Statue of Liberty - Vegas

I was taken aback after the 2016 Presidential Election, but not in the way you’d think.

I understand the higher over-arching symbolism that each candidate represented. Breaking the glass ceiling, women vindicated—or simply keeping someone out of office who openly derogated women, religion, and minorities. I understand what our President means to the world, what the position means to children and how the position sets the tone of what we agree upon as a society is acceptable behavior. The Presidency is much more than policy.

As stunning as it was to witness our country elect Donald Trump, I was more shocked and dumbfounded by Millennials. Their response. How they reacted and handled themselves. The level in which their feelings, lives, and outlook of the world was so entwined with the person in office.

Photo of Artwork - Vegas

The 2016 Presidential Election has been challenging. An understatement, obviously.

Not only has it challenged our democratic system and the strength of our union, but it has also touched our citizens personally. Deeply. It’s widely complex. Not just debatable on the way we interpret facts and policy, but also how we are choosing to represent our civilization.

Our government, intentional or not, has become more than a government. It’s the organization we look to as a society that sets the tone of how our culture is supposed to be lived. The things we value. The ideology we pass down. The fundamentals we set and lead by as an example to the rest of the world.

Equality In Fiction

I attended a panel at Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX15 that stuck with me and spurred a bit of deeper thought and reflection- Equality In Fiction. First off, props on that- I love when something inspires and pushes boundaries- socially, politically or personally. I love a variety of experience and perspective, I believe that leads to greater understanding of “us” and attributes meaning that allows for empathy.

Natalie Whipple, Cindy Grigg, Aaron Lee Yeager, and Mette Ivie Harrison were bid with the difficult task of paneling the topic. Using the word “difficult” is an understatement due to the inherent complexity of the subject matter. For one, it’s completely opinion and perspective based which opens oneself up to considerable vulnerability. To speak freely and honesty on anything as controversial as race, gender, sexuality, theology, disability, creed, origin- any identifiable trait that makes us unique to the masses is potential career suicide given our hyper-sensitivity as a culture to these issues… Which, in itself, is not equality. No one is going to solve the issue in a 50 minute panel at Comic Con, so to consciously open yourself up to the criticism and put yourself in a situation where one mis-spoken word or unconventional idea can have significant consequences is commendable.

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I was going to write Bill O’Reilly this evening and ask him why with the civil unrest in Yemen, Americans dying in a terrorist hotel attack in Libya, maybe a brief word on the genocide in Africa, and an all-female Ghostbusters cast being announced today he decided to spend the majority of his show speculating on which Republicans may choose to enter the Presidential race in 2016- without mentioning a single word about a possible Independent or Democratic candidate, besides Hillary Clinton, who was an assumed muppet. With almost 2 years before the election, eons in the political landscape, why was today’s real news ignored and how am I now a more informed viewer after watching?

My “Mad As Hell” letter to him was going swimmingly, I was patting myself on the back after several witty one-liners and pointed, legitimate questions concerning his journalistic integrity. In order to give my letter a shred of credibility and not be completely hypocritical, I jumped over to CNN to fact check a few of my statements. Then I went to ABC. Then I just said “fuck it” and gave up on the letter entirely. Bill O’Reilly wasn’t the problem, it’s our news. Executive producers, network presidents, and agenda driven ownership groups have stripped the slightest bit of journalism from our consumption.

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U. S. Senator Mark Udall responds to my letter urging him to support Net Neutrality and help the FCC in reversing recent legislation:

"February 18, 2014

Dear Sean,

Thank you for contacting me regarding issues relating to "net neutrality." I appreciate that you took the time to share your specific views on this issue.

The principle behind "net neutrality" is based on the notion that network providers of Internet access should not detrimentally control how consumers use the Internet, nor should they be able to discriminate by providing different network access for one type of content or content provider over another. I support the principle of "net neutrality" because I believe that Internet subscribers should not be denied or have limited access to the content of their choice because of the commercial interests of their service providers. I do, however, believe that reasonable network management should be permitted when necessary. That said, I have always believed our telecommunication laws must support a competitive market that provides the most options to consumers at affordable prices.

As your Senator, I will continue to monitor the FCC's implementation of their regulations and will work with my colleagues - from both parties - to ensure that the laws regulating Internet providers strike the right balance between competition within the marketplace and protecting consumer choice. Please know that your thoughts will provide me important guidance along the way.

I will remain attentive to what you and other Coloradans have to say about matters before Congress, the concerns of our communities, and the issues facing Colorado and the nation. My job is not merely about supporting or opposing legislation, but also about bridging the divide that has paralyzed our nation's politics. For more information about my positions and to learn how my office can assist you, please visit my website at www.markudall.senate.gov.

Warm regards,

Mark Udall
U.S. Senator, Colorado"

I do appreciate Senator Udall (and his office) responding. From the handful of letters I sent out, he is the only one to reply thus far.

While I ultimately do not have a lot of faith in my words having an impact, especially against all of the dollars that lobbyists are throwing at this issue, I do hope that they become buried in the subconscious of our leaders. I hope the voice of the people gnaws at them in their sleep and they make decisions based on honor, virtue, and justice regardless of politics and posturing… I hope.

I'm glad that Senator Udall is aware of Net Neutrality and has an opinion on the issue. I'm glad that he somewhat agrees with the principles of Net Neutrality and says he will protect the consumer above the commercial interests of internet service providers.

However, as per usual political rhetoric, he was also ambiguous and left the door wide open to "support the market" which would mean the ISP's and them driving towards capitalization of bandwidth.

I believe there needs to be much more compromise in our government, however our right to freely access information and our personal freedom within the digital world is not a compromisable situation. Compromising any civil digital rights would be the beginning of digital Jim Crow Laws, though instead of segregating the internet by race it would be by money.

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