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Everyone has been weighing in their thoughts on the election, what happened, and what’s going to happen as a result of Trump’s win. I’ve been asked what I think on it all, and to be honest, I don’t know. It’s all still sinking in, and to realize that what happened isn’t some kind of cosmic joke. I don’t know what will happen in the next four years, and I can’t even start to predict what kind of president Trump will be. He’s not someone I would welcome into my home, let alone into the most powerful position in the country I live in, but he has been voted in. It’s a decision that the American people will have to live with.
I’m not here to tell you how terrible I think he will be, or what direction I think this country is headed in. There are so many other people already doing so, that there is no need for me to follow suit. But what I will share with you are my thoughts on how it happened, and how we as a whole can do better. But before I get to that, I do want to say this:
I have seen the news stories, the YouTube videos, and the social media posts about the riots in the streets. I agree that we need a revolution, that has never been more obvious than it is now, but I don’t agree with how people are going about it. Protesting in the streets gets the anger heard, yes, but it also makes us as a nation look like a fool. A revolution is not won by the people screaming and creating wars in the streets, but by the people who are working in the background to make the world around them a better place. This is not a time for violence, but a time to put our minds together and create a better future for ourselves, and our children.
This is how I see it.
There are a lot of people asking how it was possible that Trump won the election, especially considering that he lost the popular vote. There are a few factors that go into this, the first of it being the electoral college vote. In order to become president, a candidate only needs to receive 279 electoral college votes. This is how it is possible to win the popular vote, the citizen’s vote, but lose the election. To many, myself included, this does not seem to be an example of democracy. There are over 6 Billion people in the contiguous United States, but of that number only 279 votes matter.
The Electoral College
According to the dictionary, “(In the US) The electoral college is a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.” Essentially, the electoral college is the Congress of Voters. They represent themselves, their own interests, but they do not actually represent the people they are voting for. They do not have any “Electoral College Alumni” website with a “Who should I vote for?” poll that allows the general public to select who they want voted in. And just the same as any member of Congress, or Senate, the members of the Electoral College can be bought.
Perhaps they are only important once every four years, but once is enough for someone to make that person an invested interest. Think I’m off base on that? Ask the FBI to run as detailed an investigation into each member of the E.C. as they did into Trump. I’ll wager they will find more than a little corruption, and a lot of money changing hands. That’s how politics works – in any country. It’s all about who can be bought, and who wins the bidding war to buy them off. This isn’t supposition, or me being cynical. It is sadly, the very real truth. But here’s another truth. If the electoral college member votes against their state’s party, they have to pay a fine. This “fine”, or penalty, is the political equivalent of the “leg breakers” mafias around the world employ.
Want to read more about the Electoral College? Follow this link: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html
If there is one thing that this Presidential Campaign and Election has revealed to America, and to the world, it is that hate sells. We like to say that we are evolved, that “we as a people” are open minded and progressive, but the truth is we aren’t. At least not the vast majority of us. For those who like to say that racism in America is not as big of an issue as it was fifty years ago, they are undeniably wrong. And it is the Trump supporters who have displayed this truth the most.
If you go on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, even personal websites, and news blogs, you will find that throughout the life of the campaign, and more so since the election happened, the hate crimes in America have gone up. Those who hold hate in their hearts and take enjoyment from the pain and humiliation of others are not only more public about it now, but they truly believe they have been given a free pass to be outwardly hateful, and violent towards others by Donald Trump. And the sad truth of it is, it’s only been one day since he became President-Elect. It will only get worse from here.
Donald Trump formed his campaign speeches as rallies. He did not speak to how he would make this country better. He did not speak to how he would advance the education of our children, or science and technology. Nor, did he speak about how he would empower our youth, or protect the women of this country. What he did do was issue one hate filled speech after another, telling white Americans that racism, sexism, rape, xenophobia, bigotry, and hate were not only acceptable, but that these things were their divine rights that the government had taken away over the past fifty years.
And when did this recession of hate start? 1960 with the election of JFK. JFK was one of the most vocal presidents concerned with civil rights, women’s rights, gender and racial equality, and he was killed because of it. President John F Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign Platform.
