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USA Flag 1992The year is 2018. Ten months have passed since The Impeachment. The turmoil has all but subsided. Normalcy has been restored.

A woman strolls peacefully through the park. Serenity.

*DING* A clarion bell cuts through the pacific. She stops. Her face tenses ever so slightly. It’s a sound she knows well. A sound from another time. A news alert.

She slides a trembling hand down into her front pants pocket. She braces. Inhale. Exhale.

The woman takes out her phone. Her eyes creep slowly downward. Down toward the screen.

But there is nothing there. A sigh of relief. No push notification. Just the time. 11:08 AM. Eleven o’eight. 11. 8.

She feels the pallor begin to settle in, the suns warmth ebb, the daylight mute. Silence. Gray. Then, *CLAMOR*.

People everywhere. She’s surrounded. Pussy hats and poster boards dance around her. The crowd’s current picks her up and moves her forward. She must get out. She fights cross stream, making for the edge. Kicking, clawing. She casts aside one last bullhorn and breaks free.

The woman stops to catch her breath. She feels a cold tingle atop her head. She reaches out her hand. Icy precipitation tickles her palm. Snowflakes.

The cold spell is fleeting, replaced quickly by heat. The woman falls back as a meteor aflame strikes the ground before her. She gets up and inspects the smoking crater. One word: “BREAKING”.

The woman makes a mad dash as a torrent of fiery chyrons rain down around her. Race. Bob. Weave. Punditry thunders from the heavens as the woman tiptoes her way through the minefield of lower-thirds. Finally, she escapes, scrambling into the refuge of a nearby building.

Doubled over, she gasps for air. She gazes down at floor, exhausted. Her frantic visage reflected back to her in the golden tile.

She looks up. She is in a lobby. A front desk. A potted plant. A luggage cart. All ostentatiously gilt with Midas-ian restraint. As it dawns on the woman the lion’s den into which she’s wandered, her ears pique. Nasally breaths she recognizes underscored by an anthem she does not: “Rossiya – svyashchennaya nasha derzhava / Rossiya – lyubimaya nasha strana“. The stench of ketchup and steak fills her nostrils. From atop an escalator, a shadowy figure descends.

“No. No. It can’t be. You’re not- You’re supposed to be-” The monster approaches closer and closer, its grotesque figure becoming more and more apparent. Its leathery tangerine hide. Its droopy, vile mug.

The woman can barely muster, “Why aren’t you locked away?”

The beast draws its elbows in, its talons out. It bellows, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

The woman: “Impossible. Y- You were vanquished.”

“That’s fake news.”

The beast unveils a hidden object and hoists it high. The severed head of the Hero Mueller. “We’re going to make America great again,” cries the beast.

The woman shrieks, “Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!”

Blackout.

The woman wakes, still screaming. She wipes the sweat from her brow and looks around.

She is back in the park. It was just a nightmare. America is great again.

*DING*

I was going to apply for the Late Night Writer’s Workshop, but didn’t finish the required application material in time. Here’s some of the topical monologue jokes I might have used if I actually had my shit together.

  • A 4-year-old in Delaware requested that Darth Vader attend her adoption ceremony. The proceedings got very complicated when the Sith Lord told the girl he was her father.
  • A top Obama adviser applauded the president for having a scandal-free presidency. All of those scandals were shot down by drone.
  • An Irish surgeon discovered a new organ in the human body. It’s the 2nd discovery of a new organ by an Irishman after the 1964 finding of the marshmallow heart in me Lucky Charms.
  • A Michigan man tried to hire 2 fellow inmates to murder his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately for the man, the inmates he hired were a con man and a loiterer.
  • Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen said that Trump was like Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. “When’s the funeral?” you asked, a tad too excitedly.
  • Jenny McCarthy said Mariah Carey should stop blaming everyone else for her New Years Eve debacle. Everyone that is except for vaccines.
  • MMA fans were disappointed that the highly-awaited bout between Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes lasted only 48 seconds. For their significant others, on the other hand, 48 seconds of disappointment was par for the course.
  • In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump said that the “One China” policy was negotiable. Trump is opposed to “One China” because, as he sees it, more Chinas equals more ties.
  • The Ringling Bros circus will close after 146 years. Don’t feel too sorry for the circus performers. They’ve already lined up jobs within the Trump administration.
  • A 12-year-old boy in New York held a girl at gunpoint after she refused to give him a chicken nugget. Authorities confiscated the lethal material. And then they took away the gun.
  • Ryan Seacrest got stuck in a broken down elevator under Times Square prior to hosting Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. This was actually intentional as Ryan Seacrest can’t do anything until “right after the break”.
  • Trump’s new presidential limousine will be bullet-proof, armed with weapons, and stocked with bottles of Trump’s blood type in case of emergency. Donald Trump’s blood type, of course, is B Negative.
  • According to Business Insider, Taco Bell is one of America’s healthiest fast food chains. Taco Bell is better for you because it spends the least amount of time inside of the body.
  • A White House guest was bitten on the face by the Obama’s younger dog Sunny. The last time a visitor was bitten by a dog in the White House was August of 2013 when Bo bit, then human, Sunny.
  • A dossier from a former MI6 operative alleges that Donald Trump hired prostitutes to perform “golden showers” in a Moscow hotel room. These claims are unverified, but they do make sense. Trump would favors piss-play because we all know he can’t handle being shit on.

