Dear Barack Obama, Will You Please Help Us?

Dear Barack Obama,

As I sat down to write you today, it occurred to me that being President is a thankless task.

When you do something well, it is overlooked.

When you make a mistake, it is amplified.

Eight years ago, I dragged my children to stand in line on a cold and rainy Indiana day, so we could vote for you as a family.

They were so little at the time.

Chloe was 6 and Dravin 11.

I wanted them to experience this moment with me, because you were the first candidate in my lifetime that actually made me excited to vote.

I felt like you were going to be a legendary president and I wanted my children to be part of that.

I explained to my babies that “a long line was good for us, because it meant that Americans were standing up for hope and change.”

As I walked into the voting booth, I was surprised at how emotional I became.

I teared up as I filled in the little bubble next to your name.

Barack Obama was going to be my president.

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I think your presidency must have been one of the more difficult presidencies in our country’s history.

You faced opposition from all sides and dealt with a House that attempted to block everything you tried to do.

Yet somehow you managed to stop Keystone XL and pass the Affordable Care Act, which for all of its flaws, was a major step forward for millions of Americans.

I have not agreed with you on everything.

I radically opposed TPP and I was extremely disappointed that you did not speak up for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

I read your book and loved your honesty, when you admitted that taking corporate money had negatively affected your presidency.

So you can imagine how disappointed I was when you endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

But I do not write you today to tell you about all the ways in which I agree or disagree with you.

I know you get more than your fair share of critics and detractors.

I know that all great leaders must make tough decisions and that people who are on the outside cannot understand the intricacies of these hard choices.

Even though my politics might fall far to the left of yours, I have defended you consistently and I believe that you are a good man.

I even voted for you again in 2012, because I still believed that you were our best shot at hope and change.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for caring and for doing your best.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown and with great audacity, I ask of you a favor before you leave office, one last swipe of your pen to remind the great people of America that there is still hope, even in the darkest of times.

The good guys really need a victory right now.

And I know you are one of the good guys, so I’m calling on your help.

I’m asking you to declare Standing Rock a federal monument.

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By declaring Standing Rock a federal monument you will stop the senseless violence against our Indigenous sisters and brothers and secure your legacy as a president who stood for hope and change.

I understand that corporations are powerful forces, but right now, you are even more powerful.

We can no longer “wait and see how this plays out.”

This is about more than just legalities.

This is much bigger.

It became bigger the moment that attack dogs and rubber bullets were brought in to assault these peace-loving people.

It became bigger when we watched the absolute brutality of our own government spraying freezing water on these good people.

Have the Native American people not suffered enough at the hands of this occupying force of which you are currently the leader?

After centuries of unmitigated rape of their culture, can we please, just this once, side with the people who rightfully own the land?

On behalf of our brethren in North Dakota, I can tell you that we will not back down, because our cause is just and at some point the American people MUST take a stand.

The winter will be long and difficult, but our numbers will grow.

My wife and children have asked me not to go, but I cannot, in good conscience stand by and allow innocent people to be treated with such aggression.

I believe, with all my heart, that the pen is mightier than the sword, so I ask you to look inside yourself and put an end to this atrocity.

I know you are a good man.

I know that you are losing sleep thinking about this situation, along with a hundred others.

You, Mr President, are our last hope.

If you do not intervene then I fear that this will ultimately result in the deaths of many good people.

Perhaps of equal import, is that we need to know that you hear us and that you are on our side, because in a few months someone will be sitting in your chair who is not on our side.

The American People need to know that our voices matter.

The American People need to know that our government still represents us, because the level of cynicism and despair is palpable right now, Mr President.

I’m asking you to make one more difficult choice before you leave office.

I’m asking you to make Standing Rock your legacy.

I’m asking you to declare Standing Rock a federal monument.

From one father to another, I want to be able to look my kids in the eye and remind them of the time we stood in the rain for over an hour, because we believed that you were truly on our side.

I still believe that you are.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service.

Sincerely,

Just One Voter

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Michael E Sparks is a father and a freelance writer. If you would like to support his work, you can click HERE to donate $1. But more importantly, please send donations to Standing Rock to help the brave water protectors with provisions for the upcoming winter.

 

New Study Shows Overweight Introverts Are More Intelligent, Have More Sex and Live Longer Than Thin Outgoing People

Sorry.

I lead you in here under false pretenses.

On the plus side, overweight introverts DO get laid all the time!!

I swear it’s true.

Ask my girlfriend.

I’m 40 lbs overweight.

I’m a complete and total nerd.

Yet somehow, the girl is crazy about me.

But there are no studies to back up my headline.

If I were really committed, I would commission one.

But I’m way too lazy (just a side-effect of being a mega-genius).

If I were less lazy, I would throw together a small think-tank, give it a scientific sounding name like SciCorp (ooh..that sounds like something from a movie!!) and manipulate the variables until I achieved the results I wanted.

I know that’s not REAL science.

Therein lies the actual point of this article.

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The Internet has become engorged with click-bait articles that exploit people’s insecurities by spinning them into positives.

This way people will feel good about themselves and share the article with others, which leads to visibility and revenue for the garbage website.

You know the articles I’m speaking of…

Articles with titles like..

New Study Shows That People Who Are Overweight Are Actually Smarter Than Thin People

Or

People With No Friends Actually Live Longer and Are Funnier Than Popular People

Or all the ones about introverts (because everyone’s an introvert right?)…

Introverts Proven To Be Better In Every Way According to New Study

Articles like these play on human frailties and the desire we all have to feel good about ourselves.

