Right, Left, and Everything in Between: What Will Become of America?

purelyspeculationThree days after the 2016 General Election in America, a pall of dread hangs over not just the nation, but the world. There is doubt, confusion, and no small amount of fear. The very thing which everyone said simply could not happen has now come to pass—Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States.

Not only fear, this also creates a lot of questions. How did this happen? Why did we doubt it could? What does this say about the American people? What does the future hold for the ‘Land of the Free’?

Coming to power astride a wave of grandiose lies and dangerous bombast, Trump has openly called for violence, insulted multiple races, defiled men, and debased women on his path to the most powerful office in the world. The ludicrous ideas he has espoused pale in their absurdity only in comparison to the ignorant and ever-shifting ideologies he has endorsed.

Now there are riots in the streets, which are unlikely to end any time soon. To be honest, I expect this would have been little different had Hillary Clinton won.

The madness and peculiarity of this shocking election cycle did not happen by random chance. It was a clear reflection of the state of the American political structure, and more importantly, the American people.

This race has seen the utter devastation of both traditional parties—party lines are in shambles and voters are in doubt. Amidst all of this, we must remember one very important fact.

Donald Trump was elected President.

One of the questions going through many minds is, how did this happen?

Well, words are always important, and the key word to the above phrase is ‘elected’. He won enough votes to take control of the Electoral College—quite handily at that. The fairness or effectiveness of the Electoral College is not the current purpose of this article mind you, and the fact simply remains that by the rules of the democracy, Trump had the voters he needed to win.

Who are these people?

Some of them—and possibly no small number—are just those who vote red no matter what. Both parties have always had plenty of those.

Others were likely the empowered bigots that inevitably sprout up under a vile demagogue like Trump, but I believe (and certainly pray) this number is far from being as high as many people believe.

A large portion of Trump voters, I expect, were simply just so reactionary and angry with the crooked system that they were willing to gamble. They were tired of false promises. They were tired of all the money going upward. They were tired of politicians being bought and paid for. They were tired of having no voice, and were long overdue to strike back at a political establishment which for far too long has functioned only for the moneyed interests which it serves.

As a Bernie guy, I get that.

The fact that enough people were willing to vote Trump rather than continue with the status quo is a damning condemnation on the current state of party politics. Yet, the oldest mistake in the history of democracy is to reject a failed system without due caution, and conjure into reality something even more fierce and immediate.

This election—all the way back to the primaries—was an aggressive rejection of crooked politics, corporate interference, economic mismanagement, and elitism. Yet the failure of the electorate to unite on the true issues, and the constant projection of aggression and fear onto one another has finally, in the end, led to the election of the Anti-Cause. Trump is the living embodiment of all the miserable vices which usurped the democratic process and threatened liberty to begin with.

There’s too much fear and anger. Any nerd can tell you what those lead to.

So here we are, and the question remains—what can we expect now?

One of the most common fears is the effect Trump’s antics will have on the populace, that he will inspire bigotry with confidence when it should rightly hide in shadows. Already, we’re seeing examples of this being reported, and there is sure to be more in the weeks to come.

But we must not yet take this to be the majority of his voters, or the true tone of the American people. If we listen to interviews, such hate is not the motivating factor for a great many—and we would do well not to ignore the expressed desires and intentions of the people. That, after all, is precisely what’s carried us to this precipice.

Nor indeed must any decent person trade hate for hate—to act violently or even unkindly towards these frustrated voters is to fall into the very pit of anger and hatred which most would claim to despise.

In this ailing democracy of ours, we can only hope for the best at this point. We must support what works, and vigorously fight what doesn’t. But above all and without fail, we must continue the fight against an entrenched establishment that has turned its back on the people it was created to represent in favour of its own interests. This may only happen if we step out of the cycle of blame and distrust. Talk to people on the other side of the spectrum—learn about their fears and their hopes. Share your own. Speak up against intolerance, but never slip into it yourself. Never forget how easy this is to do. Talk, share, and be honest. Set a model of decency in the truest sense—that is how you improve the world.

Finally, while so justified, while so understandable and well-earned, we must remember the very forces that brought us to this point. Avoid despair, avoid rage. Most importantly, fear not…

-Brad OH Inc.

Advertisements

A Ghost Poem

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

A Ghost Poem:

I’m haunted still by visions past,

By ghostly wails and die long cast.

Porcelain smiles and ochre eyes,

Find me much to my surprise.

Sleeping, thinking, lost in mind,

I’m stalked by those I’ve left behind.

A ghostly whisper comes to me,

As I search for serenity.

