Democracy is voting FOR something

A lot can happen in a few days. The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom has shown us just how the real world and virtual world are connected and controlled. In a democratic referendum last Thursday 51.9 % of those who voted (17.41M people) voted to leave the European Union, against 48.1 % (16.14M) who wanted to remain.

The fallout was almost immediate.

As the Pound Sterling fell to it’s lowest rate in 30 years, there were mass protests from both sides, and cries of “foul play” not only from those on the losing side, but strangely, also from many who voted to leave but on waking to the result, think they were cheated somehow. Many have said that they would have voted differently and they only wanted to register “a protest vote.” Others have claimed they were misled, didn’t understand the full implications, or thought their vote “wouldn’t count.” Well, here’s some sobering news – your votes do count!

Still, at least those complaining did actually vote. At 72%, voter turnout was very high by modern standards, but it still means that more than 1 in 4 voters couldn’t be bothered. That’s 13.04 million wasted opportunities for a voice in the shaping their own future! 

The glory days of Britain may have waned but this small island has given one last lesson to all who live in a hard-won democracy – USE YOUR VOTE and vote wisely. Most importantly, vote on something you believe in, not against something as a rhetoric-fueled protest.

Consider this wisely as we live in dangerous times.

~Richard

Rinse, lather, repeat…

It’s 90 days since I wrote this post on the political flavor of the the US presidential election and I have to admit I failed in my aim and have become angry and demoralized. I will even add bewildered to that collection of emotions. The whole political process now appears to be some type of sordid game show, except that the fate of a nation and its standing in the world is in jeopardy.

All I can say at this juncture is that hate solves nothing

160129_GOPLiesFearThem

~Richard

The Elephant in the Room

Many eyes and ears have been on the Donald, and many mouths left agape in bewilderment, over the last several months as he blusters and bullies his way towards his goal as Republican Presidential nomination. Others have fallen by the wayside over this time and his only main rival now appears to be Ted Cruz.

Now, I cannot be unique in finding it more than a touch ironic that the GOP logo is an elephant since it seems to me that the party is now so obsessed with beating Trump at all costs that they fail to address the other elephant in the room, that is – who this would put as their top guy if they succeed in derailing Mr T.

I could wax lyrical about my opinions on Ted’s big adventure, including the childish Dr Seuss filibuster episode, his religious zealotry, compassion-less views on immigration and women’s issues, and more, but instead I offer up a graphical statement that represents my opinion, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

160412_BigoTED2
~Richard

Will we all wake up as “April Fish?”

Today is the first of April, traditionally a time when we are allowed to play jokes on people and generally test their gullibility.  When I was child we used to think this was great fun and even used to buy tricks from the joke store sometimes to use. It wasn’t always a great success for the prankster though and I do recall overstepping the mark by embedding some sort of tiny combustible device in one of my father’s cigarettes designed to make it sputter, and him not being best pleased with the outcome.

April Fools’ Day (or All Fools’ Day) has a mysterious origin, although it has been celebrated for centuries as some form of collective “release” as Spring opens up.

One line of speculation is that this tradition of fooling one’s friends seems to originate in 1582 when Catholic France switched from the old Julian calendar to the modern (and more accurate) Gregorian calendar, in accordance with the papal bull Inter gravissimas. This involved a reset of the days to catch up but also changed the way that the new year was celebrated, being moved to January 1st from the older “start of Spring” on April 1st. Back in those pre-internet (or electricity, or any other form of rapid non-word of mouth communication) there were delays in this message being spread across the nation and so, the story goes, some people maintained “the old ways” and were subsequently rewarded by their more enlightened friends by having fun poked at them, having paper fish attached to their backs and being called April fish (“poisson d’Avril”).

Others speculate that April Fool’s activities are tied to the Roman Spring festival of Hilaria (from the same root as the term hilarious), which legitimized a sort of “anything goes” celebration for a day, including dressing up in masks, playing tricks and, by the sound of it, having a right raucous time with little to no consequences to one’s actions!

Now, all this being said, I cannot but think with recent events playing out in the US media over the last few months, that we must be coming to a head with one of the most prolonged running jokes of all time: the Donald as a serious contender to be president for the United States of America.

Surely today will be the day when he opens a press conference by shouting “April Fools!” in his inimitable manner?

~Richard

160401_AprilFool
Restored and modified illustration from Puck magazine, 1912

6 sentence story – #1600

It had started off as a boast, born from a late-night party with his friends, and had somehow mutated into an unstoppable train. At some point he was bound to be derailed; at least that’s what the pundits had opined month after month. But now he had arrived; admittedly by the skin of his teeth, but a win was a win nonetheless. His offensive rhetoric and inconsistent fomenting had made no difference, or had it? He had played a dangerous game and was quite surprised by how far he had been able to rally people’s rage to achieve his aim.

He felt exhilarated as the director called one last time, “We’re ready for your address, Mr. President,” tears welling in her eyes.

160303_Donald

~ Richard

Politically Inspired Graphic Art

I have found the last several months of rhetoric, bombast, bigotry, and other political shenanigans that have poured forth during the run up to selection of political candidates for this year’s White House run to have been more depressing than usual. However, rather than simply getting angry, or demoralized I have used the time to inspire me to create some graphic art.

I make no public claim or overt political stand with this – the viewer can read into it whatever messaging s/he sees fit. Perhaps they would make for a good discussion too?

This is going to be a long year and I just needed to get this off my chest early in the game…

160129_GOPLiesFearThem

160129_GOPTee

~Richard

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