Democracy’s funeral

I don’t subscribe to cable service. I haven’t had live TV since I lived in Sydney, Australia, and that was never really an option once we subscribed to Quickflix (Australian Netflix).

I have no live TV at home, therefore, I have no “other channel” to tune into on January 20. Big Brother can’t track my interest in the History Channel or National Geographic, instead of the inauguration. Shouldn’t have typed that keyword. Should not have typed that.

I read about how viewership worked and how there are nominated viewer families today, and how non-measured families don’t really matter because of how extrapolation to 7 million viewers occurs.

Patton Oswalt in his Facebook post last night tried to tell me how it really worked. He was throwing spaghetti to a wall and hoping it sticks. It didn’t for me; I still don’t get it. Long story short, I liken viewership to proxy voters. Math. Hard. Sad! “What have I become??? Writing like he tweets???” *maniacal laughter, tears*

Point. Right. Like Ellen DeGeneres, I do have one.

Love him or hate him, it’s time for everyone to grow up and work with Donald Trump. Or so I’m told.

We fought tooth and nail. We hit all 5 stages of grief like it was Coachella, and then got backstage passes. We signed petitions for the Electoral College to prove itself useful. We held the media accountable despite arrows from “he who must not be named”. Now we have to work with him??? You have got to be kidding me.

I thought about it for, like, a second, and I realized… I’ve worked with people like him before.

My advice? Take furious notes (detailed, dated, corroborated where possible), cc HR (the media?) and bring them to any meetings/interactions if possible, and Cover. Your. Ass. Like radioactive astronaut suit cover.

I wanted to wear black today, mourning the death of democracy. I didn’t. I wore instead my dad’s flannel shirt. I’m going through today by honoring and remembering my father, instead of tuning in to the American Circus Shitshow Extravaganza. He used to wear it when I was a kid. I’m channeling my inner optimist despite every inclination to spiral into a dark depression for the next 4-8 years.

My parents fucked with me. Once I’d exhausted my mom, she would tell me to go tell my dad he wanted me, basically getting rid of me. I didn’t get what she was telling me to say at the time. So I waddled up to my dad and said like she said, “Dad, Mom says to tell you you want me?” Don’t shoot the messenger. Then once it tumbled out my mouth, I realized my mom had pawned me off on him. He’d chuckle, audibly or with his eyes, and inevitably involve me in whatever he was doing at the time. He’d break it down to the point of unbearable minutia. Educational. Like PBS educational. Like, pay him money to shut up educational.

My father was a very private man. Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation reminds me so much of my father, it’s uncanny. From the gruffness to the mustache. He didn’t have an easy childhood. Despite his faults, he was a really good dad when he had his dad hat on. He wasn’t one for online banking platforms despite being a Silicon-Valley-in-the-80’s techie. He never wanted to hand people working Costco exits his receipt because he felt it violated his privacy, so he’d get into arguments with them on our way out. He didn’t believe in cloud computing or shared networks, or Facebook. He was a private, gruff man. I see his point.

This Inauguration Day, I think I need to throw out a shout-out to my Kung Fu Panda Popfarts. I think I’m going to honor my dad. I think he voted for Barack Obama. I think he loved me. I think he’d watch this inauguration like the Hobbit, or Star Wars, or Dune, or Rome. He’d be entertained. He’d go see it in the theater, only to fall asleep. He’d know that this was a total joke. That Donald was merely a reality TV star after ratings. But he’d see it as art, too. He’d smoke some weed and laugh. He’d hold his ground on voting staunchly liberal. He’d make it all better, for me.

I remember when I was 17, I bought my aunt’s 1988 Toyota pickup truck off of her when she wanted to buy a new car. I learned how to drive a stick in that car. I only had one “accident” in it that I couldn’t take care of myself. It wasn’t really an accident. It was stupid, really.

I was parked in our garage while both of them were at work to keep my un-air-conditioned little Yoda a bit cooler in the warm San Jose summers, and I was going to drive the kids next door I was either babysitting or hanging out with to 7-11 for a summertime slurpee, or to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. It’s a bit fuzzy around the edges. 20 years does that to you.

Anyway, I opened the garage door, as we did not have an electric door, back then. I started my truck with one leg hanging out the driver’s side door. Summer heat. Summer vacation. Brain vacation. I threw the gearshift into reverse and began backing up… but I hadn’t shut my driver’s side door. Bent. Backwards. On the garage door frame. In front of the kiddos. Fuuuuuuuuck.

My dad, within 24 hours, had gone to a pick’n’pull, located a beige 1988 Toyota pickup with an in-tact driver’s side door, paid $200 (1/6th of the price I paid for the whole damn truck), and had it installed. Not all heroes wear capes.

