I posted the following post on my facebook page yesterday. It was cathartic. Original? Probably not. Heart felt? You better fucking believe it was. I had forgot that I had this personal blogspot and figured "what the hell... why not post this to a wider audience." My whole point in posting this is to reach out to folks to have a conversation. I've received positive remarks from my fellow like minded friends. Not so much from the ones that probably think I'm off my rocker. Those are the people I want to talk to. Those are the people I want to engage in a discussion. Those are the people I want to find unity with. So here it is, my "coming out" post with all this dumbshit going on...
Hi, I’m Ed Castaneda. Most of you on Facebook know me. If you do know me, hopefully you see a happy go-lucky, likes to mosey-type guy. I don’t usually get too worked up over stuff. Mostly I just like to laugh. Well I’m afraid this post won’t be that Ed. I know the last thing some of you want to see is “another political” post. I get it. Do you know what I like most about Facebook? Sharing our life, pics of Maya, and keeping in some kind of contact with awesome people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my life. And funny shit. I like to post and read funny shit too.
Anywho, back to the “politicalness” of this post. I guess at this point my feelings are beyond political. My feelings affect my core humanity at this point. And… I lost some of you. I get it. I sound like just another hysterical “liberal.” Hear me out. Read my full post before you dismiss me. Maybe I am just another hysterical liberal. Hell, I HOPE I’m just another hysterical liberal at this point and I’m just being dramatic. I hope that’s the case. I’m afraid that’s probably not reality though. (Maybe an ALTERNATIVE reality? HA! Burn you Conway zombie!) Okay, anywho. I like to think I’m somewhat in the middle of the political spectrum, with a definite liberal lean, at least from a social aspect but what is happening right now… It’s not political for me anymore. It’s about being good human beings.
Okay, before I really get started, one of my purposes for writing this post is to engage in a dialogue. I firmly believe that no matter what differences of opinion we have, we are more alike than different. I want us to stand on that foundation of similarity and have a discussion to become more united than divided. So with that said, my intent is not to lecture. I see a lot of liberal media / posts out there that sound so damn condescending. The worst thing you can do to someone you’re trying to have a conversation with is to lecture them. Don’t tell them how dumb it is they voted or supported this person or that person or this stance or that stance, that doesn’t help your cause. That tone does nothing but create more division. If I come across this way, know it is not my intent. But I get it too. I’m frustrated beyond belief and in those same posts I just condemned, I see the same frustration and anger I’m feeling being poured out because they care and feel like “how in the hell is this happening?!?!?!”. And that is our first similarity, we care. We care about our family and want to keep them safe. We care our about our country and we want it to succeed and reflect our values. Our values seem as different as night and day right now, but they’re not. There’s differences for sure, but we can compromise. And finally, I hope our most important similarity is peace. No one wants WWIII or any senseless war. If all that’s true, let’s talk.
I know it’s ironic to say this but, social media is the last place we should be having our discussions. I’m so guilty of this but the sensational headlines, the 140 character limit messages, the memes… the good for nothing except maybe a small chuckle sometimes memes; they’re awful mediums for important discussion, and again, they create more division. So let’s not talk here. Speak your mind on in the comments if you must, but keep it civil please. Let’s take the actual discussion to a different medium. Let’s talk on the phone, meet for coffee, dinner, a beer or something. I absolutely hate talking on the phone but I want us to be united more than anything, let’s do it. Okay, enough setup? Let’s get to the heart of why I’m posting.
First off, that is what it is. I hate the fact that it is guised as this “America First” bullshit. It’s discriminatory and its treating humans like shit. I get that we’re in a scary time right now. Terrorism scares the bejesus out of me too. But this is not how we solve that. We are not in a holy war. Let’s not feed into that dialogue. Are there people out there that are barbaric and want to see the west burn? Yes. Are they identified as Islamic? Yes. Are all Muslims terrorists and barbaric? No. Not by a long shot. I’ve seen estimated ISIS numbers of around 100,000 people. How many muslims in the world? 1.6 BILLION. That’s a fraction of a percent. I couldn’t find any estimates on how many white supremacists there are in the U.S. but let’s say it’s between 50,000 and 100,000. Compare that to our 320 million population. Again a small percentage. My point is that we’re not in a religious war. None of us are terrorists. None of us are white supremacists. The U.S. is not at war with Islam. Pushing that kind of message is dangerous and feeding into the hands of the same people we want to stop. And this is my main “off the rails” reason I oppose trump and want him out of our Presidency and our lives. Sure, he can issue a statement stating it’s not a muslim ban and blame “the opposition party” (media) that they are blowing it out of proportion. That’s a boldface lie and you don’t need the “liberal media” to prove it. Look at how he ran his campaign. He said “maybe would should ban all muslims from entering the U.S. until we figure things out.” His donald trump website talks about the need to ban muslims. He tweeted just yesterday that “Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!”