There is no rest, no sure reprieve,

From the specters I believe.

A curling grin, a twisted brow,

An implacable stretch from then to now.

I toss and turn upon my bed,

These memories searing through my head.

I rise aloft and cross the floor,

A grinning vision at the door.

A flickering vestige of all I had,

To have and lose and then grow mad.

But ever smiling, turns away,

A promise that nothing untrue may stay.

Alone I stand on the edge of dream,

The perfect start to Halloween.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘A Story Untold’

Today, we here at Brad OH Inc. have another special treat for all our loyal followers. We’ve written a lot of articles in the past about meaning, legacy, and communication, and today we’re thrilled to present a new, free ‘Single Serving Story’ about precisely those themes.

‘A Story Untold’ is the tale of four young children who share in an incredible adventure. Taken against their will on a ride through the stars, the children all process the experience rather differently, and as the full weight of their situation dawns on them, it is up to each to find the meaning and sense behind it in their own individual way.

This short story was written as a quick foray into the sci-fi genre, and may mark the first of several to come. We certainly hope you enjoy this new style as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Click the link below the image to download ‘A Story Untold’ now for free!

A Story Untold- Cover‘A Story Untold’- Smashwords

-Brad OH Inc.

‘The Election’

Here at Brad OH Inc., we spend a lot of time discussing current political events, and what sort of future they might suggest. We’ve also explored many different writers and styles over the years. Today, we have a treat for you that combines the two!

Inspired by the unique ‘Gonzo’ writings of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, ‘The Election’ is the story of a cynical journalist covering the heinous events of the fourth annual ‘United Corporate Election’. In this dystopian future inspired by contemporary politics, Corporations control all aspects of government, and elections have been reduced to satirical pantomimes in which citizens use their ‘Citizen Spending Credits’ to vote on their favourite features for the elected effigy.

Journalist Duke O’Brady ventures into this ridiculous spectacle to experience the madness firsthand, but may be in for more than even he anticipated…

This short story is one of our favourites–after all, what sort of self-loathing Corporation wouldn’t dream of such an idyllic future?

We certainly hope you enjoy it as much as all of us here at Brad OH Inc. enjoyed writing it.

theelectioncoverCover Art by- Troy Barker

‘The Election’- Smashwords

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Lighthouse Lament’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Today on Brad OH Inc., we have another song to share from the former Edmonton based band ‘Basic Human Indecency’. As discussed with the previous song, ‘Overwhelmed’, these songs are the sole legal property of Brad OH Inc. But they’ve never been recorded, and have no other real use, so we’re more than happy to share them with you here.

The feature song/ poem today is the mournful tale of the sea: ‘Lighthouse Lament’.

Lighthouse Lament

A man and a boy

A boat and a storm

And a fear of where they were

A light and a horn

Far away through the fog

And a dream of where they weren’t

A rage in the boy

And a calm in the man

With the salt in his eye

And the wood in his hand

And the wind in his ear

Told him what she would be thinking

A sharp gasp out

Then a cracking sound

And a note in a bottle

Is all that was found

Of the man and his son

On the Homeward Bound

The winds keep tossing me alone

Stealing me from what I own

What I’ve known and sewn

And what I’ve grown

They take me far away from home…

-Brad OH Inc.

Embrace the Security State

cropped-blogbanner1.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., we are acutely aware of the ongoing concerns over government infringements on personal security (Link). At an ever increasing rate, governments are worming their ways into our homes, businesses, and private lives—all in the almighty name of security.

While these government intrusions into public life are most often done under the broad banner of national security, this isn’t the case for all instances of data theft. Next time you’re browsing through your favourite social media sources, take some time to observe the side-bar of advertisements tailor-made for you based on websites you’ve recently visited or items you’ve considered buying. This is all possible through the ability of the current website to read your browsing history and sell it to advertisers.

And why not? No one reading this right now has the ability to protect themselves from international killers any more than they have the clairvoyance to choose what to buy for themselves. No matter whether we’re discussing terrorism, cyber-security, or consumer habits, it’s foolhardy to deny that without corporations, we are as helpless and exposed as fish in a barrel—or the ocean at the very least.

It’s inevitable that we rely on corporations for these fundamental needs, just as we rely on them for everything else: the building of infrastructure, the shaping of our society, and the social stratification of our population. So let’s take a moment to calm down, cause I’ve seen a lot of griping going on about the notion of the government and corporations perusing through our personal data in order to serve us better.

