I woke up one morning last week thinking about Paul.

It had been two years since my friend Cole had killed herself. When Paul heard the news he followed suit and took his own life. Paul had been struggling with a major depressive period and losing someone he loved was just too much for him.

I lost two of my closest friends in the span of six days, but there was no time to grieve. There were others whom these tragedies affected more and I had to be there for them. There were funerals to attend and arrangements to be made. Everything became a blur and soon two weeks had passed and I still hadn’t grieved.

Well to be fair, I actually did have a few hours of mental breakdown, but it wasn’t until months later that I realized that my collapse was related to my friend’s deaths.

The day Paul died I didn’t cry.

I was numb.

I was debating people in a political forum and several people were attacking my character instead of my arguments, as often happens in these situations. Suddenly, I got really upset and put my phone down. I went upstairs and just laid there feeling dead inside. My girlfriend was scared, as she had never seen me just lay down in the middle of the day like that. When she tried to reach me all I said is

“I don’t get why people have to be so fucking mean.”

After she left I laid there and cried and what’s funny is, the entire time I cried I felt like I was crying about the people who were calling me names on the political forum. I kept thinking about the words they used and they stung me in ways that I could not comprehend. I had been in thousands of political discussions and been insulted by strangers ten thousand times. Never did I cry about it.

It’s strange to me that I didn’t understand that I was really crying about Paul and Cole.

robin-williams-cover-ftr

Cole was a really good friend.

I loved her deeply.

Once when I was staring into the abyss, she came to my house and dragged me out. She took me to strip clubs and bought me drinks that I didn’t drink. She paid girls to dance for me and I ignored them. She did everything she could to make me smile, yet I didn’t smile.

But I felt loved.

And that love helped me to crawl out of my hole and see light again.

Cole was a kind and gentle, yet disturbed soul and I related to her on nearly every level.

But the darkness took her and the black hole created by that consumed Paul.

Paul was one of my best friends in this life and his loss is something that I feel every single day. He would be shocked to hear me say that. He was convinced that his life had no value.

Last week the weather had something in it that felt familiar. As Carrie and I were drinking our morning coffee, I said to her

“This feels exactly like the day when Paul killed himself.”

Hoffman, Philip Seymour

I logged into social media to see what stupid-ass thing Donald Trump had been doing, only to see that Chris Cornell had committed suicide.

I would be lying to say that I was moved by this.

Celebrity deaths wash over me, with some occasional exceptions.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams devastated me, because both of them reminded me of myself.

I could always see them struggling with their demons.

When Spalding Gray and David Foster Wallace decided life was too much to bear, I felt a tremendous sense of dread in the pit of my stomach, for I knew these men saw behind the curtain much in the same way that I do.

But I was not moved by Chris Cornell’s death. At least not immediately I wasn’t. Instead I made a comment about how “the Mount Rushmore of grunge singers was now complete.” Layne Staley, Kurt Cobain, Andrew Wood and now Chris Cornell, four of the five most influential singers of their era were all gone by their own hands.

Meanwhile Eddie Vedder was still pushing words through closed teeth somewhere.

And I was still sitting here, trying to make sense of it all.

dfw

Chris Cornell’s suicide had me thinking about Paul even more than usual.

Paul and I used to be in a band that covered Show Me How to Live by Audioslave. I would always make sure it was last on the set list, because after I replicated Cornell’s razor-blade gargling screams, I could barely speak, let alone sing.

Paul was also on my mind because my guitars kept breaking lately.

In addition to being my friend and mentor, Paul was also my guitar tech. I am an ignorant musician who spent his life mastering words and melody, but I know nothing of wood-crafting.

Over the years, I would play the hell out of my instruments and eventually damage them. I would take them to Paul and he would give me a lecture about caring for them better and then he would repair them and then whatever he tried to charge me, I would pay him double.

He would always fight with me about it, but I would insist that he take the money.

Even at double-pay, he was still cheating himself.

Paul wasn’t very good about taking care of his needs and would go long periods of time without eating, because he didn’t have money for food. I finally figured out how to solve this problem. I would go to pawn shops and buy broken instruments and take them to Paul so he could fix them.

He would get very upset when he saw the damaged guitars and say something like

“This crack in the neck. How did that happen?!”

I would assure him that it was the previous owner who had been so cruel, but this did little to calm him. Paul took the mistreatment of musical instruments very personally. He was always so dire. He would shake his head and say

“I don’t know if I can save this, Michael, but I’ll do my best.”

