Saturday, January 21, 2017
Donald Trump is my President, and I think he is a fuck-wit.
I may not like Trump, but I really do have to accept him as my President just like he may not like me calling him a fuck-wit, but he’s going to have to accept that too.
So, for the next four years (and hopefully it won’t be that long) I intend to doubt everything about him based on his past. Give him a chance? No way—he’s a calculating jackass. And who gives a calculating jackass a second, third, or fourth chance? I saw all I needed to see during his campaigning—which was disturbing to say the least. I have all kinds of adjectives for Trump—none are favorable, and I don’t see anything on the horizon that will make me think differently. I’ll never rule out the possibility of having something good to say about the douche, but I’m doubtful. He’s dug himself in pretty deep as I see it.
But, for the record I am willing to admit I’m wrong about anything to do with Trump if it ever comes to that. In fact, I would prefer such an outcome. This is one time I don’t want to be right.
Which reminds me; people don’t like to admit they are wrong and they don’t like to say “I’m sorry.” In this day and age, it seems more true than ever. And that’s the scary part. Too many of the proud Trump voters will probably stick to their guns even when the most casual observer has concluded Trump is every bit the fraudster we said he was. When the economy tanks, when the good-paying manufacturing jobs never materialize, when crime starts rising again—and God forbid—the nukes come raining down on the world, the mouth-breathers of the United States will find someone else to blame. I betcha Obama will be the scapegoat.
As a voter who voted for the loser, it’s important for me to point out here that the uproar over this President, isn’t about Republicans winning and Democrats losing. It’s about an asshole running the country. It’s about an asshole fooling a lot of good people. It takes a fool to vote for a fool, but Trump roped many others with his little feat of political sorcery—competent, smart, and reasonable people. Nevertheless, I suspect many of them will come to regret that choice someday.
Had Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, or even Ted Cruz won the election, nothing would be going on like it is today—nothing like it at all. Oh sure, there would be some cracks at one of those new Presidents (no worse than G.W. Bush or Obama), but Donald Trump is in a class all on his own, and it’s a very, very low class—where the greasiest, double-dealing snake-oil salesmen dwell. You voted for Rubio over Hillary, I get’cha. But, you voted for Trump over Hillary (or anyone)! What the fuck, man!
So, as this shit-show of a Presidency unfolds, I will remain optimistic as I anticipate the day when Donald Trump is a broken and demoralized man—more so than the day of Dylan Roof’s execution.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Racism isn’t just politically incorrect, it’s wrong. And sadly, this still has to be said as 2016 comes to an end.
I’m not an expert on racism, but sooner or later we all end up in conversations about it, and like it or not, we end up speaking our mind. I’ve done so before on this blog and after watching a disturbing video recently, perhaps this is a good time to say something about it again—in particular, “reverse racism” since it is gaining traction in light of our new President and his followers.
Over the years, I’ve heard my share of White folk now and then talk about “reverse racism”—stating events where they or someone they know (also White) have experienced it. It kind of makes sense if you don’t think too hard about what they are saying, but I’ve never bought into this fabricated concept, and here’s why.
Racism is something that is dealt out by a majority. Now, if you are White and living in a neighborhood where a minority of our country’s citizens are the majority, you might experience racism at the local level, but you won’t have much to worry about beyond that neighborhood. However, if you’re a minority of our country, you probably have plenty of stories in your life where you have experienced the ugliness of racism no matter where you live.
Many see minority and majority in terms of numbers only. But, those who possess the greatest power easily become the majority as well—see Apartheid South Africa circa 1960s. Here in the United States, Whites make up over 60% of the population and the closest contestant to that are Latinos at a paltry 16%, with Blacks coming in at 12.2%. Given this math and the excessive distribution of power doled out to Whites in government and business, it’s safe to say that Caucasians are indisputably safe as our country’s majority.
It’s also important to keep in mind that racism is based on two important concepts that minorities don’t have much of, and therefore can not exercise: power and privilege. Look no further than the disproportionate arrest and sentencing for people of color vs. Whites when it comes to… say, drug crimes. Further, Whites are certainly less likely to experience racial profiling and when arrested, will almost certainly have superior legal representation compared to those of color. Finally, the odds favor Whites when it comes to talking themselves out of an arrest—especially if it is a White police officer.