Each rally became more fervent in its rhetoric, and from the news reports and personal accounts already seen regarding hate crimes from that range in action from bullying in schools to violent crimes in the streets. Sources include, but are not limited to:
So now what?
I’m sure there are those of you reading this who are asking yourselves, “so now what?”. Now, my dear readers, it is time to make some changes. Stop the protesting in the streets, and get down to the real work.
Congressional and Political Reform
The first, and one of the most important things we need to work on, is Congressional Reform. This does not only apply to members of Congress, but also to the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Senators can serve an unlimited number of six year terms, and Congressmen and women, as well as members of the House, can serve an unlimited number of two year terms. What this means is that once elected, these members of the government generally stay in power for life, or until they decide to run for a higher office.
To quote Mark Twain, “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
In the 1990’s there was a legislation on the ballot to limit Congressional terms in office. This legislation would have limited Congress to two terms only, a total of twelve years at most. This legislation was not passed. This legislation needs to come back onto the ballots, and it needs to pass. There is a petition that has been circulating for a while to get this issue back up for a vote.
There needs to be legislation also to limit the terms for members of the House of Representatives, The Senate, and the US Supreme Court justices. We also need legislation that clearly, without the possibility of loopholes to exploit, define campaign finance, maximum donations from private donors, and limit, if not outright ban, the donations allowed from businesses. And for those of you who believe the Chamber of Commerce is the ones to set these limits, you’re going to want to do your research. The Chamber of Commerce is actually one of the biggest sources of campaign finance for big business.
The Chamber of Commerce is not a government agency, nor has it ever been, a government agency. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce was created by, run by, and for big business. As written on their website: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from mom-and-pop shops and local chambers to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing—they count on the Chamber to be their voice in Washington, D.C.” – https://www.uschamber.com/about-us/about-the-us-chamber
For those of you who appreciate a more visual take on such things, you should watch a documentary called Hot Coffee. In it, this documentary starts with the story of the woman who sued McDonald’s because she was burned (3rd degree, full thickness burns) by their coffee, and goes through the story of the Chamber of Commerce. It is very revealing, and something I would recommend everyone watch.
As it stands now, presidential candidates are only on the campaign trail for approximately 180 days. That’s not as long as you might think. Six months. That’s it. On top of that, how campaign trails begin is with big speeches in planned locations. This marketing strategy, if you will, is not as effective as people seem to think it is. Here’s what I’m proposing:
1- Start Small and Start Early
As Social Media becomes a bigger part of the lives of the mass population, political candidates need to use it. Within the first year of a new president’s reign is when someone needs to begin their campaign. How would they do this, you ask. Start small, and keep it simple. Get yourself a Social Media Marketing Manager, and task them with pushing out targeted questionnaires on Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, and the like.
These questionnaires should start very simply. Ten questions at the most, and only one essay question. Create a series of yes/no, or multiple choice questions regarding current policy and how, or if, it should be changed. At the end of that survey, have your essay question. Something simple like “If there was one thing you could change, what would it be and why?”
Don’t skimp on the why. The why is the most important part. A lot of people feel left out, or unheard, and part of your research needs to be to learn what they want changed, and why they want it changed. Is it a law, or legislation they don’t agree with? Is it a federal issue, state, or county? Why, and how, do they want this thing to be changed? Is what the person has listed something that you, as a candidate could implement? Is it something you could speak to, or pass on to the appropriate party that could look into it?
2 – Listen and Take Note
Celebrities, specifically musicians and actors, talk to their fans in a way that politicians don’t. They take our questions and speak to us through live Facebook chats, YouTube interviews, Google+ Hangouts, and live Tweeting sessions during the airing of the shows (this is specific to actors). When they do this, their fans (in this case, your supporters) feel as though their voice matters. Even if not everyone’s questions get answered, or their comments get mentioned, there is still the feeling that your voice has been heard.
As a politician, you need a real sense of what your supporters, and the public in general, think about the world they live in. Sessions like this should start two years before, and continue up until you go on the campaign trail. I would recommend hosting these sessions at least once a month. You will reach more people, be able to hear the thoughts of the average person, and the people who feel forgotten will find they have a voice again. Doing this will not only add to your research, but it will also strengthen your public image.
