Inauguration Day

Melania Trump sat outside the bathroom.  Her back against the door, she glossed over the luggage packed for her trip back to Manhattan. Her flight was going to have to be delayed unless she could wrap this up quickly. She tapped the door with her hands. “Honey, I’m going to have to leave soon. I just want you to know your inauguration went very well today and I’m incredibly proud of you.”

She could hear rustling on the other side of the bathroom door. “His numbers were better” she heard him mumble.

Melania sighed. Her Donnie wasn’t normally like this, but the few times he faced defeat, or seemingly faced defeat, Donald would lock himself in the washroom and would stay there for a number of hours. Normally, Melania would just let him sit in there for a while, let him be upset for a little bit. His enormous ego would soon repair itself, and he would emerge triumphantly from the washroom, having spun his defeat into a victory. But he was now the President of the United States, and he had to get back to work.

“We don’t know that there were more people at his inauguration than yours” she said through the door. There was another mumble, she could barely hear it. “What was that honey?” she asked. “I said, I saw pictures! They were on Twitter. He had twice as many people there in 2009. And in 2013, he still had more people.” There was silence for a moment. Melania spoke again. “Well, maybe a lot of people were inside at the time the picture was taken. They might be trying to make you look like a fool.”

She heard the soap dispenser get thrown into the tub where it made an audible thud. “They’re ALWAYS trying to make me look like a fool. They had an anti-me protest in New York, right outside our home. You know who was there? Robert DeNiro. I always thought he was cool, but NOW he’s hanging out with  Micheal Moore and that asshole Alec Baldwin. You know what? I’m going after him. I’m going after that prick Alec, and I’m gonna piss all over his things. I’m going to stand right over his face and piss in his mouth when he’s sleeping. He’s got a little dog, right? I’m going to piss all over that dog, and then I’m going to take it. That dog will love me more than it ever loved Alec. I’m going to hop in Air Force One and do that right now.” She could hear tiny hands wringing menacingly.

“Ok, but you might have to check with your new friend Pence first.” It sounded like some bars of soap were being tossed against the wall in protest. “I have to check with EVERYONE before I do something fun. It’s SO unfair! They said no tanks or missiles at the inauguration, saying it would wreck the roads. So what? We’ll build new roads, give something people to do. I’d be creating jobs. Putin gets to have tanks and missiles at his parties, it’s these losers over here who won’t let me. I don’t care what Pence says.”

“I know this has been tough on you, honey, but you knew there would be some changes. Anyways, I hear the doorbell, I think Pence is here now.”

“Fine, Go, Whatever, I don’t care. Tell him to go away.”

Melania ignored the statement and made her way through the Penthouse of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC. At the door was Pence. As she opened the door, he let himself in. “Sorry I’m late, Mrs. Trump. I had the LGBTQ page on the government website taken down, and that took a little longer than expected. I think I know the man well enough now that I can handle this problem.” Melania shook her head. “I’ve been married to him for years, and he still doesn’t always make sense to me.”

Pence strode up to the bathroom door and gave it a commanding knock. “Mr. President, it’s Mr. Vice-President. Can we speak for a moment?”

“Go away, Pence! You’re not cool.” The voice started loud and trailed off. Pence straightened his tie. “Of course I’m not cool, Mr. President. My job is to make you look cool. I know you’re upset about the numbers. But there’s a reason Obama has higher numbers.”

Trump blew his nose. “Yeah, and why’s that?”

“Affirmative action, sir.” said Pence.

There was a pause. “Really?”

“Of course. He was the first black president. The liberals of this nation propped him up to make him look better. How else could you explain Obama having better numbers? You remember your numbers from the first season of Celebrity Apprentice? To use your own words sir, they were terrific.”

The was another pause, then the flow of water. Trump threw open the door and marched out. “You know what Pence? You are so right. You are so right to bring this to my attention. Of course it’s the blacks, propping up their own guy with affirmative action. And this affirmative action? It doesn’t help the blacks, it just makes it harder for everyone else. And that’s not fair.”