The bottom line is this: you can’t make a legitimate claim as a victim of racism providing you’re a member of the majority.
And while you’re at it, don’t get confused when it comes to angry words, protests or fights for equality as some form of racism. This is simply (and understandably) an unpleasant response from centuries of White privilege and power. Civility is nice if you can get it, but not everyone who has experienced racism is going to be nice about it when it comes up in discussion. Being a pollyanna about such discussions will only confirm how comfortable you truly are in your White privilege—which probably means you are a racist.
Lastly, I read this not long ago:
Making a racist statement is a manifestation of racist culture; being “mean” isn’t. For Whites, it can be difficult to be confronted with the reality of racism, and with comments from people of color about how privilege and power operate. It’s tempting to take such comments personally and to insist that people of color are being “mean,” which is often a hop, skip, and a jump away from an accusation of reverse racism. —S.E. Smith
I’m unsure if there will ever be a time in the future when being a member of the majority won’t be a privilege. However, as long as that’s the case, along with your privilege you should include several good measures of accountability, compassion and an ability to absorb criticism or insults that may not be as personal as you think. It’s a puny price to pay.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
For the record, here’s some definitions that I scrounged up on these two terms:
Critic: a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something, the practice of judging the merits and faults of something.
Complainer: one who states a grievance, an expression of displeasure.
Critic: a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something, the practice of judging the merits and faults of something.
Complainer: one who states a grievance, an expression of displeasure.
I’ve certainly “shot my wad” as the expression goes. Translation: I’ve spoken up enough times—especially in those instances when no one else did—that anything I say from here on is for the most part greeted as, “Oh, that’s just Morgan complaining again. He’s always complaining about something.”
In contemplating these two terms, I’ve stumbled onto many famous quotes that defend and attack the critic/complainer.
In the corner attacking criticism/complaining, there are the following:
“Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.” —Emmet Fox
“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” —unknown
“If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant.” —Chris Brogan (Akin to “If you don’t like it, leave.”)
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” –Benjamin Franklin
“Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining, faultfinding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.” —Joyce Meyer
And in the corner defending the critic/complainer, we have these:
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” —Frank A. Clark
“I like criticism. It makes you strong.” —LeBron James
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” —Winston Churchill
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public.” —Theodore Roosevelt
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” —Norman Vincent Peale
“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” —Johannes Kepler
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I relate more to those quotes that defend the critic while those who attack it strike me as thin-skinned do-gooders who are actually up to no-good.
In the last four years or so, I’ve been relatively quiet in my critiques, which can be verified by looking at the frequency of posts to this blog. Some friends have even noted it as well saying things like, “You’ve been pretty quiet lately—what’s going on?”
I must confess that the election of Donald Trump and everything that he brings (and doesn’t bring) to the Presidency has awakened me. Yep, critical posts to Facebook and my little circle of like-minded friends (mostly) isn’t good enough any longer. So, here I am.
Further, rather than critiquing something about the President-elect here or some other important issue in our world or nation, I’d like to offer up this critique to those who are a little closer to me—those who have patted me on the back at some point in the past and told me quietly, “I’m so glad you said that, I feel the same way.”
Well, the time has come and Morgan has used up a good chunk of his “cred” in all of his critiques. Which means it’s time for you to speak up and say those things that you have been content with only hearing from those like me. Yep, imagine… just imagine if you are the one who speaks up before me, or along with me, instead of sitting on your hands. Imagine yourself and a few others speaking up instead of being silent. Suddenly, it’s not, “That’s just ‘Tirade Tyree’ spouting off again,” but now there are several who feel this way and maybe, just maybe others will consider the critique and take it seriously and perhaps even get behind it as well. And the next thing you know, change is unfolding before us all.
So, quit patronizing me or others when no one else is around. Get off your ass and speak up for those things you believe in and call out wrong when it is sitting right in front of you. Quit caring about how you come out in the local or national popularity contest and make a stand.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
|America Becomes Great Again|
Those who proclaim “Not My President” in light of the recent Presidential election outcomes, are catching quite a bit of shit these days—and most of it coming from those who supported the winner, Donald Trump.
I’m not sure when, where, or who came up with this popular phrase, but it certainly wasn’t conceived as the election results poured in on the night of November 8, 2016.