3 – Be Seen and Be Real
I know that it’s easy to throw money at a cause. Believe me, I do it myself. I donate to organizations like The Audubon Society, the World Wildlife Fund, The Crane Foundation, and Northwest Wilderness. Each person who can, tries to donate $5 – $25 to an organization, or cause that matters to them. But here’s the thing, you’re the public figure, the face that would be representing our country should you be elected president.
Instead of donating money to a charity, go out there and work with them. Volunteer with the organizations that matter to you. PAWS, PRIDE Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Wounded Warrior Project, The Blue Ribbon Project, Random Acts, and so many more organizations get the most support from their volunteers. Go to your local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Get out there with the other volunteers and participate like anyone else. Get your hands dirty, get your heart broken, feel what they feel, and see what they see. Show them that you’re a real person to, and that you do truly care.
4 – Remind people that Ignorance is a choice.
Encourage people to seek answers, empower them to do their own research. Too many people get their information from FOX News, US Weekly, and The Globe. Not only are these sources well beyond anything that could be defined as biased, but more often than not, their “information” is fictional at best. Teach them to seek out sources that will be honest, unbiased, and will do their research to prove that what they are reporting is accurate. If at all possible, get the information directly from the source. Look for interviews on YouTube, in magazines such as People, or
By the time that you are actually on your official campaign trail, your supporters will know you, feel that you hear their voices and concerns, and you will have a much better idea of who you are representing. If this election has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me that our politicians, as good and well meaning as they may be, really don’t know their supporters. You don’t know enough about them to truly speak to them.
Trump was able to win because he sold hate, and built off the anger of those who felt forgotten. The important thing to remember is this: when people feel unheard, or left behind, the only voice they will listen to is often the one that is the angriest. Anger is louder and more binding than reason. That is why there are such things as “Mob mentality”. The only way to combat this, is by making people feel that they are important.
Listen. Learn. Relate. Reform.
Anyway, that’s my two cents. Thanks for reading.
Tags: Assassin's Creed, Random thoughts, Video games
Assassin’s Creed. That’s right, today I’m talking to you about a video game. Now, I’m not a big gamer by nature. It’s never really been my thing, but my roommate loves that game to pieces. I’ve watched her play it time after time, and it actually has me intrigued. The game itself has this completely fascinating story arc that draws you in. Even if you’re just sitting there and watching someone else play, stick around to watch the cut scenes sometime.
You’ve got this guy, this one person in a sea of thousands, who’s just trying to right a wrong and bring deserving punishment to the guilty. Most games have a heroic arc, but this one engages you. You fall into the story, and maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a game that was written by a writer, for a writer. There are so many different angles and twists that can happen.
The game seems to ask the player this one simple question: When you’re the only one who sees the truth, and you have the power to stand up in defense of the subjugated, will you do it, or will you hide in the shadows?
Should you pick it up and try your hand at the game, I’d say go for “Brotherhood”, or “Syndicate”. They really are quite fascinating.
