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Get Out and Vote

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Popularity Wins Them All

Too often I hear Americans express their distaste towards the voting system. On many things with them I concur one of which is the electoral college. I hold no qualms telling the reader I think Donald Trump is slime. That son-of-a-bitch should’ve never made it past the Republican primary. When Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, the New York Times reporter with arthrogryposis on national TV, that should’ve marked the end of his campaign. The only reason George W. Bush and Agent Orange were elected was because of the electoral college. Both lost the popular vote to their opponents. It stands to reason that he/she who garners the most votes shall be the winner. Otherwise, they might as well induce the electoral college for gubernatorial elections. That way all contestants need is to win the electoral votes for the metropolitan areas to win. That defeats the purpose of democracy and undermines citizens who live in the hinterland. That would lead to gerrymandering across the board. Were it up to me, all districts would be drawn based on population blocks during each decennial census in lieu of physical boundaries.

Shame and Blame Are Not the Game

Another qualm I have is the low voter turnout. Replacing the electoral college with the popular vote alone could solve most of that. I’m worried many Bernie Sanders voters will stay home or go third-party and get Trump reelected out of spite in 2020 now that he bowed out. Many times I’ve had online tiffs with friends on social media over this. They think I despise Bernie. I don’t hate or dislike Bernie; I tolerate him. I love his ideas, but it’s hard to respect a lifelong Independent who piggybacked off the Democratic Party in 2016 when it was convenient. Talking down to the center-left and calling the other candidates within the party “corporate Democrats,” “establishment Democrats,” and “neoliberals” and accusing them of being part of the establishment doesn’t win me over. That man had a lot of nerve shaming people like that when he didn’t call himself a Democrat until 2016. Further, I find it more difficult to believe someone who voted against the Brady Bill five times has a D minus record with the NRA. Using divisive language and polarizing the voters is no way to organize a revolution in my book. People who don’t vote have no right to complain. The Berniebots I blame partially for this quagmire. Their tacit consent allowed the most unqualified person to be in the oval office. It wasn’t just Russia meddling in the election.

Apathy is Expensive

That leads me to my second point. There should be compulsory voting across the board in all elections; presidential, gubernatorial, mayoral, etc. Certain countries have this law. Among them are Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Singapore. Anyone who refuses to vote should bequeath one’s income tax returns for two years until the next election. If they want to behave like petulant children because they got butthurt over their candidates not winning the nomination, then their abstention should cost them. Perhaps the only way to get them on board is to hit them where it hurts and show them apathy is expensive. Maybe they’ll think twice next time they want to take it out on everyone else and make them “Feel the Bern.” I blocked numerous Berniebots from my Facebook page when they trashed Hillary Clinton. I suspect I’ll do it more when they go into attack mode towards Joe Biden. Those people are nothing but poison, and I don’t need that toxicity in my life. Uncle Joe wasn’t my favorite candidate, either. I voted for Elizabeth Warren in the primary, but now is not the time to let our egos clout our judgment and override our consciences.

Primary and Secondary Solutions

This is why they should move all elections from Tuesdays to weekends. First off, the primaries should be held the last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of March to prevent people like Bernie from dragging it out until June. They can campaign the entire summer, fall, and winter beforehand to sway the voters. The winners of each primaries should be declared at 10 pm Eastern Time the last Sunday of March. Then they should have a secondary election the last week of May to weed out third-party spoilers. The same process should be done for the primary in that it should be held Thursday through Sunday. The two candidates with the most votes should be the ones selected for the general election. Were it up to me, there’d be no more pre-planned Democratic or Republican conventions in designated cities. Instead, the convention for the challenging party would be held in the select city the second week of July while that for the incumbent party would be hosted in whichever locale the following week. I’d want them to run the week after the MLB All-Star Game and 4th of July and before the Summer Olympics.