Why get out of our comfort zones when there is an article that tells us that we are superior BECAUSE of our weaknesses?

Why try at all when it’s so much easier to just find an article that tells us EXACTLY what we want to hear?

And it’s all backed by science, right?

Studies show that we will not only click the article.

Studies show that we will even share it.

Studies show that we have been duped.

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Perhaps these articles provide a valuable service.

Most of us have bodies we view as flawed and social skills we wish were better.

Most of us have messy houses and disorganized lives.

Articles that tell us that we are superior due to the very things we previously felt guilty about are like receiving a virtual Hallmark card from a benevolent stranger.

Suddenly that extra fat is the mark of a superior intellect.

Our messiness isn’t caused by laziness, but rather by our genius.

And the fact that we haven’t been to a social gathering, since, since…hmmmm…oh yeah, there was that time in 2015, means that we are highly evolved and do not require the same stimulus as the weaker extroverted airheads who fill up the bar and party scene.

Now we get to experience the good feeling of a paradigm shift that tells us that our antisocial behavior is not actually our fault, but is due rather to a genetic evolution that requires us to binge-watch Netflix at least three times a week and thus necessitates us making up lies to the few friends we have left, who haven’t completely given up on us.

Because leaving the house is hard.

Who wants to find the time to find the clothes that cover up our weight-gain and participate in the unpleasant rituals required to feel attractive enough to be seen in the real world?

And who are these people who always look like they stepped off the front of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog?

How do they always look so together?

Of course we are going to hate those people.

Their mere existence makes us look awful by comparison.

I change clothes six times before I leave the house, each wardrobe malfunction reminding me beyond any shadow of a doubt that my current workout routine isn’t working out, only to arrive at the party and be told that I have a mustard stain on my shirt and my zipper is busted.

So why bother at all, when I have studies that PROVE that sitting on my couch, eating Ho Hos makes me superior in about 19 different ways to these vapid, stunning individuals who actually go to parties and mingle and network and make new friends?

If our weaknesses make us superior, then the superiority of others makes them weak.

The clear but veiled meaning behind these articles is that people who are outgoing and physically fit are just awful people and it’s okay to hate them.

Finally, we are avenged for high-school!!

We always suspected that we were superior and now we have the science to prove it!!

Those with the audacity to excel in life should be hated or at the very least they should recognize that we anti-socialites are a superior breed and now we have the studies to back it up.

“The meek shall inherit the Earth” can be replaced with more modern expressions like..

“Stay home on Saturday night and eat junk food and all your dreams will come true.”

or

“Blow off your friend’s request to have coffee for the third time in three months and re-read that David Eggers book and you will be superior to everyone.”

Because we all want to feel good about ourselves, but very few of us are willing to put forth the effort to actually DO the things required to feel good.

Constantly lying to ourselves becomes exhausting, but not quite as exhausting as taking the steps required to actually change the things we know we need to change.

It’s much easier to find a study that tells us that we are actually just as we should be.

These articles are popular because life is hard and no one wants to be told that their failings are their own fault.

Publish an article with a title like..

Work Harder and Stop Making Excuses for Your Failures

And no one is going to read it.

But write something with a title like..

You’re Just Totally F&%king Great and The Reason Why You Don’t Have Any Friends Is Because Everyone Is Jealous of You

Well now you have something marketable.

And marketability is more important than truth in a world where everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame, but no one has an attention span exceeding six seconds.

These fictitious articles provide a public service.

They allow us to slide down into the warm embrace of mediocrity, while being celebrated for our surrender, as we mainline click-bait heroin until all the guilt of our failed ambitions wash away into a sea of precariously propped up self-esteem and the white noise of social media waves crash hard and drown out the incessant nagging of our conscience.

Studies show that there are worse ways to go.

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Michael is a crowd-funded Independent writer. If his work adds value to your life, please consider donating $1 by clicking HERE. Michael will probably use the dollar to buy junk food and DVDs so he can add to his overwhelming sense of superiority.

 

 

Safety-Pins and Rubber Bullets

I threw a party Saturday night.

A lot of people showed up late, because they were at my city’s anti-Trump rally.

I did not attend, as much as I dislike Donald Trump.

I’m more of a proactive guy, rather than a reactive guy.

I had already spent the last 18 months of my life protesting Donald Trump by doing everything in my power to get Bernie Sanders elected, so I didn’t see the point in crying about it now.

Instead I threw a Thank God This Fucking Election Is Over party and we imbibed alcohol from various lands and talked about what we could do to make the world a better place, despite our recent catastrophic election.

One lady said that she had been creating care packages for the homeless and was just keeping them in her car and passing them out to people who needed them.

Another lady said that she was working on creating an activist website.

Another guest was convinced that the Green Party was the answer.

I passed out Bernie Sanders buttons along with the challenge that people wear the buttons everyday, as a reminder to people who might be afraid, that they had allies.

“Bernie Sanders has superseded politics and is now a symbol of love and equality” I reasoned aloud.

Everyone liked the idea or maybe they just liked the idea of getting free Bernie buttons.

Regardless, everyone took a bunch and everyone put one on.

Then the safety-pin people showed up.

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The safety-pin people had just come from protesting Donald Trump and told us that by wearing a safety-pin we could signal people who felt fear of violence and discrimination that we were a safe person.

“Oh, just like my Bernie button idea!” I said.

“No.” they said “This movement involves wearing safety pins.”

“Oh, like the paperclip resistance of Nazis during WW2!” I said.

They all looked at me like I was crazy.

No one had ever heard of that.