Granted, some of the door’s ligaments didn’t exist. Some were literally rubberbands I put there to keep the door from swinging all the way 180 degrees open. Beige on white was absolutely intolerable as well, so within another 72 hours, I’d procured touch up paint in 3 shades of blue: slate/silver, turquoise, and royal, and had an ocean wave painted on that beige door. White touch up paint around the window to frame it out, because details.

I honestly don’t remember if I thanked my father for what he did and how quickly he did, and meant it. He fixed it. He didn’t get many opportunities, and he didn’t rise to every opportunity. But he did then.

My dad would watch beautiful women go by. I’d see his eyes having to look at them as they walked by. In those moments, I told myself that was not the kind of person I wanted to be, and I didn’t like that. But even in making mistakes themselves, our parents teach us things about the way we want to be. Perhaps the reason I am so plain myself is to dodge the gazes of men like that. But I digress.

He never once grabbed them by the genitals though, or bragged about what he could do to them. I would like to think, given the chance, he’d draw the line there, somehow pull off daddy of the year by insulting Donald Trump, putting him in his place, dishonoring him publicly, ruining every narcissistic thought in his head, and knocking some sense into him. I mean, I might be reaching for the stars, but maybe he’d try. He’d know Donald Trump was a terrible person.

So into today I go. In the immortal words of Boyz II Men, “I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.” I’ll have to take my memories of a scandal-free White House and classy first family to be my sunshine the next 4-8 years.

I’ll miss you, Obamas. Like Joe Biden in one last meme, I don’t wanna be Obamaself.

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The future appears bleak. I had little to no hope in general in life going into this. I was not prepared for this on November 8, and I’m not ready for this now. He is not my new normal.

I’m no stranger to having to accept that which I do not like. It can be nigh on impossible when what you must accept goes against everything in your mind, heart and soul. When it’s so against your grain, you feel no point in existing in the same universe as what you must accept. Swallowing bitter pills doesn’t get easier with experience, contrary to popular belief. If anything, it’s worse. We would like to think we’re too old for this. We deserve better. It’s not really happening. Alas. Here we are.

When I see you at democracy’s funeral (or when I don’t, since I won’t be viewing the inauguration live), don’t say hi. My sunglasses are my armor. My headphones play silence, worn only for appearance of preoccupation. Don’t make eye contact, or I’ll cry. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

There was so much time to do what we wanted. So many steps forward in 8 years. So much growth. We’re not perfect, but we tried. Only to be cut off. By this American Circus Shitshow Extravaganza. We’re all grieving, in our own ways.

Today, surround yourself with art, music, love, bohemia, everything cultural and original and real. Everything this “administration” is against. Protest in whatever way you feel comfortable. Make a memory. Hug your loved ones. Take solace in a shared grief.

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You must be this tall to ride

All aboard – dear readers, I invite you to join me on my train through Politicsland. As a rule, it’s not ever preferred dinner conversation, right up there with religion, gun control, death penalty, foreign policy, euthanasia, and a woman’s right to choose. It’s definitely news, this weekend.

Obama is in San Francisco this weekend, just so happens to be Fleet Week as well. Planes have been doing test runs over the city to prep for the events. Apparently, Obama is in town doing a little fundraising for the Democratic National Party. He apparently landed at SFO in AirForceOne this afternoon, right around the same time I was zooming past the airport on my way home after a client meeting.

I have a suggestion for his fundraising campaign while he’s here in the city– he should totally sell jello shots at one of my favorite bars in the Castro (the gay neighborhood of San Francisco, for those who are not familiar.) If he sold jello shots over the weekend, or dished up bottomless mimosas or spicy bay-seasoning rimmed bloody marys in one of our favorite brunch spots, San Franciscans would give him all our pocket money and then some.

We chat up our bartenders and make friends. If Obama was mixing my drink, in a presidential apron with the sleeves of his collared shirt rolled up and his tie tucked in said shirt, pausing with me for a photo opportunity all the while, well I’d tip him some money for his campaign. A good president needs skills – and I’m talking behind the bar. In fact, if he brought a portable credit card machine, or had an iPad point of purchase like in the Apple store, even better. It’s all about how you spin the event too – don’t make us buy the drinks – give us the booze for free, and that will encourage us to tip even more. Write that down, you’re gonna want that later, Barack. Can I call you Barack? Niiiice. *elbow bump*

Despite the criticism Obama has received for not fulfilling his initial campaign promises to gays and lesbians, I must say, a surprising amount of people I know take pride in our president. The way people in foreign countries view him lets Americans show our faces when we’re abroad. We don’t need to pretend to be Canadians, or qualify our nationality “I’m American… but I definitely didn’t vote for Bush!”

