Disjointed sociopolitical observation after the jump. Have some Gulf R8
I've noticed that I recognize that most people are not like me. That's OK. They don't believe the same things I do and they don't think like I do and they don't understand the world in the same way that I do. That's perfectly OK. I have a problem with people who believe that everyone needs to think like they do.
One of the most dangerous myths perpetuated by the media and politicians is that your countrymen who disagree with your political viewpoint are your enemies. If you think this way, you're part of the fucking problem.
I also notice that many of my friends and family would make some serious negative assumptions about me. Based on what they say and the jokes they text me or the things they share on the bookface, if most of them didn't already know me, they would think some really nasty things.
I have long hair and a bit of extra weight. Therefore I must be a worthless stoner who sits around smoking pot and eating all day. Truly, I haven't smoked in a few years and it never was habitual. Also, I'm growing my hair out because I've donated to Locks of Love in the past and I'm going to do it again. It's not just a matter of pride that I have good hair. I know I've got hair that some people would envy. If I can make a kid's life better by providing a wig while he or she is dealing with all the bullshit that comes with cancer, then it's just one little thing I can do.
Here's my fat face and the future wig, partially concealed by my wife's hat:
I have a bunch of tattoos so I must be a criminal. The fact is that the only things on my criminal record are minor traffic violations and a mischief charge from when I was 14 and stupid.
I drive an old car that isn't very quiet and is often dirty. Well, my wife and I could afford a car payment (we had one until November). The money would be better spent on school and dogs. We're making an investment to hopefully leverage an education against the future of the job market.
There are some times that we scrape by because our obligations are greater than our cash flow. My wife got sick last December, missed nearly a month of work and her short-term disability was denied. It sucked. It was stressful. We didn't have enough in savings to do anything but scrape by. We make it and keep pushing forward.
You may assume I'm lazy or stupid because I don't make a lot of money. I must have a reason. That's simply not true. I'm on my feet all day and do school work a few nights a week. Four and a half years ago, I was making nearly double what I am now. That job was eliminated when the economy took a shit. I lived on unemployment trying to find something and ended up in another call center — the stress of call center work led me to panic attacks and serious health problems.
Now I can hear their internal monologue if I would tell them these things. "Well, you're different. I KNOW you're not lazy and I KNOW you work."
The truth is that I'm not all that different. There are millions of people like me in this country. I haven't had a permanent full time job since the financial collapse of 2008. It isn't for lack of effort. I have been following every lead I can to find a full-time job but the work still isn't here. I know people who have graduate degrees who went from near-six-figure salaries to temp agencies. These are enterprising, hard-working and driven people. To see this continuing simply tells me that the system is far more broken than any of us know.
Have some Frank Turner, too. It seems an appropriate counter to the pompous, rand-friedman-hayak inspired ideology around.
For someone like me, who has part of a college degree, this is not promising. It's almost disheartening, but I have a wife who is always by my side and a pair of dogs that will always love me. They keep me going.
So whenever you find yourself with a desire to pass judgement, think about these things. The worst part about it is that some of those loved ones would tell me, "Well if you did X like I did, then you wouldn't have these problems." Although they mean well, that's an incredibly insulting statement. I am not you — I can take your advice but I need to do what's right for me.
Pardon me for ranting.