Dare to Compare Not Always the Best Choice

I recently heard from a good friend of mine. Over the past ten years, his career has blossomed. He has the job he always wanted, with very little compromise.

Meanwhile, I have not been so lucky. In 2008 I was diagnosed with mental illness and it was deemed that because of the extreme nature of my disability I would no longer be able to work a full-time position.

You see, I have good days and bad days. On the good days, I have flashes of the old me wherein I can accomplish things very few others have the talent, intelligence, or drive to succeed at. On the bad days, I am in a corner crying for hours on end or talking to imaginary people. Or worse. Traditional workplaces don’t really tolerate these kinds of challenges.

I am happy that my friend has succeeded in life. I truly am. But in comparison, some would say that in the eyes of the world I am a failure. And that depressed me.

I took this quandary of emotions with me to my therapist appointment. In her observation, it seems that my self-esteem isn’t what it once was. I am no longer the cocky SOB who once was on the cusp of greatness.

My therapist offered up the notion that despite my disabilities, I have accomplished a lot. And, perhaps those accomplishments are just as meaningful as those of my successful friend because of the very fact that I have done them despite fighting multiple debilitating disabilities.

Since my diagnosis in 2008, I have tried not to let life pass me by.

As a writer, I have had two books published since 2008: Blood Lust (a Hollywood vampire novel) and Unbecoming Travolta (a memoir). Including my 2002 Amazon Top 10 Recommended My Fractured Life novel, that makes three books published in total. Further, my screenplays have been finalists in several prestigious screenwriting competitions.

As a singer and songwriter, I have released my third album in 2019 – Man on Fire.

As an actor, I have shot several films and starred in a number of highly touted stage productions that earned me two Best Actor nominations in the annual Broadway World Theatrical Awards.

As a communicator, I host a popular weekly radio show focused on the entertainment industry.

And, as a theatrical creator I have founded and grown It’s Showtime Theatre of Huntley.

When I look at those accomplishments on paper, I see where my therapist is coming from. There’s a lot of meat on those bones. But there’s a difference between how the logical mind and the emotional mind process things.

A part of me will always be the child that was told he was fat, ugly, stupid, and untalented. A part of me will always mourn being abandoned by my father at the age when a boy needs one the most.  A part of me will always carry a dark scar on my soul from being molested – once by a family friend and twice by strangers.

Those traumas aren’t conducive to developing a good self-esteem. So, my natural inclination is always going to be to see myself as unworthy of greatness. With that kind of predisposed mindset, I will always struggle to give myself credit for my accomplishments.

My friend who has his dream job is a great person. He is smart, creative, loyal, and moral. I applaud his success, as I know he would mine had the shoe been on the other foot.

But maybe, I’m not the disappointment that my subconscious says I am.  Maybe some of the things I’ve been able to do despite my challenges are impressive in their own right. Maybe, at least, I get points for trying.

Comparing yourself to others is not always the best thing to do. Instead, focus on your positives. That’s a good lesson to learn. I think I’m going to have to study that lesson a little more.

I can’t change the fact that I am disabled. My mind doesn’t work the way that others’ minds do. But I can continue to strive to be the best that I can be – not the best in comparison to others, but the best in comparison to myself.

And who knows? Maybe I can even be an inspiration to other disabled people – people with challenges like mine, or even greater than mine. There is no reason a disabled person can’t be a role model.

Peace. Love. Trust.

 

 

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Make Racism Wrong Again

When someone does something reprehensible, it is our duty to stand up for what is right. That is one of the principles that the United States of America was built on.

Racism is wrong. There is nothing anyone can say to justify it or make it right.

Recently Donald Trump has launched into a campaign of overt racism against elected members of the United States Congress.

Using every medium available, he has called upon the American people to send four U.S. elected officials who happen to be women of color, “back where they came from.” He insinuates because they have colored skin, they are not worthy of living in this country, much less representing the people who voted them into office.

Interestingly, that three of the four women he wants to “send back” to their home countries were born in the United States. The fourth came to the U.S. as a child as a legal immigrant and became a U.S. citizen as a teen. This is unlike Trump’s current (3rd) wife who came to the U.S. illegally. The difference, of course, is that Trump’s wife is white.

The four members of the House of Representatives upon whom Trump has waged his racist war are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Unlike Melania Trump, all have college degrees. Unlike Melania, they are all women of color.

It’s also interesting to note that the four Congresswomen that Donald Trump continues to attack on the basis of their skin color, all won their positions. Unlike Donald, they won their elected positions via popular vote. Ocasio-Cortez won her seat with 78.2% of the vote; Omar won with 78% of the vote, Pressley won with 98.3% of the vote; and Tlaib won with 84.2% of the vote. Even with the aid of Russian interference, Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes. It is only on a technicality that he was given the office of President.

