Guest Blogger, Ab Kastl: Mind the Queue

 

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Several days ago, I asked a few friends to write guest blogs about this divisive, explosive election.  One of the people I asked was my good friend Ab Kastl, who, like me, grew up in the same part of the country, went to Ozark Christian College and has lived in Southern California for over 20 years.  So, we share many of the same influences if not the same perspectives.  We often disagree politically.  But he was glad to offer his reflection on the election, why it went the way it did, and also what his hopes for this country are.  If you are led to comment, whether on here or on Facebook, in agreement or disagreement, I do ask that your comments be respectful.  And if you are inspired to write your own guest blog about this election, by all means, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Mind the Queue

“What has happened to the USA?” asked my good friend from England…the same England that voted for the Brexit. What made them vote for the Brexit? What made the USA vote for Trump? Being from Oklahoma, I hear the grumblings of so many out there in the Mid-west. Oh, stewardess! I speak redneck. There is a sense by so many in the fly over states of things being out of control (borders, spending, security, etc.….out of control). Allow me share what I passed to my friend who lives across the pond in the country where they love showing off their politeness by excessive queueing.

Let me queue up some observations on maybe why Trump got elected ……
1. Bernie Sanders really got screwed. The emails showed the Democratic Party cheated him to push Hillary through. Debbie Wassermann Shultz got the boot because it was clear they sabotaged Bernie. So many are frustrated that he got screwed it was too late to change anything so they had to go with Hillary. So many who were disenfranchised with the system being out of control probably did not go vote for Hillary.

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2. Hillary has more baggage than (name your 3 favorite airlines here). The Midwest folks are military loving diehards. The Benghazi attack on 9-11 was four fresh year ago. That it happened on the anniversary of 9-11 and Hillary Clinton did not respond properly and then blamed a YouTube video puts a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth. Then she went the extra mile to erase anything related to it while she was under subpoena doesn’t look good. Destroyed computers and phones equals shady biz. One of the silliest lies she told a while back was sharing a false story in a speech about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire (remember how people were turned off when Brian Williams said such things?). She went into specific details and they were all lies. I know it seems like it is no big deal but it does show the extent she is willing to go to lie on something that is not even controversial This is not good when you are trying to get some good ole boy famer out in Iowa to show up and vote for you.
3. The Obama family wins in the “Classiest Looking Family” category. President Obama was not as strategically successful as we hoped. Obama’s health care plan was forced on the American public with zero support from the other side. The numbers did not add up but he did not care…he forced it through. We were told to pass 20,000 pages of confusion and then we will see what is in it. His cabinet begged him to go golfing with people from the opposing side in order to find some common ground. He refused. Instead of doing the necessary leg work all presidents have to do to find compromise, President Obama said “Elections have consequences. I won.” He told the other side they had to “sit in the back of the bus.” Recently, health care rates are starting to double and many, including Democrats are upset and concerned. This probably motivated a lot of the middle of the road voters to go another way.

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4. Immigration feels out of control here. Immigration is the backbone and pillar of America. There has to be limits, rules and lines. Way back, Ellis Island was the first stop for so many. Everyone understood that is part of the process. Not anymore. In a land of many laws, breaking the law as your first action here does not sit well with many. When so many show up, who’s jobs get taken away? Remember that 70’s movie Car Wash? African Americans dominated that works force in the 70’s….not anymore. So many jobs African Americans filled are now filled by our neighbors from the South. More black people voted Republican (Trump) than ever before. 30% of Hispanics voted for Trump. Why would they? Maybe because they have seen what it is like to live in countries that are out of control. Trump definitely tapped into Americans feeling out of control.

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5. The media here does slant a certain way. This upsets the people named Jim Bob and Genevieve. That is why they are so loyal to Fox News….They like Fox because they get a sense of balance and control in a topsy-turvy feeling world. Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Michigan strongly voted for President Obama last time but went for Trump this time (Some say this shows the statement “Everyone who voted for Trump is a racist.” is false?). Those are hardworking blue collar states. So, Trump yelping about creating jobs sounds appealing to these states. Americans don’t want to feel so out of control.
I try not to cuss at or around my two kids. I am no goodie-goodie. I just remember as a kid the adults who never cussed and then all the sudden they wanted emphasis would slipped in a cuss word and BOOM, they have my attention. I knew they meant business. I knew I better sit up, pay attention and focus on what they wanted done. But the coaches, old bosses or relatives who cussed at me all the time and everyday…Yawn….same old same old. Who cares what they say? No one really. The same could be said of people who are so quick to call other people who they do not agree with “racists”. The broken record gets ignored. I know Trump said some bold things that have been interpreted as racist. Calling someone a racist no longer has any power or effect. Every Republican has been accused of being a racist. George W Bush was called a racist for not helping Katrina victims fast enough. McCain was called a racist because he questioned President Obama’s black pastor Jeremiah Wright and he referred to Barak Obama as “that one”. Romney was called racist because he used “dog-whistle” language like “free stuff”, “welfare” and “Chicago”. Now, anyone who voted for Trump is being called a racist. It is so overly used it has no effect. It pushed people to vote against the accusers even if the person they are voting for is a mess.
Not everyone who wants a controlled borders hates Mexicans. Not everyone who questions climate change is anti-science. Not everyone who did not get excited about President Obama is a racist. To be accused of these things creates that feeling of a society out of control. If you accused others of such things….maybe you helped Trump get elected?

