Planting My Flag

 

        So it appears we’re kinda screwed. I mean unless you are rich and can buy your own politician that is. The minority has spoken and we have been consigned to two more years of fighting, gridlock, and lunacy. And I’m serious that’s if we’re lucky because there are already the tell tale whispers from the pundits and fringe talking heads that the Republican (I hate calling them that) Party is talking about impeaching the president of the United States.

        Don’t believe me?

        Google it, don’t worry I’ll be right here waiting for you to fact check this shit before continuing. Seriously, open a new window and Google this shit because I can’t express the insanity being spewed by the far right.

        Done?

        Isn’t that some crazy ass shit. I mean seriously I’m pretty unhappy with the way Obama has handled the country but my anger has more to do with him not keeping his Liberal/Progressive promises as opposed to him being a Commie Muslim African Atheist Racist who wants to redistribute the wealth, turn our country over to the United Nations, and make us all live in Hobbit Homes.

       

AGENDA 21, DEATH PANELS, AND BENGHAZI BITCHES!!!

 

        In the last eighteen months my essays have delved farther and farther into more “Hot Button” topic such as religion and politics. For the longest time I avoided these things because… well because I was a coward.

        I didn’t want to have to defend my beliefs and positions to everyone who disagreed. I wanted to hold the middle ground and be regarded as a fair and balanced person who was open to all ideas. But as time went on I found myself having to bite my tongue when all I really wanted to do was tell people they were full of bullshit.

        So here’s the shit I had to accept.

        The things I believe to be true I REALLY believe to be the truth. As far as I’m concerned I’m right and the people who disagree with me are wrong. Now there are many issues I am open to discourse on and my positions are still fluid on, but there are other issues I am as firm as bedrock on and you will never convince me I’m wrong on.

        Does that make me kind of an asshole?

        Yes.

        Does my admission surprise you? It surprised me too when I confronted it. Like so many of the people I can’t stand I can be a complete douchbag. I’m not proud of it but I’ll own it, nobody is perfect and anyone who claims to be needs to watched carefully and kept away from sharp tools and firearms.

        Once I accept that I am no longer going to try to play the middle ground I felt free. While it has bothered me that some family and former friends have decided I am an idiot or a nut job and we no longer speak I have reached a place I’m comfortable with. I know that even if in the end I decide some of my views are not quite right at least I’m not hurting anyone.

        But, isn’t there always a but, I didn’t always stand on this mountain. When I was younger some of my views were very different. I am ashamed to admit to some of them but I’ve come more and more to subscribe to the theory of tell the truth and shame the devil.

        So here we go. On the heels of the worst defeat handed to Liberals and Progressives in my life I am going to plant all of my flags. I am going to lay out what I believed when I was 18 and received the franchise as they used to say and what I stand for now twenty years later.

       

 

Defense

 

        America is the strongest nation in the world.   

        At eighteen I was a young man raised on American exceptionalism. I watched the Nintendo war that was Gulf War 1 and had a massive techno-boner over all the toys and raw power of the United. I never stopped to consider the lives of all of the people we killed or the real reasons we bombed the shit out and invaded Iraq. It was oils kids, just like now we were doing the bidding of the big oils companies and Saudi Government.

        I was left feeling we were destined to protect and defend the world. We’d beaten he Commies without dropping another nuclear bomb and now the Muslims and terrorists were going to be smashed into the trash heap of history.

        Boy howdy was I a dumb little bastard.

        On September 11, 2001 the entire world changed. We have been in a constant state of war since that day. My children can barely remember a world without war. We’ve killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, invaded and occupied sovereign nations in order to seize and exploit their resources. We’ve become either the people everyone hates or the people everyone fears.

        We’re the new British Empire without Tea Time and cool accents.

        We need to cut defense spending, we spend more than the next twenty six nations combined and twenty five of them are our allies. We’re strong and we should remain strong but we need to reroute some of that wasted money… I don’t know back to the people?

 

Economy

 

        Trickle down economics does not work… but I used to think it did.

        When I was young and simple it all made sense to me, give the money to the rich people who owned operated the companies and the riches would flow down to the rest of us. I was convinced it was in the best interests of the corporation to take car e of their work force so we could spend the money we earned and thus keep the economy surging.

        Once again I was a dumb shit.

        Maybe if we had a true free market and maybe if there were equal opportunities there might be a chance for this to work. But, just like Communism, Capitalism can’t actually work. People are greedy by nature and because people make the rules they can subvert and corrupt the rules. When the business and bankers write the laws that govern them we’re all fucked.

        Where do I stand now that I no longer believe in capitalism?