Someone produced a box of safety pins and soon everyone was wearing them, strutting around, feeling good about themselves for defending the downtrodden..

“So what happens when bad people wear safety-pins to trick people into letting their guards down and becoming victims?”, I asked.

“Oh Mike!!” one girl said “Don’t say things like that!!”

I had sucked the air out of the room.

They didn’t want to worry about things possible complications.

They wanted to wear their safety pins and feel good.

I could hear the sound of a thousand corporate think-tanks conspiring on ideas to make millions from this new trend.

“Don’t be outdone by your liberal suburban friends. Our fair-trade safety pins are all organic and help get clean water to aboriginal tribes in developing nations. These safety-pins are just $49.95 each and symbolize to the world that you are much more compassionate than the people who wear the competitor’s safety-pins.”

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As much as it smacks of the worst parts of white-guilt liberalism, I honestly don’t have a problem with the safety-pin.

Although I’m confident if we researched the origins of the safety-pins passed out at anti-Trump rallies across America, we would probably find they were ironically created in Chinese sweatshops by eight-year olds.

Still I know the wearer means well.

And it’s important to not underestimate the sacrifice these protesters are making.

After all, when a Hillary supporter pierces a safety-pin through their $250 Aeropostale sweater it’s a greater sacrifice than when I do it, in my ratty $2 thrift-store t-shirt.

Not to say that everyone who protested also voted for Hillary.

More than half of the protesters arrested at many anti-Trump rallies didn’t even bother to vote.

If only there had been something they could have done BEFORE the election to stop the government from falling under alt-right control.

If only there had been a candidate who actually beat Trump by 18-24% in head to head polls, that they could have rallied around when they had the chance.

If only there had been a candidate that could have kept Trump out of The White House, who had a longstanding record of defending the LBGT community and a perfect animal rights record.

If only there had been someone who had spent their entire life fighting for civil rights.

If only there had been some other option besides Hillary Clinton, then maybe all of these Trump protesters would have been getting drunk with me by my bonfire instead of waiting until AFTER THE FACT and then protesting A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT!!!

If only there had been someone like that, then all of this silliness could have been avoided.

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But I guess these protesters were probably pretty busy during the last 18 months, when there was a clear and present danger rising in our nation.

They probably didn’t have time to worry about such things as universal healthcare and ending mass incarceration and a for-profit prison industry that funds the wealthy elite.

Who can be troubled to vote when there are book clubs and youth “everybody wins” soccer games to attend.

Why volunteer for a crowd-funded candidate when it is “her time”.

Why bother working hard when your candidate is simply “more electable”?

Just be “with her” and ignore the “basement dwellers” screaming about the giant orange iceberg protruding through the fog.

After all, a safety-pin on your NPR tote bag just means so much to the 20 million people who will now lose their health insurance.

Everyone knows that a safety-pin clipped to a Whole Foods bag will be more than enough to offset the tens of thousands of elderly who will die as a result of the GOP gutting Social Security.

In the light of Trump’s alt-right Supreme Court justices and the threat they will pose to Roe v. Wade, perhaps we should all wear tiny coat-hangers instead.

Too soon?

Okay, we will stick to safety pins (get it? stick?!?).

I’ll take Symbolic Gestures That Don’t Mean Shit for $500, Alex.

In the event of a crash, your safety-pin can be used a flotation device.

You’ll still sink and die.

But at least you’ll feel extremely good about yourself while drowning.

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All kidding aside, I hold no grudge against the safety-pin movement.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself, as long as you actually take action and really stand up for equality.

I don’t begrudge anyone grandstanding for minorities, as long as they are willing to actually engage in true activism.

It bothers me that people can show up and protest Trump’s DEMOCRATIC election over a candidate who needed $uper-delegates to “win”, when the people of Standing Rock are fighting for their basic human right to water.

Why don’t these protesters show up in North Dakota and stare down the armored police?

Perhaps it’s easier to complain and wear pins than it is to stare down rubber bullets and attack dogs.

Still, there is nothing saying that we can’t do both, so when I see my friends wearing safety-pins, I will congratulate them on their commitment to activism and ask them what they are working on at the time.

I will probably even help them with whatever initiative they are working for and hope the next time we have the chance to vote for an honest candidate who actually cares about the American people, we don’t bury our heads in the sand and support a corrupt corporatist who has taken money from for-profit prison lobbyists and stood on the broken backs of the very minorities we are suddenly so concerned for.

Because when you don’t vote or you support an inferior candidate based on gender, then your safety-pin becomes the liberal equivalent of Republican “thoughts and prayers”.

I choose to believe that my safety-pin friends are awake now and ready to fight against any and all oppression that may come our way.

I choose to believe that America is awake now.

And I really hope that we are.

I’d really hate to see a bunch of people running around in 2020 wearing staples on their clothes.

Or an actual stapler..

Or a three-hole punch..

Or any other office supplies, for that matter.

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When Michael isn’t dressing silly and attending Planned Parenthood rallies with his daughter, he is an independent writer. You can support his work by clicking HERE and donating $1!!
How Hillary Clinton Burned the “Democratic” Party to the Ground

Donald Trump is President of the United States and liberals are in chaos.

Around the country people rally in anti-Trump protests.

I can’t help wondering where these people were when Bernie Sanders supporters were screaming from the rooftops that Hillary polled poorly against Trump, whereas Sanders beat Trump in a head to head match-up by a record-breaking 18-24 points.

Actually, I know exactly where they were.

They were at their jobs and in their homes, living their lives, just as they normally would.