I remember after the election of 2008 seeing newly minted bumper stickers with this phrase in my community. Now, it would be easy for me to stop here and lay the blame on the Republican, conservative-minded folk for coming up with this brand. Further, it really felt racist given how we had just elected the first Black President (even if half Black). But, I live in a heavily Republican state—so heavy that it would surely vote for a turd excreted from a Republican over a highly-qualified Democrat—and in hindsight, I suspect it was only new to me back then. Surely this same slogan was being tossed around in Democratic strongholds following the election of George W. Bush.
So, as to the origins of this phrase, it probably isn’t as new as many of us think. And like all things that become popular, wherever it truly originated, it probably didn’t get much fanfare when it was first blurted out, but over the years—with the election of each new President—it has gained some traction.
Akin to these slogans, Presidential “nicknames” have become quite popular as well. Ones that come to mind are “Slick Willie” for Clinton, “Dubya” for George W. Bush, “Obummer” for Obama, and surely something is brewing in the wings for Donald Trump—“The Donald,” “Pussy-Grabber,” and “The Dump” are surely strong contenders as I write this.
I know these phrases and nicknames are somewhat new relative to our country’s existence. There was a time when almost all people respected the President and considered him (but sadly “never her” ) their President. But those days are gone. Are we less respectful today than say, the 1840s? Perhaps. But, I would simply lay the blame on our greater connectedness and that more people have a voice today thanks to the vast and economical communication networks that are in place. Like Gutenberg’s metal moveable type invention that lead to greater literacy for the masses, the same has taken place providing a greater voice for the individual.
Saturday, May 02, 2015
|Photo by Hananiah Aldrich|
There are a lot of folk out there in my little community of Powell, Wyoming that think I dislike everything about this town, its college (Northwest College) and even the state of Wyoming. So, I’m here to declare that, “It just ain’t so (in a Wyoming accent).” I’m critical of many things that I care about, but in this day and age of thin-skinned Pollyannas, anyone who is critical about something is immediately painted as a hater or Debbie-downer.
To be honest though, there are things that go beyond my critique and thus deserve my disdain—those same Pollyannas come to mind.
Here’s what I’m talking about: I’m critical of our Wyoming culture that seems to reward and reinforce overly macho behavior. I’d like to see that toned down a bit in the near future. Besides, it’s sooooo cliché. What I dislike are those assclowns who adopt and embrace this trumped-up virile behavior—in particular those who feel the need to modify the exhaust systems of their gigantic 4x4, quad-cab diesel-powered pickup trucks while incessantly revving their engines everywhere they go. I can’t think of a better illustration of a textbook douchebag.
Contrary to all of this, I served as a drag contest judge the other night on the campus of Northwest College. It was absolutely fun, entertaining and delightful—and as I was sitting there watching men (and women) compete for the best drag contestant on campus, I thought to myself, “You know what this town needs are a few more drag queens and kings and a lot less knuckle-dragging, macho-oozing, look-at-me-because-I-drive-a-loud-diesel-pickup-truck douchebags.”
Perhaps this sentiment has to do with a little incident I had the other day when I flagged down one of these John Wayne, chest-beaters (a.k.a., assclown) as he was doing about 45 mph through the middle of campus and about to run a stop sign. When he hit his breaks and rolled down his window in bewilderment, I calmly said, “Hey man, it’s 25 mph through campus and that’s a stop sign you just went through.” In so many words he retorted that I don’t tell him what to do and after a few more exchanges the dude started to get out of his 4x4 to duke it out with me. I mean honestly, I can’t think of a better example of testosterone-induced rage. You’re breaking the law and endangering the public, someone calls you out on it and you want to fight them… what the fuck, man?!
I’m not sure if I could have whipped him, but if it had come to that, and I ended up having the upper hand, I would have trashed his 4x4 Silverado too. I suppose if it went the other way, he probably would have done the same to my longboard.
With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to make a challenge to our little community of Powell… How about we all start calling out these hotheads in their rude and self-centered behavior when they are breaking the law, endangering others or simply being disrespectful of peace and quiet. This used to be a quiet little town, but in the past five years, it has transformed into a noisy and belligerent little town. And while we’re at it, let’s see if we can encourage enough students to enter the drag contest next year—perhaps even double its participants.