Information care of Poet’s & Writer’s Magazine
|Sponsor and Award||Entry Fee||Genre||Cash Prize||Prize includes||Application Deadline|
|New Millennium Writings
New Millennium Awards
Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in New Millennium Writings and on the journal’s website are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay that have…
|$20||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||7/31/16|
|Journal of Experimental Fiction
Kenneth Patchen Award
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Journal of Experimental Fiction/Depth Charge Publishing is given annually for an innovative novel. Dominic Ward will judge. Submit a manuscript of any length…
Spring Story Contest
A prize of $2,500 and publication in Narrative is given annually for a short story, a short short story, an essay, or an excerpt from a work of fiction or creative nonfiction. A second-place…
|$24||Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$2,500||Publication||7/31/16|
Award for Poetry
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Press 53 is given annually for a poetry collection. Tom Lombardo will judge. Submit a manuscript of 60 to 120 pages with a $30 entry fee by July 31. Visit the website…
|Munster Literature Centre
Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition
A prize of €2,000 (approximately $2,260) and publication in Southword, an online literary journal published in Cork, Ireland, is given annually for a short story. The winner also receives a…
|Delaware Division of the Arts
Individual Artist Fellowships
Established Professional Fellowships of $6,000 each and Emerging Artist Fellowships of $3,000 each are given annually to Delaware poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in…
|$0||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$6,000||8/1/16|
Art and Change Grants
Project grants of up to $2,500 each are given twice yearly by the Leeway Foundation to women and transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming poets, fiction writers, and…
|$0||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$2,500||8/1/16|
|PEN Center USA
Emerging Voices Fellowships
Five fellowships of $1,000 each are given annually to emerging poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The fellowships are given to writers who are “isolated from the literary…
|$10||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||8/1/16|
Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize
A prize of $1,000 Canadian (approximately $780) and publication in Malahat Review is given annually for an essay. Submit an essay of 2,000 to 3,000 words with a $40 entry fee, which includes a…
A prize of $1,000 and publication in StoryQuarterly is given annually for a work of creative nonfiction. Using the online submission system, submit an essay of up to 6,250 words with a $15 entry…
|$15||Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||8/1/16|
Short Story Award
A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Gival Press website is given annually for a short story. Submit a story of 5,000 to 15,000 words with a $25 entry fee by August 8. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or…
“1/2 K” Prize
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Indiana Review is given annually for a poem or a work of flash fiction or nonfiction of up to 500 words. Aimee Nezhukumatathil will judge. Submit up to three…
|$20||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||8/15/16|
|Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
A prize of $10,000 is given annually to an emerging African American writer for a short story collection or novel published in the current year. The winner will also receive travel and lodging expenses…
Poetry and Fiction Contest
Two prizes of $1,500 each and publication in New Guard are given annually for a poem and a short story or novel excerpt. Stephen Dunn will judge the Knightville Poetry Contest; Sarah Braunstein…
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Grayson Books is given annually for a poetry collection. Benjamin S. Grossberg will judge. Submit a manuscript of 50 to 80 pages with a $25 entry fee by August 15….
|Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales
A prize of $500, publication by Broadkill River Press, ten author copies, and two cases of Dogfish Head craft beer are given annually for a poetry collection written by a poet living in Delaware,…
|Glimmer Train Press
A prize of $3,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short story. A second-place prize of $1,000 is also given. Using the online…
|Glimmer Train Press
Very Short Fiction Award
A prize of $2,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given twice yearly for a short short story. Using the online submission system, submit a story of 300…
Flash Fiction Contest
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gemini Magazine is given annually for a short short story. The editors will judge. Submit a story of up to 1,000 words with a $5 entry fee ($4 for each…
Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize
A prize of $2,000 is given annually for a poetry collection by a resident of upstate New York. The winner will also give a reading and teach a master class at Utica College in April 2017. Submit two…
|Snake Nation Press
Serena McDonald Kennedy Award
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Snake Nation Press is given annually for a short story collection or a novella. Submit a story collection of up to 200 pages or a novella of up to 50,000 words with a…
|Snake Nation Press
Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Snake Nation Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Submit a manuscript of 75 to 100 pages with a $25 entry fee by August 31. E-mail or visit the website…
Barthelme Prize for Short Prose
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given annually for a piece of short prose. Jim Shepard will judge. Submit a prose poem, a piece of flash fiction, or a micro-essay of up to 500…
|$18||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||8/31/16|
Prize in Translation
