The Proud & The Dumb by Bob Freville

The Proud & The Dumb manages to be simultaneously hilarious and depressing, irreverent and poignant. There’s a message in Freville’s story. Sadly, the people who should benefit from that message are probably just as incapable of reading at the appropriate grade level as Liam, Connie, and Gunther. It’s up to the rest of us to enjoy this bitter, sarcastic, and cynical glimpse into an evening amidst a small crew of white nationalists in the midwest.
Nothing is quite as it seems, and least of all Curry, the compatriot this trio of imbecilic alt-right gentlemen suspect of being a closet-libtard. Desperate to keep his former associates from killing him in cold blood, Curry talks circles around the other three, calling into question the coherence and consistency of the beliefs they supposedly stand for in their neverending battle against immigrants, homosexuals, and liberals. But is it simple desperation or a more sinister objective pushing Curry to test the limits of the tolerance of his three former friends, as well as their intellects?
While there isn’t much wit to be found in the characters populating this novelette, from the trio of alt-right fellas to the police who find themselves dealing with this unfortunate assortment of dregs, there’s plenty of wit in Freville’s storytelling. He expertly showcases examples of the seemingly limitless barrage of inconsistent, incoherent, and–frequently–incompatible beliefs espoused by groups just like those featured in The Proud & The Dumb. Within these few pages, we’re exposed to so many contradictory statements from the characters that we can only wish it was satire; but that same duration spent listening to people who travel in these social circles would quickly erase any hope of that being true.
The truest absurdity of this tale is that the truth is stranger than fiction.

This story was released on http://www.godless.com during the AntiChristmas event for December of 2021. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Nang Tani by Lee Franklin

Shane is a fighter, and he might be a big deal in his home of Australia, but he just experienced a humiliating defeat in Thailand. Bitter about his loss yet emboldened by a sense of entitlement, he discovers the perfect tattoo to commemorate his twenty-first birthday. From the wall of the tattoo parlor, Shane selects an image of the beautiful deity, Nang Tani. He demands that the artist perform the work against the old monk’s reservations, and ultimately gets more than he asked for. Unfortunately for Shane, one does not select her; she selects them.
Shane and his best friend, Paul, are terrible young men. Racist, homophobic, womanizing, and prone to violence, the curse couldn’t have befallen a more suitable victim than Shane.
Lee Franklin doesn’t skimp on the violence, brutality, and gore in Nang Tani. Nor does she refrain from bringing the characters to life by pulling no punches concerning their attitudes toward–and treatment of–the Thai locals and everyone else around them. This refusal to self-censor certainly helps Franklin to impart a great deal more authenticity to the interactions than might otherwise have been possible.
There’s something deeply satisfying about seeing these two Australians suffering, but that’s only the beginning because Nang Tani has plans for Shane, and he’ll fulfill them whether he likes it or not.

You can obtain this for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby, Narrated by Adam Lazarre-White