christmas_candle_snowman_with_lightsChristmas songs are a time-honored tradition. Every year, these classic tunes invade the radio waves and fill us with holiday cheer. But like any tradition, they can get stale. As humanity has progressed into the 21st century, these carols have largely stayed the same. Here are a few “2016” updates for some beloved holiday classics:

  • White Christmas and/or Christmas of Color
  • Frosty the Snowperson
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, -women, and -gender Non-Conforming People
  • We Three Kings of Asian Descent Are
  • I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus
  • I Saw Mommies Kissing Santa Claus
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, And Daddy Was Perfectly Okay With It Because They Are In An Open Relationship
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Effeminate Male
  • Rudolph the Reindeer Who Isn’t Defined By His Appearance
  • Rockin’ Around the Object That Corresponds to Whichever Holiday I Celebrate at This Time of Year or Perhaps Nothing at All
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? Maybe Not. Some People Have Hearing Impairments.
  • Nuttin’ for Christmas Is Perfectly fine. There’s No Shame In Ejaculation.
  • What Child Is This? I Cannot Tell Because I Do Not Wish To Make Generalized Assumptions
  • Let It Snow Only If You Also Want to Be Snowed Upon
  • Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. But Grandpa Was Equally As Likely To Be Run Over By That Reindeer.
  • Away in a Mxnger
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside, But If You Wish To Leave, I Will Respect Your Decision. Also I’m Sorry For Calling You “Baby”. I Didn’t Mean to Infantilize You.

socialmedia-pm

Anyone who’s ever met me knows that I’m a fairly quiet person. In contrast, I’m comparatively outspoken on social media. I don’t shy away from talking about politics and social issues; I try to call things out as I see necessary. Some people, I’m sure, find this annoying or overly antagonistic. It’s likely that I’ve been unfollowed and unfriended as a result. The reason I vocalize on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is because I feel a certain responsibility to do so. I’m by no means the most qualified or knowledgeable person, though I try to make my assertions as informed and logically sound as possible. But I feel that voicing one’s opinion is the only way to incite change.

A lot of people are upset about the results of the election, myself included. And that’s warranted. What we need to realize is that a large part of what enabled such a dire situation of hate and of bigotry is insularity and homogeneity. The environment in which one is raised matters a great deal. It can be easy to write people off as “bad” or “evil” or “stupid”, but that’s very reductionist. Their lack of respect and empathy and open-mindedness likely stems from the fact that the people who raised them, who educated them, who instilled in them their sense of identity and morality lacked those very same aspects. Ignorance is not inherent but inherited. Hate is learned. And it grows and festers and consumes when unchecked. When you live and breathe hate and are surrounded by other people who do the same, it infects you. When all you know is pollution, you become a pollutant.

The only way to solve a problem is by getting to the root of it. The way to extinguish this hate which threatens the very fabric of our society is not by shooting down the infected but by clearing the air itself. Perhaps if these people were brought up in a more open, diverse, loving environ, they would’ve turned out much differently. Perhaps if they were raised surrounded by people who looked different, and who sounded different, and who held different perspectives, they too would turn out “different”. And perhaps if you were raised in the uniform ignorance they were raised in, you would’ve turned out like them.

While I did grow up in the liberal bastion of California, I did it in the notoriously conservative region of the Central Valley. Most of the people I grew up with held bigoted views. And it always made me uncomfortable because, fortunately, I was raised by an incredibly tolerant and open-minded mother. I was taught to show respect to all other people regardless of their background. I owe it to her that the intolerant world I walked through as a child did not shape me in the way it shaped those around me. As I moved to LA for college, that sense of open-mindedness only grew, but in those crucial formative years, she was my glimpse, my window into love, compassion, and acceptance.

And that’s why I post on social media and encourage you to do the same: to be that window for someone else. If we are truly going to change our nation for the better, we need to speak up. We need to let our intentions – our thoughts, feelings, and dreams – be known. People with archaic views see in black and white. It’s the only way they can see unless someone else injects color into their worldview. They need to be exposed to new ideas. They need to be challenged. When there is no objection to their intolerance, they assume that you are complicit in their madness. Silence is death. We must be proactive. We must be unafraid, unflinching. Sure, it can be massively uncomfortable to speak up and confront others, and you might worry that it could ruin relationships. But what is even more uncomfortable is living in a world ruled by bigotry and hate, where we fear for the well-beings of our friends and family. And those relationships you don’t want to risk straining? They are already broken. Because transparency and honesty and communication are vital to the success of any true human connection.

Maybe what I say on social media won’t change anything. It likely hasn’t. It’s very probable that I have changed no one’s mind. But I have to try. We have to try. It’s the only way things can get better. If we don’t try, there is no hope, only the status quo. We cannot be afraid of failure because we have already failed. If we don’t try, loss is a foregone conclusion. We cannot be scared to have an opinion. We cannot be scared to have an identity because if we are, someone else will provide it for us. We must use our voices and our platforms, however small, to create a dialogue. We must make it known that there are many voices in this conversation. We must make them realize the diversity and strength of our conviction. We must disrupt insularity and homogeneity: in pockets of the South, where there isn’t a person-of-color around for miles as well as in California, where our own liberal brand of insularity blinded us from the reality of a Trump presidency. America lost because of the uneducated. We are all uneducated.

Speak up.

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