I don’t care if you agree with the politics of the four U.S. Congresswomen or not. That’s a matter of intellectual debate. Attacking them strictly because of the color of their skin is not acceptable.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery in 1865. The 15th Amendment , passed in 1870, gave African-Americans the right to vote. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 ruled that racial segregation in public schools is illegal. In 1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality.

There should be no place for racism in modern America. Sadly, there is a very vocal minority of Trump supporters who campaign for him because of the fact that he is a racist. That’s what they like about him – that he gives voice to their hatred of people with colored skin.

The sad thing is, these racists think they are “normal.” They don’t recognize themselves as racists. They think discrimination is a normal thing. And, they assume that others have the same point of view.

In fact, the gullible Trump supporters who feed on his hate speech, seem honestly dismayed when someone doesn’t believe the same way they do. That’s why they believed it when Trump claimed he had a crowd of 80,000 attendees at a North Carolina rally to vilify Congresswomen Omar, when in actuality the venue only seats 8,000 and many of those seats were empty.

I personally know Trump supporters who claim they aren’t racists because they don’t use the N-word in front of black people, only when they’re not around. This is not right. This kind of thinking is a disease that needs to be eradicated.

Trump wants to Make America White Again. I disagree. The color of a person’s skin does not define them. It is wrong to say that it does. Racism should have no home in modern America. Instead, we should all strive to Make Racism Wrong Again.

Peace. Love. Trust.

 

 

 

Treason Trump – If the Shoe Fits, Wear It

Like a school yard bully, Donald Trump attacks his opposition with insulting nicknames. Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders, Trump calls “Crazy Bernie”. Vice President Joe Biden he calls “Sleepy Joe.” Republican senator Ted Cruz, Trump calls “Lying Ted.” Extending his bullying to racist statements, Trump calls Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” due to her Native American lineage.

As if there was any question by this point, Donald Trump is far from presidential. He talks with a second-grade vocabulary. The Washington Post has well documented that he lies at least 15 times a day on average. He insights violence, telling followers he will pay their legal fees or pardon them if they attack the targets he suggests. He takes credit for the accomplishments of proceeding leader, President Barack Obama. He colluded with a foreign hostile government to undermine the United States election process. And, he committed repeated acts of obstruction covering up his many crimes.

So, I guess it comes as no surprise that a man who behaves like a small child, throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, would resort to name calling. I’m a big believer in treating others the way one wants to be treated. Maybe it’s time we start using the same tactics Trump uses on others to describe the vile, racist man bringing shame to the White House.

I suggest from hence forth we call the President “Treason Trump” in recognition of for his betrayal of the Unites States.

Of course, there are many nicknames we could choose from for Treason Trump. “Nazi Trump” or “Racist Trump” are applicable names given that Treason Trump calls white supremacists “fine people,”has been heard in recordings using the N-word to describe African Americans, and has religiously called Hispanics rapists and murders. It’s apparently a family tradition given that Treason Trump’s father was a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

“Bone Spurs Trump” is a well-recognized nickname for the man who used a fake bone spurs diagnosis by a family friend to dodge the draft five times despite being able to compete in football, tennis, and squash.

“Tiny Mushroom Trump” is a equally well recognized nickname for Treason Trump, given to him by the porn star he paid $130,000 to for sex while his wife was recovering from child birth.

There are many names one could justifiably call Trump. But, Treason Trump is the one I prefer – because of all the crimes Trump is guilty of committing, Treason against the United States of America is the most vile.

It’s time to take the gloves off and hit Trump where it hurts. If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. It’s time that we call Treason Trump by the name he deserves.

Treason Trump – the scourge of the free world.

Peace. Love. Trust.

 

Seeing ‘On the Basis of Sex’ Now is More Important than Ever

On the Basis of Sex, a new biographical film about the early law career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is both entertaining and important. I’ll touch on both.

The story begins with Ginsburg’s first day at Harvard Law School. She is one of only nine women in a class of approximately 500 men. Her husband, Marty Ginsburg is a second-year law student at the same prestigious institution. Together they balance their schooling with caring for a youngster at home. Sadly, at that time, women like Ruth had to endure overt discrimination. For instance, there wasn’t a woman’s bathroom at Harvard Law School.

When her husband falls ill and has to be hospitalized, Ruth attends both her and her husband’s classes until he is able to return to school. She tutors her husband at night and helps him with his homework, while never falling behind in her own studies. It is a true testament to the limitless potential of someone who refuses to let circumstances get in the way of her desires.

Although she is at the top of her class, Ruth transfers to Columbia University in New York to finish out her law degree when Marty gets a lucrative job in the city.

Even though she graduates at the top of her class at Columbia, Ruth can’t get a job with a legitimate law firm. As a conciliation, she takes a job at Rutgers Law School teaching “The Law and Sex Discrimination.”