I told myself before the election “Whichever way it goes, the USA will be just fine.” We have a system that has checks and balances. If Trump or Hillary wins and is a mess, we will give them the boot in four years.
Like it or not, we have some of that deep English heritage intertwined in the DNA of the USA. Deep down, we crave those organized queues. We know we have a good thing going here and to have that sense of chaos is unsettling. Things were feeling out of control. Maybe 2016 was just a sloppy shake up to try to get us back in queue.

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Anatomy of a Scene

This was photographed by her then husband, Terry O'Neill the morning after she won an Oscar for Network.

This was photographed by her then husband, Terry O’Neill the morning after she won an Oscar for Network.

I got into a fight with a pregnant lady today.  I’m not proud of it.  I’ll tell you what happened as objectively as I can.  As I’ve written about before here, I like to start my day with a swim at the pool where I have a membership.  In the winter, it’s not too crowded, but in the summer it’s very hectic, almost the entire day, with people trying to swim in one of the five lap lanes.  Today, when I got to the pool, I saw that lane #4 was open, but the others were occupied.  I also saw there was one name on the waiting list, but I assumed that person was gone or had already gotten a lane and was no longer waiting for an available lane.  I even looked around to see if anyone looked like they were coming toward the pool.  I wrote my name on the board that includes the waiting list as well as who is in what lane.  I wrote my initials in the box for #4 and started to disrobe.  As I was shedding my clothes (I was wearing my suit underneath my clothes), a 30-something pregnant woman walked over to the lap pool from the other pool, a family pool where she’d been swimming. She saw that my name was on the board at #4 and then began to get into my lane.  I said, “That’s actually my lane.”  She said, in an English accent, “No, it’s my lane, I was on the waitlist.”  I explained that when I came to the pool, the lane was empty, so it was my lane.  She told me that one of the workers was supposed to be watching to tell her when a lane opened.  I told her that he did not do that, that the lane had been empty for awhile.  She went to complain to the guy and I got in the pool and started my swim.  After my first lap, “Victor” came over to tell me that it was her lane.  I said that the lane was empty when I got there.  I also said that she could share the lane if she wanted.  The lanes are a bit too narrow to share comfortably, but the rules of the pool are if someone wants to share with you, you have to let them.  When I told her we could share, she said, “I’m NOT going to share a lane.”  I said, “Actually, it says right there on the board that you have to share the lane.”  She said to me, “You’re going to kick my BABY!”  I said, “I won’t kick your baby, I know how to share a lane.  You’re welcome to share the lane, if you want.”  And then I resumed swimming.  A few minutes later, there was another available lane, but I noticed that she didn’t take it.  Apparently, she left the pool not long after our scene.  The entire time I was swimming, I vacillated between righteous indignation and exploring the possibility that I had behaved poorly.  Actually, I can tell you right now, I did behave poorly.  I should have just taken the high road at the beginning and said, “Fine, take the lane, I’ll take the next one.”  I didn’t do that, though.  By the time I was done with my swim, I was ashamed of myself.  I played out how I might apologize the next time I saw her.  Maybe we would become pool friends.  I do love England.

Then something happened.  As is my ritual, I shower after I swim.  I bring my pants and towel into the changing room with me while my shirt hangs on the chaise lounge.  When I came out of the changing room, I started to put my shirt on and I realized my shirt had been covered by a wet towel for at least 30 minutes.  It was soaked.  Someone had put that towel there on purpose.  I said something to Victor who acted like he didn’t know what happened.  I said something to the pool manager who feigned shock and outrage.  The pregnant lady was long gone by this point.  I really don’t know who soaked my shirt, but I thought about it the entire 90 minutes I was walking around wet at work.  Some might say that it was my comeuppance, but I actually thought it was sort of funny.  I also enjoyed telling the story to my co-workers, who graciously agreed with me that she was most in the wrong.  I’m sure that she spent the day telling her friends about the effeminate fat American guy who stole her lane at the pool, too.  In fact, there is a possibility that you reading this have heard the account from both sides at this point.  And if you have heard her version and my version, be honest, who was in the wrong?  If you think it was me, don’t tell me.