art2

I apologize to those who follow me on social media.

I’ve been pretty angry lately.

My grief stages seem to have no particular order and every time I think I have worked out one, it comes back again, stronger than before.

I’m still trying to make sense of this journey.

I remember May of 2015, sprinting excitedly towards my girlfriend’s house.

I felt like a little kid, I was so excited.

She answered the door and I exclaimed..

“There’s this guy. He’s a Senator from Vermont. He’s amazing. I signed this petition last year, asking him to run for President and today he announced that he was going to run.”

We drank our coffee and I told Carrie what little bit I knew about him at the time.

I told her about his career fighting for social justice and some of the platforms he was running on.

I remember saying…

“We have one year to tell everyone in the country about him. Everyone who hears about him will vote for him.”

Although I was a political activist at the time, I never really paid attention to candidates.

I voted a straight Democratic ticket and invested most of my time on issues.

As the parent of a daughter who is very active in the LBGT+ community, in a state where Mike Pence is the governor, I spent a lot of my activist time working on equality issues.

I had never been excited about a candidate before, but Bernie Sanders lit a fire under me.

I agreed completely with every one of his platforms and I had already seen the videos of him speaking to empty rooms and defending gays on the Senate floor.

I told Carrie that I was going to dedicate the next year of my life to getting this great man elected.

“Bernie Sanders is on the right side of every single issue that I’ve spent my life fighting for” I said.

I went to the website and signed up to volunteer.

pence

I went to a meeting.

There was someone there selling shirts and handouts that had Bernie’s platforms on them.

I bought a shirt.

It said “Ask Me About Bernie” on both sides.

I went to a street festival that weekend and wore the shirt.

Nobody knew who Bernie was.

People kept asking me about the shirt and I would hand them a flyer.

I was incredibly afraid that people would ask me questions, because I knew that I was not knowledgeable enough to answer most of them.

There were two separate Republicans who cornered me that evening.

They asked me a lot of questions in a very hostile way.

I had to admit to both of them that I did not know these answers.

I wrote down their questions and took their phone numbers.

I went home and looked up the answers.

I called both of them the next day.

One said “Fuck off, Commie!!” and hung up the phone.

The other sat down with me and we talked.

He ended up voting for Bernie.

I’m still friends with him to this day.

rally

I was abused as a child and as a result, I have struggled with some pretty severe social anxiety issues as an adult.

There were several years, where I only left the house to go to my job and I kept myself completely isolated otherwise.

I saw a series of therapists.

All of them helped me immensely.

Thanks to my children being born and complications with the mother, that resulted in me raising them alone, I had gotten used to living outside my comfort zone.

I would get them signed up for school and take them to their friend’s birthday parties and all the things you have to do in order to appear to be a fully functioning adult, but I would do these things while having severe panic attacks.

I kept the attacks hidden.

I didn’t want my children to grow up anxious.

But part of keeping them a secret was to stay away from people as much as I possibly could, so when Bernie Sanders started his presidential run, I knew right away that this was going to be a YUGE challenge for me.

What I didn’t know is that 15 months later, much of my anxiety would be alleviated by the experiences I had while volunteering for this great man.

I had no way of anticipating that I was about to embark upon a journey that would introduce me to thousands of Americans who loved their country and wanted to make it a better place to live.

As I was standing in the middle of FDR park in Philadelphia, just a month ago, after Bernie had been cheated out of the Democratic nomination…

As I was standing there watching hundreds of people crying..

While tears streamed down my own cheeks, I actually had the thought..

“I never thought I could feel so comfortable in a crowd this large.”

ohio
At the campaign office in Columbus, Ohio

 

Carrie is an artist and she is always heading out to some festival or another.

Definitely not my scene, but I started tagging along and wearing my Bernie shirt.

Each week, I was more and more prepared for the questions people would ask me.

Living in Indiana, I would get a lot of angry Trump voters coming at me.

Many of them were incredibly hostile.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but I would sit in the parking lot before I would go into these festivals and smoke pot, which seems insane, because marijuana really aggravates my anxiety and causes me tremendous paranoia.

But it also accentuates my empathy and I found that it helped me listen to people and get past their hostility and really feel what they were saying.

So these Trump voters would come at me with all this hostility and I would be feeling completely paranoid.

But I was able to work through that and feel their fear and have empathy for them.

I gave up on any idea of converting them and just started listening.

As a result, many of them would vent for a minute and once they realized that I actually cared about them, they would start to ask me questions.

I was able to have really deep connections with the voters in my city and made friends with people who I would have stereotyped and ignored previously.

Walls started coming down around my heart.

I started to feel more confident.

Then the guy from the national campaign came in.

canvassing

It was a Wednesday night and I was already exhausted.

There was a Bernie meeting with a guy from the national headquarters.

I kept falling asleep during the meeting.

The movement had grown and there were about 100 people there, when just a few months before there had only been 10-15.

The meeting was in regards to getting Bernie Sanders on the ballot in Indiana.

He told us that we had to collect 500 signatures in each Congressional district, but that he preferred that we collect 1000, because Indiana was not excited about having a Socialist on the ballot and that they would do anything they could to disqualify the signatures.

He started asking if there were any volunteers and gradually people agreed to take on certain districts.

I kept dozing off.

Between snoozes, I noticed that he kept talking about district 5.

“So no one wants to take district 5?” the guy asked.

Some important looking guy in a suit said..

“There are some challenges with that district. It’s all Republican and it’s rural. There are vast distances between the houses and they don’t take kindly to Socialism.”

I raised my hand..

“So what happens if we are unable to collect the 1000 signatures from that district?”

The guy said

“Then Bernie is not on the ballot in Indiana and he will automatically forfeit this state and have reduced chances of becoming president.”

I raised my hand again.

“You have another question?” the guy asked.

“No.” I said “I am raising my hand to volunteer to get the signatures for district 5.”

Everyone in the place turned to look at me.

ballots

I assembled a team and we headed out to district 5.

It was not easy.

The mere mention of Bernie Sanders caused these wealthy Republicans to become hostile.

We were called lots of names and threatened in various ways.

One guy, who informed me that he was a county chair said..