There is no question why S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears made it to many national publications’ best of 2021 lists. This novel rests near the top of my list of best titles published in 2021 as well, especially when I focus on non-horror titles. 2021 was a good year for crime and suspense literature. Stephen King released Billy Summers, Kristopher Triana released And the Devil Cried, and S. A. Cosby released the absolute masterpiece Razorblade Tears.
Neither Ike nor Buddy Lee were great fathers when their sons were alive. Between recurring stints in prison and their prejudices about the fact that the boys were gay, in large part informed by antiquated perspectives on what it meant to be a man, the two men had driven substantial wedges between themselves and the sons they loved with reservations. It was only after the two young men were murdered that either father allowed themselves to embrace the sons they’d shown far too little affection when they were alive. Isiah and Derek, the interracial married sons, are like ghosts at the periphery of the tale Cosby weaves for us. They haunt the two men we come to admire, despite all of their faults, at the core of this novel.
Had Ike and Buddy Lee been able to overcome their ingrained bigotry while the boys had been alive, the two would have met years before the funeral, but that was not who the two men were. It turns out that the meeting of these two vastly different–yet strangely similar–men would be a fateful occasion that would lead to more bloodshed than either of the men could anticipate.
As the police investigation into Isiah and Derek’s deaths stalls out, Buddy Lee approaches Ike with a proposition that the two of them might have better luck taking matters into their own hands. Unraveling the mystery behind the brutal murder of the boys will force the two ex-cons to confront their pasts, their preconceived notions, and their concepts of love as the trail leads them through Hell and back before bringing them closer to home than they could’ve imagined.
The regret and retribution at the core of this book are at turns heartbreaking and viscerally satisfying. Most important, Cosby doesn’t shoehorn in any ersatz redemption for Ike and Buddy Lee because both men are so damaged and broken that redemption, in the sense that many writers would define it, simply wouldn’t make sense. That is not to say there’s no redemption here; there is redemption in these pages, but it’s the hollow sort that arises from the transformations coming far too late for it to make any difference.
Witty dialogue, well-crafted characters, and realistic portrayals of race relations, homophobia, and the difficulty associated with escaping a criminal past fill this novel with so much depth and honesty that it would be impossible to convey in a review. All I can say is that anyone delving into this book will come out the other end with an understanding that they didn’t have when going in.
Adam Lazarre-White’s narration for the audiobook is phenomenal. The additional character he brings to both Ike and Buddy Lee with his delivery of their dialogue is something that weighs heavily in favor of the audiobook edition of this novel because there’s such life and depth added to the characters with that extra texture.

Devil’s Night by Curtis M. Lawson

Devil’s Night is a collection focusing primarily on the myths and urban legends emerging from the darkness and the destructive tendencies of people during the Devil’s Night eruptions of violence and arson in Detroit. It would be easy to write off Curtis M. Lawson’s short story collection as an outlet for bleak and cynical tales of horror lurking below the surface of those actions, but it would only be telling a fraction of the story. There is a deep and abiding love for Detroit embedded within these tales. Lawson’s is a love that doesn’t cling with shallow superficiality to the glory days of the motor city or Motown but embraces the painful and often ugly reality that coincides with those things that once set Detroit apart from the rest of America.
In these pages, you’ll certainly find stories of the Nain Rouge, The Pig Lady, and other urban legends that are specific to that region, but you’ll also find the far more sinister forces at work, racism, predatory capitalism, and addiction. In Lawson’s Devil’s Night, you’ll meet a city that has a nebulous mind and spirit of its own, one poisoned by generations of residents and the corruption they brought with them. You’ll discover a Detroit where toxic, venomous plantlife flourishes beneath the surface, ready to flay alive any who stumble across it, poisoning those who survive with unquenchable hate and anger.
In Trash-Fire Stories and The Work of the Devil, we meet children who have experienced every tragedy life can throw at them, each event preceded by the appearance of the Nain Rouge, presaging the bad things soon to come.
In D20, we learn that two brothers attempting to escape the cruel reality of their lives through a role-playing game might be awakening a force to affect the real changes they so desperately need.
Devil’s Tongue and The Exorcism of Detroit, Michigan both take us to a place where we catch glimpses of the underlying evil that poisons the city and turns the residents into the monsters they’ve become as Devil’s Night arrives. The latter tale providing the reader with a certain sense of hope and faith that things can be better.
Through Hell for One Kiss shares a haunting love story that proves to be a quite literal haunting for those caught up in the annual remembrance of the ghosts involved.
A Night of Art and Excess showcases the awfulness and depravity of human nature and greed, without any supernatural scapegoat to assuage the guilt.
No One Leaves the Butcher Shop tells the story of a pair of arsonists who stumble across something far worse than homeless people encamped within the building they’ve been hired to burn.
The Graveyard of Charles Robert Swede takes us on a journey with a monstrous serial killer who learns–as the line between our world and another are blurred–the truth behind why he’s chosen the burial site he’s utilized for the disposal of his victims.
We discover that even the devil has standards and sometimes a more stringent moral code than the clergy in This City Needs Jesus.
There’s more within this collection than solely the stories I’ve referenced, but these are the ones that stood out the most for me. Interspersed through the book are numerous illustrations that are positively magnificent. It was these illustrations that first brought this collection by Lawson to my attention, and as awesome as they might be, they’re no more spectacular than the stories they reference.
I wish I had read this collection in the final days of October because this book is so perfect for reading at that time of year. If you have a chance to read this for the first time, I recommend doing so at that time. You will not regret the decision.