He went to a mirror and ran a comb through his hair. He then walked to Melania and grabbed her firmly by the ass. “Babe, thanks so much for staying with me. When you get home, they’ll be the biggest diamond waiting for you in our room. I’m seeing to that right now.” He gave her a pat on the bum and focused his attention to Pence. “In the meantime, we need to get my numbers up. I need to have my face on every corner of every street. Could we get some screens with loud speakers everywhere? Letting the audience know I’m always there? Make that happen.”

Pence smiled. “Of course Mr. President. I’ll look into that immediately. I need you to sign some papers, though. I read them so you don’t have to. They’re not deals, just boring law stuff.”

Trump whipped out a pen. “Smart move, leaving the deals to me. I’m a deal-making machine” he said as he signed the papers. “I can’t wait for this screen thing, it’s going to be huge. Can you imagine? My face, on every corner. It’ll let my enemies know I’m always there.”

He tucked his pen back into his breast pocket. “You know what, I think this’ll work out. You deal with the boring stuff, and I’ll take care of the deals and the audience.”

Pence flashed a smile that would make sharks nervous. “Absolutely, Mr. President. I will always have your best interests in mind.”

Trump smiled. “Good. Now, let’s get a few cocktails into me. I’m going to need a bunch if I’m going to piss all over Alec Baldwin.”

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. It is going to be an interesting four years. That’s putting it nicely.

The Three Amigos Bro Out

In the wake of all the world political gaffs lately, it’s nice to see some pleasantries being exchanged for once. The three leaders of the nations representing North America met yesterday, in what was dubbed the ‘Three Amigos Summit’. This meeting included Barack Obama, the President of the United States, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and of course, our own Justin Trudeau. They took photos, shook hands, made small talk, and talked about the three nations.

Three-Amigos

‘Alright, now I want you both to spin me around’¹

They talked about a number of issues, most of the issues were things they could all agree on, relatively. First was climate change. They all want to push for 50 percent of electrical energy to come from clean sources, and they’ve set the target date for 2025, which is less than a decade away. Trade was another hot topic. As the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is currently stalled, they are continuing to renegotiate the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), mostly to adjust for current economic instability. Border control is going to change as well, as the three countries are working on the NEXUS (I can’t actually find what this acronym stands for, or even if it is an acronym) system, which would allow frequent, low risk travellers privileges to cross the borders. A big topic was human rights, most notably towards the LGBTQ community, as well as indigenous women in all three countries.

So I’m awfully glad they sat down to have a yap over whatever they happened to be serving at Parliament Hill. Some big topics came up, Obama gave a nice speech calling Canadians his besties, I’m certain there was a couple of fist bumps and high fives, and maybe, behind the scenes, they had a couple of beers and tequila shots and lamented about how being the leader of the nation was a pretty difficult job.

Does this meeting and what they discussed actually matter, though?

One of the major problems with this meeting is that Obama is going to be leaving the White House pretty soon, and the following establishment might not agree to the same terns that Obama has. It’s hard to say what Hillary will do. She gone quiet in regards to NAFTA, a trade agreement her husband and former US President Bill Clinton championed. She’s decided against the TPP, even though she was behind it during her tenure as Secretary of State. Understanding the fact that it’s a poisonous topic at the moment, she may be turning her back on the idea due to politics, and pull a 180 if elected. Trump, on the other hand, would nullify most of the ideas laid out, especially in regards to climate change, the TPP, and the NEXUX system. All this talk might be just that. Talk.

In a world where building connections and bridges between nations would benefit everyone and make the world a smaller place, Brexit has shown us that many still want to build walls. Hell, that’s one of the reasons that Trump became so popular in the first place, and he’s suggesting a literal wall, not just a metaphoric one. Free trade is akin to a four letter word among both left and right wing demagogues. A war still rages in Mexico over a fail drug policy that’s been in affect for decades. Income inequality still rises in the United States.

Saying yes to change is difficult. It means challenging laws, it means reconfiguring systems of thought, it requires ideals to malleable, it needs research and discussion and planning. On the other hand, saying no is easy. It means there’s no need to grow, to learn, to evolve. Building a bridge is difficult, especially if you’re going to be bringing a lot of people over it. You need engineers, and planners, and lawyers, and construction experts. Building a wall is easier. You need steel and concrete and time to build a bridge that would allow a car to pass over it. If you want to stop a car with a wall, all you need to do is put some shit in front of it.