Then he would email me constant guilt-laden updates on the status of the instrument.

“It’s in the wood press and I’m bending the wood back to normal, but it could crack at any moment. I’m really sorry, Michael. I’m doing all I can…”

“It’s fine, Paul. I appreciate your efforts. Thank you so much for trying.”

Paul saved every single instrument I ever gave to him.

But he couldn’t save himself.

kurt

Paul and Cole weren’t the first friends of mine to end their own lives.

My best friend Danny killed himself when he got back from fighting in Iraq and a few years after that I put Billy in the ground.

Billy was supposed to have a closed casket, but we told the minister that we needed to give some things to him, so he stepped aside and we put Billy’s Magic the Gathering cards inside with him.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’m not sure I ever really processed any of these deaths.

I’m not even sure how we go about processing such things.

Paul and Cole died right after my mother died. My response to this was to hit the road to canvass for Bernie Sanders. It was so exciting to be part of something so beautiful, that I really didn’t think too much about those whom I had recently lost.

Then suddenly a rock singer kills himself and it all comes flooding back.

I’m standing next to my child in a pawn shop, playing a guitar that was probably a beautiful instrument once upon a time.

I hold it up and show them how the wood is bent. Our eyes meet underneath the strings and I say out loud

“Man, fuck Paul.”

“Yeah” they said.

AndrewWood

In the middle of this swirling mess, I am fighting with one of my best friends.

She, a brilliant and reasonable person, is telling me why I need to believe in a conspiracy theory regarding a man supposedly murdered by the government. Politics is a big part of my life, but this simply was not a good time. She kept sending me articles and I kept reading them. It was all stuff I had read before, but I care about her so I read it all again and tried to see it all through her eyes.

I couldn’t get there from here.

It just made me sad and angry.

As I read through page after page, as I watched video after video, all I could think about was how terrible it must be for this man’s parents and siblings. I read about how his mother, father and brother were asking people to stop politicizing his death and I began to get angrier and angrier about it, while at the same time knowing that I was projecting a lot of other things onto the situation and that this was fueling the arguments between my friend and myself.

I know what it’s like to bury a child.

I buried one of my own.

But I cannot compare my tragedy to theirs. My child was a newborn baby. Their little boy was 27 years old, in the prime of his life. Their loss was much greater than mine. I began to feel very protective of the murdered man’s parents. I kept imagining myself in their crestfallen shoes.

It’s actually not fair of me to say that.

I can’t even imagine the hell they must be in.

sethrich2

Alas there was an oasis in the middle of my emotional desert.

Carrie and I had planned a party for Saturday night.

Normally these parties are fun, but this one felt like much more than that. I could feel that I needed the affirmation of living people.

A man I had never met before came to the party in a Feel the Bern shirt. The man kept telling me that I was “the reason why he calls his senators” and to be honest I really needed to hear something like that, because I was feeling pretty down about all the work we had put in and how things had been going lately.

I used to log onto social media and feel renewed by seeing so many activists, but lately everyone seemed to be talking about the murdered man and I found myself getting in fights with people and wondering what the point of everything had been.

Even during the party, Paul was there.

I had intentionally been avoiding reading about Chris Cornell, but everyone at the party was talking about it. Someone told me that Chris took an extra Ativan and then hung himself with the rubber cable from his exercise machine.

That is exactly how Paul killed himself.

Paul took a bunch of pills and then hung himself with the cable of his weight-lifting machine.

The similarities chilled me.

So I just drank more and smoked more pot.

This was my fucking party.

I did not want to be sad at my own fucking party.

layne

A good friend came to our gathering that night and while he was drunk he told me that he had been planning to kill himself a few weeks earlier, but that my visits had stopped him from doing so. He said

“Your friendship was a literal lifesaver for me. I know that you will be surprised to hear this, but when you came by that Friday I had accepted the fact that no one was going to miss me and had made up my mind to kill myself.”

I was not at all surprised to hear it.

I had been stopping by so much because I have now developed a feel for these things.

Once you have four of your closest friends kill themselves, you start looking for signs.

shannonhoon

Can I tell you something that I never told anyone?

Paul killed himself six days after Cole killed herself and during those six days I thought about reaching out to Paul many times, but I didn’t. I didn’t reach out to him because I was in pain and I didn’t want to listen to anyone else’s pain. I just couldn’t subject myself to Paul’s depression, which often triggered my own darkness.

