Friday, November 4, 2016

My Two Cents

I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to do this but I have to. I made it a point to not write political crap on here because I feel like this is suppose to be about working and playing and just living in the outdoors of Montana and the last thing anyone wants is to be badgered with political opinions when looking for a break from all the bull-shit. (It will be over soon.) However, a couple Facebook posts from family members and friends has forced me to share my opinions because I am actually afraid of the outcome if Trump get's elected. If you've made it this far, you're obviously curious and maybe a little unsure so read on. If you don't want to hear it, I get it. Just turn the page.

I know some of you will be turned off by this but you see, I'm not going to suppress what I believe or bury my head in the sand for a few bucks or to get some likes. I've been advised not to write this because of potentially turning some clients away from my outfitting business but again, this is bigger than me and I believe in this enough to take the chance that someone might unfriend me or unlike my blog page and I'm ok with that. I'm surprised and appalled by how this is all going down and I feel like I have to say something. To not express my feelings because I'm afraid of what that does to me and my business would make me a coward and wouldn't promote the core beliefs I feel are so important to the success of me or our country.

I'm not hiring someone because I like them (and by voting for them, I am saying I would hire them.) I'm hiring them based on merit and whether or not they have what it takes to do a job. Is there a perfect candidate on the presidential ballet? Of course not. However, clearly one candidate has similar values as I do and would fight for my family on that political stage as I would. I would want my child to live in a country where they aren't criticized and/or discriminated against for who they are whether they are gay, Black, Hispanic, female, transgendered, want to feel safe at school or just want the same opportunities for success that the next kid has. I want the person representing us as a nation to be accepting of all kinds of people and fight for equality regardless of the color of their skin or whether or not they could win some beauty pageant. And I can't believe I even have to say that in 2016.

I also want the person leading us to have the knowledge and basic communication skills to fight for what's best for our country. Both candidates have been on stage numerous times now and we can clearly see the lack of communication skills and just complete lack of understanding of the issues from Trump. If he was confident in his knowledge of the issues, he'd focus on that instead of what actually comes out of his mouth. It's embarrassing.

I get it. Hillary lied. She made mistakes. She's not perfect but what I don't understand is how people can use her transgressions as some kind of indictment against her but then somehow defend Trump. How does that work? Let's just say they've both had some questionable things in their past and then move on to what either would bring to the table.

This election comes down to a few basic things: economy, foreign policy, and human rights. Well, maybe not so basic but we need leadership from someone who understands these things. I have had the unique opportunity of spending a lot of time in the boat with some of the smartest financial people I know of as well as doctors, lawyers, and business owners. I've even fished with guys who have done business with Trump. I don't push my opinions on them and don't press them to talk about politics while they are fishing. However, I'm often asked about my opinions, which has led to some interesting and very informative discussions.

Many of my clients have worked or still do work with Goldman Sachs and other major financial institutions. To a person, they all say Trump would be a disaster to our economy because for one, he doesn't understand the benefits of international trade. Now, I'm not the smartest person on this topic either and I've been known to criticize businesses for moving factories out of the country as well as our government for allowing it but the reality is, we live in a global market now and our economy has to shift in order for us to thrive. We need to take advantage of our trade deals in order to invest in our human resources and compete on a level that goes away from producing things and more on service and maintaining our standard of living. That includes everything from international sales, logistics management and trading in the stock market to health care, assisted living, and food services to welding, plumbing and automotive maintenance and everything in between. We need to adjust our educational system to align ourselves with this global economy and we as Americans have to be ok with paying for it. This goes against everything Trump has done in is his business life and says now as a presidential candidate.

As for how Trump runs a business, none of the people I have met and fished with who have done business with him would endorse him as a candidate.

As for foreign policy, do you really want Trump negotiating with other global leaders? He has NO experience with it and he has already made a mockery out of our political system to other countries. Enough said.

Now let's tackle human rights and this is where it gets more subjective. First of all, most of you fighting to preserve the Second Amendment don't even know what you're fighting for or what the history of the amendment is. The Second Amendment was written before we had the resources to defend ourselves as a nation. In fact, the right to bare arms was more of an obligation than a right because the United States didn't have the money to fully equip an army. We had to bare arms to defend ourselves. And the weapons at that time were nothing near to what we have now. For those folks fighting to keep their assault weapons, are you also fighting to be able to construct your own weapons of mass destruction? ( And let me just ask you this: Are you also fighting for the 18 year-old in the inner-city wearing a hoody to be able to carry an AR-15?) No because you realize there's a line somewhere that makes some things a little ridiculous and compromises the safety of all of us. That's all we're fighting about. It's that line of what is acceptable and what makes us all safer and listen, nobody in power wants to take your hunting rifles and shotguns away.

