Twenty-Five Blackbirds, part three

First was Jenny darling, apple of all eyes.

On swift and careless wings did she fly to her demise.

Young Diego tripped and fell upon the ground,

Several hungry wolves made sure that he was never found.

It was many years since the Tin soldier last was spry.

He could not evade, so in his armor he did fry.


Ah, Tin. What is there to say? He is scary, scary even to us. Tin, the Tin Soldier, the Toy, the Last Man standing, the Broken Arm, his titles go on and on. I think at one point, he was actually made a Marquis or some such.

Tin is a monster, a giant encased in steel. He stands easily seven, seven and a half feet tall, and his armor is solid despite the rust. He was our dragonslayer, the triumphant veteran. A hero, to be feasted in halls and taverns alike, never removing his armor due to some knightly vow or another. At least, that’s what he told people. We knew better of course, that there’s nothing but the armor.

Still, he is our insurance. When our work is done, they come to the hero that just happens to have been passing through, and he swears to go and stop us. When he returns, they rejoice, Tin’s legend grows, and any who think that there’s something wrong with the rescued folk are waved off as fools.

His ability is strange and multi-faceted, but the part you need to worry about is this: He can’t fall until all of his companions have. He is the Last Man Standing, always. Naturally, he goes in first as a result. Once engaged, he can’t really be beaten, only delayed, because he never tires, never falters, not while there is someone else that still fights.

That’s how they caught him, you know. When we were discovered, he was doused in oil and set alight. He just kept fighting, burning all the while. In retrospect, the fire probably caused more damage than he did. But when they nailed the last of us down, he just fell apart. Literally. The armor fused, joints melted together, and Tin became a jumble of red-hot metal.

What? Oh, no, of course I’m not contradicting myself. Dead Jenny doesn’t fall under the purview of his power. She’s already dead. Point of fact, she’s died by falling several times.

Oh, you meant me? Well… I’m not one of his companions. I’ll get to that. It’s complicated.

Why I, a Sanders Supporter, am going to vote Hillary: It’s not about us any more

*Sigh* Here we go. The post that I never wanted to write. I have been thinking this particular bit over since the primaries first started seeming a bit one- sided.

I want Bernie Sanders’ revolution. I would love for it to start with a surprise presidency this election.

That doesn’t seem likely.

So if a Bernie Sanders presidency isn’t going to happen this election, what does that leave us with? Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and a slew of 3rd-party candidates without even the slightest hope of winning this particular election.

So, Clinton or Trump. There is only one answer for this. It has to be Clinton.

Mind, I don’t actually like Hillary Clinton. I don’t believe that she has many strong opinions that aren’t first carefully weighed by her campaign team to see how they will play to various constituents. I do believe that she is strongly influenced by major corporations that will “suggest” certain policies that her cabinet will no doubt adopt.

I don’t believe that she is evil incarnate. I don’t believe that her statements against the LGBTQ community in years past should be held against her when her current policies are leaning towards acceptance. People are allowed to change, and to change their minds. Politicians have to, or else get buried as newer candidates more in-line with the public’s thoughts take the stage. I do absolutely believe that Hillary is shamelessly pandering to stay relevant.

I will emphasize this next bit for importance.


Here’s why:

By and large, the election of the U.S. President is determined by simple majority. Electoral College notwithstanding. We need to get rid of that, in my opinion, but that is for another time.

A vote for Hillary is +1 point to Hillary, -1 point to Donald Trump. Net +2 gain for the side of human decency. A vote for a third-partier, by comparison, is -1 to Hillary and -1 to Trump, net 0 in the election that matters.

Voting third-party in this upcoming election is the same as not voting.

A third-party candidate will not win this upcoming election. The third parties of the U.S. simply do not have the support, either in different levels of government or in popular eyes, to get anywhere near the voter base needed to be a credible threat to the major parties. They are operating under the faulty logic that the Presidency wins all, rather than trying to get appreciable strength in local elections and Congress. The failings of third parties are a discussion for another time.

Trump is dangerous. Trump is DANGEROUS. There are numerous reasons for why he is a danger for the people of not only the U.S., but the whole world. That, amazing as it is, is not hyperbole.

The fact of the matter is this:


I am a young adult white male. Ignoring my political, sexual, economic, and religious aspects, the worst thing I personally would have to look forward to in a Trump presidency would be the fall of the economy and getting drafted.

Any number of people I know would be in legitimate danger of losing their lives.

I’m not talking about international terrorism, global war, or economic starvation.

I’m talking about all-natural, home-grown American hate.

Trump has repeatedly defended the actions of his supporters while they have legitimately assaulted or murdered people for having different skin tones, or loving people of the same gender, or presenting as their true gender, or simply being destitute within a certain distance of a privileged neighborhood.