Brick_wall_close-up_view.jpg

All I had to do was put up some bricks and some mortar, and BOOM, car problem solved.²

Maybe that’s my issue with the meeting of the Three Amigos. They’re talking about how to build bridges, when the discussion that should be taking place is this; why does everyone want to start building walls?

Walls don’t work. Walls are meant to keep baddies out, and they rarely succeed. And in the process of trying to keep the baddies out, you end up stifling the flow of information. In a world where information is power, it’s strange to see everyone give that up for a sense of false security.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s.In a perfect world, they would have all taken time to have an old fashioned wrastle

¹ © Reuters/Chris Wattie

² Image taken from Wikimages

Still Blinded by Straight White Privilege

I was about the write off the recent attacks as an isolated event, another crazy person with access to weaponry he shouldn’t have. The attacks were an issue with American guns laws. I told everyone this would happen again, it might be a school, like the Sandy Hook murders, it could happen in a movie theatre, like it did in Aurora. I wanted to pin this on something other than hate against a marginalized community. I started reading a bunch of hateful Twitter posts about retribution from God, and I wrote it off. I heard second hand of a local Christian man who’s decided to side with the shooter on this one, and I put it aside. I didn’t really think of the fact that the streets were being painted at the crosswalk in rainbow, and that Pride was happening locally soon. And it wasn’t until I sat down and read through the comments of my last blog, when it hit me; every single person that commented on it was a straight white male.

The attacks that took place were an attack against the LGBTQ community, and I made the mistake of trying to appropriate that elsewhere. To write it off as anything else was arrogant of me. To think that such a close knit community wouldn’t be reeling after a tragedy like this was ignorant. For that I apologize.

Anyone with a heart and a conscience has got to be feeling something these last few days, and everyone seems to be reacting differently. Some people are mourning, some are angry, some are frustrated. Some are also joyful, thinking this brutal act of hate is justified, that somehow the love between two people is more of an affront to humanity than the ending of a human life. And that’s what the LGBTQ community stands for, love and the right to love. It’s sickening to think there’s a vocal group of people who would rather see bloodshed than two men kiss.

In my haste, like many others, I was looking for a reason to why this happened, and I chose gun control. Other’s picked terrorism, some chose mental illness. There was a lot of things we could point to, to take our minds off the idea that the queer community is still vulnerable and still under threat. I wanted to think we were past that, the old guard who held that banner of homophobia was dying and that things were progressing. I still think things are getting better, and progress is being made, but after thinking about it long and hard, I had the sober realization we still have a long way to go as a society. The shooter was three years younger than I am. To think the old guard hasn’t left an impression on new generations was an naïve ideal.

It wasn’t long ago that being gay was a crime in this part of the world, where the treatment was rehabilitation, therapy. People were rehabilitated violently, and were subjected to chemical therapy. Love between two people was outlawed and met with violence and death. And it’s still illegal in much of the world, still outlawed, still met with vicious confrontation and murder. It seems so mind boggling backwards that love is not only looked down upon, but endures homicidal fury.

While debating whether owning a gun was a right or a privilege, I forgot that the opportunity to love someone else is a privilege, not a right in this world. That I have the privilege of being able to walk down the street without having the word faggot or dyke lobbed in my direction. That I have the privilege of being able to say “I love you” to someone I care about without having to look over my shoulder or mutter under my breath. That I have the privilege not to be a target because of my sexuality. These are privileges I take for granted. After the recent attacks, maybe I shouldn’t be so callous to give my opinion on a privilege that not everyone has access to.

All around the world, people are holding sigils to honour the dead and remember lose who have lost their lives to this tragedy. Maybe tomorrow, instead of getting on my soapbox to give out my opinion and ask hard question, I’ll try listening to someone else’s opinion and questions instead.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m still going to write something tomorrow, but goddamnit, I’m going to pick something that isn’t a tragedy.

p.s.s. All kinds of hugs to people out there. I’m hoping tomorrow is a sunnier day.