At Brad OH Inc., we suggest you give up this tired charade. Safety, privacy, and advertisements are better left to those who know how to run things. Worrying is for the birds, and in our humble opinions, the only action left to your sorry lot is to relax and accept the inevitable. After all, be it civil liberty or private data, the only real way to protect what you own is to own nothing at all!

Maybe this notion seems hostile to you? Maybe you’re the sort that easily set off by trifling abdications of liberty? I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re entirely wrong her. Consider this: if you don’t like what you’re reading right now, maybe it’s your own fault. After all, if we here at Brad OH Inc. had the level of access to your personal lives and information that the government and other corporations do, we could happily go out of our way to ignore reality and write up just about anything you wanted to hear.

…Just like they do.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Metaphorical Imperative Revisited

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampIn our last article, ‘Without Words’ we reflected on the idea of what the world would be like without the vocabulary to define it. The concept was an interesting one to write about and consider; ultimately, it got us thinking back on another article we wrote, ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’.

The Metaphorical Imperative, for those who don’t recall, was a notion we explored about the source of and meaning behind creativity. In a nutshell, the idea is that as human beings evolved and our cerebral capacity expanded, the ability to question our world or ask ‘why’ would have appeared around the same time as the ability to use abstract conjecture to answer the question. These activities are certainly tied to language, although they need not be defined by it. Still, for the purposes of this article, we will take articulated thought as the base point for our considerations.

The fundamental assertion behind the concept of ‘The Metaphorical Imperative’ is that if humans owe any reverence or thanks for their current state, we owe it to the incredible work of evolutionary architecture that is our own minds—not to any god, devil, or undefined miscreant in between.

The need for existential reassurance, the fear of death, and the question of what we are and why we are here; these are all the direct products of a brain grown sufficiently complex to wrestle with such abstractions, and this alone is more miraculous and better cause for celebration than any story I’ve read in a holy book.

But that leads us to the next point. If our ability to ask questions is a miracle, what can be aid of our ability to create the answers for them?

Metaphor is the abstract use of one object to find or create meaning in another. If abstract thought is the impetus for asking ‘why’, then the tool for answering it is metaphor. My contention is that these abilities would have evolved in relatively close proximity to one another, representing a true ‘awakening’ of humanity.

If we are to discuss metaphor and meaning, we might as well start with one of the most famous—and central to our current topic. In the Garden of Eden, it’s said that Eve (that reckless upstart) ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and thus doomed mankind forever.

Thanks a lot, Eve.

I find an interesting parallel in this. This fruit, the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ which caused mankind’s fall from innocence, is symbolically comparable to the notion of the Metaphorical Imperative, in which we gain both the ability to question our nature, and the skill to fashion suitable answers.

But it’s really the answers that interest me here; the nourishing apples to the terrible hunger of ennui. Via our ability to create meaning, the human race has tapped into our most fundamental and defining abilities: creation, art, and belief.

The power of this ability might be observed most directly in expressions such as organized religion, whose depth of belief has inspired acts of miraculous empathy and terrible cruelty. But the power of metaphor isn’t limited to religion alone. Any story—TV shows, books movies, video games—has the power through metaphor to provide just as much as religion to anyone with the ability to relate to it on a personal or psychological level.

Stories are the foundation of all culture; ideas, philosophy, art and religion, the fundamental basis of humanity can be defined as the ability to dream things up in a way they are not.

There are no exceptions. Whether it’s sports, gods, science-fiction, or science alone, everyone places their trust in some grand idea, anchoring their hopes and aspirations to some intangible notion that rings true to them.

Luke Skywalker, Aragorn, The New Orleans Saints, Zen Buddhism, Zeus and Allah and Jesus, all the angels in heaven and demons in hell have sprung from this one key human drive. All art is the product of the metaphorical imperative, and stands as testament to everything which makes us human.

But here an important consideration arises in our series of metaphors. If, as suggested earlier, this key drive which makes us human (for both good and ill) was represented as the great deception of the devil in the garden, then perhaps all artists are in fact worshipping the devil.

Perhaps the development of consciousness and desire in humans was an accident—a random fluke forever changing the course of our species. No doubt we would have existed in perfect harmony with our environment if we’d never developed the capacity to believe we are separate or better.

Maybe it’s a good thing, and maybe not. But although this cerebral capacity has led to great pain and suffering throughout history, I refuse to believe it is not also the thing which will see us to what we need to become. Creation and metaphor, for all our missteps, define us as the beautiful, shining bastards we are, and will someday show us just how incredible we can truly be.

All we need to find is the right story.

-Brad OH Inc.