So what is the Republican party going to do to discredit Donald Trump?

They’re going to have to do something–they can’t allow him to be the nominee. In fact, that’s what I keep hearing: “Reince Priebus is going to do something.” But what? I’m racking my brains and, for the life of me, can’t come up with what that will be. So far, Trump has been saying offensive thing after offensive thing, and still going up in the polls. He attacks Latino immigrants–up in the polls. He attacks a Fox News host–up, up, up.

Since a lot of Trump’s appeal stems from his outsider cred, it might be possible for his opponents to undermine him if they can somehow portray him as an insider–a moderate or on the side of the Democrats. But right now, that doesn’t seem to be working either. He came right out and said he likes single payer health care at the debates. He’s fine with Planned Parenthood. His fans don’t care.

So what will the Republicans do? As we speculated, my mother came up with an elegant solution. “If it gets too close to the convention and he’s still the frontrunner, they’ll just shoot him.” I wonder if they could get away with that? They could always claim they mistook his hair for a lion….

On the other side, the Democrats are stuck with a similar dilemma. I’m sure they’ll want to get rid of Bernie Sanders. Perhaps they can do so by making the argument that he would be unelectable in the national contest. But that argument is getting harder to make as Bernie rises in the polls and Hillary continues to sink into her e-mail scandal. What happens if Hillary is too wounded to go on and Bernie sticks around?

I’ve got enough cynical faith in our country’s political machine to believe that we will, in the end, get the designated mainstream nominees we were meant to have in the first place. But the plotline of how we arrive there could be very interesting indeed to follow…stay tuned!

My last post came from a place of pessimism, but that isn’t the full story. If I want to be truthful, I need to write about the flipside, the things which are keeping me active and keeping me going. Most of all, it’s the people I’ve met–wonderfully stubborn, gutsy people who don’t give up and continue fighting. They have reminded me of the way I used to care and the way I still care.

More than that, the groups I’ve become involved with aren’t just idealistic, they’re also pragmatic and they bring results. Change happens. Some examples of what has become reality: The Bus Project is responsible for Oregon’s shiny new motor voter law, which makes sure that anyone with a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote–this at a time when voter rights are suppressed in other parts of the country. They have also pioneered the Fresh Start Initiative, which expunges minor marijuana-related infractions from criminal records. Because if marijuana is now legal in Oregon anyway, what’s the point of these incidents haunting individuals for years to come? This initiative not only passed the Oregon legislature–Representative Earl Blumenauer is now planning to turn it into a U.S. Congress bill.

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending even more time with the awesome folks at Oregon Climate, who are working to implement an innovative carbon fee & dividend plan. They had a bill in both the House and Senate in our last state legislative session, and have succeeded in passing multiple carbon pricing city council resolutions. Pretty impressive when you realize that they started out as a couple of friends talking about climate change in their living room.

And since I’m giving a shoutout to worthwhile organizations anyway, let me mention the Oregon Working Families Party and Fair Shot Oregon, both advocating for a $15 minimum wage. Thanks to them, the minimum wage issue is expected to be on the ballot in 2016.

I can tune out all the nonsense that is being spouted in national politics when I focus on the activists getting stuff accomplished locally. Local political engagement is hard work, and it doesn’t get the glamour or the media attention that the nationwide spectacle does, but it’s where things really get done. It’s more than worth the time and effort.

Finally, this post is a bit of an apology along with an explanation. My involvement with these local organizations is the reason for my posts becoming more infrequent lately. Between my full time day job and my spare time political activities, my schedule has become a little squeezed. I’m definitely not giving up on the blog, because I love writing, but may not be here as frequently as I have before. Sorry and a very grateful thank you to the people who have continued to visit ;)

First off, let me say that I tend to be pessimistic about most aspects of American politics. I was pessimistic about the chances of Obama winning re-election in 2012. And I was totally wrong about that. So, grain of salt and all that.