“I hate Socialism and I LOVE The Constitution. I particularly love The Second Amendment. Do you know what I mean when I say that?”

When he walked away I turned to my daughter and said

“Those people would own slaves if it were still legal.”

They were seriously scary people and refused to sign our ballot initiative.

They were openly hostile to us.

Finally I came up with an idea.

I started saying

“Excuse me. Do you have 30 seconds to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

People would stop and laugh.

I would then make the point that “Bernie may be a Socialist, but he’s still better than Hillary.” and then I would add that “The one thing I respect about Republicans is that they believe in real democracy and that ALL people deserve the right to run for office.”

This locked them in and they started reluctantly signing.

Then Cherish (far left in the picture) started going in public places and collecting signatures until they kicked her out.

She did this over and over again.

She was a machine.

She wouldn’t stop.

She got kicked out of every place in the district.

But we got the signatures and Bernie won Indiana!!

voteforbernie

“We need to go to Iowa.” I said, walking into the bedroom where Carrie was folding clothes.

“Okay.” she said.

Carrie knows me and she knows how I fear new places.

She also knows that I hate driving long distances.

For me to say that we needed to go to Iowa, was similar to me saying that we should build a rocket and head to Europa.

“It’s a very tight race there. I need to get there and help however I can. If you can’t get off work, I understand, but I need to go. If we win Iowa and New Hampshire we can build momentum. Iowa is the key to the entire race.”

The next morning we loaded up the kids and headed out.

When we arrived at the campaign center they told us that Bernie was across the street about to speak.

We went into a small room.

About 600 people were packed in.

I didn’t even know Bernie was in Iowa and suddenly, unexpectedly, here he was speaking to me in a small room.

Afterwards Bernie headed for the exit while people pushed through to try to shake his hand.

I was just a few feet away from him, but I didn’t want to cut in front of anyone.

Instead I had my daughter walk up to the podium and I snapped this picture.

chloe

When I started writing this, I thought that I was going to write a short synopsis of the highlights of the past 15 months.

I decided to write it because I wanted to stop talking about politics in theoretical terms and share a personal story, because I feel like our movement has really lost direction over the last couple of months and I was hoping maybe that humanizing it some might help somehow.

But I can’t do it.

I look at my word count and it says I am already at 2000.

I was about to start into the story of how my son got very sick on our way home from Iowa and how our journey there, in effect, saved his life.

I wanted to talk about how I got to be in charge of helping the handicapped to their seats in Columbus, Ohio at a Bernie rally with 18,500 people and how their stories touched me so much.

I wanted to talk about how my daughter and I became so good as a canvassing team, that we were able to flip people to Bernie using methods that we invented from trial and error.

But, I know you are busy.

I know you don’t have time to read an entire book on your phone or laptop screen right now, so I will just obliterate the fourth wall and wrap this up.

I wanted to share some measure of myself today, in hopes that maybe it would help me to get grounded in gratitude for the incredible journey that we have all been on and also so that maybe we could facilitate some healing.

I don’t want to tell people that they should get over their anger.

Everyone has their own grief timeline.

I’m not even close to getting over mine and I knew that this was over since we were cheated in New York.

I just hope that when the anger goes away, people don’t just give up and walk away bitter, having learned all the wrong lessons.

I am extremely sad about the events that lead us to this moment.

But I am also gradually rediscovering the hope and gratitude I had a year ago.

I know so many of you personally and many who I only know virtually I still count among my best friends.

You sacrificed so much and I feel your pain.

I really want to thank you for everything you have done for this movement of revolution and compassion.

I want to thank you for what you have done for me personally.

Those of you who extended your homes to me and my family so that we could go out and canvass in your area…

I cannot tell you what that means to me.

We honestly were so broke that we didn’t even have the money for a hotel half the time, so we literally could not have had this journey without you.

For those of you who have taken the time to send me your personal stories, please know that I have read every single one of them and have discussed them with my family, often breaking down into tears while doing so.

I can’t tell you the healing that your passion and kindness has given me.

I am ten times the man I was a year ago, thanks to you.

I know how hard it was to donate to the campaign, when you were trying to figure out how you were going to pay your electric bill.

Thank you for doing that.

I know hard it was to get over your fear and phone-bank.

Thank you so much for doing that, as well.

I know it is a scary thing to knock on a stranger’s door, having no idea what their reaction will be.

You are absolutely my hero for doing this.

I know these are dark times.

I know that it is extremely hard to make sense of how millions of people could try so hard, only to get so close and be cheated.

It’s completely natural to want to just give up after this, but don’t.

In time, you will see that we achieved far more than we realized.

Thank you from my whole heart.

I love you all.

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FINGERUPToday I needed to go into a government building.

I was told to grab a number and take a seat.

I sat down and opened my tablet.

As I pissed away my precious time looking at memes I did not understand and kittens I could not pet, I was interrupted by a loud

“Hey!!”

I looked up to see a police officer towering over me.

He continued..

“You aren’t allowed to have that in here!!”

He was pointing at my tablet.

I contemplated my next maneuver.

Who was this pathetic little man in front of me?

Without that badge and gun, I bet he wouldn’t be so brave?

Understanding the rules of society and my lack of power in the situation, I contemplated my choices.

I really needed to get those forms.

I drove all the way down here.

And now this bully was throwing a monkey wrench in my day.

There were several hours of people in the queue ahead of me and I had neglected to bring a book.

If I had to put my tablet away, I would just have to stare into space the entire time.

There was only one intelligent choice.

“I’m sorry.” I said “I didn’t know.” and closed my tablet without a trace of attitude.

He walked away feeling like a big man.

captainbern

Without anything to distract me, I was forced to watch the other people waiting.

I wondered about their lives.

A man, about my age, walked in and pulled a number.

He had a tattoo of a razor-blade across his Adam’s apple.

He sat down and pulled out his phone.

The officer had a chance to feel worthwhile again.

He walked briskly from the corner until his crotch was even with the razor-blade man’s face.

“You can’t have that in here!!”

The man looked up.

There was no processing options.

He knew exactly what to do.

“Oh, Super-Cop, eh?!!” he said, standing up.