I know intellectually that I can’t blame myself for Paul’s death, but I also know on some level that I may have been able to prevent it. I doubt it. I don’t think my light was very bright during those three days and Paul’s darkness may have been too much for me.

But I wish that I would have tried.

Oh how I wish I had tried.

And now my child has razor blade marks all up and down their arm and they tell me how they feel disconnected and how they “want to disappear” because they feel like they are living in someone else’s body and this chills me to the bone.

Every day I call therapists and try to find one that we can afford and one that also specializes in gender dysphoria, but this is Indiana and there aren’t many resources for transgender children.

But don’t worry.

I won’t give up until we find someone.

The one thing I refuse to do is to give up.

But I don’t begrudge Paul or Cole or Billy or Danny for their choices.

They just went to that extremely dark place I know so well, the place where your mind lies to you and tells you that no one will miss you.

But I do miss them.

I miss them all so much.

I will never stop missing them.

Don’t listen to the darkness.

We all fall on black days.

Things DO get better.

Trust me.

I’m living proof.

heartglasses
Call 1-800-273-8255 if you are thinking about killing yourself. Life’s a painful experience. Of that there can be no doubt. But it can be amazing too. You have to get through the valleys. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.

Hey moron. Thanks for reading my column you stupid looser. I’m surprised some brainwashed MSM-watching sheeple could figure out how to operate a computer or smart-phone. Your so dumb that you probably think Trump colluded with the Russians. Your such a stupid libtard that you don’t even realize that Obama deported more people than Trump. Your opinions are stupid and YOUR stupid. SMDH.

Sound familiar?

Congratulations, you made the mistake of expressing a political opinion on The Internet, where everyone is 100% convinced that they are right 100% of the time.

Oddly enough, I rarely encounter people talking to each other like this in the “real world.” So it begs the question, are people their real selves on the net and just cowards in “real life.” Or is there something about the web that polarizes people and makes them act like angry children?

There’s no need to send me emails letting me know that my opening paragraph is rife with grammar and spelling atrocities. These “errors” are just a few of the insults that have been hurled at yours truly over the last 24 hours.

I have seen these particular mistakes so often, that I have become convinced that there is a strong correlation between not understanding basic contractions like “you’re” and the likelihood that the one who doesn’t understand said contractions will be using them ironically and moronically to insult the intelligence of others.

“Your stupid!!”

“No. YOU’RE stupid.”

“So YOUR calling ME stupid?!?!”

“It’s YOU’RE stupid?”

“I’m not the stupid one. God your such a looser!!”

understanding2

When someone is insulting me for having a differing opinion, I often wonder what they hope to accomplish.

Has there ever been a time in the history of the human existence where one person insulted another’s intelligence and the recipient of said insult said

“You know what? I really am a brainwashed idiot. Thank you for pointing that out. Now I see things your way!!”

It’s doubtful. So I am left to wonder, what is the point of this behavior?

Have we become so bereft of intelligence and humanity that we think that anyone who disagrees with us is subhuman and deserves to be treated poorly? Have we forgotten that on the other end of this exchange that there is another human being who has come to a differing conclusion by taking in and processing different information?

If we are convinced of our own righteousness, shouldn’t we use methods that are likely to deliver the correct information to the misinformed person we are speaking with?

And what about the other person’s humanity?

I have seen people attack others simply for having a different political view, never taking into consideration that the person reading their hateful words more than likely has difficult circumstances in their own life and are perhaps using The Internet to talk to others in hopes of finding distraction from their quiet desperation.

I watched my friend get ripped to shreds on a daily basis from his hospital bed while he was losing (not LOOSING) his battle with cancer. We would tell him to stay off the political forums, because we feared that the stress was accelerating his departure, but it was literally the only thing that provided him respite from the doldrums of spending his final days confined to a hospital bed.

When he died his partner took his phone and typed

“(Name withheld) passed away today. He loved your lively political discussions. It provided him with comfort and entertainment during the final days of his life. Thank you.”

elephant

But let’s forget for a moment the fact that your hateful words could be the final straw for someone hanging by a thread on the opposite end of a fiber-optic cable.

Let me instead attempt to appeal to your pragmatic side.