I’m not optimistic about Bernie Sanders.

Everyone I know on the left is super excited about Bernie. And why not? I get it. I love what he has to say too. But I’m not so sure the general American public is ready for him. The Bernie supporters that I’ve spoken to claim that it is. Perhaps they’re encouraged by Obama getting elected and then re-elected. But Obama has spent his presidency governing more like a moderate Republican, and half the country STILL believes that he is an evil Communist. So I’m a little worried about the chances of a self-proclaimed Socialist.

And I’m very worried about the chances of Scott Walker getting the Republican nomination, since that is the direction I believe the GOP is heading in. Scott Walker makes me nervous. I’m an American worker, and he’s got a legacy of either doing or trying to do awful things to the workers in his state. Keep in mind, this is the pessimist talking–I believe he could win the whole thing. I think he could easily beat Bernie, as Scott has a way of pretending that he’s a centrist during his campaigns. He will portray himself as the moderate and Bernie as the fringe candidate.

What are some of the things I fear a President Walker doing? Reclassifying overtime pay law, so that fewer jobs qualify for it. Killing the weekend and the 40 hour work week, as the Republicans in Wisconsin wanted to do. Repealing the ACA. Privatizing Medicare. I don’t buy for a second that there wouldn’t be any difference between a Hillary presidency and a Walker presidency. Yeah, most Democrats are part of the corporate system too, but none of them are going to go after the average worker in the aggressive way that Walker will.

Of course, Bernie would be perfect at addressing all these issues. Sadly, America just isn’t progressive enough for him. Maybe there’s been a deeper and faster demographic shift than I realized. Otherwise, I don’t see it.

I should add that if Bernie does become the Democratic nominee, I will definitely support him and put time and effort into working for his election. Until then, I remain cautious.

One thing is for sure–volunteering for Hillary’s local campaign should be a lot of fun. I expect to get abuse from both sides, the conservatives *and* the Bernie supporters. Bring it on! I’ve always enjoyed a good debate.

I miss the way guys used to dress.

Today’s masculine look doesn’t quite do it. Baseball caps. Even worse, backwards baseball caps. Wife beaters and droopy pants. Boring suits and ties.

A couple of friends and I visited an exhibit at the art museum this week. There were some plump ladies getting kidnapped by Greek gods, a lot of paintings of severed heads (reminding me that ISIS is nothing new), but I couldn’t get my mind out of the portrait section. Because, man, those eighteenth century gentlemen had style. I had forgotten about those amazing fashions I first fell in love with way back in the Amadeus movie. The wigs with the ponytails and fancy ribbons. The fantastic stockings and shoes with gold clasps. Why don’t men dress like that anymore? Well, okay…probably because people on the street would point and laugh at them. But hey, I’d be a huge fan!

This is one of the reasons why I’ve always been crazy about Prince. The little man is not afraid to be beautiful. He can rock the ruffles and high heels, and do so with complete confidence. Now there’s a deity who can kidnap me anytime.

Then again, if I demand that guys put more elaborate effort into their outfits, shouldn’t I be doing the same myself? Wouldn’t that mean having to wear giant frilly dresses, petticoats and corsets? Since I’m writing this in my pyjamas, I’m the last person who should be offering fashion critiques. Modern convenience cuts both ways.

All right, I’m not willing to spend fifteen minutes every morning lacing myself up at the waist, and I don’t want to have to run for the train in a long gown. So I won’t expect others to put in that kind of work, either. It’s only fair.

I think I’ll settle for our local hipsters with their bowler hats and handlebar moustaches. They certainly look bizarre enough for me….

It’s the middle of the week and I’m still suffering from severe post-Pride depression.

I went to the Pride parade last Sunday. I usually try to go. Other cities may have bigger gay pride celebrations, but the Portland one is always such a fun party.