Then he added

“I don’t need this shit!!” and then “Fuck you!!” halfheartedly under his breath as he walked away.

The cop stared daggers in the man’s back and fingered his taser.

The cop thought better of it.

The razor-blade man escaped unharmed.

fives

Eventually my number was called.

I had my meeting and all went well.

Because I went to the meeting my son will be able to get the medicine he needs to stay alive.

I wondered about what I would say to my son, had I chosen to rebel against the power-mad cop.

I contemplated a world in which some men have dominance over others and how to navigate such an unfair existence.

I thought about Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the turmoil our country as been in, as a result of our Schizophrenic presidential election.

I thought about my friends who supported Bernie Sanders in such an extreme way, that adjusting to the reality of a Hillary Clinton presidency has them angry and depressed.

 

I wondered if the same energy required to force real change in our government would doom that energy to implode if the leadership went missing.

 

 

I remembered when my friend said “Bernie or Bust is basically the Tea Party of the Left.”

I remembered being annoyed and saying..

“If you mean that we are pulling the Democratic Party to the left the way The Tea Party pulled the Republicans to the right, then sure.”

“That’s exactly what I mean.” he said “The Democratic Party has moved to the right as well. The Bernie Sanders campaign is about overpowering the movement of the Koch Brothers and the 1%. It’s directly opposite. Your movement is strong, because it is radical, but never lose sight that the ultimate goal is to move the party back to the left.”

He was right.

The Democratic Party is broken.

It’s neoliberal centrism no longer represents our values.

It’s so controlled by corporate interests, that it often neglects to represent the people.

So those who are justifiably angry at the Democratic Party have some choices to make and they have to make them fast.

November is looming.

435 House seats and 34 Senate seats are up for grabs.

The chance to usher in a new Progressive age in America is at hand.

And Bernie Sanders army of supporters are in complete control of our country’s destiny.

bernieinblack

 

But the Bernie people are angry and they should be.

They were mistreated.

They were silenced.

The election deck was stacked against them and what makes matters worse is that they are 100% correct about the flaws of Hillary Clinton.

They are right to criticize her hawkish war record.

They are right to demand her Wall Street transcripts.

They are right not to trust her, when she has repeatedly lied to them.

 

Many are angry that Sanders did not join with Jill Stein and get revenge on the Democrats for short-changing him.

But developing a third-party is a lot more than just running a President.

If you are serious about developing the Green Party, phone-banking, donating and canvassing are not enough.

If you are serious about developing the Green Party, then you need to make sure that there are Green Party candidates running for the important offices in your area.

And if there are not, then you need to run yourself.

If by some incredible set of circumstances, Jill Stein were able to win the Presidency, what would she be able to accomplish without a sympathetic House and Senate?

Do you have Green Party candidates running for Congress in your district?

 

Most districts do not.

So what’s the strategy?

How do we continue our Progressive momentum without supporting a candidate who represents everything we stand against?

We must decide and fast.

Because allowing Republicans to control Congress will absolutely destroy everything we have worked for.

What are the maneuvers that will optimize the progress we have made to this point?

Time for Independents and Greens to make some tough choices.

We only have two months to decide the fate of the world.

berniegirl

So am I telling you that you should vote for Hillary Clinton?

You can do whatever you want.

It’s your vote.

I will be voting for Dr Jill Stein, even though I do not believe she has a legitimate shot to win.

I am voting for her, because I want to see more options on my ballot going forward.

I do not want another choice between a warmonger and a reality TV star.

I am voting for Jill Stein because Hillary Clinton and the DNC burned all their bridges with me.

I am voting for Jill Stein because she is the candidate who most closely represents my values.

I understand why Sanders endorsed Clinton.

He accepted the fact that the system was rigged against him, so he traded his 13 million votes towards a Progressive agenda, knowing that if we did our jobs in November, Clinton would be locked into supporting our positions or she would accomplish absolutely nothing during her one-term presidency.

Sure she is a liar, but she will not be a very effective one with a Congress full of Progressives.

As much as I hate that Clinton and the corrupt DNC’s cheating will be rewarded with the presidency, I will not compound this problem, by allowing her to run amok and do whatever she pleases.

Instead we need to insure that she works for us.

There are ways to force her to keep her word.

If you agree that Hillary is untrustworthy, then you must also agree that it is incumbent upon us to make sure we are pulling the strings that control her.

It is entirely possible to support Jill Stein and the Green Party, while promoting down-ballot candidates that further the values Sanders and his supporters worked so incredibly hard for.

If you want to vote for Jill, then you should.

Vote for Jill Stein to send a message to the DNC and Hillary Clinton that we do not approve of the way we have been treated.

Vote for Jill Stein because she has good policies.

 

Vote for Jill Stein because part of bringing the Democrats to the left is giving them competition from the left.

But how do Progressives vote in the down-ballot races where there aren’t any Green or Independent candidates to choose from?

Are we so angry with the DNC that we are going to refuse to vote entirely, thereby allowing the Republicans to keep control of Congress?

Because if we do that, we will lose everything we fought for and Bernie traded in his 13 million votes for nothing.

It seems to me that the most logical way to vote for these open seats is to vote in the way that binds Hillary Clinton to Progressive policies, while taking away her ability to repeat her hawkish patterns.

If we have Progressives in the House and Senate then we have complete control over her.

We can stop her from passing TPP.

We can stop her from declaring war.

We can even block her Supreme Court nominees if need be.

getoverit

I am sorry that I cannot stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

We all did everything we could.

Many of us went to Philadelphia to protest this heinous corruption.

I was hoping that we could get enough people there to shut down the city and for one night we actually did, but in the end there simply weren’t enough of us.

If you want to start occupying major cities and demand a Hillary Clinton indictment, then I am right there with you.

But if you aren’t willing to do that, then you are going to have to control the other branches of government and that means voting Progressives into every office.

If your area doesn’t have any true Progressives running, then you will have to make a decision on whether to vote for the most Progressive candidate or to simply run yourself.

We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to start any more wars.

We cannot allow Hillary Clinton to give tax breaks to her wealthy friends.

We will support Progressive candidates, regardless of what party they are affiliated with, because that is the only way to keep a reign on her.