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

The general election should be moved from the first Tuesday of November to Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday is my least favorite day of the year. It negates the purpose of Thanksgiving. Rather than bring out the worst in people, Black Friday should do the opposite. Not only should voting be held in courthouses and civic buildings. There should be election booths in commercial venues like shopping malls, grocery stores, cinemas, restaurants, car dealerships, etc. Anyone who votes in said places should receive a Black Friday discount. The customers can kill two birds with one stone. Early voting should be held 24/7 an entire fortnight before the last Sunday of March, May, and November so people can beat the crowds and not have to stand in long lines. The national guard and local police should be stationed at all locales for security. A general order should be passed down the chain of command that anyone who discusses politics or does nothing to prevent a riot should be court-martialed. This method should be the first in which people vote. The second should be by mail. Voters should be allowed to send their ballots to the country treasury office in either an envelope or via PDF in an e-mail. Anyone with a physical mailing address should be registered automatically by the post office or DMV whenever they change residencies or have their driver’s licenses renewed.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The third way is a bit more tricky. The voters should be able to do it online through a secure website. I know that idea makes people skeptical because of Russia’s meddling in the last election. That’s why the site should be firewalled in every country outside the United States. It should be recommend that the user does it incognito or on TOR Browser. The site should be operational only during times of election and no other. Massive security measures should be made as well. Not only should it require an email address and a password at least 20 characters long (including mixed case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.) It should contain CAPCHA. They should require a minimal six-digit PIN number, the mailing addresses of each user over the past ten years, a social security number, a driver’s license number, a phone number with an area code, and the user’s date of birth. There should be a time limit for the user. It should give the ballot options in either English or Spanish and then require at least ten security lessons which would be the following:

      1. What is your father’s middle name?
      2. What is your mother’s maiden name?
      3. What is your maternal grandmother’s full name?
      4. What is your maternal grandfather’s full name?
      5. What is your paternal grandmother’s full name?
      6. What is your paternal grandfather’s full name?
      7. What city were you born in?
      8. What hospital were you born in?
      9. What street did you grow up on?
      10. What high school did you graduate from?
      11. What year did you graduate high school?
      12. What was your high school mascot?
      13. What were the color, model, and make of your first car?

Hack on This One, Sucker

As someone who has studied computers, I can assure the reader nobody can hack through all of that (not even Julian Assange on his best day.) I’m not an expert, but I know it takes hours to hack through one layer. The 20-character mixed-case password alone would take days. The CAPCHA feature would make it more difficult. All the required information that the user must know like the back of one’s hand and the time limit would make it impossible if not improbable at best. Even if the hackers were to use a VPN to circumvent the firewall, they would encounter numerous problems. How do you expect a hacker to have access to the personal information of 300 million people on a secure website? Even if Super Blue from IBM ran 24/7 for over 100 years, it would be unrealistic to hack through that. To put it bluntly, the saboteurs would have an easier time robbing Fort Knox.

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Terrorism Has No Religion

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Take Another Look in the Mirror

The shooting in Christchurch inspired me to speak out about two issues. The first being gun violence and the second Islamophobia. One of the primary reasons I left America and have no inclination towards returning is school shootings. I find it ironic how people tried inciting fear about me going abroad. Often others were afraid I might be kidnapped in Southeast Asia or Mexico by some organized crime syndicate. I appreciate their concern for my safety. However, their misgivings were misplaced. This is the part that burns me. Everyone is worried someone like yours truly will wind up an organ donor or get cooties from the boogeyman whenever we go abroad, but climate change and school shootings aren’t treated like national emergencies as they should. I felt safer and more secure teaching at schools overseas. Not once did I have to worry about some distraught kid coming onto campus and mowing down his classmates with an AR-15. Never have I once had that fear when I walked out in public, yet my inbox was flooded fast after the bombing at Erawan Shrine. I wouldn’t touch an American school with a ten-foot pole.

Careful When You Play with Straws

Many times I worry about my niece and nephew in Texas where gun control laws are toothless at best. I had nasty fallouts with two long-time friends on Facebook on separate occasions over this not long ago. Things got ugly when they tried using strawman arguments about the government infringing upon their personal freedom, and they insisted it was their divine right to own firearms. They would state the same platitude, “Guns don’t kill; people kill,” we hear from yahoos like Alex Jones. Both situations went sideways when I told them, “You tell that to the parents of the Sandy Hook children. What do you care as long as it’s not your kids caught in the crossfire?” I’ll bet they wouldn’t share the same sentiment if it someone they loved were killed.

No Way to the NRA

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I hope the next shooting massacre happens at the NRA headquarters and that it’s worse than Orlando or Las Vegas. I’m serious as a heart attack. Plead me guilty now. If a masked gunman turned Wayne LaPierre and his evil henchmen and followers into Swiss cheese, that would be plenty alright with me. Maybe what it takes is to bring the war home for the American public get it through their thick noggins. Before anyone panics and reports me to the FBI, I’m not planning a shooting spree myself. All I’m saying is the National Rifle Association will get exactly what they deserve if that happens, and I won’t bat an eye. They’re a biggest threat towards our national security than Al-Qaida or ISIS ever were. The NRA has way more American blood on its hands than those other two.