Thoughts On American Polarization

We are polarized.
Our culture is playing a high-stakes game of tug-of-war with the Overton Window and the view through that window in America has been growing progressively more right-leaning and red over the years. The talking heads fanning flames of fear will tell you that America is being consumed from within by “communists” and “socialists” whenever there’s even a tiny concession made concerning basic human rights or the recognition that homosexuals, transgender people, women, or any sort of minority group haven’t been receiving a fair shake. The reality is that we’re nowhere near moving left in this country. Even the Democrats tend to disregard the most left-leaning members of their party.
In large part, this is due to Democrats not being progressive enough in their policies and largely being unwilling to play the same rhetorical shell game with facts and truth that the other side has become expert at playing. There’s an unwillingness to think big or take big risks within the bulk of the Democratic Party whereas the Republicans have no problem with lining up behind a man who represented the worst extremes of right-wing politics in America because they assumed that it would get them just a little bit closer to their ideal positions of power and authority. The most progressive members of the Democratic Party, on the other hand, have to fight tooth-and-nail to receive even marginal representation when it comes to matters of policy. There’s a bit of simpering cowardice and a lack of boldness within the bulk of the Democratic establishment, and it’s been that way for decades.
So yes, we are indeed polarized in several key aspects. That’s a hard truth of American politics. It does present a challenge.
The worst part about it all is that we’re not quite as polarized as it superficially might seem.
There are a lot of points where individuals on the left and those on the right are in total agreement. The focus is never on those things in our political discourse, especially through media of all kinds (whether we’re talking about mainstream media–and that does include Fox and OAN, though I see a lot of people trying to pretend otherwise–or social media). This division is cultivated by keeping people on the left appearing as crazy socialists to those on the right and the folks on the right appearing to be mentally deficient bigots in the eyes of the people on the left. These descriptors are certainly true of some individuals, but they aren’t representative of the bulk of either group.
This is going to devolve into a rambling diatribe, I’m sure. I know myself well enough to see that on the near horizon. I apologize for that being the case. I can only hope you’re able to keep up with me along the way.
I do lean Socialist in my political views. It can easily be inferred that I’m pretty far left of the Democratic Party (as a whole). I don’t dispute this at all. This is not to say that I think the Federal Government should become a nanny state or that I feel like D.C. should be the focal point of a new religion.
I’m not a nationalist, after all.
I believe the role of the US government is to serve the best interests of the American people. That’s it. That’s the sole purpose of it. Politicians are our servants, meant to act in our best interests. This is not what is happening.
What we see today, from the vast majority of our political figures, is a government acting in the interest of those who fund their reelection campaigns and provide them with hand-outs. They’ll toss some superficially pleasing and inoffensive concessions our way once in a while, as long as it doesn’t cost them too much by way of campaign funding…but that’s about all we get for the price of admission we pay by voting and participating in the democratic process.
This is not the way it’s supposed to be working.
We all know it’s wrong…right and left, center and fringe.
The only people who don’t seem to know it’s wrong are the ones directly benefitting from the oligarchy we’ve allowed to grow within our nation like an unchecked tumor.