Sanders supporters were screaming about the impending iceberg, while Clinton voters were calling them “sore losers”.

They weren’t out knocking on doors.

They couldn’t be bothered.

Bernie people knocked on doors.

In fact we traveled from state to state interrupting people in their homes to talk to them about Bernie Sanders.

It wasn’t just that we believed that Bernie was a better candidate.

It was also because we had looked at the numbers.

We knew that it was likely that Clinton would lose to Trump.

I even wrote articles reflecting the reasons WHY this would happen.

But our voices were silenced.

Hillary supporters didn’t want to hear about universal healthcare or creating 13 million new jobs repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure.

They didn’t want to hear about expanding Social Security or making sure all qualified students could attend public colleges, regardless of socioeconomic level.

They didn’t want to force corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and they didn’t care about ending mass incarceration in for-profit prisons.

They wanted a woman president.

“It’s her time” they told me.

“It’s time for a woman.” they said.

“She’s just more electable.” they parroted.

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The Hillary supporters didn’t seem to know why they were voting for her, outside of the fact that she was female and electing a woman president after a black president just seemed like the next step for liberals.

Never mind her hawkish record or weekly scandals.

They didn’t want to hear it.

They didn’t need our votes.

We were just “basement dwellers” who tried to disrupt their coronation.

When I tried to speak with my Hillary supporting friends about real issues they would say either…

“I don’t believe that!!”

or

“So what? You want Trump then?”

We didn’t want Trump.

We wanted Bernie Sanders.

We wanted free and fair elections.

We wanted veteran’s programs.

We wanted a fair living wage.

We wanted a candidate who supported LBGT rights since day one, not someone who supported DOMA and only came over to our team when it was politically expedient to do so.

We wanted someone who wouldn’t install a no-fly zone over Syria and start a war with Russia.

We wanted a candidate who could beat Donald Trump.

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Now liberals are pointing fingers wildly.

Jill Stein is to blame.

The electoral college is to blame.

James Comey is to blame.

Sexism is to blame.

I have even heard people say that Bernie Sanders is to blame for not campaigning hard enough for Hillary.

Of course all of these arguments hold little basis in reality and point to an overall victim mentality that Hillary fostered throughout her campaign.

She, like her supporters, reminded us often that she was a woman, as if that should hold more weight than $153,000,000 in Wall Street speaking fees.

As if Hillary’s gender was going to make us forget how she helped to create Isis by selling her Iraq war vote to George Bush.

As if BEING a woman made it okay to sell arms to countries that OPPRESS women.

Bernie Sanders would have been our nation’s first Jewish president, but he never mentioned it, because Progressives know that it is inexcusable to vote for someone based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

Voting for someone based on gender is just as insulting as voting AGAINST someone for this reason, yet still Clinton and her supporters seem to point the finger at everyone but themselves.

I guess this is to be expected from someone who literally played The Woman Card as part of her disastrous campaign.

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The blame for this complete and utter defeat lies clearly at the feet of the “Democratic” National Committee and Hillary Clinton and any attempts to blame others will keep the Dems from learning the lessons they so desperately need to learn in order to rebuild their crumbled party, which has become completely out of touch with the working class it once represented.

Hillary’s loss was not the fault of third-parties.

Jill Stein received 1% of the vote and if you look at the states where Clinton lost close races like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, you will see that Stein was not a factor at all in those states.

The Dems would do better to ask themselves why people feel so disenfranchised that they need to reach out to an underdeveloped party to feel represented.

Voters on both sides of the aisle are fed up with corporate money controlling their politicians.

When Sanders stood up and said that he refused to take money from super-pacs the people responded in a YUGE way.

Instead of the “Democrats” adapting, they just sabotaged Sanders and in doing so sabotaged their party.

Of course it is much easier to blame others for Clinton’s epic fail, than to ask why her campaign had multiple field offices in deep-red Texas, yet never stepped foot in formerly-blue Wisconsin.

Before blaming a third-party, it might be important to ask why 90,000 Michigan voters filled out their down-ballot, but refused to vote for president.

Perhaps they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for another Clinton after watching NAFTA send their jobs overseas and destroy their cities and towns.

Perhaps they could no longer support a party that left the children of Flint to drink poison water under the Obama administration, while Clinton used their suffering as a campaigning opportunity.

Of course it’s easier to blame James Comey for dropping a bombshell a week before the election, but perhaps the finger should be pointed at the party itself, who chose to force an already rejected candidate down our throats when The People clearly did not trust her.

And of course, winning the popular vote while losing in the electoral college is heartbreaking, but any Clinton supporter who cries foul is engaging in blatant hypocrisy, as they blindly supported a candidate who used closed primaries, corporate media propaganda and $uper-delegates to insure a “victory” for a candidate that was highly vulnerable against Trump.

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And yet there are still Clinton supporters who actually believe that her loss was about sexism.

Of course people who voted based entirely on gender would think that others refused to vote for Hillary based on this same “reasoning”.

Clinton supporters didn’t want to talk about policy.

 

They wanted to talk about the first woman president.

Even as prominent feminists like Camille Paglia came out and stated why Hillary’s policies were anti-feminist, Clinton supporters continued to blame every criticism on sexism.

If you were to point out how female civil rights leaders were murdered as a result of Clinton’s foreign policy, then you were told that “you just can’t handle women in power.”

Try to point out that Clinton paid her female employees 38% less than male employees, when she was Secretary of State and you were called misogynist.

Ask any Clinton supporter why a feminist would use her power to cut funding to single mothers with dependent children and you would likely receive a lecture about “how women have to make hard choices”.

