How to Survive the Trumpocalypse

how to survive the trumpocalypse

I compiled a collection of blogs I’ve written into an E-book entitled “How to Survive the Trumpocalypse,” which is available on Amazon. Below is the introduction and links to all of the blogs:

INTRODUCTION

This book is a collection of essays I posted my blog, TheWiseSloth.com, between 2010 and 2016. The tagline of the website is, “Enlightenment for the masses,” and its mission statement is, “to provide editorial, philosophical, instructional, inspirational and satirical posts in the form of essays, lists, comics, and fiction, which tend to be irreverent, humorous and controversial.”

I choose the topics I write about by asking myself, “What are the most important questions people need answers to?” So I’ve spent years writing about the root causes of people’s biggest problems, which often boil down to politics and economics.

When major events happen in the world, readers will E-mail me to ask for my perspective, and during the 2016 presidential primaries, I received several requests to explain the candidates and the election in general. In response I wrote three essays and three comics analyzing the candidates and the political process. In them I predicted Hillary Clinton would be America’s next president, and I only planned on writing one blog about her victory, because I didn’t have anything to say about her that I hadn’t already said about Barack Obama.

I’d never considered writing a blog about Trump’s presidency, because he was just a bad joke that got taken too far. Then, all of a sudden the joke turned real and wasn’t funny anymore. The internet buzzed for days after the election with people asking what it means that Trump won. How did it happen? What will he do next? What do we do next? Nobody had any idea, myself included. I needed answers to these questions for my own closure.

Initially, I assumed I’d be able to cover the topic in two or three posts, but the end of the rabbit hole turned out to be ten blogs deep. The first four attempted to explain what it means that Trump is president. The last six answered the question, “What should we do about Trump?”

By the time I finished, I realized I had enough content on an important enough topic to make a short book, but after compiling the blogs, I felt the finished product raised more questions than it answered, such as, “How did this happen? What are the stakes? What would happen if we did nothing? Why was I wrong about Hillary Clinton? How far can we question the government? What else can we do?” Since I had already written dozens of posts over the years addressing those questions, I went back and added them to complete the narrative.

The blogs aren’t listed in the chronological order they were written, but each chapter heading includes the date it was originally posted on The Wise Sloth and how many days that was before or after November 9th, 2016, the day of the Trumpocalypse.

Since the essays were originally written to stand alone, some of the information in them is repeated, but it’s presented from different angles in different contexts, which shows how it fits in the bigger picture.

“How to Survive the Trumpocalypse” is divided into seven sections: “Obama’s legacy,” “The root of America’s problem, “What poverty looks and feels like,” “Problems in American culture,” “The Trumpocalypse,” “The moral imperative of civil disobedience” and “What do we do now?”

The book begins with three essays written about/during, Obama’s presidency, because I want to establish immediately that Trump is just a symptom of a bigger problem, which is that America has taken capitalism to its most predatory extreme. All of the essays in the next three sections illustrate how, for the poorest of the poor, life in America has been apocalyptic since 1776.

The “Trumpocalypse” section, which includes all the essays I wrote about/during the 2016 presidential election, leads to the conclusion the reason November 9th, 2016 is such a significant date, is because it was the day America’s economic/political system reached its inevitable conclusion by crowning a corrupt, unqualified, mentally unstable billionaire as its supreme leader. In other words, the system officially endorsed the root of the problem to be the solution.

The government crossed a line allowing Trump to become president. Worst case scenario, the Trumpocalypse was an official declaration of war on the poor. Best case scenario, it was a confession of failure. Either way, now more than ever, every American needs to reassess their perception of reality and start thinking and acting differently, which is why I included the section about civil disobedience.

The solutions I propose in the final section are far-fetched, but I didn’t set the bar so high because I’m naïve. I did it because America has a drastic problem that requires drastic solutions, and lowering the bar isn’t one of them.

My goal isn’t to convince you to believe everything I say. I just want to educate and inspire you. I use a conversational tone and try to inject humor and wit while discussing big topics so you’ll be more likely to read the entire book, think about America’s problems differently and look for solutions nobody has thought of yet.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Obama’s Legacy 

1. Americans, You’re Not Represented In The 2012 Presidential Election
2. What Four More Years Of Obama Means
3. Why Obamacare Made Me Facepalm

The root of America’s problem

4. The Fundamental Problem With The Economy
5. The Cost/Benefit Analysis of Economic Oppression
6. The Downside of Economic Growth
7. Poverty Is The Root Of The World’s Biggest Problems, And Predatory Capitalism Is the Root Of Poverty
8. What’s Wrong With America’s Tax System
9. The Legacy Of A Billionaire
10. Seven Steps To Becoming A Billionaire

What poverty looks and feels like

11. Why Are Americans So Violent And Unhappy?
12. Life Is Hard Because The System Is Inhumane, Not Because We’re Weak
13. You Might Be Depressed Because The System Sucks, Not Because You Suck
14. What It’s Like To Be Poor
15. The Lottery Is A Microcosm of America
16. Advice For Young Workers
17. How To Escape Poverty
18. Is It Lazy To Not Want To Work?
19. How Predatory Capitalism Warps The Way We Define Maturity
20. This Is How We Live Now: Part 1
21. This Is How We Live Now: Part 2
22. This Is How We Live Now: Part 3

Problems in American culture

23. It’s Time To Stop Guilt Tripping Poor People Into Saving The Environment
24. How Pop Culture Warps Our Perception of Reality
25. You’re Delusional If You Still Believe America Is The Land Of The Free
26. Americans Need To Learn The Difference Between Socialism, Communism And Capitalism
27. The Issue of Race In The Occupy Wall Street Movement
28. A White Man Explains The Context Of The Black Lives Matter Movement
29. It’s Time To Stop Guilt Tripping White People
30. American Cops Are Delusional If They Can’t Understand Why Civilians Hate Them
31. An Intervention With The Police
32. We Need To Talk About Ordering Cops To Beat Up Protesters
33. My Experience With The TSA
34. Is It Moral For Police To Enforce Laws They Believe Are Unjust?

The Trumpocalypse

35. Right Wing Entertainment News Is Making America Worse
36. What I Think Of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders
37. Why It’s Delusional To Vote In America’s 2016 Presidential Primaries
38. Why The 2016 Presidential Primaries Should Make Us All Sad And Scared
39. Why Did Americans Vote For Trump?
40. What Will Trump Do Now That He’s President?
41. Why I’m Glad Trump Won
42. Why Americans Shouldn’t Accept Trump As President
43. How Donald Trump changed my understanding of American politics

The moral imperative of civil disobedience

44. Patriotism Is Not A Virtue
45. Why You Should Not Have Faith In Your Government
46. Why And When You Should Have A Problem With Authority
47. Self-Subjugation Is Not A Virtue

What do we do now?