Let’s bring down the machoism a notch and lift up the drag. It’ll be good for Powell.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Growing up in Akron, Ohio, it’s possible that I was the first kid with a skateboard—and if I wasn’t, certainly one of the first. My board came to me by way of California following a holiday out West in the mid-1960s. I have a hunch that few of today’s more youthful riders have ever seen a skateboard like my first one—with it’s short, narrow wooden deck, and steel wheels. Perhaps it was a sign of my fate, but even as a youngster, I learned how to slide the wheels on our smooth, sloped concrete driveway that dumped onto the rough chip-seal of Stevenson Avenue.
• • •
For the next several years, I pushed the G&S pinner around my flat, little town of Powell, located in the high desert country of Wyoming, but unlike a true enthusiast, I never entertained the idea of taking it further.
Despite the flack directed at Original (a longboard maker) from the longboarding community (and I'm not sure why this is either), I’ll confess here that it was an Original video on YouTube that blindsided me one day and made me start thinking about that old G&S in a new light.
Polecat Bench is a hybrid of mesa and plateau dominating the Powell horizon from the north to the northwest direction—rising 500-feet above the town. The “Bench” (as we call it) is the closest recreational destination for the locals—whether it’s riding an ATV or mountain bike, arrowhead or bird hunting, or just a place to look over the land in quiet solitude. It is also home to the community airport and a gas refinery beyond the airport. Connecting these operations with the community is State Route 295 (also known as “Road 9”) which includes about 1.5 miles of sloped asphalt that climbs the Bench at a five-percent grade. For the most part, there is very little traffic on this road-to-nowhere except for an occasional truck hauling crude or refined petroleum product along with the pickup trucks of those few who work at the refinery. The highway is absolutely deserted on Sunday mornings, and even when there is an occasional car or truck, you can see it coming with ample time to get out of the way.
• • •
Living in the country’s least populated state, people are pretty spread out. No matter who you are, what your interest or profession might be, there’s always an element of isolation and with it comes a lack of feedback from others like you. This is certainly my situation as an over-the-hill downhill longboard rider. Late this summer I met a college student who has ridden the hill and he has a few other friends that are curious about longboarding as well. It will be interesting to see if we ever evolve into a micro-community.
• • •
Saturday, July 05, 2014
I’m reminded of a hangover. It’s 9:15 in the morning on July 5, 2014.
Discarded fireworks casings and packaging are strewn about the high desert of Wyoming—well, at least in one particular pull off about halfway up the Powell Airport hill that climbs Polecat Bench. As I walk by, I wonder how many other places just beyond the town proper of Powell and other Wyoming communities are suffering from the same fallout of freedom’s celebration.
The great expanses beyond any community in Wyoming (like the one described above) see very little traffic throughout the day or year. As a result, these remnants of our independence commemoration remain as an ugly reminder long after the largest of roadkills have been picked over by various scavengers—long after having rotted, dried up, and blown away by the wind.
And so I wonder, “Why do people have the need to go out to an empty place like this and light off their fireworks, only to leave the spent casings behind? Why can’t they do it in their towns where the remnants are more likely to be picked up by the street cleaner or other property owners?
Who are these people?
I think it’s wrong to generalize or stereotype about people, but it’s hard not to as I consider who would commit such a crime or sin on the land we hold so dearly in our heart—Wyoming… America… you know, “land of the free, home of the brave?”
My answer about who is responsible is dead on, although I have no proof.
The people that leave their spent fireworks casings abandoned in the desolate high desert are the same folk who leave their bullet-riddled belongings behind after shooting it up as target practice—refrigerators, 55-gallon drums, old computers, TVs… you name it. If it’s no longer needed, it’s fair game to become a target and then forsaken to an eternity as a desert eyesore.
Again, who are these people? Beyond pyromaniacs, they are banner-waving ‘Mericans who throw around clichés like, “freedom ain’t free.” They’ll proudly tell you, they love America—and the bumper stickers on their big and loud diesel, quad-cab, four-by-four pick-ups prove it. They love the U.S. and Wyoming, but they hate the President. They are the least tolerant people you’ll ever meet and you can bet they have plenty of guns to back up their narrow-minded, Fox-News-driven ideas and opinions.
But, be assured, they don’t love America. Actually they just love themselves and everything about their life. They see themselves as the center of the Universe and are the most disrespectful, self-serving and self-centered folk you will ever meet. Nevertheless, they know how to whoop it up with fireworks when the Fourth of July rolls around each year.