Not voting is not an option.

We’ve come too far..

And this election is simply too important to throw away.

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event in New York

Hey Bernie, how the hell are you, brother?

I heard about you and Jane buying a new home on the beach and I couldn’t stop smiling, thinking about you out there chillin, grandkids running around, toes in the sand, drinking a Heady Topper or two, or three, or four, reflecting over the past year and a half.

Even though I dedicated my entire life to getting you elected, there was always this small part of me that wanted you to just go home and relax.

I worried about you.

You were working so hard that I feared that you would burn yourself out.

So the thought of you relaxing makes me extremely happy.

A few months ago, you asked me to vote for Hillary Clinton and because I hold you in such high esteem, I actually considered it.

I read the articles you wrote about it and I agree with you on many points.

It’s true, that if Donald Trump were to become president, America would be in for some hard times.

I read your book and I remember the sleepless nights you had agonizing over endorsing Bill Clinton, while the raccoon stirred in your attic.

I remember that you ultimately endorsed him, because you knew that Bob Dole would cut Social Security, but then you seemed to have some regret over it once NAFTA was enacted.

I know a lot of fair-weather people turned on you after the Hillary endorsement, but not me.

I totally get it.

You were in a really tough position and I admire you for doing what you felt was best.

But I can’t bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The time for lesser-evilism is over.

Times are desperate.

“Enough is enough.” right?

“Millions of people standing together.” right?

“Political revolution.” right?

omgcrowd

I have imaginary conversations with you all the time.

We are sitting on the beach, waves calmly crashing into the shore.

Killer Mike is on his way over with a blunt behind his ear.

Mike and I are going to walk on down the beach and build up an appetite, before we start grilling out.

We will invite you to walk with us, but you will stay back and get the fire started.

In our conversations, you tell me why it is important to vote for Hillary and I tell you why I struggle with this idea.

You talk to me about the importance of Supreme Court judges and I agree with you completely, but I have to counter with Hillary Clinton’s support for TPP.

You and I both know that Clinton is the Trojan horse for this horrible trade agreement.

You and I both know that she is lying about opposing it.

You and I both saw the secret emails where she urged Congress to pass it.

And we both know that TPP is so powerful that it would take away much of the Supreme Court’s power anyway.

You tell me that a Trump presidency would mean losing all the progress we have made over the last decade and I mostly agree with you, but then I remind you that the Democrats will always run on the lesser of two evils ideology and that we have to take a stand against it at some point and that we are running out of time.

 

I remind you that you have been saying for decades that we need a third-party in America and that there will never be a better time than now.

I remind you that you called the Democrats “ideologically bankrupt” and that you made a point to stay out of their party for nearly your entire career.

In our conversation, you are not actually arguing with me.

You are arguing against your own words.

I keep quoting you back to you.

You keep giving me a pained smile.

You’re getting tired of my Bernie knowledge.

You’d probably rather argue with Alan Greenspan for another eight and a half hours.

In our imaginary conversations, we both admit that the choice between Trump and Clinton is not a good one.

We both end up temporarily discouraged and exasperated.

We both end up saying that we have to take massive action to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

Then your grandkids all come running out in little Jill Stein T-Shirts.

I gave them to Jane, while you were in the restroom and asked her to send the kids out when I gave the signal.

Jane agrees with me on this one, Bernie.

And she promised the grandkids ice-cream if they would chant “Jill not Hill!!”

And Killer Mike just pulled up.

We have you outnumbered.

This is an intervention.

berniekdis

Back in reality, I agree with you wholeheartedly that a Trump presidency would be a disaster.

Having this maniac with the nuclear codes and the ability to nominate conservative judges scares the hell out of me.

But Jill is right, when she says..

“What we fear from Donald Trump, we have already seen from Hillary Clinton.”

Trump threatens to kill terrorist’s families and Hillary has already killed over a million innocent civilians in Honduras, Iraq and Libya.

Trump is a climate change denier.

Hillary Clinton takes millions from the fossil-fuel lobby and has no real climate plan.

Trump makes disgusting sexist comments.

Hillary silences her husband’s sexual assault victims.

We could compare and contrast all day, but all it would do is remind us that the choice between Trump and Clinton is no choice at all.

If this election has taught us anything, it’s that America is locked into a corporate duopoly, where the people are not being represented by their government and that this has to change.

Had we made our stand in 2012, the Green Party would have been a prominent party now.

You wouldn’t have had to run on the Democratic ticket and they would not have been allowed to abuse you the way that they did.

We cannot continue down this path any longer, my friend.

When you see what NAFTA did to cities like Flint and Detroit, do you still feel that endorsing Bill Clinton was right for America?

When you see how his crime bill decimated hundreds of thousands of black families, do you still feel that endorsing him ended up being the best move?

When you see how his repeal of Glass-Steagall lead to millions of Americans losing their homes and ultimately lead to a Wall Street bailout that the American people will be paying for, for the rest of their lives, do you still feel like lesser-evilism actually helped our country?

Would Bob Dole have been any worse?

Or would he have been equally bad for America, but just in different ways?

I know you see this, my brilliant friend.

The Republicans move to the right and the Democrats move in lockstep with them.

They always scream from the rooftops

“We aren’t as evil as the Republicans”

And Americans line up to buy the same lies every four years..

Because the alternative, on the surface at least, is so much worse.

As a result of this never-ending compromise, Americans are left feeling betrayed by the repeated broken promises of hope and this ultimately leads to a voter apathy so great, that the people barely have a voice at this point.

Is that really what you want to endorse?

The Bernie Sanders that I fell in love with was a man who stared into the face of evil and refused to blink.

The Bernie Sanders who inspired me was a man who said that people who suppress voting are “political cowards”.

The Bernie Sanders who got me off my ass and out knocking on doors was a man who stood opposite of Hillary Clinton and the multinational corporations she represents.

You said “Enough is enough”, Bernie..

And we listened.

Don’t ask us to vote out of fear, when you told us to stand together to fight against the 1%.

Don’t ask us to vote for everything you have rebelled against for the past fifty years.

Don’t ask us to get blood on our hands supporting Hillary’s next huge, genocidal business opportunity.