When you disagree with someone, I assume your goal is to make them see your perspective (which in itself is an act of aggression. Ideally our goal would be to make the other person feel heard and understood, but let’s not ask for the moon here.)

So if your goal is to convince someone that you are right, calling them names and insulting their intelligence is undoubtedly the least likely way to achieve your desired result.

If you actually wanted someone to come around to your perspective you would actually take the opposite approach and try to make the person feel validated. When people feel validated, they tend to like you and when they like you they tend to care about what you have to say.

This can be done quickly and easily by asking a question that summarizes the statement that you disagree with, because when you ask a question it shows you are curious about the person’s point of view and when you are curious it means you care. Furthermore when you sum up the person’s angle inside of your question it proves that you have already been listening.

disagreement-hierarchy (post once in a while)

So maybe you say something like

“So you think Obama was worse than Trump on immigration, due to the fact that he deported more people?”

This is difficult to do.

It requires a suppression of ego.

Many people have a really fragile self-esteem and aren’t willing to entertain the idea that they might actually be wrong.

If our self-esteem is contingent on always being right then we are more likely to lash out at those who disagree with us and even block that person from having a voice. This leads to the creation of an echo-chamber, where only those who believe as we do are allowed to express their thoughts.

Creating an echo-chamber is a guaranteed way to limit our effectiveness, while simultaneously eroding our ability to process information rationally.

like

I am often struck with the awareness that in this world of fake news and alternative facts that otherwise rational actors have become indistinguishable from the religious people whom they often disparage.

I have known many people who have found god and then attempted to convince me that they were now in possession of some great piece of knowledge and if I didn’t read the things that they had read and come to the same conclusions that they did then I was somehow inferior to them.

This is literally the exact same process we see with people trying to force their political views on others.

“Oh you don’t agree? Well read this!!”

Then we read it and are left with more questions than answers and we are attacked for not coming to the same conclusions that the other came to.

We are accused of being willfully ignorant and then the character assassinations begin.

People engaged in heated political discussions are often indistinguishable from religious zealots.

It is no wonder that these exchanges rarely end well.

patrobertson

As Godwin’s Law has been temporarily suspended due to the advent of having an ACTUAL Nazi in the White House, I propose a new law.

We can call it …hmmmm… Sparks’ Law (to be renamed when someone comes up with a better moniker.)

Sparks’ Law states that whenever someone uses name-calling or character assassination (aka ad hominem attacks) during an argument that they have automatically lost the argument and all communication should cease until the time when those in violation of Sparks’ Law admit wrongdoing and can get back on track by summarizing the position of the person or persons that they were debating.

Example:

Person A: You’re being willfully ignorant.

Person B: I’m invoking Sparks’ Law. I’m not going to have this discussion if you are going to attack my motives.

Person A: So you’re going to be a little bitch and run away because you know that I’m right!?

Person B: Sparks’ Law has been invoked. I declare victory in this debate until which time you see fit to calm yourself and stick to the subject without insulting my person.

Three hours later:

Person A: Sorry, I was really upset earlier. Let’s try this again. So your position is that you feel Trump is being unfairly maligned on immigration and your basis for this is that Obama deported more people than Trump has at this point in his presidency?

Person B: Dammit. I thought I had won that one. Now you are going to force me to actually debate it? LOL. Yeah that’s pretty much my point. You disagree?

Person A: Well yeah, I do and here’s my basis for that…

wrongway

I am bookmarking this article and I suggest you do the same.

The next time someone attacks you simply say

“I’m invoking Sparks’ Law.” and drop this link on them and you win.

You win your sanity and you win back the time you were about to waste arguing with someone who doesn’t respect you or the basic rules of debate.

It’s a great tool to let the other person know that you are more than willing to debate the issue with them, but before you do, they must agree to calm down and exercise reason and logic above childish name-calling.

I doubt you will actually use this amazing tool I’ve created for you.

Your probably too much of a stupid looser to even comprehend such a brilliant concept.

dresswithgun
Michael E Sparks is the creator of Sparks’ Law and hundreds of others of ideas that never caught on. If you want to support independent writing you can drop him a dollar by clicking HERE. If he gets enough dollars he will buy himself a new dress.

 

I remember back during the general election. I would talk about Hillary Clinton’s obvious corruption and how this corruption took away any chance I ever had of voting for her and over and over again I would be met with the same ridiculous straw-man argument

“So what?! You want Trump to win?!”