And let’s never forget that it is MUCH harder to be a woman in America than it is to be a man, but Hillary’s gender didn’t work against her.

It worked FOR her.

America actually wanted a woman president.

They just didn’t want her.

People just don’t like Hillary Clinton.

And to blame that on sexism, would be to dismiss the real reasons why people refused to vote for her.

Before you accept the idea that Hillary lost because of her gender, realize that more white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton.

This election WAS largely about sexism, but not AGAINST Hillary Clinton.

The ugly sexism in the 2016 election was the fact that Clinton supporters voted for a genocidal tyrant based COMPLETELY on her gender.

Had Clinton been male, she would have been susceptible to the same scrutiny as any other politician, but instead her followers saw her as immune to criticism.

In the mind of a Clinton supporter, every scandal was the result of either a right-wing witch-hunt or an attack on her womanhood.

She was the victim of James Comey.

She was the victim of Bernie Sanders.

She was the victim of Jill Stein.

She was the victim of Julian Assange.

She was the victim of the electoral college.

She was a victim of the Russians.

Accountability isn’t part of the faux-feminism of the Clinton supporter.

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Although I rejoice in the fact that Hillary’s cheating was not rewarded, it is sad that the “Democrats” had this amazing opportunity to reinvent itself as a true party for The People, but instead took the populace for granted and lost all branches of the government.

There is no doubt that there will be hard times in America with Republicans controlling the House, Senate and the presidency and our children’s children will be dealing with these alt-right Supreme Court judges that Trump will nominate.

In the words of Clinton supporter, Morgan Freeman, in The Shawshank Redemption, the time is now for Progressives to “get busy livin or get busy dyin.”

Our backs are against the wall and drastic activism is needed.

Although I find it laughable that Clinton supporters have chosen to wait until AFTER the election to finally start protesting, it’s good that they are learning how to use their voice.

We will need their voice.

Progressives can allow themselves a short period of time to say “I told you so.”, especially after the reprehensible way that they were treated by Clinton supporters over the last 18 months, but ultimately we have to move on and forgive if we are going to have an actual revolution in America.

Progressives and Independents must join forces with the LBGT+ community and Black Lives Matter and take hold of this amazing opportunity to rebuild the broken “Democratic” Party in our own image.

Our revolution is just getting started and we all have a common enemy in power.

The “Democratic” Party needs us more than we need them.

We can use that.

Their firewall is down and they are vulnerable.

Attention DNC,

Move to the left or perish.

Represent The People or be replaced.

If the 2016 election taught you anything..

It should have taught you that we will no longer be held hostage.

Sincerely,

The People

mikeinphilly
Hillary supporters direct your angry comments at this guy. For those of you who believe in Independent Progressive voices, you can support Michael’s work by donating $1 by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Progressive Call to Arms

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

-Martin Niemoller

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A friend of mine stopped by my house recently.

She was scared.

My friend was born male, but now identifies as female.

She said…

“I’ve only recently began to be able to walk down the street. I fear that if Donald Trump becomes president, then it will become open season on people like me.”

Our house is a safe haven in the middle of Indiana, a state which is anything but safe for people who are different.

There is a rainbow flag in the window and a Bernie Sanders sign in the yard.

Although my politics fall to the extreme left, I am no idealist.

I believe strongly that we should always attempt to use peaceful means to resolve conflict.

But I know that we must also take extreme measures to insure our freedoms from those who seek to limit them.

I live in the birthplace of the KKK.

It always takes bravery to be one’s self.

But let’s be real.

It takes more bravery to be like my friend than it does to be like me.

My friend is right to be afraid of violence under a Trump presidency.

We’ve seen the rallies and we’ve heard the hate-speech.

“You’ll be okay” I told her “I’ve got your back.”

And then I added…

“Millions of people have your back.”

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I live in a state where Mike Pence was the governor.

He passed laws making it legal for businesses to discriminate against members of the LBGT+ community and he passed laws discriminating against a woman’s right to choose.

We worked tirelessly to get a Pathway to Citizenship referendum passed, but our representatives would hide in their offices and refuse to meet with us.

But our problems are not unique to the Midwest.

And Donald Trump has not limited his hate-speech to members of just one community.

He has made hateful comments and threats to members of the Hispanic community, Blacks, Jews, women, Muslims and the differently-abled.

It is my belief that his nomination to the presidency will give rise to hate in America.

It is my belief that bigots of all varieties will feel emboldened by his ignorance and subsequent rise to power.

It is my belief that school-yard bullies and cowards of all stripes will feel that hate is not only acceptable, but rewarded.

What is a small child to think when they see that someone can stand on a podium and make hateful remarks and then this person can be rewarded to the extent that they are made the most powerful person on Earth?

A dangerous precedent has been set…

And it is up to us to fight every battle that will come our way during the next four years.

If you call yourself a Progressive then I am calling on you to prove it each and every time you see discrimination.

I am asking you to be a warrior.

I believe with all my heart that this is the duty of every American.

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I’ve been all over this country and met tons of Trump supporters.

By and large they are good people.

Most of them are people who have worked hard their entire lives and they have watched their jobs get shipped overseas by trade agreements that hurt the American people.

Many of them lost their houses to a corrupt banking system and these same people are now paying for the bank bailout.

I want to be careful to not encourage the media’s portrayal of the Trump supporter as a dangerous and armed White Supremacist, but at the same time it is important to point out that some of Trump’s support actually comes from this small segment of our population and these people are potentially very dangerous.