You’re too good for that.

There has never been a better time than now to tell the establishment to fuck right off.

Based on everything that you have said…

Based on everything you have stood for..

Based on the fact that Jill Stein embodies the same revolutionary spirit that you have spent your entire life representing..

The choice is clear.

Bernie Sanders, I really think you should vote for Jill Stein.

 

 

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blueorblue

As I sit here on this rainy Sunday morning, I feel defeated.

I know the majority of the people reading this are feeling the same way and I wanted to reach out and let you know that you are not alone.

I know that I cannot allow myself to stay down for long.

I know that in politics, cynicism is death.

When I hear people say that they won’t even bother to vote anymore, I remind them that we MUST vote.

I remind them that it is our civic duty to vote.

I remind them of the millions who gave their lives for this right

But I know that our votes were not counted in the “Democratic” primary.

So I understand the discouragement that you are feeling at this time.

I have felt this way my entire life, but after the last year, a year in which an entire country was awakened and told that we could change the system, only to be crushed by that very system, it is hard not to feel defeated sometimes.

“The arc of history is long and it bends towards justice.” Dr King said and for my sanity’s sake, I am inclined to believe him.

When I look back over my brief time on this planet, I see great change has occurred.

We have made gradual, but huge progress for women’s rights, for the rights of children, for the rights of our sisters and brothers in the LBGT+ community.

And I know that I do not have the privilege of setting down my pen or my sword, while there are so many battles left to fight.

But my heart is made low by this presidential “election” and I sometimes long for the days when I was less informed.

 

systemfailure

As I search for the silver lining in this pile of dog shit, there are certain things I cannot live with.

Although it has been clear to me for some time that multi-national corporations have taken control of our government, I never fully understood the extent of their tyranny until this past year.

The corporations are experts in propaganda.

By design, the gap between the informed and the politically brain-dead is ever-widening.

Millions tune in daily to CNN, MSNBC or Fox to get “the news” and are filled to bursting with horrific, entertaining ideas, that leave them starved for relevent information.

The toxic effects of the corporate idiocracy do not stop with our eyes and ears.

As Americans stuff their mouths on products more akin to plastic than food, their guts are widening, but they are dying of malnutrition.

Corporate America is in the business of creating drones and has zero motivation to encourage free thought.

In fact, independent thought is a threat to their agenda.

Our TVs grow larger and our plates overflow.

But our cups are half-empty and what’s in the cup is rumored to cause cancer and maybe autism.

But we don’t know for sure

The FDA refuses to research it.

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Welcome to America, where we rely on Russian hackers to free our news and corporate media outlets to cover it up.

Welcome to America..

Land of the free trade agreements…

Home of the slaves.

Welcome to America, where you are more likely to be killed by an angry white man with an AR-15, than you are to be represented by those whom you vote for.

While you are here be sure to visit Cleveland, Detroit and Flint and send a letter to Bill Clinton, thanking him for NAFTA.

Welcome to America, where the water is full of lead and the air is toxic.

Welcome to America, where our politicians get paid millions to tell us that scientists are liars.

Be sure to visit our lovely coasts, before they fall into the ocean.

Don’t bother with the zoo.

America is the zoo.

 

Welcome to America, where the citizens are dangerous and the cops serve death sentences to unarmed black people.

Welcome to America, where “patriots” drive huge trucks dependent on foreign oil.

Welcome to America, where we bomb people in the name of democracy..

When we do not even have democracy ourselves.

Welcome to America.

Kick back and watch your tax dollars at work on a 72″ high-definition screen.

Watch us bomb for democracy.

Watch us kill for democracy.

Welcome to the evil empire.

Welcome to Imperialism.

Welcome to for-profit prisons, where billionaires pass laws, so they can incarcerate poor people and spin propaganda over the airwaves that convince you to be afraid of your fellow-humans.

Welcome to the New World Order, where we have 662 bases in 38 foreign countries and you break your back 70 hours per week to pay for it.

Welcome to semi-automatic open-carry.

Welcome to tyrannical government, where reality TV stars and career criminals run for president(AND WIN!!!)

Welcome to America, where we bomb innocent people, then close our doors to their refugees.

Welcome to America.

Wear Kevlar.

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But I am encouraged…

As funny as it sounds, I am encouraged.

 

Because despite all of our problems, there is at this moment, a tiny window of opportunity to take control.

While I am tempted to wallow in the misery of our rigged presidential election, I really don’t have time to waste on that.

Instead I must focus on the positive and it occurs to me, that the thought that they had to rig the election is encouraging.

 

This means we have them outnumbered.

This means that people are waking up.

How does the evolved citizen move within this corporate matrix for maximum effectiveness?

What can one do within the confines of a corporate controlled government to make the world livable for all people?

The truth is that we can do a lot, but it is a lot of hard work.

As it is my goal to keep this piece short and readable, I cannot possibly list everything that we can do in one paper, but if you are interested in information and ideas to exercise your power as an activist, you can click here to connect with me on social media, where I post daily ideas and strategies for activism.

For starters, we have to take control of our local government.

If we control Congress, then we decide what bills pass and what bills don’t.

The corporations can install Hillary Clinton as President, but she will be completely handcuffed, if we counter with a Progressive Congress.

This can be an overwhelming process.

It is no longer acceptable to just vote a straight Democratic ticket.

We need to know where these Dems stand on key issues like TPP, Climate Change and important civil rights matters.

We cannot just take them at their word.

We need to see their voting record.

We need to know where their money is coming from.

I suggest you start by joining Brand New Congress, a group that seeks to completely take control of The House with our Progressive agenda by 2018.

Here is a link to find people who are running for local office who also embody the ideals of Bernie Sanders.

Also visit BallotPedia and enter your zip code to find out who will be on the ballot in your area this November, so you can research their policies and decide who to vote for.

You may find that none of the candidates excite you.

In this case, I would encourage you to run for office yourself or encourage someone you know to take on the challenge, under the promise that you will do extensive volunteering to help them attain said office.

I encourage you to get deeply involved in your local government and campaign for those who represent your values even in the smallest of offices.

Who is your local prosecutor?

Do they have ties to for-profit prisons?