After a while, watching the parade really makes me feel like I’ve landed in a magical alternate universe, full of color and glitter and dance. Rainbows are everywhere. There’s a giant disco burrito rolling down the street. Happy people are wearing shiny unicorn horns and fluffy raccoon tails, and happy dogs are wearing pink tutus. I end up cheering at everyone and everything, even the guy selling balloons.

And then it all ends, and it’s such a coming down. At first it’s not so bad, as I leave the waterfront with a crowd of straggler unicorns and other partiers. But then the celebration scatters, and it hits me. I’m back in the mundane world. It looks dull and drab. Instead of fantastic drag queens, it’s the usual assortment of families in Wal Mart-style T-shirts and flip flops, and drunken dudebros with their pants sliding down to their knees.

Yes, I’ve officially exited Wonderland and find that I’ve returned to my greyish-brown cubicle existence.

But hey, I guess that’s what makes any celebration, whether it’s Pride or Christmas, special–the fact that it only happens once a year. Wouldn’t be the same if I felt that way all the time. I’m sure that next June, Santa will bring me an even bigger and better parade–right?

Fall to February — A bunch of guys in ugly uniforms giving each other concussions. Some of them have underinflated balls, which is apparently a problem.

February — A has-been pop star performs crappy music and the TV plays a bunch of dumb commercials. So the usual, but there’s also a game of some sort.

Spring — A bunch of guys strolling around a field, scratching their (not underinflated) balls and spitting out wads of chew. This is also the time of year when soft-spoken public radio hosts reminisce about hearing the crack of the bat when they were little children and bemoan the fact that America’s national pastime is no longer as popular as it used to be.

April — The Portland Trailblazers lose again. “We’ll definitely win next year!”

May — Awwww, look at the cute horsies getting raced to death.

Summer — Portlanders put on colorful scarves and pretend that they care about sports and that they’re European. Hint to Portland: Real soccer hooligans set cars on fire.

Summer, Once Every 4 Years — The world comes together to celebrate peace and harmony through athletic competition. I can tell that we’re totally serious about it because there’s a giant dove puppet involved.

Also Once Every 4 Years — The world falls in love with the most beautiful game, as FIFA is paid massive bribes.

Winter — Figure skating! Finally, I can watch a real sport! Also, the weirdly hypnotic appeal of curling. Hands down, the best part of the year.

Except that it’s back to the guys in the ugly uniforms again.

I’ve never been one to hide the fact that I find the libertarian point of view to be annoying and unrealistic. But now, there is a new kind of person which irritates me even more than libertarians: People Who Pretend To Be Libertarian.

Yep, a lot of folks out there are faking being a libertarian. Whether it’s because they’re desperate to appeal to a changing demographic, or because “libertarian” has become the latest trendy term to fling around, like pretending to be a geek. How can you tell they’re not genuine? It’s the “I’m libertarian, but” phenomenon.

“I’m a libertarian, but I’m against gay marriage.” “I’m a libertarian, but we shouldn’t legalize marijuana.” This statement is then followed by some flimsy excuse about why, even though “I’m all about liberty!”, this particular freedom shouldn’t be allowed. Well…okay. So…hate to break it to you…you’re not a libertarian. The one redeeming value of the chaotic, might-makes-right libertarian vision of society is that you’re supposed to be completely free to make your own choices about how you live your life. If you reserve that right only to the people whose preferences match yours, and do not grant others that freedom, then the entire point of this concept breaks down. If you want the country’s laws to be based on the Bible, then we’re not in a libertarian universe anymore. Mind you, you can base your personal life decisions on the Bible if you wish, but the moment you try to force that on others, you are no longer a libertarian.

No, if you want to outlaw abortion and ban gay marriage, then you’re just a same old, same old religious conservative. I get it, you want to call yourself something else, because these days, being a conservative Christian is considered kinda lame. But your disguise is see-through. If you’re really a constitutional conservative, traditional on social issues, then own that. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Because political labels come and go, but one thing remains the same–posers are never cool.

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