48. What Should Foreigners Do About Trump?
49. What Should Republicans And Democrats Do About Trump?
50. What Should Racists Do About Trump?
51. What Should Cultural Isolationists Do About Trump?
52. What Should Minorities Do About Trump?
53. What Should Rich People Do About Trump?
54. The Cost/Benefit Analysis of Terrorism
55. Three Things That Won’t Change America, And Six That Will
56. Ten Solutions To Most Of America’s Problems
57. Collapse Is The Product of Unsustainability. Sustainability Is The Product Of Sustainability
58. Why I’m Not Sure We Need Another Occupy Wall Street Style Protest
59. Our Political Model Won’t Change Until Our Economic Model Changes
60. The Quality Of Our Leaders Reflects The Quality Of Our Higher Education System
61. It’s Time To Stop Oppressing The Academically Disinclined
62. A Novel Approach To Taxing The Rich
63. If You Want Everyone To Vote, Then Make Voting Work For Everyone
64. The World Won’t Get Better Until You Stop Being A Consumer Whore
65. The World Won’t Get Better Until You Stop Being A Vidiot
66. Why The World Sucks And How To Save It
67. We Need To Talk About Utopia
68. Conservative Americans, You Don’t Need To Overthrow Your Government To Make The World A Better Place
69. An Open Letter To Generation X
70. My One Point Solution To The World’s Problems


How Donald Trump changed my understanding of American politics

For years I’ve been growing more and more convinced America doesn’t have fair and free presidential elections. I believed Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election since 2012. So Donald Trump’s victory made me reconsider all my assumptions about how America’s government works. It also inspired people who don’t follow politics to ask themselves, what the hell is going on in Washington? I’ll offer my new theory, but first I need to explain my original one and how I came to it.

The only president in American history who wasn’t a member of the two-party political system was George Washington, because they designed the election system to favor them by creating the Electoral College, Gerrymandering, superdelegates, voter registration laws, campaign finance laws, nomination requirements and mutually-beneficial agreements with the major media outlets.

The end result is career politicians have to play ball with the RNC and DNC in order to become president. Since all these deals happen behind closed doors, the public doesn’t know who exactly politicians have to impress, or what they have to do, to earn the presidential nomination.

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I do know Hillary Clinton moved to New York in 2001 to become a senator to set herself up to run for president. In 2012 she lost to Barack Obama in the DNC presidential primaries, and John McCain ran such a poor campaign, it looked like he threw the race. Then Hillary got promoted to Secretary of State until she ran for president again in 2016. She got caught cheating in the primaries while she was under investigation by the FBI, who let her off the hook way too easy.

Everything pointed to the conclusion she was being set up to win. I didn’t think the RNC and DNC were even going to count the votes in the 2016 presidential election. They were just going to announce some numbers and tell us who their preconceived winner was.

I understand this is a huge conspiracy theory, and I feel guilty for putting so much stock in it, because I’m an extremely skeptical person. That’s why I’ve never blamed any specific individuals for leading this shadow government that seems to be pulling the strings.

I’ve researched and considered all the popular conspiracy theories about who’s running the world: The Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, Illuminati, Free Masons, Reptilians, etc. Millions of people believe in these theories, because they’re based on grains of truth, but the blanks are filled in with speculation and falsehoods. Plus, they still leave unanswered questions.

There are thousands of years of historical records proving various groups of powerful people have been influencing the world’s most powerful governments, and that’s not crazy. It’s just how society works. People get together and do stuff.

Someone is the most powerful person in the world. That would be true no matter what. Likewise, there’s one good old boy network with the most influence, but each of the world’s super powers have their own networks, and many parts of the world are power vacuums.

The world is not one single ship with one captain. It’s an ocean full of ships, and America just happens to be the largest right now. We know there are various semi-secret societies wielding power in America’s government, but the fact that there are multiple good old boy networks slapping the steering wheel, points to the conclusion there isn’t one supreme ruler.

Occam’s Razor says, “The simplest solution is usually the correct one,” and the easiest way to explain American politics would be to blame a single entity for running everything. However, Hanzlon’s Razor says, “Never attribute to evil, that which can be attributed to stupidity.”

The war in Iraq led me to suspect Hanzlon’s Razor may be more useful than Occam’s in explaining America’s behavior. It was obviously orchestrated. So there must have been some kind of plan behind it, but the entire fiasco was so disorganized and short-sighted, it couldn’t possibly be part of a solid master plan created by geniuses.

The only thing the war accomplished was making companies with lobbyists richer. It was a smash and grab for American taxpayer dollars and Iraqi oil. That’s not a master plan. It’s just a bunch of greedy monkeys slapping a steering wheel.

If you look at how the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Food and Drug Administration, and every other major organization in the American government have sold out the American people, it looks like there’s a master plan to screw the population, but every piece of legislation that whittled away the integrity of these agencies was signed by politicians who received money from companies who benefited from them. There are a million money trails, all leading to rich people in different business sectors. This isn’t a centrally orchestrated strategy. It’s a public auction.

If Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 presidential election, I would have taken that as confirmation there really is a group with god-like control over the system, because the FBI and DNC were obviously working together to pave the way for her. I would be more confused why she lost, except James Comey, the head of the FBI, and the person who publicly absolved her of breaking the law during the primaries, stabbed her in the back right before the general election by reopening her case and announcing the FBI would endorse Trump, which the FBI doesn’t do. Obviously, Trump compromised Comey somehow, which means Comey isn’t part of a grand conspiracy. He’s just for sale like the rest of the government, and Trump outbid Clinton.

I can believe a master genius would choose Hillary to be his puppet, but not Trump. You could even see the sadness in the faces of every politician at Trump’s acceptance speech; they were just as shell shocked as the rest of the world. The fact that he won means the general election wasn’t rigged, even if the DNC primaries were.

The only explanation for Trump’s victory, is the system is a rudderless cluster fuck. Since Trump is such a wealthy cluster fuck of a human being, the system was practically designed to let people like him sidestep through the cracks into office.

As depressing as that is, it gives me more hope than the alternative. There’s a popular saying in the U.S. military, “You can’t fix stupid,” but ISIS has taught us it’s more impossible to fix evil. At least this scenario gives Americans something we can resolve without a violent revolution, and it tells us exactly what we need to demand. If the root of the problem is money in politics, then all we need to demand is corruption reform.

Americans have known for years that money in politics is a major problem, but Donald Trump conclusively proved it’s the entirety of the problem. Hopefully, the worse Trump makes America, the more people will focus their protests, riots, letters to politicians and internet chatter on taking money out of politics. We just need to find a better strategy than the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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This is how we live now: Part 3

Note: The events of this story are real, but the names have been changed.

This is the third installment of a three-part series, in which I illustrate why half of all Americans live near the poverty line by using my life as a case study.

Case in point, medical bills are the most common cause of bankruptcy in America. In 2016 I became part of that statistic, and having gone through the process, I shudder to think how normal it is. Nobody should have to go through what I did, because getting health care in America is as frustrating and overpriced as buying real estate.

I started learning this four months ago. One morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I looked in the mirror and noticed a white pustule on my gums. At first I thought I had cancer. After suffering an existential crisis, I collected myself and recalled that I’d had two root canals done on one of my bottom, front teeth by a military dentist eight years ago. The most reasonable explanation was the root canal had failed, and the tooth got infected.

Since I no longer had access to the military’s socialized medical system, I’d have to pay a civilian dentist. Knowing they charge an arm and a leg, I looked up cheap insurance on the internet and spent several evenings slogging through mind bogglingly complicated insurance websites. Unable to make sense of all the terms and restrictions, I decided to take another approach.

