Mobility and Mini-Vans

The right of passage into adulthood for many adults is the purchase of the 2 door coupe – speed and style combined for the maximum ‘cool’ factor. The most important decision is how fast can this go? Or, what color best fits my personality? 

Julie and I have always been strange. For me, that right of passage was the acquisition of an all season tent. For her, the right of passage was always the mini-van… I know, right?

We got our fuel efficient compact, hatch-back sedan years ago. It’s been a great car, and despite it’s small size, has been surprisingly spacious and exceptionally comfortable. But it was never that right of passage. In the last year or two of my working career, we began to look for another vehicle, particularly because for those years, I couldn’t seem to find work within commute distance of home: I’d leave town for work, and stay with family during the working week, and come home on weekends a. This left Julie trapped at home with the boys and no method of comfortable transportation. 

Now, I’d have been content with a little junker car (I wasn’t going to be driving it, after all), but with my decreased income (as my disability has increased, my pay decreased…) we were struggling to afford even that. My wife, of course, wanted a mini-van, being the final step toward being the quintessential homemaker. Mini-vans, sadly, are expensive.

As we looked, we realized that as long as I was making extreme commutes, the budget was not going to allow us the purchase of another vehicle. Do you believe in divine inspiration? I do. Julie felt inspired to ask for help, but that felt embarrassing to me, as needing help somehow showed that I was failing as a provider for my family (kind of a ridiculous emotional response, but it’s how I felt). So honoring me, but following through with her inspiration, Julie playfully posted on her Facebook wall something like “anyone have a vehicle they want to give us?”

It goes to show the power of inspiration, and the generous nature of good people that within 24 hours, she had been personally messaged by a childhood friend of my brother’s: he and his wife had literally just been discussion what to do with their vehicle once they replaced it with a much needed upgrade. You see, their AC was broken, making the exchange value lower than the work neccisary to actually exchange it. The had determined that they would give it to someone in need… And then we had asked for help, being in need. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m not sure I believe in coincidence. 

It turned out that they couldn’t give up the vehicle until they had actually replaced it, but that was agreeable. Ironically, they goth wit to us within a week of my health failing so far that I couldn’t work: with me staying at home, and Julie working, however, the need for the second vehicle remained.

Because of the commute formJulie’s work, she continued to drive or little compact car. Ironically, it was a mini-van that we were given! Julie’s right of passage was finally here… And it was me that was driving it!

I was never quite one of those men who believe that driving a mini-van requires the surrendering of a man-card… But I wasn’t really pumped about giving up my comfy car.

I like to own ‘it,’ whatever that means. I’m disabled, so I’m the ‘Broken Dad,’ for example. So my boys and I dubbed the van the “dad-van” (complete with 60’s batman music: “na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na DAD VAN!”)

And I discovered the wonder of arm rests.

Now, as a side note, have you ever noticed the inordinate number of mini-vans in handicapped spots? You haven’t? Oh, you will now! (Evil laighter for making you notice something that you do t care about!) I understand why there are an inordinate amount of mini-vans among the disabled: they rock! Cars are notoriously difficult to get in and out of, one of the reasons I loved our car is that the seat is not difficult to get in or out of. The arm rests make them more comfortable for sitting in, particularly for those of us with lower back injuries: we can relieve the pressure from our backs by just putting my elbows on the arm rests and pushing down: really lovely. And, especially for those with walking aids, mini-vans give ease of loading, storage, and unloading.  Having a child still in a car seat means that I can kid him without having to bend over, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

I love putting Ezra’s bike in the back, with plenty of room for Nathanael’s and my tricycles: we can all go somewhere to ride without substanci burden. It’s beautiful! 
So what’s the point: The irony that after all the years of desiring a mini-can, Julie isn’t the one who’s driving it? Mini-vans are inherently awesome? My brother’s friend and his wife are amazingly generous? There is hope for the human race after all? When one is disabled, even little thin a like arm rests are awesome? No, none of these are the point, though all true; the point is simple enough: I’ve totally got ADHD and can write voluminous posts about anything.
Thanks for supporting me by reading them. 😀

The Republican Party is Dead

I’d love to write condemning the narcisism and corruption in the liberal, authoritarian Democratic Party. I’d love to be so in sync with the ‘party of the right,’ and be able to stick with taking down the opposition. The problem is that the ‘party of the right,’well, isn’t. Those of us on the right, therefore must spend our energies pulling the mote out of our own eye, so to speak, and clean house.