All this information is available online, if you search for it.

A small team of hardcore activists can drastically affect local elections.

You can change the outcomes of important offices in your community.

Find someone who champions your views and go sit down with them.

Tell them you want to help.

Believe me, they will be grateful.

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In addition to taking control of your local government, there is so much you can do daily, by voting with your dollars.

Everyone likes to talk about how much they hate Monsanto, but do you unknowingly support them?

You know that free speech is sacred, but are you being deceived into giving money to corporations who want to limit it?

Activism isn’t about being perfect.

It’s about giving effort.

Transferring your money out of the banking system into a locally owned credit union won’t save the world, but it’s a step.

Don’t beat yourself up for falling short in some areas.

That just means that you are highly aware.

The corporations have such a stranglehold on our lives, that to avoid all of them would require you to live completely off the grid.

Unfortunately, we do have to make compromises at this current time.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make an impact.

Perhaps you give money to Time Warner, Verizon or Comcast (companies who oppose net neutrality), because you have decided that having home Internet is essential to your happiness.

That’s okay.

Your efforts in other areas still count tremendously.

Also, by looking at our own imperfections, we learn not to judge others, but instead are inspired to educate and help them.

Be creative.

There are a million ways to affect change.

The truth is ugly and victories are few and far between, but you can make a huge impact.

From the conversations that you have with people to what you share on social media.

From what you purchase, to who you vote for.

Ours is a war of attrition.

Ours is a battle for hearts and minds.

We know those in power will never stop trying to gain more control.

But ultimately, we will win, through using the power we have to organize and make change.

It’s okay to be angry.

It’s okay to be cynical sometimes.

But ultimately..

For our own sanity..

We must all be activists.

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donald-hillary-800Just before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States, he had a conversation with Bill Clinton.

According to five different aids present for the conversation “Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party”.

While I am one to usually dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand, I recalled at the time wondering why Bill Clinton would be advising his friend Donald Trump to run for president as a Republican.

I also wondered why this was not getting more mainstream media coverage, but at the time, Trump was not considered to be a serious contender, so I laughed it off.

But a few weeks later Donald Trump did indeed announce his candidacy and much to the surprise of many, he was running as a Republican, despite an already overcrowded field.

Trump came out blazing, with a counterintuitive approach that marginalized millions of potential voters and left many scratching their heads.

As he continued to make comments slandering women, Hispanics, blacks and even the handicapped, millions speculated wildly on what his goals could possibly be.

After all, it is hard to win an election while alienating so much of the country’s population.

Still Trump’s poll numbers continued to rise.

I thought back to the conversation with Bill Clinton and while I was unwilling to speculate publicly, I did muse to a friend…

“Could he be mocking the GOP? He seems like a caricature of how the media depicts Republicans. He’s paranoid, misinformed, xenophobic and full of mean-spirited opinions. I don’t take his campaign seriously. I think he is trying to promote something.”

Then suddenly, Trump started talking about breaking off from the GOP and making a third party run.

Why would he break off when he was the front-runner?

If he did this, he would split the conservative vote and guarantee a win for the Democrats.

I thought again about Bill Clinton’s encouragement of Trump.

He sure is “playing a large role in the Republican Party” I thought “He is destroying any chance they have of winning the election.”

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Still, I dismissed the theory, as I dismiss all such theories, as possible, but unlikely and difficult to prove.

When people mentioned it to me, I told them that I had thought of it, but that I didn’t think Trump was even trying to win the nomination.

I pointed to the fact that he not only did not have a ground game, but that he did not even know what the term meant.

“If he was trying to be a patsy for Hillary, wouldn’t he have to actually win the nomination?” I asked one friend.

My friend countered by saying that Trump did not need a ground game, because he was the official candidate of Fox News and that they would hand him the nomination on a silver platter by giving him around the clock coverage.

“Besides, if he actually ran a strong ground game, he may become too strong.” my friend reasoned “The goal is for him to win the nomination, then tank the whole campaign.”

I can honestly say that around this time I did start to take the claim a little more seriously, but I was still a long way off from being willing to take a hit to my credibility by speaking about this publicly.

I certainly didn’t want to get into a conversation with my friend about how Fox News co-owner, Rupert Murdoch, was a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton and had donated money to her campaign in 2016, but I had to admit that Fox’s embrace of Trump didn’t make much sense, considering that Trump was polling poorly against Clinton at the time.

If Murdoch wanted Clinton to win, then he could conceivably orchestrate this, by elevating Trump’s campaign during the primaries.

Trump is not a strong candidate versus Clinton.

In fact he ranked fourth against her in head to head polling for nearly the entire campaign.

If Murdoch actually wanted Clinton to lose, wouldn’t he have been more likely to promote Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or John Kasich?

All three candidates scored markedly better in head to head matchups against Clinton, especially Kasich, a moderate from the swing state of Ohio, who was defeating Hillary by more than 15 points in projected matchups.

But Murdoch, a friend and donor to Hillary Clinton, turned his network into a twenty-four hour a day info-mercial for Donald Trump, a candidate that he was openly critical of.

This is curious, but when you consider that Fox News co-owner, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is one of Hillary Clinton’s largest donors, the Trump Plant Theory becomes even more intriguing.

Alwaleed bin Talal, dislikes Trump immensely and has even called for him to step down as a presidential candidate.

So why are these two billionaires, donating to Hillary Clinton while promoting Donald Trump?

This is a question worth answering.

This is the smoking gun.

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Hillary Clinton, with her longtime friend and donor, Rupert Murdoch of Fox News at a 2006 fundraiser that Murdoch hosted for Clinton.

The point where I started to turn the corner from sane rationalist to election conspiracy theorist, was when one of my friends from New York commented on how strange Trump was acting.

“I know people who have rented from Trump.” she said “A few black people and one Hispanic lady and they have always described him as kind and amenable. I wonder what happened to him to turn him into such a bigot.”

Anecdotal evidence is all but worthless, but in this case it’s true, Trump has long been outspoken against racism. In fact, in 2000 he turned down an opportunity to run for president, because he did not want to be even loosely associated with Pat Buchanan, who had just received an endorsement from David Duke, whom Trump called “a bigot, a racist, a problem.”