I know Barack Obama has been good for America, so honestly, I, for one, can’t hold it against him. At this point, our economy was on life support, the deficit was staggering, and Bush left us with the emotional and financial aftermath of his oil-fueled war on terror. Barack Obama basically got tagged in to go clean up the mess Lil George-y made.

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This would be a great time to mention a gem of a TV show a friend introduced me to back in 2007: Lil Bush. It’s like Muppet Babies meets South Park, with child versions of the politicians you knew and loved at the time. Lil Dick Cheney even uses the sounds “Rah-rah-rah!” communicating with muffled sounds like Kenny on South Park. There’s Lil Condi Rice and Lil Rummy, Donald Rumsfeld. Lil Hillary, Lil Barack, and Lil Al Gore are the gang of Lil Dems antagonizing the republican kindergarteners. Brilliant. The show’s premise is based on Lil George making choices without thinking about consequences, and learning to be president through the eyes of a child (of which, some would argue he is the mental equivalent.)

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Obama is a great leader. He goes to the gym. He eats his vegetables. He’s a Leo, a racial minority and he’s the first African-American president. That’s a lot of pressure, to be the first for a nation, and he has the large responsibility of fixing a lot of things that are broken in America right now. The man only makes $400,000 a year. While that’s still more than I make, he doesn’t get paid nearly enough for the shit he has to deal with on a daily basis. There are times when I feel like I don’t get paid enough for the crap I have to put up with, but goddamn-right I’ll keep my mouth shut if he’s around.

I remember when he was elected in 2008, it was a bittersweet victory. I lived just off of Market Street, and could see the main thoroughfare from my studio window. People were happy he won, marching in the street from Castro Street to Civic Center, but San Franciscans had to simultaneously deal with a majority “Yes” vote on California’s Prop 8. If you recall, Prop 8 eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry. That, of course, was overturned later. Now, same sex couples can happily get married in California. Only took 7 years. Now, even more importantly, they can get divorced.

Generally, I’m not one to get into longwinded discussions on politics. Frankly, it bores me. There are so many other things I prefer to talk about first, before I’ll dip my toe in the water of public policy and government. I’d probably suggest everything else first, including, “Hey! Let’s go ride bikes,” to get out of having to talk about politics with someone. That goes double when the person who knows politics knows a hell of a lot more about it than I do. Ever hear that saying, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight”? I avoid that gunfight altogether. I’m a lover, not a fighter.

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I mean, I care enough to be a registered voter – I actually made sure I reregistered when I got my new apartment. Even if it meant I’d probably end up with jury duty in the not too distant future. However, I feel there are a lot of things on the ballot that are a waste of time and funds and energy better spent elsewhere. So I guess that means I do have an opinion.

I hope that Hillary Clinton runs in the next presidential election. I found that in 2007, when Obama was selected over Hillary for the Democratic party, I really would have been happy with either of them. I am a woman, so maybe Hillary had the edge for me. I liked both candidates. Like one of my favorite sketches, where Amy Poehler impersonates Hillary (while Tiny Fey does an amazingly accurate Sarah Palin), “You know, Sarah, looking back, if I could change one thing, I probably should have wanted it more!” I think it’s about time we had the pantsuit in the White House.

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As a total aside, if Rachel Maddow asked me on a date, I would so totally say yes. If she were to interview me on my political views, I would probably respond with something sarcastic like, “Oh, you mean glorious vistas of Washington DC?” The fact is, this year I plan to read the literature, and make a semi-educated vote. She could teach me politics… I’d go to office hours. I’m just sayin’…

One thing I really admired in Australia (and it recently came up with the vote in Scotland as to whether to separate from the UK), is that there is compulsory voting there. Everyone votes. If you don’t, you are breaking the law. Don’t get me started on the confusion between an American liberal and an Australian “liberal.” I will, however, acknowledge the strong sense of community over simply complying with law and voting.

Most people may still not be educated in the laws and what the candidates stand for, and they may vote the same way their parents do. At least they show up in Australia, though, and make their vote count. America needs to replace the complacency and laziness of the people who choose not to vote. It is our constitutional right.

True, we also have the right to bear arms, and that doesn’t mean I necessarily feel the need to exercise that right. I definitely utilize my right to free speech. We also have the right to drink – it’s the 21st amendment, look it up.

This is where the kiddie ride through Politicsland ends, and I leave you disembarking passengers to the follow the arrows to the exits. I hope you enjoyed this surficial meander through Walden Puddle on a topic that probably deserves a whole pond. That’s as good as it gets with me.