, gas, etc.) had failed them years before. They watched presidency after presidency leave them exactly where they were, furthermore. After the election, I frequently listened to NPR, who interviewed these people. The mayor of a town in Pennsylvania claimed that if ISIS were to come, they would see their town and move on, thinking someone else had already hit it. Another man, a retired coal miner, was convinced that Trump would bring back his industry. Young people were approaching him with questions about how to get into the coal mining industry, and he happily obliged. If Trump doesn’t follow through with his promises, however, the man stated that they would start looking for someone else to replace him. In any case, these people’s concerns were very real, and to some degrees life-threatening. Did Hillary supporters understand their perspective?

No. The entire voting demographic that voted for Trump was white washed as “racist white people.” Immediately after the election, Democrats were far more concerned with reassuring one another in their echo chambers that they had shoulders to cry on, that the big bad Republicans wouldn’t get them, etc., etc. Protests immediately followed, as did a resurgence in the “Russia hacker” narrative that at first had been dismissed (though never by Democrats, who would prefer to talk about military retaliation for unverified cyber attacks on another nuclear-armed nation). Still, I found the “special snowflake” dismissals to be just as irritating. It’s not as though Trump won by a significant number in several of the states he won. If he hadn’t been running against Hillary Clinton, I find it hard to believe that he would have won. She is literally the worst major candidate in modern times. She lost to Obama in 2008, and now she’s lost to Donald Trump, owner of the worst approval rating for a presidential nominee ever (she holds the second worst). The fact that she later won a “Most Admired Woman of the Year” award is dubious at best; the fuck did they poll?

Regardless, the year wore on, I bickered online with people about politics,  and videos by a guy named bearing started popping up in my related videos thing on Youtube.  He was funny, and I felt sympathetic to the contempt he showed SJWs and Feminists. My feelings for those people, in any case, goes back a ways, to when I started following the internet folk group “The Doubleclicks” because they were funny. Then when I read their stuff, I found out they were kinda assholes. The idea that any guy that is nice to a girl just wants to get in her pants started to be one that I commonly saw expressed, along with the idea that white people needed to admit that they benefited every day from being white in order to become “slightly less horrible people.”

Furthermore, I began following groups like “Secular Pro Life,” “Democrats for Life,” “Pro Life Liberals,” etc., and the way they treated their dissenters… was WAY nicer than their dissenters treated them. It was very frustrating, at times, to see these people—who responded to this shit like saints—get dogpiled on and disparaged the way they did. The circular arguments they took part in because their patient, thorough explanations for their stances were simply refuted by “no, that’s wrong. Fuck you.” To see bearing’s responses to bullshit like that was HIGHLY refreshing. He has a total lack of patience for that kind of thing, and he responds to it in a funny way. And it pisses his detractors off OH SO MUCH.

Through bearing, I found out about Teal Deer, because some SJW channel with a skull for an avatar took a potshot at him while attempting a character assassination on Teal Deer, and he responded to it. So I started watching Teal Deer’s videos, and he was making appearances on Honey Badger Radio’s “The Doge and Bunny Show.” I first started following Bunny Blackwell because… well… heh. She has a very soothing, attractive voice. Shortly after, I started watching the other Honey Badger videos, and found them all to be pretty cool people. My only knowledge of MRAs was what was provided by people complaining about them on IMDb and the like, who claimed they were a bunch of whiny “dude bros” who harassed women. The problem with that definition in relation to the Honey Badgers is that their main team consists entirely of women (unless you count Doge). These people expressed ideas that I kinda felt were true, but was uncomfortable to entertain, myself. However, hearing them say these things, I’ve come to the conclusion that, “Yeah, they’re right. Fuck militant feminists and their open misandry.”