And then there was the fact that Trump had been a donor to the Democratic Party for decades, until the sudden switch to attack Barack Obama regarding his place of birth, after a bitter primary between Obama and Clinton.

At the time, I wondered if Trump had initiated the birther movement because he was being protective of his friend Hillary, whose campaign he financially supported in 2008.

Some will say that Trump’s attacks on Obama are evidence of his racist views, but Trump has a history of being a Democrat who supports equality, so his recent Nazi-esque behavior certainly seems at odds with his past record.

In fact, Trump’s entire family are loyal Democrats.

In New York they were not even allowed to vote for him, because they had forgotten to change their voter registrations to Republican.

Then there is the matter of a woman’s right to choose.

Trump has long described himself as “very pro-choice”, so why the sudden insane talk of punishing women for having abortions?

Donald Trump is nearly 70 years old.

It is rare that people radically change ideologies so late in life.

When you include the fact that Trump went from being a proponent of universal healthcare, to suddenly being against it, we are left to wonder if perhaps The Donald had suffered a massive head injury late in 2015.

What else could explain the sudden change of his entire political philosophy seemingly overnight?

I thought back to the conversation with Bill Clinton.

“Oh my dog!!!” I thought “I’m a conspiracy theorist!!!”

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But what would be Trump’s motivation?

What could the Clinton’s possibly use to lure him into making a complete jackass out of himself when he is worth $3.2 billion dollars?

I will answer that question with a better question;

Why does Donald Trump refuse to release his tax returns?

Could it be because, after bankrupting so many businesses, that Trump himself is bankrupt?

Could it be that his tax returns would show money coming from curious sources, leading to an investigation, that would ultimately prove that he is running a false flag campaign for his friends, the Clintons?

 

Could I be completely insane?

All of these options seem equally likely at this point.

I would suggest that people view my arguments with skepticism, but I would also suggest that you look for patterns in the media to see if there might be some validity to what I am saying.

 

While not necessarily causal, you will notice that every time something negative comes out about Hillary Clinton (Wikileaks anyone?), Trump jumps up front and center with some insane comment that pulls all the media attention to him.

For example, the day that a a federal judge granted a Freedom of Information Act request that exposed that Hillary Clinton was offering political favors in exchange for donations while she was Secratary of State, Donald Trump called for Clinton’s assassination and the entire corporate media focused on Trump’s comments and ignored this huge scandal that would have surely caused her to lose ground in the polls.

It is interesting that Trump’s comments rarely focus on issues.

Clinton is an easy target to attack on the issues, as she is literally caught in one form of scandal or another nearly every week, but Trump usually refrains from attacking her obvious treachery.

Instead he attacks her on her husband’s infidelity or makes comments about her failing health.

These comments have the desired effect of making Clinton into a sympathetic character, which causes people to rally around her and defend her.

If Trump were to speak on the issues, he would have the opportunity to educate the masses regarding her corruption and could potentially win the election, but by making personal, ugly attacks, he instead illicits sympathy for her and actually recruits voters on her behalf.

It is not as if accusing the “Democratic” Party of rigging an election is beyond the bounds of reason, considering that Wikileaks recently published thousands of emails, showing that they did exactly that to Bernie Sanders.

While I cannot prove that Donald Trump is working to insure a Hillary Clinton presidency, the preponderance of evidence is staggering and definitely should cause even the most anti-conspiritorial person to put this election under a microscope.

I’ll take my tin-foil hat off now.

It’s really starting to make my head itch.

 

 

 

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If you are into politics, even remotely, you have undoubtedly become aware of the radical insurgence of Jill Stein and the Green Party.

Bernie Sanders recently stepped aside after a rigged “Democratic” primary and unleashed a cluster-bomb of liberal voters, along with parting instructions for his followers to vote for Hillary Clinton, in order to defeat the evil Donald Trump.

In a normal election year, voters would likely heed Sanders’ advice, but there is nothing normal about the 2016 presidential election.

While there is an argument to be made that a vote for Jill Stein is actually a half-vote for Donald Trump, to believe this is to take an overly simplistic view of the dynamics of the current political situation in America.

The two largest political blocks in the United States are Independent voters and non-voters.

Independent voters make up 43% of the electorate and the majority of them had no intention to support Secretary Clinton to begin with.

It is also important to note that over 93 million eligible voters opt not to vote at all in presidential elections.

Many of these people choose not to vote because they have been disenchanted with their options in past elections.

In order for these people to get over their apathy and participate, they require a new and refreshing voice.

Add to this the 13 million people who voted for Bernie Sanders and the millions of disenfranchised voters, who were locked out of closed “Democratic” primaries and are seeking a new home, and it becomes obvious, that due to this confluence of factors, America is finally ready for the rise of a third-party.

It is important to note that there is a similar movement taking place on the right side of the political spectrum with Libertarian Gary Johnson holding firm at 10%, as many Republicans are looking for a new home as a result of the hostile takeover of the GOP by Donald Trump, but this article will be focusing specifically on the false narrative that “a vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump.”

To assume that Hillary Clinton is somehow entitled to the votes of people who do not agree with her politics is ludicrous.

It is like asking someone if they would like to be shot, waiting for them to say “No.” and then pretending that this means that they would enjoy being stabbed.

While the above simile is ridiculous, it is no more ridiculous than Clinton supporters assuming that everyone who opposes Donald Trump, automatically would throw their support behind a candidate that represents everything they hate.

In a normal election year, many of these people would simply choose not to vote.

Some would even cast a grudge vote for the opposing party, due to their anger at being cheated by the DNC.

When you look at it from this perspective, you see that Jill Stein could potentially even help Hillary Clinton.

While it is true that corporate media, working hand in hand with the Clinton campaign, have done an excellent job of scaring millions into voting for Hillary, based solely on the premise that she is not Donald Trump, many reject this ideology of fear and refuse to support any candidate that does not represent their core values.

A vote for Jill Stein is nothing like a vote for Donald Trump.

In fact, a shocking new study reveals that a vote for Jill Stein is actually a vote for Jill Stein.

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In 2008 there was a false movement started by Hillary Clinton supporters, known as PUMA.

