Childcare, single parents, and a cause for 2017…

Single Moms Shouldn’t Have to Choose Between Child Care and Getting an Education

Over the last couple of years I have been working on a project for the super awesome Marci, my aunt-in-law. This project makes poor through studies and articles focused on several topics: Early Ed, Childcare, PreK, Birth thru 8 years old policy, and foster/adoption stuff. Every day there is something I come across that really impacts me, especially since shortly after the new year starts I myself will be a parent. The stuff I am finding now will impact Heather Harris and I in the near future. So when I come across articles like this one in #NYMag, I get upset.

Offering #ChildCare for single and/or low income parents who are trying to further their education so they can offer a better life for their little one just makes sense. But…that is something that is lost on a lot of people. This is an issue that won’t see improvement in the next two years either (that may change in 2018 depending on what happens w/Mid-Term elections.) Starting in 2017, I am going to make it my goal to do everything I can to help these causes that I currently just read about. I want and need to do this. Not just for my son’s future, but for my neighbor, my fellow Kansas Citian, my fellow American.

I’m gonna start stepping away from posting purely on politics on my social media (unless it is something pretty urgent.) It is fairly obvious where I stand; I hate Trump, the GOP will cripple our country/government, and I still am upset that Bernie wasn’t given a fair shake. Going forward, I want to focus on causes that I know will have a long-lasting impact on our country. A positive impact, one that will help us in 2017 and 2077 if done right. Let’s do this New Year; I’m ready to make you better.

Keeping’ it Geeky,

Average Joe

So tired…

Everyday there is something new that puts the world on blast. Two days ago it was the horrible attacks in San Bernadino, last week PP in Colorado Springs, before that Paris. In between those horrible moments you have smaller moments that are infuriating; the GOP votes to defund PP, does another ACA repeal vote, doesn’t allow gun control legislation to be voted on, the Republican candidates for president constantly demean and promise to deny rights to everyone who is not a true “Christian”, etc.

It is so tiring because every time something like these moments happens, I get fired up. I start posting all over my social media, I pick fights (arguments) with as many people as I can, and literally avoid friends and family who have don’t see things the way I do. I go in to attack mode with complete disregard if it upsets/offends/hurts people. I put blinders on and away I go.

Do I feel I am wrong in my views? Not in the slightest. However, the way I go about pushing my views on others…not so cool. That is where my error lies. That is where I become the jerk; I may be a jerk who’s heart is in the right place, but I’m still a jerk. I had the realization recently when a good friend of mine put me on blast (I know I have used that phrase twice and I promise they will by last.) In a post about the recent shootings in CA I vented about how I can’t stand empty platitudes from leaders and politicians who would rather pray than make actual change. It is a view I stand by. However, I was rather ineloquent in posting about it. I had a view folks who responded that I was more than willing to engage with because for the most part, they agreed.

However, one friend posted a simple one sentence respond that just oozed with hurt. Not picking up on that, I engaged in discussion. Eventually, via replies on Facebook and text, I realized why there was pain in response. I’m not going to say what happened here because it is not my place, but let me just say she had every right to be upset with me. 100%. And I couldn’t defend myself. I shouldn’t even try. My friend made it very real and made me realize that words can have a deep, harmful impact if I (or anyone else) are not mindful of the power they hold.

So I made the promise to my friend I would refrain from posting about that particular topic; this friend respects my views (even the ones we disagree on) but this one was too real for them. After our discussion, it made me think. I’ve been stewing on it for the last 24 hours. What other times have I gone off on something and my words have done the same thing for someone also I hold dear and they were just unable or unwilling to say something about it. I started to really think about the fact that more negativity is pushed out there by me when I start rage posting. I know I have plenty of conservative friends who have unfollowed specifically because while they are more than willing to talk about these issues, they would rather avoid a constant negative presence that I am creating on their news feed.

Being so angry is so tiring. You are constantly going up, up, up in your anger and then you crash. Then you go up again. I have grown to despise getting on my social media for that very reason. I scroll down my newsfeed and every third article/update pisses me off. Then I react. Then I go to the next issue and react again. It is an unhealthy cycle that only causes harm, frustration, and a fair amount of heart burn.

So I think it is time for a change. As of this posting, I have decided to take a break from posting anything politically related. I am refraining from “poking the bear.” By that I mean what I post will consist of positivity and I will not go out of my way to correct anyone on Facebook, even if they are blatantly wrong on a topic. There is one feature I have become a big fan of with Facebook is that if you look at the top right of the post there is a little drop down arrow. You can click on that and block the page that originated the meme (if it is a meme) or you can just hide that particular posting. I did that the rest of the day yesterday and it was glorious.