When I began to disassociate myself for the Republican Party, it was for 1 simple reason: the Republican’s don’t live up to the values that they claim. This is more true at the federal level, and less true at the local and state levels. I know several state officials and politicians that live by the Republican creeds, and even less at the federal level.

But the recent years have begun to show me how wrong I was – in 2008, the Republican National Convention selected one of the least conservative Republican senators in Washington to run on their behalf for the Presidency of the United States. He was strong on security, a key point of Republican dogma, but cared little and less for the individual rights guaranteed by the constitution (collectivist is a good word to describe him). John McCain lost handily, in no small part that the Republicans selected a progressive Republican to run against a Progressive Democrat. Sadly, the two candidates agreed on many key points in the direction the country should go, and primary disagreements were about speed of travel. 

Failing to learn their lesson, the Republicans  selected yet another progressive republican in 2012 to represent them in the Presidential campaign. Worse than not significantly disagreeing on direction, Mitt Romney consistently repeated variations of the phrase “I agree with you,” while debating the incumbent president, a tactic tantamount to a ringing endorsement. I believe Romney to be an honest man, but his stances are not consistently conservative, and the constitution hardly plays into his accounting (except, to his credit, he considers it enough to figure out how to get around it).

As part of the Conservative Right; as part of the younger generation’s libertarian movement (a movement directly rebelling from our helicopter-parent’s authoritarian streak (not a royal “we” or “our” but speaking as a collective)); as a firm believer in the rule of law; as someone who wants and likes to win; I find myself with a difficult question: do I defeat those whom openly revile my values and beliefs (the Democratic Party), by embracing those whom claim my values but fail to uphold them when push comes to shove? I, like many on the right, chose to answer a resounding “no!”  

The grassroots conservative movements worked hard to throw out many of those in congress without a track record of defending our values (and more importantly, the values that they themselves claim).  Nearly 1/3 of our candidates took office in 2010, replacing many long time Republican officials at local, state, and federal levels. The cry was strong: “stop dictating or lives,” and “return to the Constitution!” In 2012 we had similar (though admittedly less voluminous results because of the presidential election). We did all of this despite claims of racism against us, and even with government  agencies literally using the might and power of the bureaucracy to attempt to shut us down by unjustly using the tax system as a weapon. These attacks were expected and understandable: we were shaking up the status quo. We were working to end the cronyism and corruption in Washington, and more importantly, we were being successful.

We’ve prayed, and fasted, and humbled ourselves before the Almoghtly God in effort to be worthy of the promises of Liberty granted by Him. Despite many of our numbers being aithiest, in true libertarian fashion, we didn’t revile each other for our differences in belief and practice. We pleaded to the Lord to send us another George Washington or Abraham Lincoln – someone devoted to righteous principles, holding firm to their values in the face of extreme opposition, and that unifies the country – not by compromising their values or principles, but by holding them dearly, and embracing the opposition in love.

I believe God answered our prayers in abundance. In this presidential election cycle, he gave us a half dozen strongly principled, constitutional conservatives (they varied on their libertarian credentials, but most of us libertarians would happily except a constitutional conservative, knowing that the constitution embraces libertarian ideals, even if the candidates don’t).

We stood on the roof of our house as the flood waters rose, praying to the Lord for deliverance, and He’s sent us a fleet of boats to rescue us in our time of need!

The problem with the Republicans, however, is that they’ve angrily spit in the eye of the boat drivers. The anger stems from the corruption and erosion of our rights in Washington DC. I get it. We’ve watched, not just for the last 8 years, but for at least a generation, as the morals, values, and principles of the American people are ignored, despisd, and actively eroded from the ruling elite. I, with many like me, have worked to change that devilry one person at a time. But we’ve seen those whom we sent to Washington to uphold our constitution be bought off by the highest bidder (in some cases almost immediately). It can lead to despair that the system is broken (it is) and can’t be fixed (can it?) and many on the right and many in the middle have given up trying.  