It is our job to speak out when and where we see discrimination.

When I use the phrase A Call to Arms I do not mean that we take up firearms.

I sincerely hope that it will never come to that.

I am speaking instead of a much more effective means of fighting.

I am referring to compassion and activism.

I am asking everyone who reads this to be an ally every day in every way that life presents to you.

And I am asking you to look for new opportunities to be brave in a world that is often hostile.

Most of you reading this are more than likely already doing amazing things in your communities.

I applaud you and ask that you hold these questions in the front of your mind…

“What can I do to help the cause of equality?”

and

“What can I do to make the world a better place?”

In the past year we have learned, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that our country has a long way to go to reach equality for all of its citizens.

Some might view Trump’s election and candidacy as a setback to this cause.

Perhaps it is.

But at least the hatred is out in the open now.

Now we know what we are dealing with.

It is the duty of all good people to go above and beyond.

When millions of people stand together..

They win.

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By signing in the comments below and sharing this article with a friend you agree to do the following, as well as millions of other creative acts of kindness.

I promise to smile and speak to people.

I promise to feed those who are hungry.

I promise to speak out against discrimination anywhere and everywhere I see it.

I promise to fight any and all legislation that attempts to legalize hate.

I solemnly swear to defend women’s reproductive rights.

I promise to comfort victims.

I will attend rallies and protests for minority and women’s rights.

I will compassionately educate those with small minds.

I will listen to people and consider their points of view.

I will be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

I will not name-call, fat shame, slut-shame or engage in any other form of discrimination against people based on religion (or lack thereof), appearance or ethnicity.

I will abstain from supporting corporations that do not promote Progressive values.

I will do anonymous good deeds and random acts of kindness.

I will call and write my elected officials and tell them what legislation is important to me.

I will rally people together to vote out politicians who do not support my values.

I will be kind to animals and children.

I will assist the disabled and the elderly.

I will fight for a pathway to citizenship, so that all people who want to truly “make America great again” can come and contribute to our society.

I will treat those in the service industry with kindness and respect.

I will make eye contact and ask people how their day is.

I will listen.

I will fight against pre-programmed knee-jerk reactions.

I will love people.

Not just those who are easy to love…

But all people.

I will make the world a better place.

I will be an ally to anyone who needs it.

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I want to make this page a place where people can celebrate compassion and diversity.

I want to encourage people to come here and share stories of times when you stood up for something good.

Don’t look at it as bragging.

It helps people to be able to read your stories.

It inspires them to take their own giant steps.

It inspires others to be brave.

Thank you for participating in my project.

Love to you all.

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Michael is an activist, an ally and an independent writer. If you believe in his work and his mission you can support it by donating $1 HERE. He will probably use it to create a sign for a protest or some other crazy liberal activity.

 

 

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About a month ago I wrote an article about how Bernie Sanders could be the first candidate in the history of the United States to win a state as a write-in candidate.

As a result of this article, some very special people volunteered and began working tirelessly to make Bernie Sanders the “President of Vermont”.

To be clear, Sanders winning Vermont will have no effect on the outcome of the presidential election.

Vermont only has three electoral votes and Clinton is supposed to win by a landslide.

So why have we invested so much time and energy?

Simple..

WE LOVE BERNIE SANDERS AND WE WANT TO CELEBRATE HIS LIFETIME OF COMMITMENT TO MAKING OUR COUNTRY A BETTER PLACE.

At one point our group was infiltrated by someone who told us that she was friends with Jane Sanders and Jane wanted us to stop our write-in movement.

We were heartsick to hear this (false) news, but Jane Sanders tweeted out that the person was lying and that she supported our idea for the people of Vermont to write-in Bernie Sanders.

This was very exciting news for our volunteers.

We now had permission from Jane Sanders herself to write in Bernie’s name!!

Here is the tweet where Jane refutes the words of the person who lied and told us that Jane didn’t want us to write in Bernie’s name.

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Local Vermont TV stations and newspapers begin to pick up on our movement and we got a lot of media coverage.

As a result our phone-banking and canvassing have been going extremely well.

Most Vermont residents have treated our volunteers as heroes and are excited about the idea of writing in Bernie and honoring him for his lifetime of commitment.

In fact, our phone-banking success rate has been 48% (12% said that they were still planning to vote for Clinton and 16% said that they would be supporting Trump, 3% were for Gary Johnson and 21% were undecided).

That means that HALF the people we have called have agreed to write-in Bernie Sanders on their Vermont ballots!!

And our job just became a lot easier.

Bernie Sanders himself just came out and said…

“I think in Vermont I think it’s OK ’cause I think Clinton is gonna win. But in some states where it’s close, I want her to win. So if you want to write me in here, I think it’s fine.”

So now we have the endorsement of Bernie Sanders himself!!

But if we are going to make this a reality, we desperately need YOUR HELP!!

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As of today, our phone-bankers have only been able to reach 22,000 people.

We are running out of time.

The exciting part is that our plan is an effective plan and IF we can get YOU to help us out the BERNIE SANDERS WILL BECOME THE FIRST CANDIDATE TO WIN A STATE AS A WRITE-IN CANDIDATE!!

This is not only a monumental tribute to Bernie Sanders, but also goes a long way to show what a dedicated group of people can do to restore Democracy in America.

If you love Bernie Sanders, I beg you to…

STOP EVERYTHING AND BECOME PART OF HISTORY RIGHT NOW!!

We just need you to make a few phone calls and read the following script…

 

 

Hi my name is (YOUR NAME) and I am with the Vermont Bernie Sanders Write-In Campaign.