This is not being written for the people who subscribed to the QAnon conspiracy. There’s no getting through to you if you believe Donald Trump was the literal savior of America (or the world). You’re too far gone for me to have any hope of reaching you. This is not for the militant leftists who somehow believe that we’re going to overthrow the American neo-fascist government and usher in a utopia of communal living and worker-owned industry overnight. Though people in those aforementioned groups still recognize that things are wrong with the political arena in America, they’re choosing to cling to fantasies and wish-fulfillment rather than reality. That’s a whole different conversation for a different day.
It’s also a conversation I don’t care to have.
Most of us aren’t bigots. Or should I say that all of us are bigots, just not quite the way the term gets tossed around?
I know that’s difficult for some people on the left and the right to acknowledge…but it’s true.
No, most people aren’t homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, or religiously intolerant beyond a tiny extent.
That tiny bit of bigotry…well…we all have it. We’re all ignorant, some more than others. We’re all biased in different ways, larger and smaller. We’ll never find any sort of resolution as a society if we can’t come to terms with the fact that we are all wildly imperfect.
The only thing we can do is come together. The more we meet new people and interact with others who aren’t like us, the greater the chance that we can overcome those cultural biases deep within our psychologies. I’m no less guilty of this than anyone reading these words.
For most of us, our biases are minimal…though no less problematic. These things can be overcome. I honestly do have this much faith in my fellow human beings. I’ll admit that I could be overly optimistic here, but I believe most of us are better than a lot of us think we are.
This is not to say that systemic racism is not a real thing.
It is.
This is not to say that there is a profound undercurrent of homophobia and transphobia within large segments of the population.
There absolutely is.
This is not to say that sexism in America (and a whole lot of the world) is not a real cause for concern.
It most assuredly is.
There are, without question, awful people out there who believe terrible things about other people based on either their ignorance or contempt.
If we take the time to try and explain things to others without frustration and impatience, maybe we can come to better terms with one another. We might even be able to get through to some of the people who otherwise seem irredeemable.
We need to come together, sooner rather than later. If we can’t figure out how to do this, we’re going to continue being ground beneath the treads of those who benefit the most from us being at one another’s throats. Until we stand together, we’ll continue to find ourselves crushed, consumed, and disposed of.
We all see money being squandered on ridiculous corporate bail-outs while the middle class disappears below a rising poverty line. It’s fair to say that almost no one, regardless of party affiliation, sees something like that and agrees that it’s something good or right. We’ve been seeing it in D.C. a great deal since the pandemic started in early 2020. There was no hesitation when it came to bailing out Wall Street and corporations where the CEOs and board members had been seeing massive rises in profit while the employees receive barely subsistence wages. Money that was earmarked for small businesses, to keep them afloat during these troubling times ended up being approved as loans for companies that needed no assistance. People who were without work had unemployment benefits stripped away before anything had been done to improve their odds of returning to work. Politicians in Congress nickeled and dimed the actual voting population, trying to figure out just how little they could offer while still appearing to care just a little bit. And then, only a few short months later, they were doing the same thing all over again. They happily approved money for the people and corporate entities who fund their campaigns but decried payments (beyond a pittance) sent directly to people as socialism. We saw the same thing back in the recession more than a decade ago as well. We tossed money at banks and corporate entities while we allowed people to be swallowed up by debt and poverty.
