Autumn 2017 Roadtrip Postcards: Canyonlands National Park, Grandview Point

I arrived at Canyonslands National Park’s Island in the Sky district early enough on Wednesday to get a few photos from the Grandview Point Lookout. Here’s the best of the bunch off my phone. That light colored line in the foreground is 100-mile long White Rim Road, a dirt road I’d love to explore with my Jeep one day.

A view from Grandview Point into some of Canyonlands National Park’s canyons.

When Lifelong Republicans become Democrats

Look into your heart, Republicans. You may see what this man saw.

I saw an interesting tweet this morning and clicked the link to see what it was all about. Just as the title suggests, it’s an essay by political blogger and activist, Bob Schneider, author of the Politics Now column on the Chicago Now website, who has recently given up on the Republican party.

There’s a lot that makes me — someone who leans left — really happy about what this conservative had to say:

  • He talks about why he was a Republican for so many years. This helps me understand where Republicans are coming from. I’ve heard versions of his story before.
  • He clearly understands why, in today’s U.S. political system, there are only two parties that matter. If you don’t understand why, read his explanation. (Please don’t use the comments for this post to whine to me about it.)
  • He explains what drove him to make the jump from Republican to Democrat. It’s the same stuff we’re all seeing: dishonesty, betrayal, corruption.
  • He explains, in his section headed “Why I left the GOP,” exactly what Republican viewpoints turn him off. This list is the best part of the essay and, if you only have time to read part of it, read this part. He’s nailed it all, from the GOP’s view on the poor to their xenophobia and outright racism to their hatred of education and science.
  • He lists the reasons why he joined the Democratic party. For the most part, it’s the same reason I finally signed up as a Democrat last year. (I’d always been independent but I wanted to vote in primaries.)

This essay isn’t new. It dates back to July. I’m not quite sure why he tweeted about it today. Maybe it’s because there are additional essays available that refer to it.

It doesn’t really matter that it’s two months old. What matters is that he wrote it and he published it under his own name and he’s someone with a good political following. What matters is that it might help other Republicans do some soul searching and admit to themselves that the GOP isn’t exactly in line with their own personal convictions, especially about how other people should be treated.

Personally, I don’t care if someone is a Republican or a Democrat as long as they are capable of thinking for themselves based on factual information and doing the right thing. Blindly voting for party candidates, even when you know they’re “dumb as a rock,” as

I honestly believe that if far right nut jobs and their media outlets — yes, I’m talking about Bannon/Breitbart, Hannity/Fox News, Jones/Infowars, Limbaugh, etc., etc. — would just STFU or start presenting unadulterated facts for listener/viewer consideration, anyone with a brain would realize how bad things have become in the GOP and politics in general.

It shouldn’t be us vs. them. It should be us.

Got something to add? Great! Use the comments link for this post. But please don’t comment unless you’ve read Mr. Schneider’s essay first. I think you’ll find it as enlightening as I did, no matter how you vote.

Freedom Day Comes and Goes without Notice

If I didn’t have it on my calendar, I’d likely forget its significance entirely.

Freedom Day
You can see how I missed it; it’s just a tiny note on the calendar.

It was Tuesday, July 30, 2013 that my very favorable divorce decision came through. Although I thought at the time that it would be the end of the bullshit my wasband was sending my way during our crazy divorce, it was just the beginning of a new chapter. Some people are seriously delusional and make all kinds of bad decisions based on their delusions. My wasband is a textbook case of this for the period starting around January 1, 2012 through (likely) today.

I called it Freedom Day because I was finally free of sad sack old man who was holding me back from moving forward with life. I didn’t realize how much I’d been held back until I was free to make my own decisions without having to compromise or, worse yet, wait for a risk-adverse “partner” to provide input. In the four years since, I not only bought the land for my new home — which I did the very next day — but built a custom home to my specifications on it, doing much of the interior work myself. I’ve tripled the amount of contract work I do each year, building my flying business far beyond I ever thought I could. I’ve met new people, made new friends, and traveled to new places.

In short: I’ve accomplished far more in the past four years than I had in the previous 10.

I’ve since settled into the kind of laid back and flexible lifestyle I always imagined having in my later years of life, free to do what I want with my time. I’m living life on my terms and if that isn’t freedom, what is?

Freedom Day is on my calendar as a recurring annual event. I put it there back in 2013 because I was so happy to finally have my poisonous relationship behind me. But unlike other people who hold significant dates close — often too close — to their hearts and minds, my Freedom Day is little more than that calendar reminder. This year it came and went without me even noticing it.

And I think that speaks volumes about where I am in my life today.