How are you on this beautiful autumn day?

I know your time is valuable so I’ll be brief.

Hillary Clinton is predicted to win the Presidency by a landslide so we are reaching out to Vermont citizens encouraging them to honor Bernie Sanders for his lifetime of commitment to the people of Vermont by writing his name in for President this year.

We want to make clear that both Bernie and Jane are okay with Vermont citizens doing this and it will not affect the outcome of the presidency, as Vermont only has three electoral college votes and Hillary Clinton is on track to win by nearly 100 electoral college votes.

The last point I’d like to make is that Donald Trump has NO CHANCE of winning Vermont.

We believe that enough Vermont residents will write in Bernie Sanders for him to gain the victory, but if they do not then Hillary Clinton would still win the state, so this is a risk-free way of honoring Bernie.

So can we count on you to honor Bernie Sanders for his lifetime of commitment by writing his name in for President on November 8?

And then you’re done.

That’s it.

If they say “Yes“, thank them for their time and hang up.

If they say “No“, thank them for their time and hang up.

Calls take less than a minute.

The only question we ever receive is sometimes someone will ask…

Are you working for Bernie Sanders?

Each time we say…

No. We are an independent group of volunteers seeking to honor Senator Sanders, but he is aware of our campaign and both he and Jane say that it is okay to write in his name.

I know that phone-banking can be intimidating, but this is not normal phone-banking.

The people of Vermont absolutely LOVE Bernie and most of them thank us for calling.

They are usually really happy when they find out that they can write-in Bernie’s name.

But TIME IS RUNNING OUT!!

We need your help NOW!!

Please click this LINK to get started phone-banking.

You have a chance to be part of history and a chance to honor this amazing man!!

Let’s thank Bernie Sanders for everything he has done for us!!

Together, we can do this!!

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Michael E Sparks is a freelance writer who doesn’t take money from corporate media outlets. If you value independent political writing, you can click HERE and donate $1, but he’d rather you keep your $1 and phone-bank for Bernie Sanders.

 

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When I first started volunteering for Bernie Sanders, I was actually still excited about Hillary Clinton.

This may surprise a lot of my readers, given the fact that I’ve written such scathing anti-Clinton articles as I Used To Be In Love With Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton Has a Gun to My Head.

I was all about having America’s first woman president.

I planned to work very hard for Bernie Sanders, but vote for Hillary Clinton if she defeated Sanders in the primaries.

People on social media, recognizing that I was a hardcore Sanders volunteer, repeatedly asked me to join a circulating pledge called Bernie or Bust and repeatedly I refused.

In a world full of lies, spin and deception, truth becomes a valuable commodity, so I won’t pledge something that I don’t believe in 100%.

At the first “Democratic” debate, I was still planning on voting for Hillary if she won.

By the second “Democratic” debate I actually stood up and gave a speech to the 40 people in attendance about Bernie or Bust.

The response was overwhelmingly negative and I told my audience that I agreed with them, but that I felt the pledge had some merit.

Following the third debate I came out publicly as Bernie or Bust and begin pushing the agenda that we live and die with Bernie Sanders.

As most of my friends were hardcore Democrats, many distanced themselves from me and it was very clear that they thought I had become part of some sort of cult.

My best friend, always seeing the bigger picture, said..

“Hey. I feel like you have become kind of radical, but I am fully aware that sometimes it takes radicals to get things done.”

My personal life fell to pieces, but I didn’t care.

I believed in the concept with all my heart and accepted that it was an absolute necessity if we were ever going to be taken seriously by the “Democratic” Party.

The importance of the movement was to insure a fair primary election for Bernie Sanders.

The idea being that we would vote for Bernie Sanders and ONLY Bernie Sanders to present the “Democratic” Party with a dilemma…

Nominate Bernie Sanders, because he is the ONLY one we will vote for.

I begin discussing with people daily why I felt that it was important that they publicly declare that they are Bernie or Bust.

I organized events locally and traveled to other cities spreading the word.

I was interviewed by Vox, Fox News, The Washington Post and several other corporate media outlets.

Each time I was offered face time, I used it to promote one thing and one thing only…

The idea that millions of us were ABSOLUTELY 100% DEDICATED TO VOTING FOR BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT AND ONLY BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT.

When I said that I was Bernie or Bust, I meant it.

The problem is, it seems like I am one of very few who did.

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So what took me from a Hillary supporter in 2015 to “throwing my vote away” in 2016?

Firstly, I began to actually pay attention to Hillary Clinton and started probing under the surface of what corporate media had been telling me about her for all these years.

In 2015 all I knew about Hillary was that she was pro-choice and pro-LBGT rights.

I also knew that she once fought valiantly for universal healthcare.

And I’m not going to lie, the fact that she was a woman and a Democrat were important to me as well.

I have a daughter and I considered Hillary’s gender to be a bonus.

In short, I was your typical, head in the sand, Hillary Clinton supporter.

The more I learned about her, the more I realized that I could never vote for her.

The more I learned about the “Democratic” Party, the more I realized that my commitment to only vote for Bernie Sanders was not only necessary, but it was my lone voice in this vacuum of lies and deceit.

Watching the “Democratic” Party attack and deceive Bernie Sanders radicalized me.

I literally devoted my entire life to spreading this message.

Over and over again I told people..

“You can’t bluff. You have to mean it. Because if we go back on our commitment, the Dems will just repeat their transgressions in future elections. You have to vote for Bernie Sanders even if he is not on the ballot. That’s the only power we have.”