We’ve determined that there is no point getting in the rescue boats. We’ve concluded that there will be a flood wherever we go, and it’s by design of the people who are trying to rescue us. And worse, we’ve decided to sabotage the rafts.

The Republicans have decided to select Donald Trump.

Unlike 2008 and 2012, they haven’t picked a person who they know either doesn’t share their values or will compromise those values, just because they think that person can win. Instead, they’ve picked a person who doesn’t really even pay lip service to those values, but promises to “stick it to ’em,” and get those in Washington who have betrayed them. He’s made an effort to destroy anyone who he deems to be a personal enemy, and the Republicans like it. They’ve decided that there is no fixing Washington, and settled instead for revenge.

And worse: if Trump wins, they’ll get it. Like post WWI Germany, the Republicans are making their decisions out of disparity, fear, and anger. They’ve intentionally giving power to a strong man with no moral compass besides personal power. He’s telling and showing them what he  intends to do with that power, and if they believe him, they don’t care. He may not be trustworthy about his positions, as he has historically changed those positions often and easily, but his actions are consistent: ‘destroy those in my way, crush the opposition, and get whatever I want, irrespective of laws or even people.’

This has never ended well.

Sadly, the Democratic Party is selecting candidates that should be easier to defeat than any they have run in my lifetime, and maybe ever. The economy has crumbled under the current Democratic President; the DNC chairman, nor the Democratic Presidential front runner, can even declare the difference between a socialist and a Democrat. 

This should be the easiest presidential seat for the Republicans to win… Like… Ever…

But I think they will lose.

If I’m wrong, and they win, the new president will wield the full force of the federal government like a sword and destroy anyone on his ever growing enemies list. The country will fall apart, and I could easily see civil war in the streets. Our rights and constitution will exist in name only. 

And everyone will blame the Republicans (justly).

If I’m right, and Hillary wins, we’ll mostly have a continuation of the status quo, leading to more anger, resentment, feeling of betrayal, Washington grandstanding and gridlock, which will be, if history is to be trusted, blamed on the Republicans.

The Conservative right will take the blame in either event: if Trump wins, it will be the right’s fault that he is in power (and there is truth to that), and that he abuses that power. If he loses, the right wil be blamed for not “compromising,”and for trying to “shut down the government,” for trying to “play games with the republic.”

The problem is this: everyone of those accusation is true of the Republican elite, but I, for one, am tired of being blamed for the decisions, practices, and reprehensible games that I’ve worked hard to have my representatives put an end to. If the Republicans either flush our constitution and republic down the drain by electing a strong arm tyrant, or if they continue the status quo – selling their souls for personal power and gain, they are done. They are over.

Personally, I’m done voting for the wrong candidates just to “win.” I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump. Many say “then you’re throwing your vote away, and ensuring that the Democrats win!” Then so be it. I’ll be blamed regardless of the outcome – and neither candidate represents me. If I’m going to lose no matter what, why would I vote someone who doesn’t represent my values, principles, or the Constitution of the United States? If I can find a suitable 3rd party candidate, I’ll vote that way. If not, I’ll write someone else in, but I’m done supporting a party that doesn’t support me, just because they oppose the Democrats. 

If the Republicans spit in the ey of the rescue boat drivers, they deserve to drown in the flood.

If the Republicans select Dobald Trump to represent them as a Presidential candidate,  they deserve to lose (again), and more importantly, the party deserves to die. 

If the Republicans no longer stand for their platform values, principles, and most importantly, for the Constitution of the United Stares, they no longer have any worth to our country, and deserve to go the way of the Whigs.

I’m angry. I’m frustrated. In truth, I’m despairing a bit. But I am still thinking clearly, and if the GOP refuses this last reformation, I will permanently and completely devote myself to the creation of a new constitutional conservative party. 

The Republican Party is dead.