So for all of my conservative/non-political friends on Facebook, rejoice. I am retiring my crazy Facebook rants. That does not mean they won’t pop up here on my blog, but those will be easy to skip. Going forward, I will have a strict criteria of what can and cannot be posted on my page. That criteria is the following:

Can Post:

  • Updates on family and friends
  • Interesting articles about my hobbies
  • Pictures of my dogs
  • Funny pictures of my wife she doesn’t want me to post
  • Hilarious memes
  • Positive quotes/thoughts

Can’t Post:

  • Political rants
  • Rage filled posts
  • Political memes
  • Argument provoking questions
  • Anything that is filled anger

I think living my social media life by these rules will lead to a more beneficial online relationship with many of my friends and family who view differently than I and that I hardly get to see. When we actually do get to see each other, I’d rather they remember me as who I really am, not the rage filled political bleeding heart liberal they see online.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Here’s the thing about politics…

OK, let me back up for a second. I am not going to go on a tirade about a specific event or topic within the realm of politics. Not yet at least. This blog, though I’ve had for several years now, is really just in its infancy stage, and I’m trying to figure out whether or not this should be an arena where I should talk about that stuff. That decision will be made soon and will probably be made for me. This links to my social media pages (which is ironic I mention that and you’ll know why soon enough) and I will have to decide whether or not the risk of upsetting people I know is worth it (for a good cause, it always is.)

Now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, I want to discuss the frustration of politics in general or at least, what the act of discussing politics amongst each other has become…it is now nothing but white noise. White freakin’ noise.

Let me elaborate. Today, most of us live our lives online. By that I mean we tweet, we tumble, we instagram, we Facebook, yadda yadda yadda. You get the drift. Every moment, every thought, every little detail of our lives get thrown up on one or all of the social media platforms. I say this as someone who is very much guilty of this. Because of this practice, our core values and ideas start to be condensed into a simple update that is 140 characters or less. Sometimes, we take the extra step to write a paragraph on something like Facebook.

After we do this, what usually follows? 70% of the people who agree start liking and if brave enough, comment. The likes always outnumber the comments and the comments that agree with you usually say “^This” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself, I’m sharing.” Then there are the other sides (not “other half”, because every political topic has many sides, much like a d20 from D&D), where people will (for lack of a better term) attack your viewpoint. What equates to “screaming”, people use their viewpoints to criticize yours. While their intent may be to focus on the post itself and not the individual, many of us take it as a personal attack.  I know that is not the intent; the people who are my friends on Facebook are ones I care for and I know care for me. Yet talking politics on something like Facebook is like talking in a vacuum; the only thing that exists at that moment is my post and not my 25+ years of history with that family member or friend.

Man-screaming-at-computer-via-Shutterstock-615x345

How many of my friends and family must react when they read my posts on Facebook.

Now, I’m not saying I’m innocent. When I’m scrolling my newsfeed, I do at least one face palm every time. Someone on my feed is posting a meme/article/rant that obviously is wrong or misleading and I just can’t believe they’d post it without looking at all (or any) of the facts. It makes it very hard to stop my clicking finger; my mouse pointer floats over that comment button with excitement as I am getting ready to tear apart their post with so many facts…yet, I realize (sometimes too late) that I am just doing what they did to me just a few days ago. Even though I believe (and often know) that my side is correct, so did they when they responded to my post a week ago. So am I responding to A) Start a grownup dialogue about the issue at hand, B) Post in revenge because they dared to challenge my view not long ago, or C) Just poking the bear? Sometimes its all of them, others just one of them.

We do this over and over again, using social media to speak our complex and intricate view points in small snippets that don’t truly explain all of our viewpoints. They aren’t even good synopsis’s of our views; I feel if they were there would be less online screaming and more online discussion. So that brings me to the point of this post; our reliance of social media to speak for our politics has hampered our ability to discuss the issues we care about as grown ups and in person. You know how it seems more and more people are saying “I can’t stand family gatherings, all we do is talk about politics and religion, so by the end of it everyone is mad at each other!” Granted, that may be something that has been going on for years, but nowadays it seems it is exasperated by the fact we take all of the memes, rants, and updates with us to these family events (“political baggage” if you will) and use them to argue for us. How is this productive? It isn’t! Yet we do it still!

That is my problem with politics today. Not that they divide; they have and will continue to do so. No, my problem is that we have become to reliant on a social media platforms to speak for us and therefore, have become less able to discuss and maybe solve the issues in person, like adults. If the world didn’t rely so much on social media, I would have walked away from them long ago. Sadly, that’s not an option. I have no idea now to fix this problem that I’ve blabbered on about; I just know it is a problem and it infuriates me.

I do know my personal solution though. After writing this post and rereading it before posting, I have come to a decision. I will use this blog to post my political views. However, they will not be sudden reactions to a situation. They will be researched, coherent, and hopefully, able to stand up to scrutiny. Thanks to the template of my blog, the categories are posted at the top of my posts. So, if you have no desire to read a politics heavy post, you’ll know right away to keep on scrolling past. I do hope you take a moment to read what I have to say though. Maybe you’ll agree with, maybe you won’t. If you don’t, that’s ok. We could have a dialogue about it that refrains from using base emotions but instead would be two adults talking. It is possible to do that online. Difficult, but possible. Hey, one can hope right?