We see these things happening while infrastructure around the country fails. Bridges and roads are maintained poorly, utility networks are neglected so that the providers can obtain record profits, some of those profits sure to be funneled into the coffers of the politicians who turned a blind eye or actively aided in deregulation under the guise of honoring the free market. Most of us see through these infantile rationalizations, but they succeed in these selfish grifts by counting on the polarization of our political climate to guarantee their base will still support them.
We squander countless billions of dollars on corporate welfare, regime-changing conflicts, and a war on drugs that has been a transparent failure since the beginning. All the while we’re told that it’s too costly to divert mere fractions of that money to programs that would improve the overall quality of life for American citizens…programs like universal healthcare or free access to higher education and trade school. We’re told that this is “socialism” and that we can’t afford it, while the rest of the civilized world succeeds in doing these things without becoming the socialist dystopias American politicians and media talking heads insist we would become. We’re told to worry about higher taxes when most of us are already paying more for insurance premiums and deductibles than we’d ever end up paying in increased taxes. We’re told that we should selfishly refuse to spend our money on someone else’s medical costs, even though that is precisely what our insurance premiums are for. The insurance companies don’t pay those bills out of some endless surplus of funds they generate for themselves, they utilize the money you and I are paying and divert that money to the medical costs of other individuals with the same insurance provider.
We’re told that raising the minimum wage in proportion with the cost of living (rate of inflation) and the degree of productivity will raise costs (creating a cascade effect of ever-increasing inflation rates) and force businesses to close their doors…but both of those things have been happening for decades while the living wage has remained stagnant. Some of these fears could be offset if we introduced universal healthcare, as employers would not have to dedicate funds to insurance companies for their co-pay portions.
We’re told that we should find nobility in pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, often by individuals who come from families who passed wealth down generation by generation in the form of land ownership, business partnerships, or literal wealth. We’re told that America is a land of equal opportunity by these same people after generations of dominion have allowed their particular class to largely rig the game in their favor. As an individual who descended from a family who took advantage of the Homesteader Act back in the day. I’m familiar with the myth of Manifest Destiny. Those early Westward traveling settlers were handed parcels of land by a government that didn’t own the land in the first place…all for nothing more than working the land and making lives for themselves.
What is being given to us for our labor these days?
Insufficient wages, insurance that denies our claims when we need them most (while we make the higher-ups at these insurance companies sufficient money that they can buy politicians), and the sense of being beaten down beneath the feet of those who use our labor to elevate themselves?
Whether we want to admit it or not. We have these things in common. I have a decent job, as far as wages are concerned when compared to the difficulty. My insurance is pretty decent and not particularly expensive. There are plenty of us in this position.
For every one of us, there’s someone miserable where they are, and that misery is being compounded by the exploitation of the people they work for. It’s easy to claim they should just leave those jobs to find something else.
When are they supposed to find the time to look for new work while they’re still working the job they wish they could get away from?
What happens to them if they become ill while they’re between jobs?
What if the benefits aren’t as good but the pay is better?
These are concerns that could be entirely eradicated with something as simple as universal healthcare being in place. With guaranteed higher education or trade school, it provides the worker with better leverage as well.
Alright.
Fuck it.
I’ve babbled more than enough. I’ve probably lost the thread somewhere along the way…but I hope you’re able to follow along to some extent.

