Tag Archives: politics

Decisions…Decisions…

Friends,

I don’t know for sure who I’m going to vote for in the upcoming Canadian election, but I can say with some certainty it won’t be Liberal, NDP or Green.

I have values which are important to me and I’m not satisfied/convinced that they will be maintained/upheld by furthering/increasing the erosion of Canadian standards for the sake of inclusivity. What do I mean by erosion of standards? Well, it’s an erosion by standards by inference. Let me explain:

In the miost metaphysical (most true) sense, I maintain that standards and inclusivity have an inverse correlation; I don’t think can be disputed. My positions on everything in day-to-day (such as they are) may seem unfeeling, but I try to make them consistent on every lower level with the truth as I perceive it on the highest, most abstract level. If you can accept that idea, would you say standards or inclusivity have been prioritized over the last few years in Canada? 

Definitely inclusivity. And this is not a bad thing, as life is a balancing act, a dynamic tension if you will, and when things get too elitist we need to be more inclusive. However, when things get too inclusive, like for example when men are invading female spaces and the general population is being forced under law to speak woords which they don’t believe, then I think we need to amp up our standards.

We need a rebalancing This is why we are in practice (if not in theory) a two party system: the Canadian “personality” has two sides most aptly represented by Lib and Cons, which is why power tends to go back and forth between them.

I don’t put a lot of stock in politics or politicians as a rule, so before any further discussion let’s just say that by way of a baseline assumption on my part.

That said, if there is any relevance and I decide to go through the whole democratic charade, I am going to vote for my personal best interests.

Why?

Because groups don’t suffer, individuals suffer. So the public good, even assuming that Orange/Red/Green are better for it (which, I’m not convinced), is not of as much consequence to me as the individual good.

The group must unite, but under the banner of the individual. To that point, I think that it iserves my own personal best interests to vote for the party which would benefit me the most. If this is racist, then it is more of an indictment of the system of democracy than of the system of me. (P.S. I don’t think I’m racist).

I am a brother to anyone who will have me, but the people who want me as a brother only when they need my vote but want me to internalize guilt and self-hatred the rest of the time? No. Take me all the time and never hold my perceived privilege against me. 

As fqr as privilege goes, there are three main types of privilege which trump everything and nobody seems to want to talk about them: Two undivorced parents, financial security, and physical attractiveness. To this we might add IQ, but as that is a function of childhood nutrition in many regards it seems a function of the former two forms of privilege mentioned.

With regard to my side ‘winning’ the election versus feeling the need to sacrifice my interests for demographic groups that see me as an oppressor, I will quote Jordan Peterson for the third time: I’m not gonna feel guilty and lose; I’m gonna get cruel and win.

And if I get beaten, no big deal: I’ve licked my finger and stuck it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing; I will find a way to make it work. If I can’t then trust that I have (like everyone should) formulated a contingency plan to put myself in a place more in line with my values; a place where I amvalued and accepted as a brother all year and every day.

Like Tupac said, “Me Against the World.”

And like Malcolm X said, “I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don’t believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.”

Treat me like an equal and dispense with marginalizing me for sex, orientation, skin color, etc. and then we can talk.

Til that day…

Love to all, including myself. And if that loses me friends, well then we all lose.

Friends,
-Andre

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Pyramid of Truth

Friends,

When it comes to human perception and comprehension, I think absolute truth is mostly unknowable. We tend to float around the truth with approximations of it shaded by our own biases, perspective and rigor in pursuing knowledge on that tack. If there is a fixed, universal truth, we may as well consider it an unreachable, imperceptible ideal which we strive toward in what is essentially an act of faith. We simply don’t have the faculties to perceive/comprehend it, though we can get closer and infinitely closer approximations of it.

Honestly though, we could almost consider this inability to reach/perceive/comprehend truth a mercy, for imagine how much difficulty we would have if, grasping the complete truth we tried to communicate it to our fellows. Rare is the individual who can communicate the truth of something without bias and rarer still the one who can listen and hear without objection.

Instead, I think that human perceptions of truth in any realm are like looking up at the top of a pyramid -where you stand around the base might give you a view of the north, south, east and west-facing aspects of the top (and that might be considered your politics/religion/school of thought/prejudices on that issue). But the higher you advance upward from that position at the base, in that linear mindset? Your view of the truth/tip stays the same (though maybe the fine details get clearer)

Think about it; the only way to gain a more complete view of the tip is to walk around the base. To carry the analogy further, this is akin to holding, and perhaps even arguing, different positions to experientially understand their truth. A simple example, might be a lifelong Marxist vs. an someone who became Marxist after spending most of their life as a Rational Choice Individualist: in this scenario, who might be said to have a more complete view of the truth? I would say the latter. It matters little how you move from position and stance throughout your life, what matters instead is how much work and effort you put into understanding each position as you adhere to it.

If you think about each position, you walk around the base.

If you talk about each position, you walk around the mid-portion of the pyramid.

If you do/live/act each position, you traipse about the upper portion with a closer view of each side of the tip.

And whether circling the pyramid at the bottom, middle or top, what happens when you see the pinnacle, the ideal, the tip from all directions? Well, if you can remember accurately how it looked from each perspective you can put together in your mind’s eye a composite image of the entire tip -something that can only be seen in real-time from above as if you were aloft above the pyramid looking down at it. And knowing what the entire tip/truth looks like is at least as good as, if not better than, seeing it.