No. Believe it or not, someone can dislike Hillary Clinton and still hate Donald Trump.

It’s like I’m saying “I’m not in the mood for pizza.” and someone starts yelling at me

“SO WHAT?!? YOU WANT BURGERS THEN?!?”

No thank you.

It is possible that I could just want neither.

I like Bernie Sanders.

Gimme some soul food!!

soulfood

But this silliness knows no bounds.

Specifically, I am referring to the left’s inability to grasp that one can accept that the DNC screwed Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination, while simultaneously believing that Putin favored Trump and probably worked with Julian Assange to assist in his election.

“OH MY GOD!! BLASPHEMY AGAINST OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JULIAN ASSANGE!!”

While I am all for freedom of information and LOVE LOVE LOVE (!!) that Wikileaks published the DNC emails, I do not believe for a second that Assange did this out of the kindness of his heart.

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend and I am far too skeptical of a person to just accept someone’s motives as pure, without a thorough examination of the evidence.

Do you honestly believe that Assange is some huge fan of America and just loves our Democracy SO MUCH that he released the DNC emails just to be really helpful?

Isn’t it much more likely, given his relationship with Putin and the fact that Wikileaks chose to NOT release any negative information regarding Trump, that Assange has an agenda?

Assange’s back is literally against the wall, sitting in an Ecuadorian embassy. He knows for a fact that Hillary Clinton will pressure the Ecuadorians to turn him over into U.S. custody. This gives him motive.

Is it possible that Assange may have been promised protections by Trump and Putin in exchange for publishing information that lead to Trump’s rise to power?

ASKING THIS QUESTION DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU ARE EXCUSING WHAT THE DNC DID TO BERNIE SANDERS!!

IT JUST MEANS THAT YOU ARE THINKING!!

Assange may hate Hillary Clinton, but merely hating a corrupt politician does not make one pure.

Assange has ample motive to help Trump get elected.

If Clinton were elected, his days were numbered.

assangetarget

“OH BUT I AM ARMED WITH A MEME THAT SAYS THAT WIKILEAKS HAS NEVER HAD TO RETRACT A STORY!!”

It’s not about whether the leaks are true or not.

Wikileaks does not fabricate information.

But why did Assange attack one corrupt candidate while leaving an equally corrupt candidate alone?

It’s a question everyone should be asking.

I fully accept the DNC’s corruption and am personally DELIGHTED that Hillary lost, but that does nothing to alter the VERY REAL possibility that Donald Trump is in collusion with Vladimir Putin.

Putin is the same person who helped prop up Chechnyan dictator Ramzan Kadyrov who is currently rounding up and exterminating people FOR BEING GAY!!

Putin is the same person who usurped the Ukrainian election, in order to keep them from becoming part of the European Union and murdered thousands of unarmed people when they resisted!!

Putin is known for interfering with other people’s democracies.

So why so quick to dismiss this as a possibility?

sethrich

“OH BUT SETH RICH WAS MURDERED BY THE DNC AND THAT PROVES…”

What does Seth Rich’s murder prove?!

Seriously!

He was alone, late at night, in Washington DC, one of the most violent cities in America.

Perhaps he was killed as part of a gang initiation.

Perhaps he was killed by an enemy that he created that was not political in nature (ie a relationship gone wrong, etc).

Perhaps he WAS killed by the DNC or perhaps he was a loose end that Putin needed to tie up to make sure that he was not implicated.

I would not trust the DNC or Vladimir Putin.

Neither of them have earned our trust.

As a skeptic, I would never rule out anything, but if you are CONVINCED that the DNC killed Seth Rich I submit that your overwhelming hatred of Hillary Clinton and the bitterness that you feel regarding the DNC’s mistreatment of Bernie Sanders has interfered with your judgment.

Truth is a casualty for those whose utmost concern is being right.

theoryahead

I don’t KNOW a goddamned thing, but here’s what I think.

I think the DNC is corrupt and that they screwed Bernie Sanders over to insure that they could have their corrupt, corporate candidate in charge, because she was already bought and paid for and would do EXACTLY what her corporate donors wanted her to do.

The DNC used the media to “elevate” Trump, because he was the least likely to provide a legitimate challenge to Clinton. Clinton believed that with such an obvious xenophobe running against her that even those who hated her would show up to vote for her, resulting in an easy win for the Democrats.