I searched for a dentist office with good reviews in my area and found out which insurance they accepted. Then I paid $125 for the insurance and waited for it to activate… hoping the pustule didn’t become life threatening in the meantime. In case you’re wondering, the reason there’s a waiting period for insurance to activate, is so you can’t wait until an emergency happens to sign up.

When I finally got my insurance card, I took it to the dentist’s office, which we’ll call Negan Family Dentistry. The secretary at the front desk told me they accept my insurance company, but not my plan. FML.

Afraid to leave the pustule untreated any longer, I paid $50 for a checkup, which lasted about 15 minutes.

A dental technician led me down a long hallway lined with booths like a hair salon. Walking down the assembly line I started to worry I’d be treated less like a family member and more like a fast food order. My suspicions were confirmed when the technician X-rayed the one tooth with the pustule under it. Then a dentist came in and told me it needed to be replaced and left.I don’t even know what the dentist looked like, because he or she stood over my shoulder wearing a mask for the entire forty five seconds they spoke before dashing back to the salt mines.

After the dental apparition vanished, the tech sent me to the front desk, where the secretary gave me a bill for $250 and the phone number for Negan Family Periodontics, two towns away. Everything happened so fast it made my head spin.

In a daze, I asked what the bill was for, and she said, “It’s for a temporary tooth we put in after the real one is taken out.” I asked why I was paying her when she was sending me somewhere else. She said, “We put that part in.”

I told her I’d think about it and threw the bill away. A few hours later I called Negan Family Periodontics and told them I needed a tooth replaced before I died of blood poisoning. The secretary told me their next available appointment was two weeks away, but she promised to call me if they had any cancellations. She never called.

After fourteen days of worrying I was about to die, I drove to the place “my” dentist referred me to. The secretary who greeted me was an older woman with white skin but Hispanic facial features. She spoke warmly, until I told her I didn’t have insurance. Then she snapped into full aggression mode, basically accusing me of not intending to pay my bill. I gave her my credit card and driver’s license, which she copied angrily and pushed back at me.

Afterwards, a nicer lady handed me a bill for $3.5k. By the time I saw my periodontist, Dr. Simon, my head was spinning again. Dr. Simon’s cheerful personality put me a little at ease. He laughed and joked like he didn’t have a care in the world. I wanted to like him, and I tried to act happy but couldn’t stop thinking about how I just paid him six more months of all my disposable income for what would amount to less than half a day’s work on his part.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Simon's eternally happy smile, and my life circumstances being the opposite of his, thanks to him

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Simon’s eternally happy smile, and my life circumstances being the opposite of his, thanks to him

I offered to barter my professional services in exchange for reducing my fees, which is legal, but he responded with a long speech about how he always follows the rules to a fault. As the overpriced laughing gas kicked in, I wanted to say, “It’s too bad there isn’t a rule about not extorting your customers out of their future life savings every time they have a minor medical emergency.”

An hour later, he’d pulled out my decayed tooth, cut it in half, screwed in a metal foundation for a fake tooth, and glued the top of the old one back in place so I wouldn’t look like a jack-O’-lantern for the next few months while my jaw bone healed around the prosthetic.

The next time I walked into Negan Family Periodontics, was for a cleaning I didn’t ask for and wasn’t necessary for the tooth replacement. As soon as I sat down in the waiting room, The Dragon at the front desk told me I needed to pay another $1k to the dentist from Negan Family Dentistry, who would be putting my fake tooth in. Stunned, I asked why I was paying someone else more money to finish the job I thought I was paying them to do. In response, she ripped some papers out of a folder and waved them in my face, telling me I already signed something agreeing to everything, and I better pay up now, with a tone of voice that clearly said she didn’t believe I would.

I reminded her she already had my credit card number. So any time she needed another $1k from me, she could just keep charging my card, and I’d just keep being bankrupt. Snidely, she replied, “Great.”

When I asked Dr. Simon about the charges, he explained he would only mount a screw in my jaw, and the original dentist who referred him, would take a mold of the mounting plate, send it to a lab to make a fake tooth from, and then screw it in. I asked why he couldn’t do it, and he lectured me about how he specializes in his field, and other dentists specialize in theirs. So it’s best that someone else screws the prosthetic tooth in. The process sounded illogical to me, but he assured me it was normal. So I let the issue go.

On my way out of the building, The Dragon gave me an appointment date a few weeks later to remove the half-tooth and install a screw into the plate. She also said she would schedule an appointment with Negan Family Dentistry for the same day so Dr. Negan could take a mold of the screw to make the final fake tooth from. However, after calling three times and getting a busy signal, she said she’d try again later and relay my appointment time to me. I never heard back from her.

Two weeks later, the secretary at Negan Family Dentistry called and informed me they double booked my appointment and needed to change it, which turned out to be convenient, not only because I didn’t know what my appointment date was, but because The Dragon scheduled my appointment at Negan Family Periodontics one hour before the appointment at Negan Family Dentistry, two towns away, which would have been impossible to reach in time. So I rescheduled the second appointment for the next morning.

The reason the appointments were supposed to be for the same day is because, after Dr. Negan made a mold of the screw, he normally would have installed the temporary tooth I never paid $250 for. However, I didn’t pay for it because I couldn’t afford to waste money on a cosmetic enhancement I’d wear for two weeks. My only option was to leave the screw exposed while the third-party dental lab Dr. Negan subcontracts his work to, made my fake tooth and shipped it back to Negan Family Dentistry.

So, the morning after Dr. Simon installed the screw, I showed up at Negan Family Dentistry looking like a James Bond villain. After checking in, I sat down and happily thumbed through an uninteresting magazine. After months of racking up debt, driving all over the Houston area and being treated like an asshole for being poor, the ordeal was almost over. My life was finally looking up.

Then the kind, attractive, secretary politely called me to her desk and asked for another $916. I explained I’d already paid that bill through Negan Family Periodontics. Confused, she said they don’t do that. At my urging, she called The Dragon, who told her they didn’t do that. I thought I already paid this bill, but I knew it would be pointless to argue with The Dragon, and I was already mad enough to say things to her I’d regret.

I don’t know where the miscommunication came from. Maybe The Dragon and Dr. Simon did a terrible job of explaining my fees. Maybe I didn’t understand what they were saying because my head was spinning from getting hit with a baseball bat named, “Debt.” Maybe I’m just stupid, but there is one thing I’m absolutely sure of. Nobody ever said anything about me having to pay another $916 for the appointment in question.

If I had known I’d have to pay more after the initial $3.5k, I might not have agreed to it. If Negan Family Dentistry had given me an itemized breakdown of every step and fee involved in their tooth-replacement process the first day I walked in their office, I probably wouldn’t have ever called Negan Family Periodontics. Now I have to wonder if they consciously chose not to be transparent so they could surprise me with outrageous bills after I’d already committed.

Their surprise worked. I didn’t see the debt bat coming until it hit me between the eyes, sending me into that familiar punch drunk feeling again. Clumsily, I used my cell phone to check my account balances to see if I even had $916. I didn’t, but was able to cover the bill by maxing out my credit card and draining all my checking and savings accounts, including money I’d set aside to renew my vehicle registration.