All our laws including our constitution are living/breathing documents that evolve over time. In fact, the Constitution of the United States has been amended (or changed,) 27 times. Many of those changes have dealt with equal rights and discrimination. The 13th Amendment made it illegal to own slaves, which at that time, was fought against vigorously resulting in America's deadliest war. More soldiers died in the Civil War than all other wars in American history combined up until the Vietnam War. Looking back on it, it's hard to imagine that we had to fight so hard for the 13th Amendment when it seems so obviously wrong to have actually had the right to own slaves back then. Heck, even the Catholic Church has conceded things about the Bible that weren't accurate that we now look at and say, "Duh."

I know hundreds of sportsmen and women and the vast majority could care less about 30 round clips, automatic weapons, silencers, and assault rifles. The only reason people are fighting for these things is either on principle or for their own personal recreation but when does fun supersede the rest of our rights to life? That's the bottom line. Many of the weapons being sold right now at some point infringe on the rest of our rights because the wrong people use them against us and that's not ok.

Second: gay rights. Who the f@$# cares about someone else's life choices and their pursuit of happiness? It's their pursuit of happiness and if you don't like it, that sounds like a 'me' problem. Get over it.

And if you want to bring up transgendered people and whether or not some dude is going to claim to be transgendered just to hang out in the girls' locker room, there's an entirely different issue going on that needs to be addressed. There might need to be a discussion on sexual assault and inappropriate sexual behavior that seems to get overlooked in our culture and specifically with our young men but that has nothing to with someone identifying themselves as transgendered. Do you really think Trump is the person that can speak on this? Just sayin...

Health was broke. It's still broke and the pendulum has shifted too far but it did finally move in a direction where change was needed. Clinton has a record of being a centrist. Even Bill has been critical of where the Affordable Care Act has gone, which I think is fair. We need more balance but we CANNOT go back to what we had. Millions of people were not able to participate in our health care system the way it was, i.e. purchasing insurance; so instead, they went to the ER for their health care. That cost the system a ridiculous amount of money. We need to get people to invest in the system. It has to be affordable and accessible and we have to see a value in it. Health care is something we should use in order to prevent more serious issues with more serious costs. And we need to start looking at health care as a right and not a privilege. We all deserve to be able to meet certain basic needs. Our health is one of them. Trump says he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means going back to what we had, where people are trapped in jobs they can't stand because of their benefits packages and self-employed folks like myself just can't afford it. Of course all of this is speculation because all Trump says is that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act but he doesn't have a plan to replace it.

And let me just say another thing about health care. All those people out there complaining about paying for women's birth control, I'll clue you in on something; the more we educate and invest in our young people and provide the necessary means for preventing unwanted pregnancies that goes beyond just telling a girl or a guy that they can't have sex, the less we pay for it in the end. I'm happy to pay a few bucks a month for birth control for a young women or man if it saves me millions of dollars in future crimes, social costs, and jails.

Ok, now let's talk abortion. I know, I know, that's a tough one and I personally am glad to have never had to make that decision. Here's the deal. Hillary has said it as well as she can. It is not the role of the government to make the absolute hardest decision a woman can make. That comes down to the relationship she has with her family, her doctor, and her god. To depict that horrible situation as someone just wanting to "rip a baby out of her womb," is both insensitive and irresponsible. I don't understand how we can all say we don't want the government telling us how to live our lives yet, when it comes down to the most personal and difficult decision a woman can make, we all want to judge her and tell her what she can and cannot do.

As for immigration, please. Let's not be hypocrites. Our country has a history of inviting Hispanics across the border because we don't have enough people in our country to do the work Americans don't  want to do. If we didn't have immigration, we would pay three or four times as much for home-grown produce and many farmers would go under. And then, when unemployment goes up, we all blame it on those Mexicans who are taking our jobs. They aren't taking our jobs. They are doing the jobs that Americans are too proud to do. Again, I get the chance to talk to many very affluent people who benefit from immigrants coming here to work in the South and Southwest who realize the disaster that would ensue if Trump took over. Do we need reform? Yes. But we also have to consider why we have so many undocumented immigrants and be sympathetic to their circumstances and address the real issue.

And then we have Brown people...are we really talking about this? Discriminating against all people that look like they might be Muslim? This is scary, people. In 1942, Roosevelt exercised an executive order that essentially mandated the deportation and incarceration of Japanese people and allowed for a safety zone, which included the entire West Coast where no Japanese/Japanese Americans were allowed. Sixty-two percent of those folks were American Citizens! They were forced out of their homes and relocated into incarceration camps. Is that what we are going to do now? We can't kick American citizens out of the country so what's the answer? Putting all Muslims in a camp until will kill every terrorist? What does this sound like?