One of Bunny’s old videos mentioned Sargon of Akkad. Bearing had also included a clip of Sargon in one of his videos—I think it was a tweet to Christie Winters, who took it as serious, even though there was context that made it obvious sarcasm. Anyway, I started watching him, too, and in one of his videos… he was drunk with Milo Yiannopoulos. My previous knowledge of Milo was what the media reported of his Twitter exchange with the lady from Ghostbusters, which made him seem like a dick. A lot of my liberal friends also believe that he is a dick, who says dangerous things about trans people and illegal immigrants. This portion of this “skeptic community” that I stumbled across is where it starts to get gray, and make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know how I feel about deporting immigrants. 50 years ago, they were already coming up here and doing their thing, and no one cared then. I get that we have laws for a reason, but I also feel we should be compassionate towards others, and breaking up families doesn’t seem all that compassionate to me. However, Obama deported more immigrants than George W Bush, so Democrats using this as a talking point are hypocrites.

There’s also the thing about the Skeptic Community being a remnant of the larger Atheist Community… and I’m still a Catholic. It doesn’t seem to matter to most of the people I follow whether one’s religious or not, although there’s occasionally insults thrown that way, which I can deal with (I went through BMT and Tech School, after all; they’re just words). I am of the mindset more and more that a kind of relativism is the best way to approach this. Whatever one chooses to believe (or not believe) is his or her own business, and whatever one chooses to do is A-okay with me as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else (aka Mill’s Harm Principle.) Furthermore, there are things I believe that make sense to me given my experiences in life, but that I cannot prove. No one will ever say anything to me that will disprove what I believe either, in my mind. That change is up to me and no one else, and a change in someone else is up to them and no one else. There are inevitable problems with this stance (how far does it go, what can be defined as “harm,” etc.), but there are inevitable problems with every Political Theory.

Regardless, I decided this past weekend to make a video in the style of a vlog, kinda. I did one scripted, didn’t care much more it, deleted it. Did another one unscripted, still felt like it was kinda crap, but uploaded it to youtube anyway, because I liked the imagery of it.

A couple of days later, I decided to do a video on “Realism vs Liberalism,” two conflicting International Policy theories, and I started it with reading from my text and having had a few beers. It was messy and awkward, and I edited out a lot of it and inserted myself doing a “let’s play” of Gunmetal Arcadia Zero, which I also didn’t like, but I put up on youtube anyway (I’m trying to find ways to promote my book, which hasn’t sold much of anything, yet).

I feel like I should be able to put a quality vlog up, but I think my two problems are 1. Not doing enough preparation, and 2. Being uneasy with seeing myself as I’m being recorded. I’ve recorded vocals plenty of times before now that turned out alright, so I think I just need to get used to it, maybe? And also do a lot of preparation on what I want to say. In any case, I will probably make another attempt at this vlog thing at some point, but I feel like my strengths and experience definitely lies in the blog (a written format).

Still, I struggle with my political perspectives. I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of different voices, who probably think I mostly agree with them. I don’t really, though… heh… I hate Trump and I hate Clinton. I hate abortions, I hate misandry. I also hate misogyny, pollution, inequality, bullying, fear-mongering, political violence… and I’m very confused, to be honest, heh. I think people overreact a lot to opposing viewpoints. I think there isn’t enough patience or understanding going around on behalf of both sides. I think that the Western World is going to suffer greatly if we can’t figure this out, because if we continue to Balkanize in the manner that we have been, we’re not going to be able to coexist anymore. My short story, “McCainites,” from a couple years ago, imagined a world where the US was divided into small city-states based on strict ideologies. It still feels like pure fantasy to me at this point, but…

“Don’t be a dick.” Is that concept too hard? To quote Bill Burr, “I dunno.” I just dunno.

Author: Thomastine

Hello, I am Thomas Aaron Hellman, AKA Thomastine. I've graduated from: West Albany High School, Linn Benton Community College, and the Community College of the Air Force. I currently take classes at Oregon State University, the best school in the world. One time, I was in the Air Force. Now, I'm not. I like to draw, write, and make music. I also like beer. And coffee. Currently, I'm tired.

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