PUMA was an acronym representing the words Party Unity My Ass.

This movement’s lack of an imaginary name was only exceeded by the lack of conviction found in it’s members.

PUMA turned out to be a giant bluff.

In the end, Clinton supporters caved and voted for Obama.

They patted themselves on the back for being good Democrats and came back eight years later to support their rejected candidate.

Of course, Clinton supporters did not take the Bernie or Bust movement seriously.

They couldn’t even take their own movement seriously.

Why would they believe that there were millions of Americans who would have the courage to follow their convictions when they themselves did not?

They caved, so they expected others to cave.

The DNC made the fatal error of assuming that Sanders’ supporters were loyal Democrats, when by and large Sanders’ success was based on the fact that millions had become fed up with the corporate antics of the “Democratic” Party.

After watching PUMA turned to roadkill, it was only natural that the DNC would assume that Bernie or Bust voters would rally behind Hillary Clinton, especially with the specter of Donald Trump looming.

But if anything, PUMA was the beginning of the end for the “Democratic” Party.

The assumption that Sanders supporters could be reabsorbed once Clinton was nominated caused the leadership to be careless in the treatment of said supporters.

Bridges have been burnt and there seems to be no effort by the arrogant, corporate party to make amends.

While loyal Democrats keep reminding us that Bernie and Hillary voted in lockstep 93% of their shared time in the Senate, they are only exemplifying their complete lack of understanding of Sanders’ political revolution.

Clinton and Sanders may be somewhat similar on policy, but Sanders’ movement was one of ideology and when it comes to philosophy the chasm between the two candidates is vast and all encompassing.

Clinton is the embodiment of everything Sanders’ revolution stood in opposition to.

Sanders voters, hungry for social justice, are left starving by Clinton’s neo-liberal facade.

In fact, some leftists are willing to suffer through four years of Donald Trump, just to send the message to the DNC that their tactics will not be tolerated.

In the midst of Wikileaks exposing the corruption of the “Democratic” Party, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for America to finally break the shackles of it’s corporate two-party system.

Enter leftist anti-Democrat, Jill Stein.

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Jill Stein is more than just methadone for Bernie Sanders addicts.

She is a true revolutionary voice and an activist not afraid to do time on the front lines.

Although Stein lines up nicely on policy with Sanders, she is much more vocal than he is, regarding the corruption in the “Democratic” Party.

Whereas Sanders focused completely on issues and his message of political revolution, Stein is angry and not afraid to call out Hillary Clinton directly.

Where Sanders was hogtied by Clinton’s accusations of sexism, Stein has no such obstacle.

Jill Stein is not afraid to speak the truth about Clinton and millions of people scorned by the election rigging in the “Democratic” primary are flocking to her message.

Still, there are those who are locked into binary thinking, who insist that voting for Jill Stein is actually indirectly voting for Donald Trump.

But contrary to popular belief, politics is not horse racing and our vote is not a bet on whom we think will be victorious.

A person’s vote is meant to represent one’s personal values and anyone who tells you otherwise has an agenda.

The American vote is sacred, as it is based on the blood of our ancestors, who literally gave their lives for this right, that so many take for granted.

While it is true that a single vote rarely has an impact on something so grandiose as a presidential election, this does not mean that one’s vote is unimportant.

To vote is to cast one’s thoughts into action and to tell your government, in a very direct way, exactly how you feel about what they are doing and what you expect from them going forward.

All the Facebook and Twitter posts in the world do not equate to the power and sanctity of a single vote and it is for this reason that a vote for Jill Stein is anything but a vote for Donald Trump.

A vote for Jill Stein is a middle finger in the face of tyranny.

A vote for Jill Stein is a protest vote against a party that rigged an election against a good man.

A vote for Jill Stein sends the message, loud and clear, that we will not support any candidate who attempts to usurp our democracy.

To vote for Hillary Clinton, after the way the DNC smeared and threatened Bernie Sanders, is to sanction such activities.

We would have no one to blame, but ourselves, when future elections were rigged.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is what brought us to this point and Americans have, at long last, decided to stand up to the illusion of choice, in the corporate two-party system and throw their support behind a movement, that will help guarantee, that we will never again find ourselves locked in a system so broken, that it spits out a corporate controlled warmonger and a racist reality TV star and then pretends that we have choice.

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Still there are those who don’t have the fortitude required to support a third-party candidate.

They fear a vote for Stein or Johnson will allow the other side to win and they just couldn’t live with themselves should that happen.

To appease these people, I propose logic, in place of guilt.

Unless you live in a swing state (a state that is closely contested and is never consistently won by either party), your single vote will not affect the outcome of your state’s election.

This allows you the freedom to vote your conscience, without fear that you have helped elect someone you dislike.

In Indiana, where I live, Donald Trump has three times as many voters as Hillary Clinton.

In essence, my vote is wasted if I vote for either Clinton or Trump.

Trump is going to win regardless of how I vote.

Jill Stein will most certainly not win Indiana, so I must use my vote as part of a larger picture.

Even though Stein is unlikely to win my state, my vote will go towards supporting the Green Party and increasing their status in future elections.

This means that in 2020, Americans will have more choice.

We will have more voices on the debate stage and a third-party candidate will start the election cycle as a household name, instead of having to battle from obscurity.

When you look at things this way, you realize that non-swing state voters make their vote count more by supporting a third-party candidate.

So if you are angry at your lack of choice in this election, rejoice!!

You have an opportunity to make things different in America on a permanent basis.

If you vote for the lesser evil, then evil always wins.

The time to vote for the greater good is now.

The time to break out of the corporate, binary system is at hand.

Don’t let fear-mongers take away your voice.

Don’t be deceived by false narratives, designed to trick you into supporting someone who doesn’t represent your values.

Your vote is your voice.

Don’t ever let ANYONE take that away from you or make you feel bad for exercising your personal freedom.

Don’t be afraid to vote third-party.

Future generations will benefit greatly from your benevolence.

 

 

 

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Help keep independent thought independent. If what I do adds value to your life, and you are able to donate, click HERE. If you cannot afford to, that’s okay! I will keep on writing, anyway!!