        I don’t know. The more I study economic systems the more I believe in some form of hybrid Capitalist and Socialist system. I know that’s not a clear answer but I don’t have a clear answer. I know what I don’t want and at this point in my life I am still open to hearing people’s views. I have a friend, hey Dennis, who knows a lot more than me and even though I only agree with him half of the time I’ve learned a lot from him.

        The one thing I do know is I like how Canadian money looks.

 

Education

 

        Eighteen year old Josh and thirty eight year old Josh would agree on our positions of education. I am a firm believe that education is a RIGHT all people have. I demand every child receive a complete, equal, and well rounded education based in facts and not in beliefs.

        I also believe education must be free.

        We are Americans gods damn it and we pay taxes, a lot of taxes. If we can spend eight million dollars a day bombing ISIS in the Middle East we can afford an education for our children. From kindergarten to university, no student or parent should have to spend a fucking penny out of pocket.

        This is not up for debate.

 

Guns

 

        Let’s keep this one short and sweet. When I was eighteen I was a big supporter of the second amendment and twenty years later I still am. I think every American is born with the right to keep and bear arms… with a caveat.  I support confidential background checks. I don’t want convicted violent felons and fucking crazy people having access to firearms. That’s it, not violent or crazy people legally armed, not too much to ask for I think.

        Now on to the NRA.

        Fuck the NRA, seriously they can go fuck themselves. At one time the National Rifle Association really did represent the interests of the lawful gun owners in the United States. Now the organization id bought and paid for by the gun manufacturers who only have one goal, to sell guns. And they don’t give a shit who buys them.

        So yeah, like guns and hate the NRA.

 

Healthcare

 

        Ugh! This subject has been the bane of my existence in the last couple of years. I hate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare more than anything… except for the system it replaced. Yeah that’s what the right wing nut jobs keep forgetting, bedsides the reality that the Republicans wrote the fucking law, is that they NEVER proposed any other option.

        All they did was scream NO!!!

        Healthcare is a human right and much like education I believe our taxes should be covering everything with caveats. I wanted Medicare for all and the ability to purchase better coverage above that. We are the richest most developed nation on the planet and our healthcare system is a fucking joke.

        But for some reason that’s evil or some such shit.

 

Immigration

 

        When I was eighteen I was all about rounding up the illegal immigrants and kicking them out. I would have even advocated shooting people trying to cross the borders and some really draconian shit.

        I am ashamed of those beliefs.

        Most of the people sneaking into this country work harder and contribute more than people of Mayflower stock. I have more in common with the poor immigrants tying to escape violence and poverty south of the border then upper middle class white folk. I don’t know what should be done about illegal immigrants but I do know this is isn’t working.

        One thing I do know, GIVE THE DREAMERS AMNESTY!

 

Politics

 

        This is not a defense of the current administration. There are few of those people I would stand up for. And for all of my hatred of the Far Right it’s not an indictment of the Republican Party.  When I was eighteen I identified strongly and openly as an extinct form of Republican, a Northeastern Republican (I’ve said this before) and now I am firmly an Independent Progressive/Liberal.

        The number one problem in America is money in politics. Until we have publically financed elections with private and corporate money out of the system I will NEVER stop fighting. While it will not solve all of the problems in our country it is the one needed step to get the ball rolling, until that happens we are all fucked

 

www.wolf-pac.com

 

Religion

 

        This may surprise you but at one time I was filled with faith and the love of Jesus. Yeah I know that’s funny as hell considering I’m a strident agnostic atheist these days.

        I tend to believe organized religion does as much if not more harm than good. That being said there are many good and decent people who have strong faith. My personal dislike of religion has been somewhat tempered by knowing so many of those people.

        So in the end all I can say, in the words of Wil Wheaton, is don’t be a dick.

 

Welfare

 

        Okay here is my big confession. Even though I was a child who benefitted from the social safety nets in the 1980’s by the time I was eighteen I saw people on welfare as lazy slobs sucking off the teat of America.

        I was a fucking asshole… I admit it.

        Sometimes people need a helping hand. Things happen that we have no control over, 2008 economic collapse anyone, and we need a little help. There is NOTHING wrong and shameful about that. If this country can spend literally Trillions of our tax dollars bombing brown people who can’t hurt us back into the Stone Age maybe we can spare a few pennies to help our own people out.

 

 

        You might be wondering why there was no section on civil rights, especially because I am an open and proud bisexual. The answer is simple. There was no need for it. Discrimination has always made me ill. My feelings on it have NEVER changed. All human beings have the same rights. Just because people disagree with me on that and try to keep some right away from the others in no way negates that.

        You don’t agree with me?

        Well then you can go fuck yourself.

        And those are the hills I’ve planted my flags on. You can agree and that’s great or you can disagree and that’s okay too. People have the right not to agree with one another. As long as you’re not being a dick we can be friends, or at the least we can get along in the same world.

 

 

- Josh

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Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!