The story then takes us through the start of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passionate work in discrimination and civil rights law. Again, no matter the obstacles, her superior intelligence and unending drive bring her out on top. There is even a Rocky type build up towards the knock out fight where the film culminates.

But this isn’t a story just about a gender discrimination attorney. It is a story about a real woman and this is where the story really succeeds.

The marriage of Ruth and Marty Ginsburg is given a great deal of screen time. And deservedly so, you don’t find marriages like that anymore where the husband and wife stick by each other no matter what. They were married 58 years until Marty’s passing in 2010.

Felicity Jones does a fabulous job portraying Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She demonstrates passion for her ideals of right and wrong, a love for her partner and children, and even a romantic side in the bedroom. I applaud this move by director Mimi Leder to show Ruth as a real person with many sides to her personality.

Arnie Hammer plays Marty. And he does a fine job. The chemistry he shares with Jones is beautiful to watch. Hammer makes it believable that Marty never falters in his dedication to his wife and children. He even made me forget that he was the man behind the mask in 2013’s The Lone Ranger. Consider that high praise, as that I have a healthy obsession with playing the role of The Lone Ranger myself.

Sam Waterston and Kathy Bates provide very interesting supporting roles. Waterson plays the head of Harvard Law School, Dean Griswold. From his many years on the popular television series Law & Order, Waterson is instantly acceptable as a powerhouse in the field of law. Bates plays civil rights lawyer Dorothy Kenyon, an inspiration to Ginsburg.

The movie doesn’t take us into Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s rise to the Supreme Court. But it is that move up the ladder of success as an attorney and judge that makes this film so important.

We just had an accused rapist confirmed to the Supreme Court. Not only is Brett Kavanaugh likely guilty of multiple sex crimes, he was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump who himself has been accused by no less than 22 women of sexual misconduct and has openly bragged about sexually assaulting women. He has also openly praised neo Nazis and white supremacists as “good people.” He himself has also publicly identified himself as white nationalist. Let that sink in.

Justice Ginsburg is 85 years old. She knows that if she retires now, her replacement would be extremely right wing. Perhaps even worse than Kavanaugh.

So she serves. And she will as long as she can make a difference. This movie tells the story of why she serves – who she is as a person.

On a scale of one to ten, I give On the Basis of Sex a strong 7.75.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Trump Endorses Mimes Along the Border Plan

Already a laughing stock among world leaders, President Donald Trump expanded on his ill-planned border wall between Mexico and the USA, with the added caveat that he wants sections of the multi-billion-dollar project to be see-through.

However, this did little to close the gap between the $5 Billion Trump insists on getting from U.S. tax payers for his wall, versus what Congress is willing to allow in any proposed budget needed to bring an end to the current government shutdown.

In early December 2018, Trump announced in front of the press that he would take full blame for a government shutdown. In fact, Trump said he would be “proud” to force more than 420,000 federal employees to work without pay if he didn’t get his wall.

Since that time, Trump has tried blaming Democrats for the shutdown with no explanation as to why this would seem logical considering that the Republicans held a majority in both the House and the Senate.

Rikki Lee Travolta has emerged with a viable solution to get Trump the see-through wall he desires without spending more than $1 Billion. In exchange for $1 Billion Rikki Lee Travolta insists he can hire the largest collection of mimes ever assembled and place them along the border. Mimes are well known for their invisible wall talents.

“Building a wall of mimes is the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard with my big boy ears. I’m like, smart and a stable genius. Even though I went bankrupt six times, I still know a great deal when I hear it,” stated Trump. This quote was confirmed according to the same irrefutable source that President Trump used to confirm that the President Obama’s house is surrounded by a 10-foot wall.

“Vladimir Putin will be so proud of me,” continued Trump. “Having mimes at the border proves I only colluded with Russia sometimes!” This quote was confirmed according to the same well-researched source that President Trump used to confirm that he is the most popular president ever.

With the adoption of the Mimes Along the Border Plan, Trump seeks to be a hero for ending a government showdown that never needed to happen.

If the mime plan works, White House contacts have confirmed that Trump will next want to install a similar border between Canada and the U.S. in order to keep Americans from defecting to Canada. Upon further review it was found that these comments came from in “A” White House, not necessary “The” White House.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Exercise Your Right to Vote

It is a scary time in United States politics.

We have a President who the majority of voters did not support.

We have a newly appointed Supreme Court Justice who the majority of citizens did not support.

We have a tax bill that only benefits the upper 1% of Americans, and not the majority of tax payers.

We have trade wars that the majority of citizens do not support and have done irreparable harm to American businesses and farmers alike.

We have a Senate that does not represent the interests of the majority of voters, but rather caters to the whims of the Russian puppet serving in the highest office.

