A Few Post Election Thoughts…

It’s been about a day since it became clear to me that Donald Trump was going to become the next President of the United States. Despite what the polls were saying, I knew there was a chance—this wasn’t a complete shock to me—but like many I truly thought Hillary would win the presidency. If you know me, you know that’s what I wanted. I believe she was truly qualified to hold our highest office. In fact, I supported her when she ran against Obama in 2008. But like so many others, I believed Donald Trump to be dangerous. I still do. And I’m sad, angry and more than a little scared that he won. That’s where I’m at right now.

But here’s also where I’m at right now. We can’t do anything about what happened. We can learn from it and we can prepare ourselves for at least four years of challenges and sadly, steps in the wrong direction. We can support, help and stand up for our fellow Americans, particularly in the face of hatred. We can make donations to the causes that we believe in. And we can comfort each other during the scary times. Because, my friends, it IS going to get scary at times.

But there’s one other thing that I plan to do. Plenty of Trump’s support came from hate groups. We really need to be honest with ourselves about that. But we also need to be honest about the fact that MOST of his support did not. In fact, many people who voted for him did so with little enthusiasm. Remember, he was one of the most unpopular candidates in history (unfortunately, so was Hillary). For many people, he really was the lesser of two evils. Personally, I don’t understand how someone can see a person who has said and done the things Trump has as a lesser evil than Hillary, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect you if you do.

I have a lot of concerns regarding the state of our nation, but one of my biggest is how divided we are. I’ve seen a lot of tweets or Facebook posts over the past 24 hours telling people to unfollow them or unfriend them if they supported Trump. Well, for myself, that’s not what I want. I’m not sure how many Trump voters are following me on Twitter or have friended me on Facebook, but if you’re one of them, please don’t unfollow me. Clearly you’ve put up with all of my pro-Clinton posts over the past six months, which suggests you’re tolerant of other views. That’s a good thing. In fact, considering the state we’re in, I’d say it’s a great thing. And I need to get better at this myself.

If you voted for Trump, I will likely never agree with your politics and you probably won’t agree with mine, but I can still respect them and try to understand them. We can both strongly feel differently about something and still engage with each other, be friendly, and ultimately agree to disagree. That’s what I see missing in so much of the social media discourse on both sides, and don’t kid yourself if you’re more liberal like I am, we liberals are as bad about it as conservatives. I get that many people are angry—like I said, I am too—but that anger can’t warp us into seeing citizens who disagree with us as our enemy.

So yes, if you’re a Trump voter who didn’t vote out of hate (let’s be clear, I have zero respect for racism or sexism), but still feel like Trump better reflects your beliefs than Hillary did, don’t unfollow me and don’t be afraid to express your disagreement if I tweet something politically that you disagree with. You’re not likely to change my opinion and I realize I’m unlikely to change yours, but we can still remain friendly with each other. As Americans, we need to understand other perspectives, even if we don’t agree with them. Otherwise, we’ll never be able to work together, and it’ll always be a fight, with the side out of power angry and hateful toward the side in power. That will literally tear our country apart. If our nation has any chance of healing this divide—and I realize that if it’s even possible, it’s going to take a while—it needs to start at the personal level. And I intend to do my part.

Clearing the Cobwebs

There was a time, not that long ago, that I used to edit comic books. I started as a staff editor at the now defunct Tokyopop, then entered the world of freelance contract editing. Which, as it turns out, isn’t much of a world. It’s more like a small town in south Kansas. But I made my home there for a few years, working on fun comics like Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal and Labyrinth until my financial obligations required me to move on to something else.

There was a time, also not long ago, that I used to blog here pretty regularly. But as you can see by the date in the entry below this one, I haven’t done that in quite some time. In this case, however, I haven’t stopped blogging. In fact, I’ve been blogging quite a bit. I’ve just been doing it on a much higher profile site. For those who don’t know, I’m currently the full-time content editor for the DC Comics and Vertigo blogs, which means that instead of editing comics, I’m now editing and writing site features. You can see some of my more recent entries here, if you’re curious.

If you know all this, you may think I’m filling space by stating the obvious, but there seem to be a good many people who don’t know what I’ve been doing. That became clear to me a couple of months ago when I finally added my current job—which I’ve been at for over two years now—to my LinkedIn profile. I must have received at least three dozen messages congratulating me on the gig. If you were one of the people who sent one, don’t worry. You were in really good company.

This didn’t surprise me. This is partly because you can’t add so much as a comma to your LinkedIn profile without it blasting it to all of your connections, but mainly I don’t expect anyone short of my parents to follow my career. You have your own life to worry about. I don’t expect any of you to give two shits about mine. But if you’re reading this, then you must enjoy my blogging or my writing in general, and I feel I owe it to you to explain why this place has gone without an update for over a year. Which brings us back to my job.