If They Can Do it, So Can We

I find it ironic how the American media views it as a terrorist attack only whenever a non-white person commits it. If a black person or Muslim kills several civilians, then it’s an act of terror. Whenever a white person does the opposite such as the case in Charleston, South Carolina, then it’s a hate crime. The same was said about the Christchurch, New Zealand. I’m glad New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, and other developed countries dropped the hammer and have strict gun control laws. This makes me loathe the Republican Party to no end. They have no right to call themselves pro-life. They care more about fetuses than the lives of children already born. Any party that opposes gun control and universal healthcare and supports war and capital punishment is in no position to call itself pro-life.

Go See For Yourselves

Now for the second part, Islam does not advocate terrorism. I’ve found myself defending Muslims more than I care to. I can guarantee the readers none of those folks bashing Islam have been to a majority Muslim country like I have. I had no idea Malaysia is sixty-percent Muslim when I went there during Chinese New Year 2018. I’m not going to lie. At first I was apprehensive when I landed at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. I was afraid I might be stoned to death if I look at a woman more than three seconds. I believed the same hogwash about which they pontificate on FOX News. I found out that was anything but true about the second or third day there. I didn’t know even with my background in geography and anthropology because nobody discusses it on the news, and it’s not in the Middle East. That I suspect is why most people are unaware Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country.

It’s Not What You Think

These things you never hear because they’re Shafis. They’re not at all like the radical Sunnis in North Africa or the Shiites in Iran. In fact, many Malays hate the Saudis. Malaysia is a very progressive country. Half of the women wear burqas and hijabs, but the other half walks around in tanktops, Daisy Dukes, and flip-flops. There are ladyboys walking around in plain sight. Everywhere I looked, there were bars that served alcohol. Kuala Lumpur has an incredible nightlife comparable to that of Bangkok. They even have soapy massage parlors with happy endings, and nobody cares. That should tell the reader something. Further, I recommend anyone who travels to Southeast Asia visit Malaysia. It has all the magic oh Thailand, and it’s a more developed and family-friendly country. I liked it because Kuala Lumpur is squeaky clean like Singapore but not as highbrow. Everything you can find in Bangkok exists in KL. The difference is the Malays don’t wave it in your face like the Thais do. They’re more discreet about it. Obviously, they don’t have Sharia Law because the country is about 20-percent Buddhist and 20-percent Hindu. They all have to live in peace and harmony, so Sharia Law wouldn’t fly.

Let Freedom Ring Everywhere

The women there have the same rights Western women do. They have college educations, careers, and positions of power. Just because they don’t hyphenate their surnames when they marry, decorate themselves with tattoos and piercings, cut their hair short, and dye it freakish colors doesn’t mean they’re all barefoot, pregnant, and stuck in the kitchen. The Malay ladies drive cars, go shopping, and speak their minds just like Western women. I’m sure some even think their opinions are the law of the land. One time my credit card wasn’t working. I entered a local bank, and the branch manager, a woman in a hijab arrived and said, “May I help you?” I explained the situation and got it sorted out. Everybody there speaks English because it was a British colony. That’s why I couldn’t find a job there no matter how hard I looked. Some of the best Indian food I’ve had in my entire life was in Kuala Lumpur. That stands to reason when a quarter of their population is of Indian descent.

Check It Out; You Won’t Regret It

My third day, I went on a tour of the city. One place where we stopped was the National Mosque of Malaysia. In plain was a giant sign that said, “Terrorism has no religion.” in three languages one being English. Like Indonesia, Malaysia has a zero tolerance policy towards domestic terrorism. I wish we’d induce the same in the United States. Obviously, Malaysia doesn’t have prohibition for the reasons I mentioned. They don’t have child marriages or practice female infant circumcision. They don’t stone people to death for adultery, behead homosexuals in town squares, or hang them from cranes. They don’t have child marriages. The legal age of consent is 16. The men don’t do acid attacks and disfigure women who reject them. They don’t have gang rapes, blame victims, or implement honor killings. The police don’t go around whacking women with batons for wearing cosmetics, nor do they force them to go at night with male chaperons. Trust me on this one. I sure as hell wouldn’t have considered moving to Malaysia after leaving Vietnam if any of that was true. The main thing travelers must worry about is crooked cab drivers trying to rip tourists off, but that happens everywhere.