By the time the technician sat me in the exam chair, my net worth equaled $23 in cash and $6k in debt. Financially, it was the lowest point in my life. My body’s fight or flight response flooded my veins with adrenaline causing me to shake as the technician put the bib around my neck. She may as well have injected me with 10 milligrams of fear and charged me $100 for it.

I had a few minutes to close my eyes and try to breathe the nausea away before Dr. Negan casually sauntered in.

Pictured above: a metaphor for my dentist

Pictured above: a metaphor for my dentist

Without looking in my direction, he asked the wall in a rote, disinterested tone of voice, how my Thanksgiving had been. I said, “Pretty good,” which was a lie. The truth is, I had broken up with my girlfriend that week and moved into a cheap trailer next to a railroad track with my brother, who spent Thanksgiving with his ex-girlfriend while I sat alone at our new “home” writing and wearing ear plugs to block the sound of the train horns. Part of me was happy for the solitude, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the only reason I had to live in a shitty trailer by a railroad track was because my dental bills had erased all my other options in life.

I’d completely run out of fakeness when Dr. Negan asked how I was doing. Exasperated, I replied, “Not good, since you bankrupted me.”

Without missing a beat, he launched into a bitter, condescending tirade, saying, “Oh!? So, you don’t think dentists deserve to get paid? You don’t think ten years of school is worth any compensation? We rack up a lot of debt in medical school, and it’s not cheap to run a dentist office, but hey, if you think our prices are unfair, you can just go to Mexico.”

Dr. Negan gives me a pep talk

Dr. Negan gives me a pep talk

He actually said that. I couldn’t believe it. After taking everything from me, he was bitching me out for not saying thank you.

Ironically, he was right about one thing. I had a friend who’d recently returned from a medical tourism resort in Mexico where he spent $4k to fix everything wrong with all his teeth. Plus, he got a two week vacation at an all-inclusive resort. He wasn’t treated by the dirty, filthy Mexican dentists Dr. Negan was so prejudiced against. He saw American doctors who had moved to Mexico so they could help people without having to charge an arm and a leg and a dream to replace one tooth.

My life would be profoundly better on multiple levels if I had the foresight to go to Mexico. For the same price I could have even flown to a medical resort in Thailand, where the doctors and staff would have treated me like a god instead of a cockroach.

My appointment with Dr. Negan lasted 30 minutes, most of which he spent bitching me out. The rest of the time he made a mold of my tooth space using the same process Dr. Simon used when he took his mold, which makes me wonder if both of these guys were referring me back and forth to each other to rack up referral charges.

If my final appointment took the same amount of time, I would be paying both my dentists an average of $1k per hour. I’ll have to work 40 hours to pay off one of theirs. If I made minimum wage, then one easy hour of their life would be worth 140 grueling hours of mine. That’s a narcissistic, psychopathic assessment of the value of life, based on a lie.

No human being is so much better than another, that an hour of their life is worth 40-140 times anyone else’s. Plus, if they’re charging $1k per hour and work 8 hours per day, that’s $40k per week. Even if half the money goes to expenses, it doesn’t cost $20k per week to run a dentist office. Even if Dr. Negan only pocketed $200 per hour, that doesn’t make it any less painful for me to pay $1k per hour.

In the end, the truest measure of Dr. Negan and Dr. Simon’s morality is the size of their retirement accounts. They might have taken on a lot of debt in school, but they’re not going to lower their prices after paying it off. They’re going to charge as much as they can get away with for as long as their career lasts. In the end, they’re going to retire in mansions surrounded by space-age luxury that would make a medieval king jealous, and the only reason they’ll get to do that is because their vaults will be full of peasant’s gold.

I’ll spend the rest of my life living in a trailer next to a train track, wearing ear plugs in bed and getting stomach ulcers from lying awake, worrying about how long I can put off getting extorted by family friendly medical professionals.

The last thing the Dr. Negan said to me before he ejected me from the dental assembly line was, “Hey, man. Everything’s going to be fine. Everything is going to work out.” If he truly believes that, then living in a gated community must have disconnected him from reality. In the America where I live, I’ll never be free. Perpetual debt will always force me to work for a boss who underpays me, just to pay off the businesses who overcharge me and add on extra fees for not having any money.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Negan deciding what he'll do with my life savings, and the look on my face as I watch him horde my hopes and dreams

Pictured left to right: Dr. Negan deciding what he’ll do with my life savings, and the look on my face as I watch him horde my hopes and dreams

If medical school, rent and medical equipment are so extortionately priced that dentists are struggling to keep their practices open, there must be better solutions than passing on the extortion to customers. If medical professionals truly cared about their clients, which Dr. Negan assured me he did, then they would be doing something to fix the problem.

As it stands, they’re just shrugging their shoulders and saying, “If I can pass this problem onto the customer, then it’s not my problem. Fuck em…” just like I metaphorically said to the single mother who rented my duplex unit in Austin.

The simplest solution is, stop fucking your customers in the ass with a friendly smile, but if you can’t afford to do that, then try to imagine how angry and dejected bankruptcy must make all your customers feel. Then take that anger and shout it in the face of the people who are overcharging you. Unionize and boycott those people. Write blogs and give speeches about how you have to double the cost of your products to pay rent or a mortgage that’s twice as expensive as the property is worth.

The least you could do is not be silent, but if you’re smart enough to earn a PhD, then you should be able to think of at least one solution to high operating costs other than raping your customers and bitching them out when they say, “Ouch. You’re killing me,” instead of, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”

If you’ve read this far, you may be thinking, “Hey, Travis. Wake up. The common denominator in all your problems is you. If you were better at adulting, and less angry about life, then you wouldn’t have dug yourself into a pit of debt and made enemies with people who just wanted to help you.”

If you’re underwhelmed with my plight enough to leave a comment telling me what an irresponsible, whiner I am, then you need to take to the streets and shout the exact same speech in the face of the other 6 billion people in the world who live below the poverty line. Maybe I am whiney, but if everybody stopped complaining about normalized extortion, the only thing it would change is how much longer the majority of humanity stays in poverty.

If you believe I can’t blame anyone except myself for my bankruptcy because I didn’t have insurance, then you’ve either never used insurance, or you’ve accepted insanity as normal.

The reason I needed insurance in the first place is the exact same reason why medical tourism resorts exist: because the cost of medical care in America is inflated beyond reason by insurance companies.

If you’ll recall, I did buy the insurance Negan Family Dentistry advertised they accepted. If they’d been more transparent, I would have known the right policy to buy. If they didn’t pick and choose which policies they accepted, I could have just used any insurance.

It wouldn’t have mattered much if I did, because all policies are designed to be as useless and difficult to use as possible. The company I work for offers medical insurance for $124 per month, but it has a $6k deductible, which wouldn’t have covered the cost anyway.

If I had paid $124 for medical insurance every month since I separated from the military in 2007, I would have paid $13k by 2016. Even if insurance would have covered the entire cost of my tooth replacement, I still would have saved $8k in the long run by not having insurance since 2007.