When Putin realized that Trump was likely to be the GOP nominee he struck a deal with Trump that he would use Wikileaks to show his opponent’s corruption, while agreeing NOT to expose Trump’s wrongdoings.

James Comey, a die-hard Conservative, refused to prosecute Clinton, because the GOP knew that if Clinton were indicted, then Sanders would be the nominee and that Trump would lose in a landslide. Comey did not make this decision alone, of course, but was under tremendous pressure from the right to allow Clinton to walk away free, while simultaneously saying some version of “Any normal person would be prosecuted.” which of course made the left even angrier and less likely to vote for Clinton, just as the GOP planned.

Since Trump has continued to embarrass the Republicans, thereby making it harder for them to keep their seats in 2018, the same Republicans who pressured Comey to allow Clinton to continue on as the Democratic nominee, now want Comey to implicate Trump for Russian collusion, so they can scapegoat Trump and hold their seats in 2018.

Trump’s tax returns likely show some kind of Russian business connections that would further implicate him with Putin.

Trump fired Comey because Trump is a loose cannon who makes knee-jerk decisions and Trump believes that by firing Comey and replacing him with someone who will stop the Russian investigation he can take the heat off himself.

Trump is wrong.

Trump is not a smart man.

Trump has exhausted his usefulness to the GOP.

The GOP is imploding.

Trump’s days are numbered.

ryan_trump_split

The DNC corruption and the Russian collusion are likely related, but that does not mean that one cannot be absolutely disgusted by the DNC’s shady dealings, yet still be very concerned with the Trump-Putin relationship.

Some would argue that Comey’s firing by Trump, proves that Comey was not attempting to help Trump win in the first place. To believe this would be to take an overly-simplistic view of what it meant for the GOP to face a badly damaged Hillary Clinton.

The reward for the GOP wasn’t simply the fact that a damaged Clinton hobbling through the general election helped the possibility of Trump winning, but what was much more important to the GOP was the fact that the Dems running a corrupt candidate meant a suppressed leftist voter turnout, which lead to the GOP maintaining control over the House and Senate, which of course, is where the real power lies.

While the DNC was busy elevating Trump, the GOP was busy damaging Clinton, but they DID NOT WANT HER INDICTED BECAUSE HER INDICTMENT MEANT A SANDERS PRESIDENCY, WHICH MEANT A HIGH VOTER TURNOUT, WHICH MEANT THE DEMS COULD GAIN CONTROL OF ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

These oligarchs play dirty and they play to win.

I’m just a skeptic.

I don’t KNOW anything.

Be wary of those who say that they do.

rockstar
Michael E Sparks is an activist, independent writer and opinionated jerk. If his writing moves you please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. Your donation buys him time to sit as his computer and spew forth more jerky opinions about politics.

 

Dear Mr Coal Roller,

How you doin, brother?

I’m guessing that you are busy setting liberals straight about Climate Change and other important issues facing our great country.

I just wanted to take a moment to drop you a line and let you know that I understood what you were attempting to say, when you cut me off in traffic and blew toxic smoke all over me and my children today. It would probably delight you to know that one of my children had a really awful asthma attack as a result and became very sick for the remainder of the day.

But hey, that’s a good thing right? Odds are that my kid will grow up to be a liberal and if you can kill them before they reach voting age, then I suppose, in your mind, you have done your country a great service.

Neither of my kids understood the statement you were trying to make. In fact, my youngest thought there was something wrong with your truck and said “Daddy, are you going to help that man with his car?”, because that’s what we try to do in our daily walk through this challenging life.

We try to help people.

coalroll3

My kids didn’t understand your message, but I read you loud and clear.

You wanted to show me your superiority by dangerously cutting in front of my car and releasing a cloud of black soot onto us. You wanted “to let dem stupid libtards know” that you are the superior being.

I have no doubt that you are convinced of your superiority, what with your Trump sticker, confederate flag decal and not one, but two actual American flags protruding on either side of your truck-bed. And to go through all the time and expense to modify your truck to burn off excess foreign-oil the way you did.

You sir, are a true American.

I get it. You don’t believe in Climate Change, because some guy on Fox News told you that the whole thing was a conspiracy dreamed up by liberals or the Chinese. Let’s not bother with the fact that Fox News is co-owned by a Saudi Prince who makes billions off selling you on the idea that Climate Change is a lie. Let’s not ruin your fun with facts. Facts and science are for us stupid liberals, right?