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Gulf Coast is given in alternating years for a group of poems or a prose excerpt translated from any language into English. The 2016 prize will be given for…
|Black Lawrence Press
St. Lawrence Book Award
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Black Lawrence Press is given annually for a debut collection of poems or short stories. The editors will judge. Using the online submission system, submit a poetry…
|Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a poem. Winners and finalists will be invited to read at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California, in April 2017. Submit up to four poems of no more than 40 lines each…
|Black Warrior Review
Three prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Black Warrior Review are given annually for a poem, a short story, and an essay. Hoa Nguyen will judge in poetry, Sofia Samatar will judge in…
|$20||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||9/1/16|
|Red Hen Press
Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award
A prize of $3,000, publication by Red Hen Press, and a four-week residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon, is given annually for a poetry collection. Afaa Michael Weaver will judge. Submit a manuscript…
Morton Marcus Poetry Contest
Sponsored in collaboration with Santa Cruz Writes, a prize of $1,000 and publication in phren-Z is given annually for a poem. The winner is also invited to give a reading at the seventh annual…
|Red Hen Press
Fiction and Nonfiction Awards
Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication by Red Hen Press are given annually for a short story collection or novel and an essay collection or memoir. Steve Almond will judge in fiction; Pope Brock will…
|$20||Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||9/1/16|
Prizes in Poetry and Prose
Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Slippery Elm are given annually for a poem and a short story or essay. Using the online submission system, submit up to three poems of any length or…
|$15||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||9/1/16|
|Sustainable Arts Foundation
Up to five awards of $6,000 each and up to five Promise Awards of $2,000 each are given twice yearly to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with children. Writers with at least one…
|$15||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$6,000||9/2/16|
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Dogwood is given annually for a poem, a short story, or an essay. Submit up to three poems totaling no more than 10 pages or up to 22 pages of prose with a $…
|$10||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$1,000||Publication||9/5/16|
|Farmingdale State College
Paumanok Poetry Award
A prize of $1,500 and travel and lodging expenses to give a reading at Farmingdale State College is given annually for a group of poems. Submit three to five published or unpublished poems totaling no…
|Red Mountain Press
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Mountain Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Sarah Sousa will judge. Submit a manuscript of 48 to 72 pages with a $30 entry fee ($28 for electronic…
|Red Hen Press
Graphic Novel Award
A prize of $1,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is given annually for a graphic novel. Kate Gale will judge. Submit a manuscript of 75 to 200 pages with a $25 entry fee by October 31, 2016. Call or…
|A Room of Her Own Foundation
Gift of Freedom Award
A prize of $50,000 is given biennially to a female poet, fiction writer, or creative nonfiction writer to complete a project for publication over a two-year period. The top finalist in each of the two…
|$45||Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction||$50,000||Publication||11/2/16|
I’ve been craving bread. Sweet and impeccably soft Japanese bread in particular. Not quite sure what started this recent desire for pillowy soft buns, but with a severe lack of Japanese bakeries on the Gold Coast, I’ve been forced to get into the kitchen and bake whenever the craving strikes. I guess that’s not such a bad thing.
Anpan are essentially delicious Japanese bread rolls filled with sweet, moist, melt-in-your-mouth anko (red bean paste), and honestly, they taste much better when baked at home. Nothing beats warm, fluffy, fresh-out-of-the-oven anpan! That satisfaction when you bite into one and find that gooey, sticky, sweet red bean centre… so indescribably good.
If you’ve never had anko before, it’s a rather dense paste made by boiling and mashing earthy red beans (also known as azuki beans). The paste is then sweetened with sugar. It is a very popular ingredient featured widely in asian desserts…
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Tags: Books, Madi Merek, New Talent
Lost in LAlaland #1
Paparazzi, vodka cocktails, and sex. Welcome to LAlaland.
Winifred Chapman isn’t thrilled with the idea of her ten year reunion; especially not the idea of returning to LAlaland. Even in the midst of her thrilling career, she’s managed to avoid LA as often as possible, which is saying a lot for a world-renowned fashion designer. She has a life which women everywhere would envy, and has everything she needs . . . or so she thinks.
Anthony Ricci was the most popular guy at Westlake High, and the one Winifred thought would never look twice at her. A former professional athlete, he now runs a successful Italian restaurant in New York City. When they run into each other at the reunion and give in to a widely passionate night, Anthony decides he may want more than Winifred is willing to give.
Hating being known by the men she’s dated or slept with, Winifred has learned to take what she needs from them without investing emotionally. When she discovers Anthony’s old desire for her and disappears after their night together, he refuses to give her up.
Will he be able to show her that love doesn’t have to be a battle, or will LAlaland prove to be enough to destroy her carefully constructed walls?
Are you ready for the madness of LA?
April 1, 2014
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