Doctors don’t even like insurance even though it pays so well, because they have to hire an otherwise unnecessary employee just to file all the paperwork. Since doctors don’t want the extra cost to impact their salary, they pass the cost onto the customers by raising prices accordingly, which I’m sure they feel terrible about.

To make matters worse, doctors have to wait months for insurance claims to be processed and pay out. As much of a nightmare as insurance companies are to work with, doctors should know better than anyone, bitching customers out for not having insurance is blaming the victim.

The problem is that the insurance companies have rigged the system to require everyone to buy extortion protection in the first place, and doctors have chosen to go along with it. I wouldn’t have lost the game if it wasn’t rigged.

I can’t afford anything, because everyone gives me the “fuck you” price instead of “the friend discount,” and you don’t have more nice things, because you get treated the same way. So if you’re mad at me for getting extorted, then be mad at yourself too, and be mad that someone convinced you to accept this sadistic system as normal.

My story ends with me going back to Negan Family Dentistry to get my fake tooth put in. Before leaving the house I checked my bank account to see how much money wasn’t in it, just in case I got surprised me with another bill. There was no need to check how much wiggle room was left on my credit card, because it was already maxed out. Luckily, the secretary surprised me by informing me they wouldn’t be hitting me in the head with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire again.

The whole appointment took about fifteen minutes, and most of that was done by a tech who makes as little as supply and demand will allow Dr. Negan to get away with underpaying her. The tech put some kind of clip on the screw sticking out of my gums. Then Dr. Negan came in and snapped the crown on. The procedure didn’t even require any cementing or heating, which proves everything Dr. Simon told me about me needing to see Dr. Negan for the final procedure because he was a specialist, was a complete lie. I could have done the final step myself.

At the end of the appointment I gave Dr. Negan a slip of paper with the address to this blog on it. I told him I didn’t use his real name. I just needed to tell my customer service story, and that it wasn’t glowing, but he could use it to fix the holes in his process.

He didn’t understand what a blog is. So I had to explain it to him. His eyes told me he  still didn’t understand. So I wasn’t surprised when he pressed me to just tell him what the essay said.

I told him, the biggest issue, and the reason I was so upset the last time we met, was because his prices were deceptive, and I wasn’t given the total cost at the beginning. When I said that, his eyes bulged out, and he blurted, “You’re a liar!”

Experience has taught me that trying to give someone advice who doesn’t want to admit when they’re wrong, will only result in them attacking you until they’ve said something ugly enough to convince them-self you’re the problem. So I just turned on my heel and walked out the door. Dr. Negan chased me down in the lobby and tried to bitch me out some more. I’d already said everything I had to say in the blog, and I didn’t want him to ruin my day any more than he already had. So I continued walking, right out the front door.

As I exited the building, he shouted, “Have a merry Christmas!” His attempt to take the high road didn’t impress me after calling me a liar for trying to point out the metaphorical broccoli stuck in his teeth. It just reinforced my perception that he’s a delusional ass hole.

I don’t even believe in Christmas, and he obviously doesn’t believe in Christian values.

The worst part of the story is that, even though I’ll never go back to Negan Family Dentistry or Negan Family Periodontics, I won’t get a better price anywhere else in America. I’ll just keep getting my head bashed in and my savings looted, just like you… unless something drastic changes.

Before the world can change, people like Dr. Negan and Dr. Simon need to change the way they justify their predatory business practices to themselves.

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This is how we live now: Part 2

I moved to Houston at the beginning of 2016 feeling optimistic about life, because I had a loving girlfriend and a new professional credential that would allow me to earn more than minimum wage. Little did I know, my year was going to be destroyed by ordinary people under ordinary circumstances. If you live near the poverty line, the same routine catastrophes are going to devastate your life over and over again until society makes some serious changes.

I won’t say what I do for a living, but I will say it it’s intellectually and physically demanding. I eat healthy, drink lots of water, take supplements and stretch daily, but my body always hurts somewhere. I endure it though, because I make $25 per hour, which is almost five times the minimum wage in Texas. Unfortunately, I can’t work full time, because I would live in constant pain until I suffered a career-ending injury. But I make enough money to survive and can spend a decent amount of time pursuing my passion of writing, which shouldn’t be too much to ask in life.

My employer makes about $1700 off the work I do every two weeks. Of that, I get to keep about $600, which covers my rent, utilities and cell phone. So I spend two weeks out of every month breaking my body just to survive until the next month. If I don’t have any fun, I can save about $500 per month, and since I spend most of my free time writing, that’s easy to do.

Rather, it should be, except every single month of 2016 I kept getting hit with major unexpected bills. The contract my girlfriend signed with her landlord before I moved in required us to pay half the cost of repairs to his dilapidated house. I had to replace my glasses, shoes, vacuum, and lawn mower. Now that I had a girlfriend, gifts became a mandatory expense at each major holiday. Every time I managed to save more than a thousand dollars, some disaster of the month would knock me back to the start.

My biggest recurring bill was truck repairs. I’d already spent $700 repairing my sort-of-new truck in Colorado. Even though the engine didn’t have many miles, it had spent almost 20 years baking in hot Texas summers. The tires and half the engine had deteriorated to the point of failure. After spending $1200 on repairs in the first half of 2016, the engine overheated and warped a head gasket.

Having been ripped off by enough mechanics to distrust them, I researched internet reviews until I found a place that presented itself as a good Christian business and had positive reviews.

I was able to have my truck towed there for “free,” because I get my auto insurance through USAA and pay an extra $2 per month for roadside assistance. $2 sounds like a good deal, until you realize, over the years I’ve been using them, I’ve given USAA $10k and never got anything in return other than a piece of paper that says I’m not breaking the law.

The staff at the mechanic shop were wonderfully friendly and made me feel like family at first. After the mechanic diagnosed the warped head gasket, the supervisor told me it would cost $2k to fix. Then he tried upselling me on replacing every other part under the hood. It would have cost $5k to fix everything he wanted, but the truck wasn’t even worth that much. In the end I agreed to spend an extra $1.5k on replacements, and I told him the only reason I couldn’t spend more was because I was flat broke and had to get a credit card through USAA to be able to cover the whole bill. So I could only get the most important parts fixed. He told me I should replace the radiator, but if I only had $1.5k to spend, I should fix other things first. In retrospect, he should have had more foresight.

As soon as I drove off the lot, the radiator broke. So I drove back, and told the nice supervisor what happened. He reminded me that he had recommended I replace the radiator. I reminded him I couldn’t afford to, and since I came in with a warped head gasket, he probably should have prioritized fixing the radiator. More importantly, if they’d diagnosed my problem correctly, they would have found out the radiator was busted before I drove it off the lot. So it would be harsh to make me pay the $500 they automatically charge any time they have to pull an engine out of a vehicle, which would need to be done to replace the radiator.

The supervisor told me there was no way to know the radiator would blow after driving it 1000 feet, and the fault is mine because, “I should have had more foresight to replace that radiator.”

After the fourth time he told me I should have had more foresight, I wanted to tell him, “You’re right. I didn’t have enough foresight to see you extorting me into six months of debt. If I’d known you were going to do that, I’d have broken my body working harder to prepare for the Christian ass raping you just gave me.”