I understand that when you release that cloud of black death into the air that you are not only announcing your superiority, but you are also letting the world know your opinion on science. And your opinion MUST BE EXPRESSED, because you are afraid that you and your voice are being marginalized. You are watching the world slip away and that scares the hell out of you.

I get it man.

Everybody gets it.

We ALL see you for what you are.

We see you as afraid.

coalroll4

Your fear explains your posturing and the fact that you go out of your way to intimidate others. It explains the fact that you not only feel the need to own a gun, but you also feel the need to advertise that fact with your gun stick-figure family in your back window.

You’re afraid.

We get it.

You’re afraid the brown man is going to take your job and do it better. You’re afraid he’s going to fuck your wife in a way you never had the courage or consideration to. You’re afraid he’s going to marry your daughter and gradually breed your race completely out of existence. You’re afraid of EVERYTHING so you posture.

But it’s more than just fear.

There is also the matter of your gigantic, unsubstantiated ego.

You’re a big important man and you feel the need to express yourself. Sadly, you seem to have run out of room for self-expression on your truck. I’d suggest you get a Pinterest account. You could post pictures of guns, truck mods, Jesus and all the spray-tanned women you objectify. You really need to get a Pinterest account, dude. A guy like you, who has a flair for self-expression, would REALLY love Pinterest.

coalroll6

I try not to take your actions personally. But it does bother me that your display of douchebaggery endangers the lives of my fellow motorists. For when you release that amount of smoke on the interstate (these guys always spray me on the interstate) you take away the visibility of everyone behind you and this can cause accidents and maybe even death.

I know you don’t care about the lives of the other motorists, because they are probably just women and people of other races and therefore are less valuable in your mind, but you do understand that some of these cars contain children, right? And we all know how much you love children, because you can’t shut up about how women who have abortions are nothing but “sluts and baby murderers”.

Here’s a little tip. If you love children so much, maybe don’t spray toxic smoke in their faces. Children’s lungs tend to me more vulnerable to that type of thing.

Or is your stance on abortion about something else?

Is it perhaps just another way for you to exercise power and control over women?

Would the pathogenesis of your abortion view be, in ANY way, related to your below-average penis size?

Have you ever entertained this theory?

It might be worth considering.

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As I watch you burn away into the distance, looking for the next vehicle brazen enough to exercise their First Amendment right to post a liberal bumper sticker on their car, I have an imaginary conversation with you where I ask you why you drive a vehicle that gets inferior gas mileage and thereby supports the same Muslim countries that you profess to hate.

I mean, if you really hate Muslims so bad, it seems like you’d drive a hybrid, right?

And while we are on the topic, you should probably do a little research on your “American-made” truck. As it turns out, the Prius that you hate so much, has more American made parts on it than your Ford truck does.

But you aren’t real big on logic and reason, are you Mr Coal Roller? Intelligence isn’t exactly your forte, is it? In fact, you wear your ignorance with pride, because it is only with extreme ignorance that one can muster up such confidence and swagger as to be able to walk around feeling like you are the smartest motherfucker in every room despite ALL evidence to the contrary.

Because you are the straight-white man and you feel very strongly that everybody should listen to you and all of your brilliant thoughts on life.

There’s only one problem.

With each passing year, fewer and fewer people care about what you say or what you think.

The world WILL continue to evolve, with or without you.

Gays will continue to marry.

Women and minorities will continue to demand equality.

And fewer and fewer people will believe in make-believe invisible gods.

Conservatism has been a giant failure.

Enlightenment is inevitable.

The whole world is slipping away from you.

And you are powerless to stop it.

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Michael E Sparks is a good ol boy Leftist activist and independent writer from Indiana. If you like what he has to say, you can throw him a buck or two by clicking HERE. Thank you for supporting Independent journalism!!

It’s cold and rainy here in Indiana.

The sun has been in hiding for a week now.

This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the contrast.

A year ago Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary in my predominantly Republican state. It was not something I thought I would ever see, a Socialist winning Indiana. My friends and I worked very hard for this and lately the contrast between the incredible difference between last year and this year has been weighing heavily on me.

A year ago, at this time, the sun was shining and we were out knocking on doors. The heat was stifling, but we were determined. We would finish our canvassing routes then text back to the campaign center for new addresses. Bernie wasn’t resting and we weren’t either. It was an incredibly exciting time. Hope permeated everything.