Trump did not create these people. He simply reached out a hand to them and said, “You are in the right. You are right to feel this way about others. Your actions against them are correct. I share your views, and I am allowed to run for president. Join me, and we will live the American Dream.”

These people already existed. They are in every state, in every county of the U.S., and Trump is offering them legitimacy. They are crawling out of the darkest corners of U.S. history, from places where there beliefs are fostered, cherished, shared. If Trump wins, they can point to the White House and say that their actions now have the backing of the highest office in the U.S.

I have personal friends who’s lives are already in danger from the actions of these bigots. If Trump were to win, if he were to stack the highest courts with his nominees and fill Congress with his supporters, then there is no guarantee that my friends would even have a legal right to live.

Is it fair? No. Is it legal? No.

Donald Trump has shown no respect for truth, legality, or proper procedure. There is no reason to think that he would start once in the White House.

There are literally millions of people out there who I don’t know, but whose circumstances match those of my friends.


People’s lives are at stake. No ideology is worth risking the lives of literally millions of our fellow humans, many of whom won’t have a say in whether their lives are put on the line.

The fact of the matter is this: Hillary Clinton is not nearly as secure in her position as future president as her campaign makes her out to be. We, the Bernie Sanders supporters, need to rally behind her. Not because of her politics. Not because of her personally.

Because we care about human lives. Because we care about human dignity.


So, please, for the love of all that is humane, don’t cast a “protest vote.” Let Brexit be a recent and telling example of just how tenuous elections can be.

We can still have our revolution. Come Midterm elections, there are an absolutely absurd number of seats becoming open. We elect the ulta-liberals. We elect the democratic socialists. We elect the scientists. We elect the free-thinkers. We elect the people who carry on the dream of Bernie Sanders’ revolution.

Controlling Congress is just as, if not more, important than controlling the Presidency. Given the right Congress, we could push Hillary’s U.S.A. in a far more progressive direction than it is currently leaning. That wouldn’t be possible with Trump.

Voting for Jill Stein or one of the other third-party candidates might seem like an option, but it does nothing to help stop Trump. Sure, you might not be voting for Racism, Bigotry, Lies, Fear-mongering, Hatred, etc. But by refusing to vote against it, you are saying that it is OK. That its existence is less important than your personal moral high ground.

That moral high ground will not be quite so high if Trump wins due to drawing away support from the only legitimate opposition.

Frankly, in an ideal world, I want Jill Stein to back out. To send her supporters to Clinton. Let the Green Party try to get a few people in Congress in order to bring up environmental policy. If she continues in the election, trying to get the 5% vote to get federal funding, then she and her party are prioritizing money for future campaigning over those human lives.

Trump is not an option. Hillary is the only real opposition. So it has to be Hillary.

I will not be the person who walks up to a black family and tells them that their lives are worth less than my political stance.

I beg you all to not be that person either.


Twenty-Five Blackbirds, part two

First was Jenny darling, apple of all eyes.

On swift and careless wings did she fly to her demise.

Young Diego tripped and fell upon the ground,

Several hungry wolves made sure that he was never found.

Diego is the youngest of us. He had been around far longer than I. Don’t give me that look, that’s just how it works. He is Young Diego of the Shining Eyes. So regardless of how many of us moved on or joined, he was always going to be the kid. Of course, last I saw, they put the nail in one of his shiners, so he might be Young Diego One-eyed now. Hard to say.

In any case, Diego’s trick was the standard will-o’-the-wisp gambit, but with a twist. You’ve heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? Yeah, those stories started because of Diego. Folk nowadays have it in their head that they are supposed to be cautionary tales against lying. Used to be that they were warnings against a much more physical threat.

See, years past, Diego would pull his routine, be the little boy on the edge of town, crying about the monsters coming to take the herds. When they farmers rushed out to fend off the wolves, the mist would close in. Then Diego would lead them on a merry chase, dancing about as they tried to follow his shining peepers through the bog. The lucky ones fell and woke up the next day with a bump on their heads. The unlucky ones were never heard from again. Diego has a bit of a nasty streak.

Those stories started as a precaution, saying it was better to lose a sheep or two than follow the cries of wolf into the night. Of course, they’ve had much less to worry about since Diego got bored and found our service, but the lesson remains. Or doesn’t, since the meaning has become twisted with retelling.

I can’t rightly say what caused Diego to join us. His methods are pretty straightforward though. Cry wolf in the night, and we get in and out unnoticed while the villagers are stumbling about in the fog. Which may be created by Diego, or summoned when he’s playing his trick, or maybe he even becomes the fog. I never was quite sure, but didn’t bother to ask. It worked.

In any case, if you are undertaking this task, know that you must always stick to the roads while travelling. If an unnatural fog sweeps over your camp, stay put and wait for morning. Whatever you do, don’t follow the lights.