He didn’t offer me any kind of loyalty discount. He just charged me $700 and acted surprised when I wasn’t smiling and laughing with him like family anymore.

I paid for everything on a USAA credit card, because a friend said it would lower my auto insurance, which I had noticed was higher than it used to be. When I checked my account, I discovered I’d never cancelled the renter’s insurance on my old house, and had paid $2k over the past two years insuring a property I didn’t own. Normally, that would be a bad thing, but USAA was gracious enough to refund me the money. In another lifetime I could have put that towards my retirement or used it to enjoy life, but it all went straight to back to USAA to pay down my credit card.

USAA didn’t have to refund me all that money. Most American businesses wouldn’t, but it didn’t surprise me when they did. In 2015 USAA distributed $1.6 billion of profits back to their customers. Every year I get a check from them for about $50 with a note that basically says, “We have too much money. Here’s some back.” In addition, their customer representatives are the nicest in the world. I’ve literally told people, “If you’re ever having a bad day, call USAA. I always feel better after doing any kind of business with them.”

I stopped feeling that way after a few months of putting all my disposable income towards my debt. Each month, my friends at USAA charged me about $50 in interest, which means I paid $50 per month to not have $4000. If I had less money, they’d charge me even more.

The leaders of USAA, and every other lending institution, are millionaires, who don’t need any more money. They could all stop working today and still live like gods for the rest of their lives. They know 50% of Americans live at the poverty line, all of whom need credit cards and loans to cover the cost of living in a country where every business charges as much as possible and forces those with the least money to pay the highest prices.

Economics is complicated, but it’s easy to calculate why half the country lives in poverty. Businesses charge their customers as much as possible and pay their employees as little as possible. That’s a simple recipe for bankruptcy. Charging people more money, the poorer they are, is a recipe for debt slavery. The problem isn’t that poor people are being targeted. It’s that everyone is being overcharged, and the only way to stay ahead of the game is for you to overcharge or underpay someone else. So everyone has to become part of the problem. The main reason we don’t stop is because we don’t even notice we’re doing it. Economic cannibalism is the only way of life we’ve ever experienced. So we assume it’s the way.

USAA and my mechanic may provide customers with vital services, but their business model is ultimately based on gouging desperate people. Jesus wouldn’t do that to veterans. Only someone who needs to seriously rethink their life would do that. Since everyone is guilty of the same sin, we all need to do some soul searching.

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This is how we live now: Part 1

Financially, 2016 was the worst year of my life. It hurt so bad I had to write three blogs to vent some of the emotional trauma. The disasters I experienced aren’t unusual, but that’s what makes this story poignant. My life is so normal, it’s a metaphor for every American who lives near the poverty line, who, no matter how long and hard they work, are perpetually having their life savings drained back to zero by predatory business practices.

The story of why 2016 sucked for me begins in 2008, with me being a hypocrite. Newly married and separated from the Air Force, I moved from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii to Austin, TX, where my wife and I bought a duplex for $250k.

I didn’t want to pay a realtor. So I researched how to buy a house without one and immediately learned why realtors exist. There are so many laws around buying and selling houses it’s impossible to do it without having an associate’s degree worth of knowledge. After a few days of mind-numbing reading, I laid my head on my keyboard and muttered, “Why does this have to be harder than buying a car?”

The next day my wife and I met a realtor who came highly recommended from a distant relative. Our agent looked like a model and talked like an auctioneer. She picked us up in a brand new BMW equipped with space age technology. After our first conversation, I felt like I was hiring a scout to take me on a treasure hunting expedition.

Over the next week she showed us two trashy properties below our price range, two giant, expensive houses, and one solid option just above what we wanted to spend. So we picked that one, which in retrospect, I don’t think was an accident.

The only type of houses we looked at were duplexes, because we thought the tenant’s rent would cover our payments, and it would have if the cost of a mortgage equaled the listing price of the property, but after taxes, interest and fees, the final price of a 30 year mortgage is double whatever the property is worth. So, after we picked the house, we learned we’d need to take out a $500k loan for a $250k property. Plus, most of the first fifteen years of payments would go to whittling down the interest, not buying equity in the house. Why do lenders have to structure loans that way? Because fuck you. That’s why.

Normally, home buyers have to put down a 20% down payment to quality for a loan, and we didn’t have $50k. However, the Department of Veteran Affairs offers a special service to veterans. In exchange for $5k, it will vouch to pay the 20% down payment if the vet fails to pay their mortgage and the house gets foreclosed on. At that point, the VA will give the lender the 20% down payment, which in my case was $50k. So if my house got foreclosed on, I’d have to pay the VA, $50k.

This is a great deal, in the sense that it removes one of the glass ceilings stopping renters from becoming home owners, but it’s a scammy solution to a problem created by the government. Think of it this way. The government enforces laws which make buying a home impossible to do without hiring legal representation to walk you through all the laws that inflate the cost of a property so high you can’t afford it. The government’s solution to the problem it created, is for home owners to buy the lender a insurance policy to cover their losses if/when the veteran can’t afford to pay twice the advertised listing price of a property plus another $5k.

My real estate agent and the lender she referred us to explained all this to me and acted like it was completely normal, because it is. So I signed the paperwork and went on with my life, which consisted mostly of spending 10+ hours per week sitting in Austin’s notorious traffic and working 40+ hours per week at a computer helpdesk job getting yelled at for problems other people created.

I told myself it would all be worth it when I finally beat the game and could live life on my own terms. Seven years later my wife and I divorced and sold the house. Luckily, the divorce was “no contest.” So we didn’t have to spend $5k each for lawyers. Since we filed the paperwork ourselves, it only cost a few hundred dollars in government fees and having to stand in front of a judge who didn’t know us to beg him to let us get on with our lives.

We had already moved away from Austin half way through our marriage and rented out both duplex units through a property manager who sent us “repair” bills for $300-$1000 almost monthly. We finally terminated our contract after he charged us $90 to replace a smoke detector battery and another $90 to look in the chimney and tell us there weren’t any birds in it. Wanting to avoid confrontation, my wife told them we were moving to Samoa and had to sell the house.

The next property management company we hired never sent us any absurd charges in the two years we used them. Since they rarely did anything to the house, effectively, we paid them $240 per month to deposit our rent checks.

Our contract also stipulated that if we sold the house, they would act as our real estate agent and take a higher-than-normal percentage of the sale. I didn’t care at the time, because I wasn’t planning on getting divorced and selling the house.

When we decided to sell in 2013, Austin was experiencing a housing bubble, which means houses are overpriced. So sellers make can make a lot of money, but buyers get screwed paying inflated prices that could drop by the time they get divorced and have to sell their house.

There was so much demand for duplexes, our property manager/realtor was able to sell the house in two days for $60k more than the original listing price, which sounds great, except we’d spent at least that much on the mortgage, upgrades, fraudulent repairs and property management dues.

In the end, my wife and I received $15k each, and my realtor took $30k for doing less than ten hours of work. Just to be clear, I didn’t make $15k profit. I got a $15k return on a $60k investment. In the grand scheme of things, I lost $45k.