But these days hope seems to have eloped with the sun. A madman is in power and the world suddenly seems very dangerous. There is a pronounced and organized shift towards fascism all over the planet. Gay men are being murdered in Chechnya. Drug addicts are facing systematic execution in Singapore. And hope is on the chopping block back here in America.

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But I know that there is a heavy price to pay for letting this sadness have its way with me. So I dragged myself into the gym this morning and forced myself to exercise. The gray crept in through the windows, while greater darkness protruded from the televisions mounted all around the gym.

Republican controlled Congress was voting to take healthcare away from our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, while Donald Trump was attempting to provide a smokescreen by signing an executive order that eroded the separation of church and state.

I pushed myself harder. Sometimes exercise helps me keep the darkness at bay. Today was not one of those days. After an hour I gave up and headed to my car.

As I approached the stop light where I usually turn right to go home, I surprised myself and took a sudden left. I knew that my girlfriend, Carrie, would be struggling with her own demons, so I decided that I would take her thrifting. Carrie’s eyes had been red over the past few days and I knew that she was struggling to find her smile. I figured it might be camouflaged somewhere on a thrift-store shelf, cleverly hidden behind VHS copies of E.T. or perhaps tucked in between old Barry Manilow and Lawrence Welk albums. Carrie can find happiness in the tiniest of things and I find tremendous joy in her happiness. We are good for each other this way.

As my car rounded the corner I saw three black youths pushing a stalled vehicle on the shoulder of a busy street. This situation looked to be dangerous. A busy street with decreased visibility could have been a recipe for disaster for these kids, so I pulled my car up behind them and hit my flashers. I had figured that their friend was the one steering the broken down car, but as I approached the vehicle the three youths took off.

The driver was an old white man. I asked him if he was okay and he said he was out of gas. I told him that I was going to push his car up to a nearby gas station and told him to put it in neutral and I’d get him there.

 

I point out that the man was white for the same reason that I point out that those helping him were black. Because I want to correct the lie that media feeds us, that different races should be afraid of each other. Even though I know this is propaganda designed to keep us afraid and tuned in, still I often catch myself falling for it. And on this day, when my heart was in the valley, thinking about all the hatred and fear that are permeating the planet we inhabit, I needed to see this.

I needed to be reminded that there was colorful beauty in the world on a day when everything seemed so gray.

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I started pushing the man’s car and soon a fireman got out of his truck and came over to assist and then another man who was wearing an NRA hat and an American flag T-shirt came to put his weight into the car as well.

Once we got the old man’s car to the pump, I walked back to my own car and continued onto the thrift-store. Carrie and I enjoyed looking around, but as usual, we left empty handed. We don’t really need anything.

When I got into my car and turned the key, nothing happened. My car was dead. As I got up under the hood and attempted to apply my limited mechanical knowledge, I actually thought about how having 19 Bernie Sanders stickers on my car probably made it a lot less likely that anyone would ever stop to help me.

I am often wrong.

After about 45 minutes of working on my car to no avail, a truck pulled up beside me and an Asian man got out with a huge smile. He introduced himself and asked me if it was okay for him to take a look under my hood. He looked for a minute and then said that he had identified the problem. I told him that I was going to have my car towed to the shop, because I didn’t have any tools with me. He said “That won’t be necessary.” and reached into his truck and produced a toolbox.

While he worked he asked me about my Bernie stickers and I told him how I had collected them from different campaign centers all over the country while I was canvassing for the Sanders campaign. He told me that Bernie Sanders inspired him to leave his job in the banking industry and become a full-time mechanic, because, as he put it “Banking was destroying my integrity.”

I told him that I believe our focus has to be on reaching out to people who are different than us and humanizing them by having real life compassionate interactions with those who have differing political viewpoints. He agreed that this was the key and then he said “Start her up.”

My car started right up. As I exited the vehicle I saw my new friend standing there smiling, completely drenched in the freezing rain.

I reached for my wallet and handed him some money.

“No sir.” he said “I couldn’t possibly accept that.”

“I was going to have my car towed to the shop. You just saved me hundreds of dollars.” I said, while pushing the money towards him.

“I didn’t help you for money, Michael. I helped you because you needed help.”

And with that my new friend disappeared into the gray.

And somehow he took my sadness right along with him.

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Michael E Sparks is an independent writer and political activist. If you believe in his words and his mission, feel free to toss him a dollar by clicking HERE.