Intolerance

My good friend, Carl, posed an interesting query today as to whether intolerance of bigotry and intolerance itself qualifies as just another form of intolerance that we should be working to do away with. His inquiry is based on a fairly sound substrate, that our current standards regarding moral character and tolerance might be untenable and outright unrealistic notions based on an idealistic version of society that simply cannot exist in any sort of sustained manner. I’m inclined to suspect that he is absolutely correct in thinking that a tolerant and accepting society is something that simply can’t and won’t exist (not within my lifetime, at least), but I can’t accept the hypothesis that it is hypocritical for someone to be intolerant of bigotry as simply more intolerance, leading to an increasingly intolerant environment.

Recent situations like those pertaining to Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame (and I use the word fame in the most disgusted sense possible) as well as an Ohio teacher who was suspended fairly recently because of racist comments both in the classroom and on public forums tend to get people riled up and they incite a lot of anger on the part of those who happen to be on the receiving end of the bigotry being spouted off by individuals who are clearly (in my opinion) not suited to be making any sort of social or political commentary due to a level of ignorance that is beyond astounding. When punitive actions are taken we end up hearing from the supporters as well, crying out about free speech in obviously ill-informed rants fueled by a total and complete lack of comprehension regarding how freedom of speech functions and what the free market means.

I’m not the most sensitive person when it comes to making comments and jokes that could be deemed offensive by people of various races, genders, sexual orientations, and the like…I’m not wired in such a way as to really recognize that I might be out of line with something that I happen to find humorous. At least I’m aware of the fact that I can be a little insensitive…or maybe a lot insensitive…it really depends on who you ask. None of those things are meant to be spiteful or uttered with hate or disdain in mind, and I certainly don’t say things like that (I will not provide examples here because I’m actually trying to avoid being a total piece of shit by sharing racist or sexist jokes or anything along those lines, this is not the place for it) with the impression that I’m making genuine, articulate statements about a person or group of people. I’m the first person to admit that if I were met with violence or some other form of negative response it would be entirely my fault…well, mostly my fault…some people just need a broader sense of humor.

I spent a while thinking about Carl’s assertion and I am forced to disagree. I don’t think it is remotely hypocritical to be intolerant of bigotry. It’s an apples and assholes sort of situation, there’s no comparison to be made. A bigot, by definition, may be someone who is intolerant of opinions differing from their own…but in the sense that we were discussing it, it was more directly related to the intolerance of individuals based on things such as race, sexual orientation, and gender. I could care less about people who are intolerant of religious beliefs or political affiliation at present, as those aren’t the salient forms of intolerance that I’m planning on discussing herein. Where it concerns politics or religion, people are very much entitled to their own differing opinions on the matter, intolerance may be a bit too extreme, but fine…people can go right ahead and dislike others for the choices they make in life, and that is precisely the point I’m intending to make.

To hate someone for something that is outside of the scope of their control (or anyone else’s, for that matter) is the bigotry I hate, and I don’t even feel like there’s anything wrong with hating it, not in the least. No man nor woman chooses the racial characteristics they are born exhibiting, our gender is similarly out of our hands (and no amount of surgery ever really changes what’s written in our chromosomes, regardless of what it might do for our exterior appearance, at least not yet), and I am a firm believer that sexual preference is not a choice (no matter how many “reformed” homosexuals the fundamentalist sorts will parade around to reinforce their arguments to the contrary). Being intolerant of those who espouse intolerance of people based upon those things that they did not choose is a perfectly rational response. In hating people for the ignorant beliefs that they express we are displaying contempt for their choices and decisions, not for who they are by no choice of their own. That is precisely why we should hate someone; why we choose not to be friends with this person or that, because of the choices they make.

We can blame it on their environment or lack of education, their sheltered upbringing, or any number of additional factors…but those cease to hold any weight outside of childhood, when the influence from our surroundings is really the only influence we happen to experience. We are not a society of isolated pockets of humanity and we haven’t been for quite some time, this is no longer a world where information is unavailable or even particularly difficult to come by. People make choices, regardless of how they were raised or where…these are simple facts of life. Environment can be used to partially explain criminal behavior from an individual, up to and including rape or murder, but it damn well will not lead a judge or jury to set someone free. Our choices are what we should be judged for, the decisions we make in life are the only things by which we can be legitimately judged. And I will damn well judge men like Phil Robertson harshly for their brazen, willful ignorance as well as the ill-informed bigotry that they spread when they speak poorly of people because of nothing more than sexual preference and race.

These people are, of course, entitled to their own opinions, and I’m not inclined to physically harm them for expressing those ignorant opinions, but I sure as shit don’t need to respect those opinions or pretend that they are somehow valid or on equal footing with opinions to the contrary.

You can agree with me or disagree with me, and that’s great…you’re welcome to feel however you like, and so am I.

A Little Something To Think About

The current political climate is a horrifying thing for anyone who is capable of rational thought, neither of the major political parties inspire much faith or hope in the nation we live in today or for the future that expands before us.

What scares me most about the Republican Party as it exists today is the trend towards devolution that is so seemingly pervasive. The rhetoric that is spewed is something that should make us all laugh at the sheer ludicrous nature of it; and it might if it weren’t so truly terrifying, and made all the more terrifying by virtue of the fact that so many people are altogether too willing to accept it as fact instead of the theatrical nonsense that rhetoric (by nature) always is.