After signing all the paperwork, the realtor handed me my check and said, “See? It wasn’t that painful, was it?”

I wanted to tell him, “The only painful part was when you pocketed $30k I spent seven years working my ass off for in exchange for ten hours of your labor. But that’s okay, because it’s normal, right? Enjoy your normal life, sending your kids to college and buying them sports cars. I’ll enjoy my normal routine of not having a retirement.”

At least I had $15k to start my new life with when I moved to Houston, TX to live with my identical twin brother. I didn’t make it out of my marriage with a vehicle, but was able to pay cash for a used truck, which I bought from a small car dealership, owned and operated by a sweet, old Southern country farmer type who prided himself in his old fashioned honesty. He won my trust and sold me a 1997 truck with 50k miles on it for $7k. It had been owned by an old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays. So even though the truck was almost twenty years old, it was practically new.

Now that I had a vehicle to drive to work, I turned my attention to job hunting. Most of my adult life, I’d worked in IT, but halfway through my marriage, after my wife and I left Austin, I couldn’t find work in the IT sector. So I worked a series of odd jobs until my IT experience became obsolete and unusable. I’ve never complained about or regretted letting that door close, because I absolutely hated IT work. What good is making money if you spend your entire life doing things that make you miserable to earn it? That’s wasting the present, not investing in the future.

Theoretically, that’s true, but in America’s economy, chasing your dream is shooting yourself in the foot. Without a college degree, training certificate or relevant experience, my job options were staggeringly limited. I didn’t sit around crying about this. I drove straight to a staffing agency I knew could hook me up with “an exciting job opportunity.”

For the next few summer months, I spent 9 hours per day in a warehouse digging through vats of marble-sized ceramic balls, picking out any that were tarnished, broken or disfigured. The only break I got was an hour for lunch, and my bosses monitored me closely via the security cameras. At first I was happy, because I felt lucky to be getting paid slightly higher than minimum wage, but it didn’t take long to realize my assessment of life was wrong. In reality, my life was actually quite shit.

I had 9 hours per day to think. So I used the opportunity to weigh my options and decide how to save my life. About the time I got laid off, I convinced my twin to move to Colorado with me, where he could work, and I could attend a year-long trade school for free using the M.G.I.Bill, which would also pay me a $1,200 per month living stipend.

He agreed immediately, because Houston sucks. So we settled our affairs in the local area, loaded everything we owned into our two trucks and drove to the cheapest hotel in Denver. The first night we celebrated our new beginning with overpriced legal weed and a box of Franzia. It seemed appropriate since the hotel was so low class, the Denver Police Department had a permanently reserved parking spot directly in front of the lobby.

Before leaving Texas we’d searched for apartments in Denver and made a list of places that have vacancies within our price range. There were enough options that I wasn’t worried about finding a place. My only fear was settling on the second or third best option because it’s closer to my school. After spending thousands of hours in Austin traffic, not commuting had become a priority of mine.

My brother and I spent the next week touring Denver’s ghetto-est apartments and getting turned away by every slum lord. Come to find out, Denver has a local law, which says in order to qualify to rent a property, you must either have three months of pay checks from a local business or a cosigner who makes three times the amount of rent, neither of which we had.

The apartment managers were unswayable. No matter how much we begged, nobody would bend the rules for us. At our last apartment viewing, I put $7k cash on the table and offered to pay an entire six month lease up front. The apartment manager scowled at me like I was a hillbilly offering to pay with a bag of dead possums. He looked me in straight in the eye and said with dead seriousness, “That’s not good enough.”

Since when is having enough money to buy something, not good enough to buy it? When did the American Dream turn into The Twilight Zone? My money was good. The problem is Colorado lawmakers want to prevent poor people from immigrating to their state. So they invented a disingenuous rule that all the local apartment owners agreed to go along with. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was written by wealthy apartment moguls who made campaign contribution to the politicians, who signed it into law.

Unable to legally rent an apartment, we looked on Craigslist for people offering to rent out spare rooms in their private homes, which is actually illegal under Colorado’s anti-boardinghouse laws. Luckily, this rule isn’t enforced, because Denver police have better things to do thank kick poor people out of their houses. And by “better things,” I mean, “legally robbing motorists to meet their ticket quotas.”

My brother and I spent the next two weeks viewing rooms and begging people to let us pay $900 per month to live in the cupboard under their stairs. It wouldn’t have taken so long, but most landlords required a $50 non-refundable, non-binding fee just to fill out an application, in addition to paying another $30-$50 to run a criminal background and credit history check on you, which requires you to give out your social security number, date of birth and bank account number.

We refused to apply for any of those rooms, which drastically limited our choices, but it was worth not risking paying $50 to have our identities stolen. After a long, discouraging search, we finally moved into a large, trashy two-story house containing five other tenants.

Our landlady was a semi-obese, bedridden hoarder whose husband had recently died of cirrhosis of the liver, and she was dying of cancer. Since she couldn’t work, the only way she could afford rent and groceries by subleasing her extra rooms. Her situation wouldn’t have been so dire, except she lived with two of her children, who were both in their early twenties, didn’t pay any bills and refused to get jobs.

All three were drug addicts who took whatever narcotics they could get their hands on. The son would steal his mother’s morphine, forcing her to send the daughter to buy more off the black market when the pain of dying became unbearable. When the mother confronted him about it, he bitched her out in front of the whole house for playing the cancer card too much. She died four months after we moved out.

One of her tenants was a 20-something year old black, gentle giant who moved to Denver to escape the apocalyptic ghetto in Chicago where he grew up. The other housemate was a white 20-something year old Texan who moved to Colorado for the weed. He’d been in Denver for several years and had moved into our “boarding house” after getting kicked out of his last apartment for overdosing on a psychedelic designer drug and diving out the second-story window naked and then fighting three police officers in the parking lot until they tazed him unconscious.

My brother and I shared a room and a bed for three months until we talked our landlady into letting us convert the basement into bedrooms. She only charged us $800 per month for two rooms, which is made it the cheapest price we’d ever find Denver.

We had some good times in that house, but most of them were bad. We moved out the day the landlord’s son blasted his stereo at 7am for the hundredth time and then threatened to “fuck me up” with a golf club if I tried to turn his music down. At that point my brother returned to Texas, and I rented a camping spot outside of town and lived there until I found another room on Craigslist.

I finished out the school year living in an elderly couple’s house, paying $700 per month. At first I lived in a tiny room on the ground floor, but was able to move downstairs into the much larger basement after the landlady found her other tenant’s crack pipe in the drier. They’d already been planning on asking him to leave anyway, because he was literally insane and thought government agents were following him at all times. Other than being a moocher, he never bothered me, but I was glad to see him go, because after he learned I’d worked for the NSA during my military service, he assumed I was a government agent sent to spy on him.

After graduating from school, I decided to move back to Houston as well to be with a girl I’d met after my divorce and stayed in touch with. I moved in with her at the beginning of 2016, flat broke again.

The whole trip had been an asteroid shower of unexpected expenses. I expected Colorado to be Candy Land, but it turned out to be more like Chutes and Ladders. Every time you think you’re getting somewhere, you slide back down into where you started.