We want to blame everyone that doesn't look like us or hold the same beliefs as we do for our own problems and Trump is capitalizing on this. Hitler blamed the Jews for their inept economy. Trump blames the Mexicans for drugs, crime, and unemployment. He also blames all Muslims for the distain people have for our country. He lacks the humility to look at his own actions for any critique of where the actual problem comes from. Frankly, I'm afraid of how damaging such a racist and fascist leader would do to how our country is perceived on the global stage. It would be devastating not to mention just how embarrassing it is that so many Americans don't see this.

The problem with many of these issues is that we often use the "slippery slope" as a means of arguing, which is what would be called in the behavioral health field as a critical thinking error. It's an incredibly naïve and immature way of arguing that doesn't allow for  compromise, progress, or resolution. "Well, if they take our AR-15's, what's stopping them from taking my deer rifle?" We dig our heals in and we don't budge and millions of people still suffer.

We also tend to speak in absolutes and think there is a definite black and a definite white. We believe what is best for me is best for everyone. That's just not the case. I respect the decision one makes for themselves based on their religion or philosophical beliefs but your beliefs and how you were raised are not necessarily mine and do not affect how I might make difficult choices. Does that mean there is never a right or wrong? Again, you're making this black and white. No. There are some issues that by allowing one person to act however they want, infringe on other's rights like for instance, denying someone housing based on race. That's wrong but to tell someone they have to bring a baby into this world because God wants it that way, even though there's no chance the fetus is viable is not for you or the government to say. Do most of us agree that abortion shouldn't be used as birth control? I'd say yes. However, there are circumstances that come up that aren't black and white and we can't make this blanket policy based on a religion that not even the majority belongs to. And we certainly cannot punish someone for having to make such a difficult decision.

What is most frustrating in all of this is the fact that people will vote based on one issue, not realizing the impact of that candidate's stances on a multitude of other issues. Many times that one issue isn't even fairly represented and there is so much misinformation and propaganda that we don't really have the knowledge to make an informed decision so we let our emotions take over. I'm sorry but that's what the Republican Party has built now for decades by charging a base emotionally invested in guns, abortion, and discriminating against gays and certain immigrants for the purpose of ensuring the one thing they really care about; their own wealth...And now you have Trump. Now you have Trump...

We're better than that. We cannot have Trump as a president and if you need an example of why we can't vote someone in just because they are different and aren't career politicians, which I think can be valid in some cases, all you need to do is go back to 1998 and the gubernatorial race in Minnesota and you'll see Jesse "The Body" Ventura...look how that turned out. I'm not saying our system doesn't need change and that a fresh perspective wouldn't be valuable but it is not Trump. Wait until someone comes along that really warrants the opportunity and will stand for what is best for us all.

In the future, I do hope the Republicans can clearly define their position on these issues and find someone who will fight for and ideology that I feel has some legitimacy instead of what is happening now. There are definitely arguments that reflect the conservative ideology that I truly believe can bring balance to our system. The problem is we don't focus on these positions because of all the crap that get's brought up about an opponent's private life in the effort to destroy them and take out the competition. And trust me, I see it going both ways but given the way the election has gone, the Dems have to fight fire with fire and that's sad because the ideology--what really matters--is being muddled and nobody really knows what they are voting for. We don't see the left and the right for what they were designed for--two sides of a coin that can't exist without the other. We see it more as a battle ground with a line where the left and right oppose each other and will fight to win at ANY cost. And the cost is now our democracy.

Do we really want a leader like that? Someone that does anything they possibly can do to win, which includes all out lying to defeat their opponent? I was watching the development of this so-called indictment against Hillary from the FBI and it's not even true. The Trump camp can basically just say whatever they want regardless of how accurate it is and then when they are called on it, Kellyanne Conway literally says, "Oh well, the damage is already done..."

Really? So if I said, "Trump raped my sister in 2001 and then went on to shoot 15 Mexicans," and then when I was called on it all I'd have to say is, "Oh well. It's too late now. What are you going to do?" That would somehow be ok? This is an overt attempt to manipulate manipulate you, the voter and you're ok with that? 

And then we have voter suppression. The worst thing I've ever seen in manipulating the ballet came up last night where someone or some group was sending out invitations for voters to text in votes for Clinton. People would receive a text or an email that gave instructions to text the name, "Clinton" to a number and that would allow them to vote where they wouldn't actually have to go to the polls. Simple, right? Yeah, but it doesn't exist and it's just another way to keep a handful of Clinton supporters from being heard. Embarrassing. (Damn, my blood pressure just went up. I need to go shoot something.)

And lastly, if you cannot vote Hillary. PLEASE!!! Make a statement and vote third party or write someone in. That candidate won't win but if enough people vote that way, at least it will make a statement and it won't cost us as much.

Keep 'em where they live...

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