Let’s just say it keeps me busy at a level that took some getting used to. I’ve worked long hours in the past, but this is the first time that almost every single one of those hours has been spent tapping on a keyboard. Hey, writing is what I do, it’s what I enjoy and it’s what I’m best at, but it can certainly tire you out. I come home mentally drained fairly regularly and the last thing I want to do is spend more time in front of a computer.

But that’s a problem because while I enjoy the writing I do for DC (and it really is a lot of fun), it’s not MINE. It’s theirs and more to the point, it’s largely promotional. I try to take a creative or informative approach, but when you get right down to it, I’m part of their marketing team. So I’m making an effort to carve out at least a little time each week for writing that’s strictly for me. For now, it’ll be primarily blogging, but who knows where it’ll go from here. There are more comics, prose and plays within me, and they’ve been screaming to get out for a while. And they’re really fucking irritating, at times. Seriously, if I can get them to shut up for a few weeks, that alone will be worth it.

So yes, I’m clearing out the rats and spiders who have taken residence here since I left it to stagnate. (I actually like spiders and have kept rats as pets, but neither are interesting blog subjects.) Instead, I’ll be writing about movies, TV, sports, life in Los Angeles, relationships, single parenthood, health, spirituality… Basically, whatever interests me on a given day. I’ll also continue to write about comics and the industry as a whole. These past few years certainly haven’t made me any less opinionated or frustrated at the mistakes I see made time and again in the comic book industry and community.

I’ll do my best to make it all interesting in hope that you’ll do your best to stop by here every once in a while. But whether you do or not, I’m determined to keep this blog a lot fresher than it’s been because while there may have been a time I edited comics and updated this site regularly and it may not have been all that long ago, it doesn’t matter. What matters, is what I do with it now.

Some Thoughts on Space Shuttles and Sunsets

Today, I watched with much of my office as the space shuttle Endeavor flew over our building in Burbank. It was an undeniably cool moment. Certainly an exciting one, but there was also a little sadness mixed in there for me.

Not many people know this, but as a young child, I lived for a couple of years in Lompoc, CA. My father found a job in the town, and we moved there with him at the very tail end of the 70s. If you’ve been there, you’ll know that there’s really not much in Lompoc. It’s largely a military town, and my family isn’t a military one, so it was strange that we moved there. But as a very young boy on the brink of the Reagan years, it was about the coolest place on earth.

The reason is that Lompoc is only a few miles away from Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is why it’s a military town. And Vandenberg, for those of you who don’t know, was a huge part of our nation’s then very thriving space program. I remember being woken up by my father on more than one occasion back then to watch various rockets taking off and missiles being launched (which when you’re four years old, is pretty darn cool). I could see them from my bedroom window. From my window! Admittedly, I don’t remember much else from that early in my life, but I remember that.

At such a young age, I had no basis of comparison when it came to things like rocket launches. For all I knew, watching rockets enter space from your bedroom was something that every kid did in the morning, as common as eating breakfast. I didn’t know that this was something that was pretty rare until I got a bit older, and by then we had moved away.

Outside of the various launches, I really only remember one more thing about that time in my life, and it’s largely why I wanted to see the shuttle today. In the seventies, Vandenberg was selected to become the west coast’s launch and landing site for the space shuttle. As far as I can tell, it was never used as such, but at one point while I was living there, they had one of the space shuttles—I’m assuming Columbia, though I can’t say I know for sure—at the base. And at one point, people of the community were invited to come down and see it.

Now, when I say see it, I don’t mean see it from a distance. I mean, go right on up to it and take a look inside, the same way you might look in an old WWII bomber at an air show. The memory’s a bit hazy, but I can recall being held up to get a good peek inside by one of my parents, and I was surprised by how small everything was inside.

Yes, friends, I’ve actually been in the space shuttle, and my reaction was being slightly underwhelmed. I did mention being young and having no perspective, right?

The point is that now I do. I realize that was something fairly rare. Something that by any standard is pretty darn cool. I realize that I was lucky to be there at that point in time, just as I was lucky to be in a place where I could see the Endeavor fly by overhead today. Seeing the space shuttle so up close and personal as a tyke is one of my earliest memories, and while I never harbored serious dreams of becoming an astronaut, I do attribute those early years for my love of science fiction and appreciation and support of our space program.

Soon, it sounds like everyone will have a chance to see the space shuttle the way that I did, and I hope people take advantage of it. But it’ll be a look back in time, not a look forward, which is what it was when I was a child. These things matter when we’re talking about exploration. The point of exploration is to chart new territory. We should always been looking forward when it comes to space.

I realize things change, and privatizing space exploration and travel makes sense. I’m all in favor of it if it’ll get up back up in space. But the space shuttle’s been flying almost as long as I’ve been alive, so seeing it take one last flight is an emotional thing for me. It’s been a very rough flight at time, but it’s always been our link to the stars. It’s been the closest thing we have to an Enterprise or Millenium Falcon, and now it’s gone.

So goodbye, Endeavor, and farewell, space shuttle program! Yes, you didn’t literally fly off into the sunset, but that’s okay. I think when you’ve been to outer space, that’s no longer necessary.