The problem isn’t that Colorado is worse than the rest of America, it’s a metaphor for the rest of the country. One of my friends from the military recently moved to San Antonio and was unable to rent an apartment for the same reasons I couldn’t. In the end, he bought a house using the same VA home loan program I did, because it was easier for him to qualify to buy a house than to rent one. My friend and I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve the moving nightmare we experienced. This is just how everyone lives now.

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Why I’m glad Trump won

Up until November 9th, I was dead certain Hillary Clinton would be America’s next president, but not because I wanted her to. I dreaded a Clinton presidency, because it would be like living under the reign of a female George Bush, except instead of having to watch four years of news clips of a goofy, folksy puppet act like he’s not selling off America to his corporate friends, I’d have to watch a soulless android sci-fi villain do it gloatingly.

To be honest, I’m glad Trump won if for no other reason, than knowing it wiped that smug smile off of Hillary’s face. She was so sure she’d pulled all the right strings to anoint herself ruler of America whether the public wanted her or not. Now, instead of getting to laugh at the poor suckers under her control, we get to laugh at her losing her one shot at fulfilling her narcissistic dream. I wish I could have taken a selfie with her the moment Trump crushed her life’s goal and broke her abysmal, roach-infested heart. I like to believe Bill Clinton feels the same way.

I accurately predicted Obama would win both his terms. When Obamamania was sweeping the nation, I was saying, “Eh, he’s just going to be George Bush 3.0, and the president after him will be George Bush 4.0.”

So I almost had a heart attack from being not surprised when Hillary Clinton won the DNC presidential primaries. I felt even more confident the system was shoehorning her into the White House when she got caught cheating and didn’t get disqualified.

The only thing that surprised me about the outcome of the 2016 presidential primaries was that the RNC and DNC picked such a low ranking amateur like Trump to be Hillary’s fall guy. I could see him taking a dive to let a more convincing opponent get knocked out in the final round, but when it turned out to be the him, I thought, “Man, they’re not even trying to pretend this is real anymore.”

I explained all of this to a friend of mine in September, who responded, “Exactly. That’s why I’m voting for Trump. I know he’s crazy, but if an apocalypse is what it’s going to take to change anything, I’ll press the red button. Fuck it. I’m tired of this shit.”

I agreed, and even said, “Yeah. You know, a Trump apocalypse would be better than a Hillary apocalypse. At least it would be quick, and the sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can start moving towards the future instead of orbiting the same old black hole.”

However, I also told him I wasn’t voting, because the ballot box is just a dummy switch. The machine is going to do what it’s going to do, no matter how many times you press the “Emergency” button.

It blew my mind when Trump won. I spent election night reassessing everything I believed about American politics and what the future holds. As horrified as I was to see Trump win, I’ve come to believe it was for the best. If the government held a recount between Trump and Hillary, I’d hope Trump would win again for several reasons.

Trump can make Americans great again by freeing Americans of the delusion of patriotism.

During George Bush Jr.’s reign, I wondered how much worse our presidents would have to get before Americans finally said enough is enough. After the government found Barack Obama to be their next smooth talking spokesperson, I assumed they’d learned their lesson, and we could expect decades of wolves in sheep’s clothing to placate the masses. So I was relieved when Trump got elected. I assumed they’d have more foresight than to put an un-ignorable clown in power so soon, but instead of pushing George Bush 4.0 on the American people, the government jumped straight to George Bush 10.0.

This won’t make America great for anyone except the ultra-wealthy. Life for everyone else will feel ten times more like living in a financial meat grinder than it already does. The wonderful thing about that is, it will force Americans to change their minds. When that happens, then they will be able to change America.

Over the past sixteen years America has become a police state whose primary goal seems to be increasing income inequality. Whenever Republicans made things worse, conservatives would scream at liberals not to question the government. When Democrats made life worse, liberals would defend the government’s crimes with the same appeal to patriotism.

In a country of 300 million people, only 6% voted for Trump, and just as few voted for Hillary because, at this point, Americans have figured out it’s ludicrous to vote on politicians with blind faith. Most liberals aren’t even falling back on the excuse that Hillary would have been better. Voter turn out proves they believe arguing which candidate is the lesser of two evils is like arguing whether to drop the Fat Man or Little Boy bomb on American soil.

The 2016 election proved the RNC, DNC and the election system they created are too broken and corrupt to trust. Now more than ever, Americans should be asking themselves, “Why am I defending a system that keeps screwing me over? Why should I bend over backwards for a system that only exists because I fund it to do a job for me?”

Defending the system isn’t heroic. That’s being a willing slave. It’s like hiring a butler to clean your house, but instead, they move in, make you clean for them and pay them for the privilege. Then, when your family complains, you scream at them to be proud to serve your tyrannical servant.

That was never good enough, but Americans couldn’t see it because they were too brainwashed with American exceptionalism. Well, now that we have the least exceptional president ever, we’ve been liberated from our delusion. Not all Americans have seen the light yet, but after four years of a Trump presidency, they will, and that moment can’t come soon enough.

Trump’s policies and staff picks are impossible to ignore.

I worried Trump might be a lame duck president and just spend four years smiling for the cameras and kissing babies while America got a little bit worse… but not bad enough to make Americans to throw in the towel. However, Trump is staffing his cabinet with religious fanatics, wealthy members of his social class, and under-qualified politicians he owes favors to. It’s like he’s trying to prove the point that the election system is designed to fill the government with swamp monsters.

Trump is helping America talk about race.

Trump is promising to build a pointless wall on the Mexican border, ban Muslims from entering the country, practically declare martial law in the ghetto and turn the police force into immigrant-hunting hit squads. Given the way he treats women, they’ll probably suffer under his presidency too.

This is a bad time to be a white man, because we’ll be assumed guilty of all Trump’s racial offences by association, but as bad as racial tensions are in America right now, the worse they get, the more people talk about race, and that’s the only way America will resolve its racial tension.

The golden age of white guilt is finally over. The more social justice warriors use white men as a scapegoat for the problems created by the 1%, the more backlash they’re creating. People are slowly wising up to the fact that white people aren’t the problem. The more common knowledge that becomes, the quicker society will come to the conclusion every race should be fighting alongside each other against their real common enemy.

The impossible is possible.

One of the first things I thought when Trump won the presidency was, “Well, it’s official. America is hopelessly stupid.”

Most of the rest of the world agreed with me, and they were glad Trump won, because he’s the president America deserves. They are happy to watch us wallow in our shit and die of hepatitis.

After having time to think about America’s plight, I’m more optimistic. The upside to America’s mistake is that the first step to recovery is to hit rock bottom. America has done that. Now that we fully see where our addiction to Republicans and Democrats has gotten us, we can start over.

It’s counter-intuitive to believe an addict will change, because the point of addiction is that you can’t stop. Americans need to stop what they’re doing and change so drastically I wouldn’t believe it possible… if Trump hadn’t just been elected president. For the rest of my life, anytime someone tells me something isn’t possible, I’m going to respond, “If Donald Trump can be president, anything can happen.”

If Trump isn’t the catalyst that finally smacks Americans out of their suburban consumer day dream, he’s a gargantuan push in the right direction, and I’m sincerely thankful for that.

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