I promoted the idea that we all meet in Philadelphia at the “Democratic” National Convention to show the DNC first hand that we were serious.

Our message was simple…

We will ONLY vote for Bernie Sanders!!

We will accept NO SUBSTITUTES!!

They built a wall to keep us out.

They didn’t take us seriously.

They laughed in our faces.

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As our movement gathered momentum it was very clear that it was about more than just supporting this great man who had fought for our rights for 40+ years.

It was literally a fight to reclaim Democracy itself.

By promising to vote for Sanders and ONLY Sanders we were taking a stand against the sociopathic elitist class that had been causing pain and misery since the dawn of time.

We were drawing a line in the sand.

We weren’t backing down.

We were here to change the world and nothing was going to stop us.

As Hillary Clinton remained in hiding, Sanders solidified our commitment by tirelessly touring the country telling everyone that the time for change was now.

Sanders would fly coach into a new city (because he didn’t want to abuse our donations) and give a speech, then go out into the parking lot and give another speech for all the people who could not get into the arena, then he would jump on a plane and repeat the process.

Sanders was always working, so we kept working.

We collected ballot signatures in the snow and freezing rain.

We were called communists.

We had our vehicles and homes defaced.

We were physically attacked.

But it didn’t matter.

If Bernie didn’t stop, we didn’t stop.

We canvassed scary neighborhoods in states we had never been to before.

 

We talked to thousands of voters of every background.

Sometimes a Hillary supporter would ask…

“If Hillary wins, you will vote for Hillary, right?”

I would always say..

“In my capacity as a canvasser, it is not up to me to talk about my personal political beliefs, but personally I am pledged to vote for Bernie Sanders only. I cannot support a system that is rigged against him.”

This would anger the Hillary supporters every single time.

I received so many lectures, so many fingers in my face.

I remember one guy pulling his wife away, because she had gotten so worked up that I truly believe that she was going to strike me.

As he guided her inside, he turned to me and mouthed..

“If Bernie isn’t on the ballot in November, I’m writing him in.”

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But things are complicated, right?

Bernie Sanders doesn’t want us to write him in.

He wants us to vote for Hillary Clinton and some would make the argument that the best way we can honor Sanders is to follow his instructions.

And as much as I have come to loathe Secretary Clinton, my protest against the Democrats will not be taken out on those who are trying to improve the party at the grassroots level.

I certainly understand how important it is to get record numbers of liberals to the polls this November and flip the House and Senate, so that Bernie Sanders can become the Head of the Budget Committee.

I will be holding my nose and voting for Democrats in the House and Senate for the sole reason of giving Bernie Sanders more power.

I also believe wholeheartedly that Bernie Sanders is a better chess-player than Hillary Clinton and that he knows how to force her hand to push our Progressive agenda.

So you might think that all of this would lead me to honor Bernie’s wishes and vote for Hillary Clinton.

 

But that would be a YUGE mistake, just as it would be a mistake for me to write-in Mickey Mouse or to protest vote for another ballot candidate.

To hell with Hillary Clinton and her lies.

When I said that I would ONLY vote for Bernie Sanders I meant it.

bust6“But Mike, don’t you realize that they will throw your vote away?”

Absolutely I do!

In fact I’m counting on it.

But let’s be clear about how the this works.

They WILL hand-count my ballot and record it.

All the down-ballot candidates will be credited towards their totals.

So I am only “throwing away” one part of my vote, the part that is asking me which sexual predator I prefer in the White House.

Throwing my vote in a trashcan certainly has more dignity than voting for either of these atrocious criminals.

Some will say that I should break my promise and vote for a third-party candidate instead.

While I support others who want to do that, it will not have the same effect.

A vote for Bernie Sanders is absolutely symbolic.

It is a message to the “Democrats” that we don’t want the candidate that they forced down our throats.

It is a message that we do not support election fraud.

It is a message that you can cheat your way into the White House, but you can’t silence our movement.

If millions of people keep their word and write-in Bernie Sanders then it makes a massive statement to the DNC.

In fact, it would be the largest single-day protest in our nation’s history.

But my vote for Bernie Sanders is more than just a protest.

 

I want to honor Bernie Sanders for his lifetime of commitment to fighting for Progressive values.

I want to thank Bernie Sanders for the movement that he started that will never end.

I will literally only have one chance to vote for this great man in the entirety of my life and I will not pass up on this opportunity.

On November 8, I hope that everyone who knows that Bernie Sanders was cheated by the “Democrats” will make a YUGE statement by writing Bernie Sanders name on their ballot.

I want the corporate media to be forced to announce that “we won’t know the real winner of the election for a few days, because tens of millions of write-in votes have to be tallied and that could take several days.”

In my wildest dreams I imagine that Bernie Sanders receives more write-in votes than Trump or Clinton receives ballot votes.

I’d love to see the nation recognize that Bernie Sanders is the people’s choice, even as Hillary Clinton takes the throne that she cheated to obtain.

Let it be a reminder to her each time Sanders puts legislation before her that she may have the title, but Sanders has the people.

If you have somehow rationalized voting for someone else, after you promised yourself that you would vote for Bernie Sanders, I submit that as the years pass, you will regret this decision more and more.

On the day Bernie Sanders takes his final breath, I want to be able to say that in my one chance I had to vote for him, I took it.

Everyone else in America can be swayed by the political winds.

But when I said that I was voting for Bernie Sanders and ONLY Bernie Sanders, I meant it.

I hope you did too.

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Come to the dark side by donating $1 HERE. Support Independent voices and destroy the corporate media.