And now “they” have deleted the tweet! What purpose does this serve? It’s such a hyperbole statement. What kind of truth does it hold? Does that even matter if it does? Just from those three things I mention (campaign statement, website and tweet) alone, it’s feeding the holy war dialogue! What the hell! That feeds right into the hands of ISIS or any group trying to promote a message of “American is at war with Islam.” Why give them the ammo? How is this making us great and safe? How is it not doing the exact opposite?
trump is nothing more than a thug that leans on a gang warfare mentality. When I say gang warfare, know that I know absolutely nothing about being in a gang. I’m just trying to make a metaphor here. The metaphor I’m trying to relate is the whole “they struck first so we must strike back harder” mentality. I get it. I was fired up after 9/11 and I felt that way too. Taking a step back, I really don’t get it. I don’t think that is a viable way to peace. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the use of “force” is required. Like Richard Spencer for example, that dude should get punched in the face. A lot. I’m talking about not setting off more violence at a large scale to end the large scale violence. It’s cyclical at that point and if we play into it, we’re just another cog. We should fight ISIS and the radical people that are beyond reasoning. But our fight isn’t just with weapons. It’s with understanding, empathy and compassion. It’s definitely not banning the very people that are fleeing from the atrocities that ISIS is committing against them. That’s just stupid. Imagine being a teenager from a war torn country. Angry at the world. Now imagine a place that promised you refuge and safety also turned its back on you. How easy would it be to manipulate that young mind? Couldn’t we help by showing love and support? Back to that trump thug dude, he just makes it a thousand times worse. He openly stated that we need to do more, maybe take out people’s families or something like that. What? Really? And most recently as a few days ago he pretty much said he was okay and he wanted to use torture techniques “if it worked” but he’d ultimately leave it up to his crew. He said that on national TV. Our president. W.T.F. Shouldn’t we hold ourselves up to a hire standard? Don’t we call ourselves leaders of the free world? If this is the persona of our President, maybe we should be stripped of that title. I. Can’t. Stand. It.
Okay, back to the ban and part of the motivation for writing this. So the refugees. Wow. I don’t even know what to say and to be honest, I’m probably a bit ignorant on how many countries have refugees in need right now. What I do know is this. There is a humanitarian crisis going on in our world and people, honest to goodness real live people, are dying. A lot. Dying. Fleeing their homes. Living in refugee camps that you or I will (hopefully if we kick trump out) never have to experience. Looking for a chance to live. And trump’s asshat son said during the campaign trail “If I gave you a bowl of skittles and said only three of these skittles will kill you, would you eat a handful? This is our refugee problem.” (What a dick) The reason I bring it up is a reply I read. It basically says “If eating a skittle would represent saving a human life, I would eat the skittles. I would GORGE on the skittles.” It’s a good response, check it out. At anyrate, the point is shouldn’t we, leaders of the free world be helping this humanitarian crisis? It’s hard, it’s scary but shouldn’t we help? And it’s not like they can just walk right in either. There is a vetting process. A long one at that to get assigned where you get to live and try to rebuild. If there are some ways we can improve the vetting process, great. Let’s do that. But don’t cut them off completely! That’s not who I want to be as a person or as a country! (also see earlier point about feeding into the hate filled propaganda)
Beyond the refugee issues, the ban is having more bad effects. (Is it affect or effect? I can never get that right) I live in a neighborhood that has a large population of “Horn of Africa” (East Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, etc) folks. A lot of them were refugees when all hell was breaking loose in their country in the early 90s. Most of them are muslim. Most of them are good human beings, trying to raise their kids to be good adults. Just like you and I. How are they feeling now? I’ve talked to some of my neighbors over the past few years and hear a lot about them going home to visit sometimes. They can’t do that now. If they have family still in Somalia, they might never be able to see them again if they want to remain in the U.S. In their home for over 20 years. These are not isolated incidents.
I had to cancel meetings with my colleagues this week. They were supposed to come down from Canada to work on a project we’re working on together, as they’ve been coming to the U.S. for years. They are from Iran. No longer welcome. In trump camp’s idiotic words. “Not wanted here.” W.T.F. Admittedly, mine is a small window into this whole green card ban. A lot of U.S. companies work with a diverse group of people. At the least, this causes tension were there was none previously, at worse it breaks families and spreads hate. Even if the green card ban is lifted, damage done. Hate and mistrust are being spread in places that were previously safe.
So what. I’ve been ranting for a long time now. Some people might thank me. Some people might hate me. Some might ignore me. Whatever. If you’ve read this far, you might realize I’m fired up. I’m not going to sit by idly any longer. Don’t worry, I’ll still post pics of Mai and funny stuff but there will also be more fight. Fight against this administration and fight for what I think it means to be a good human being. It’s not ending in posts either. I’m testing the waters to see what else can I do. Do I protest? I already donated to the ACLU, something I thought I’d never do, hell something I never really thought about until all this. Can I do more? I’m starting to become active in my community. I want to help my ex-refugee neighbors feel comfortable in a place they’ve known as home. I want to help new refugees. I want to meet and understand more about all my neighbors and my community. I might even run for office. Can I influence more if I did that? Who knows, maybe 2020 is time for… #EdForPresident! I think I’m more qualified than that Steve Bannon puppet. Ugh. Bannon. That’s a whole other thread… Who want’s Bannon as their president? Ugh. FFS.
Thanks for letting me vent and share friends.