Our government is in crisis. A small minority of elitists are running this country pandering to the interests of big business and evangelicals, not the interests of the majority of U.S. citizens.

These are facts. They are irrefutable.

Remember this is how the Nazi Party took over Germany.

Hitler’s Nazis were not in the majority. They were a minority….a very vocal minority, but a minority just the same.

They took power by attacking the free press, attacking minorities, and preaching hate disguised as nationalism.

Donald Trump behaves the same way. He spews hatred, attacks the free press, and blames all of America’s perceived problems on minorities and immigrants. He calls Nazi’s “good people” and endorses racists and rapists while openly making fun of disabled people, sexual assault victims, war heroes, families of fallen soldiers, and minorities.

There is a system of checks and balances that is supposed to keep a minority from taking over government.

We have the three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. This is to ensure that no one branch of government can act without recourse.

The problem is, our Senate and House of Representatives are not standing up to a corrupt President. In fact, voting against the interests of the people to gain favor with this corrupt President. And, what we have just seen is the lifetime appointment of a rapist and liar to the Supreme Court.

So what can we do?

The answer is that we need to vote in the November 6 elections. Everyone needs to exercise your right to vote. The stakes are to high not to.

Take the power away from the con artists and corrupt politicians using office to line their own pockets and perpetuate their own racial and religious biases that don’t represent the interests of the people of the United States of America.

“Make America Great Again” is a nice slogan. But in the hands of people who use such words to run a con game on the American people, they are nothing more than an empty promise, as meaningless as the Made in China MAGA hats Trump hawks for personal profit.

I applaud celebrities like Taylor Swift who have come forward to encourage people to vote with a conscience.

Let’s take back our government. Let’s stand up for woman’s rights to govern their own bodies. Let’s stand up for investing in public education. Let’s stand up for affordable healthcare. Let’s stand up for LGBTQ rights. Let’s stand up for racial equality.

Vote like your life depends on it, because it is the life of our country itself that is in the throws of a hostile takeover.

We need to rescue America. We can do it together. Vote.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Donald Trump – A Self Made Man?

Donald Trump claims to be a self-made billionaire. During the 2016 presidential campaign he reiterated this over and over again.

Eventually, he was caught in his lie and confessed that he received $1 million from his father to start him in his own business ventures. Later, he admitted that the gift from his father was more in the line of $10 million.

Now, thanks to the very reputable New York Times, we learn that Trump was actually given over $400 million by his father. That doesn’t sound much like Trump is a self-made man.

Despite his claims to the contrary, Donald Trump is not very smart – impartial media have estimated Trump’s vocabulary to be that of a 4th grader. Nor is Trump a very good businessman. His businesses have filed for bankruptcy at least six times.

Considering that Donald Trump lost the 2016 election by over 3 million votes, and was only awarded the presidency by an archaic electoral college, expectations were not high for his venture into politics. Not only that, but the votes he did get in the election were clearly tainted by Russian efforts to undermine the government of the United States of America. There is no doubt that Trump is a traitor guilty of treason. We can only hope that special counsel Robert Mueller can soon force the impeachment of Trump, or better yet the nullification all together of his illegally obtained presidency.

It is not new information that Donald Trump lies. Independent respected media have analyzed Trump’s hatred of the truth. It has been calculated that Trumps lies to the American public at least seven times a day. And for some sick reason, the Republicans in the Senate and Trump’s minority followers in the general population forgive him for his daily transgressions.

If Barack Obama had lied even once while in office, Republicans would have called for his head. But, we are supposed to accept Trump lying to us day in and day out. He calls his lies “alternative facts” as if labeling a lie by another name make it somehow okay.

In fact, Donald Trump’s own legal team are trying desperately to prevent him from having to make any sworn statements to Mr. Mueller because they are convinced he will perjure himself.

It is a sad statement about our society that a storied and respected political party like the Republicans can ignore the best interests of the American people and the sanctity of the country itself. Instead they stand by a man guilty of treason who continues to illegally profit from the presidency. Not only does he lie, not only did he commit treason, he is a proven racist, sexist, elitist, and sexual predator facing 20 sexual assault charges.

On top of everything else, Donald Trump is a bully. He makes fun of disabled people, war heroes, and victims of sexual assault. He calls people names like an immature child would. Yet his delusional followers embrace his racism. Remember he called Nazi’s “very good people.”

It is astounding that a blatant racist and liar can hold the highest office in the land. This nightmare cannot end soon enough and that time is coming. Mueller will soon file charges against Trump and the special election in November will allow the majority of U.S. citizens who despise all Trump stands for to take back control of the Senate. But what can we do to make sure the travesty of justice that Trump represents will never happen again?

That’s a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Peace. Love. Trust.