Beyond the rhetoric, though, is the subtext, and that is what is most mortifying. Racism, homophobia, and sexism abound in ways that should be appalling to everyone, not just those who are of the opposition. I used to be proud to say that I am a Conservative (capital letter intended), but there is nothing that I want more these days than to sever all ties with that hate and fear mongering culture that has devoured and transformed what was once the Republican Party.

I’ve seen Republicans point fingers at men like Robert Byrd and George Wallace as examples of the racism that was once associated with the Democratic Party, and they aren’t wrong in doing so. There is ample evidence of racism and sexism within the Democratic Party during the civil rights movement. They, of course, choose to ignore men like Jesse Helms who may have started out as a Democrat but was happily accepted into the Republican Party during the 1970’s, the party where he spent the majority of his political career. As appalling as I find any of those particular views, I also recognize that, at the time, they were pretty damn common. It was a different nation, and a different world, 40 years and more ago. That doesn’t make it acceptable by any stretch of the imagination, but it does make it a bit easier to understand. A few bad apples (or even a few dozen) decades ago doesn’t spoil the bunch today.

The Republican Party lost my support and my votes in any instance where it is pandering to the lowest common denominator like the tea party and fanatical religious right, and I’ve been hard pressed to discover any place where that is not the case. It’s fucked up that, as my Republican friends gleefully point out, during the civil rights movement it was the Democrats who were notably racist and sexist, but are now championing the rights of homosexuals and women…how times have changed. Both parties have changed since then, but only one of them seems to be changing in a positive manner anymore. America, as a whole, has been circling the drain for a good, long while, I have no doubt about that. But the GOP deciding to turn their back on progress and reality by stupidly picking up the banner dropped by men like Robert Byrd and George Wallace might be a sign that they will reach the drain ahead of the rest of us.

I’m not a huge fan of the Democratic Party, I disagree with a lot of the policies that are promoted by the party leadership, but at least they want people to be treated like people. There isn’t a widespread assumption within the Democratic Party that God has delineated certain people and lifestyles as being subhuman, and that alone is enough cause for me to throw my lot in with them in the coming election, and it should be enough for you too.

The only valid issue I’ve ever witnessed any of my Republican friends complaining about with respect to the Democrats was their short-sighted, knee jerk stance on gun control. It’s exceedingly rare that the gun violence which perpetuates their stance is perpetrated by legally obtained firearms, thus tighter restrictions are of little to no value. However, the insipid Second Amendment argument does not make their case at all. Seeing as how none of these mouth breathing, brainwashed jackasses are members of a “well regulated militia,” the right to bear arms does not apply to them. The wording was very clear in our Constitution, and it did not even ambiguously indicate that it was meant to be interpreted as a right for any Tom, Dick, and Harry to purchase and bear arms. What scares me, and makes me desire stricter laws where firearms are concerned, are these religious nut, tea party idiots having guns. I wouldn’t place a firearm in the hands of a severely mentally challenged child, and the same basic reasoning applies here.

A good friend of mine optimistically believes that all of this appalling shit (from racism to fanatical Christianity) will be ground under the feet of reason and science within the next 50 years. “Don’t hold your breath there,” is what I have to say in response. He has far more faith in human nature than I do. You can force feed facts and reality down people’s throats and it doesn’t hold a candle to feeling like they are special and that every action that they commit, no matter how heinous, is ultimately forgiven by the only judge that matters even if no other human being would ever provide said forgiveness.

The reality that we are all mortal, insignificant creatures who will be utterly scoured from the face of the universe in another couple of billion years when the atmosphere and everything else is burned away simply lacks the appeal of being eternally loved, special little beings for whom the whole universe was assembled. There’s simply no way to compete with that. We’re arrogant little fuckers, human beings, and when it comes to a choice between being special or being little more than a dust mote, most of us are going to choose the former.

I made my choice.