Isn’t this a transcendence of that particular issue/question/pyramid/hierarchy?

I would say yes.

What I said earlier about the absolute truth being unknowable notwithstanding, there are many microcosmic domains whose pyramids of truth we have ascended and transcended in our individual lives. These are the domains where we might be said to have achieved mastery, or at least something functionally close to it. And even if the idea of inequality implied by ascending the pyramid troubles you due to a commitment to social justice, you can’t deny that as we build up our skills and aptitudes and knowledge, it certainly feels like we are ascending above others.

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The pyramid never ceases to amaze me and enlighten me as a a conceptual tool for understanding the world and complex ideas. If only ancient people had erected pyramids everywhere on the planet to signify how key they were to understanding universal truth.

Best,
-Dre

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Annals of Indolence – 27 NOV 2017

Friends,

Can you still call a bender a bender if there’s no drugs and alcohol involved?

This is what I’m wondering as I’m lying on the couch all night the last few days distracting myself waiting for inspiration to hit like a lightning bolt.

I want to do creative things. I have so many great ideas. I have multiple mediums to express those ideas. Yet for all the inspiration that passes through me, I have been hard-pressed to produce consistently and with follow-through.

Why?

Well for one, my default way to handle inspiration has typically been “write about it,” but I’m out of practice -I haven’t been a prolific writer the last year because I have been away from a computer while backpacking down south. I had a phone but I am loathe to type with my thumbs on a phone so got a little rusty.. That’s probably definitely (sic.) a part of it.

Another part of it is that I just moved to Berlin and my life here so far been so inter-twined with that of my girlfriend, Anne, that I really haven’t had a degree of ‘me-time’ to carve out my own space here and ease in.

One thing that I hope it is not is that I have lost something; some fire that I used to possess which made me post prolifically (often angrily) about matters I cared about. I like to think my convictions have remained consistent but my passions have been tempered with reason and patience.

Is there truth to that? Probably…yes. But I’m also at an age too where people calm down and settle and expect less from the world. I think… I KNOW I have gotten stronger in many ways over the last few years, but I can’t help but feeling I am capitulating by not being angry, or at least passionate like I used to be.

Do I expect less from the world? Do I expect less from myself? Is that appropriate?

I see myself as woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to take the world by storm. I’m not really expert at much, let alone the skills that are most rewarded by society, but fundamentally the problem is deeper than that. It’s a lack of drive because I want for something to believe in. I want something to motivate me to get me excited for each new day. Lately I have been living my life with the mindset, “How can I maximize the safety and inoffensiveness of my existence so that I can prolong my comfort for the longest period of time in the hope that the revolution materializes in the interim?” That’s no way to live and I know it’s against everything I profess to stand for but it’s also a suit that fits well.

So, what do you when the type of living that you’re against is also the type of life you’re really good at? I have perfected living frugally and within my means and managed to find happiness in that. As a student of stoic philosophy I actually think there is something noble about it, but at same time being back in a city makes me feel like I am not being all I can be because I am surrounded by so many high-achievers. It was easy for me to be a relative high-achiever living on a beach the last couple years; if you can make some flyers with an iphone app, open beers, guide people through stretching and bend wire you are a high-achiever. Berlin is a little different and I have felt that I am not really good enough at any one particular thing to make a living at it when there are a hundred other people who focus on that one thing and have become expert at it.

So I’m wondering what do I want to be good at and examining each possible thing critically. Naturally I always find reasons why I shouldn’t be focusing my time on these things. There are so many reasons NOT TO DO things and even the reasons FOR doing things can be taken apart and shown to be meaningless, pointless, self-defeating and paltry.

The only consistent, irrefutable reason TO DO anything always is that it’s inside me and I have to get it out.

I don’t know.

I don’t know if I’m right, if I’m deluding myself, and if this post even makes sense.  I just wanna get back to being good and outspoken again like I used to be.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

 

 

 

 

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Migrant Crisis

Friends,

It’s been a lukewarm minute since I last posted here. Beyond indolence, there was a practical difficulty in that I didn’t have a computer and I absolutely abhor typing with my thumbs.

But no need to labour my absence. Here I am. Back in Canada of all places after 10 months on the road which saw me a tear a righteous strip up and down Arizona with my thumb, have a 4-month, beachfront war of the roses with my ex in Nicaragua, and then spend a similar amount of time in Utila, Honduras getting my divemaster certification (also having my first threesome).

And now I’m back in Canada. Not for long though -in 6 days I’ll be flying to Berlin to move in with my Frau, Anna, whom I met in Honduras. I’m excited to move to Berlin because it will be an opportunity to immerse myself among a critical mass of high-functioning people and see how it affects me.

Also excited to see mein frau -she’s teaching me to speak the German

But how does it feel to be back? Like shit honestly. Everything is falling apart at the seams. I feel unhealthy, depressed, angry, repressed and apprehensive. I don’t wanna be in this fuckin’ country. If I don’t hate it I feel hatred toward it. I didn’t want to come back and it’s only because Canada is kinda on the way to Germany that I decided to stop here.

It hasn’t all been bad of course. For starters I get to see family and friends which is always lovely. Particularly I was fortunate in that my two-week window back here happened to coincide with my cousin Sarah’s wedding


Smaller in stature; Larger in retardation

And of course, I got to see my grandmother, Sheila who has been struggling with cancer for the better part of my absence. After seeing her briefly at the wedding this past Saturday (her first foray out of the hospital since being admitted months ago), I again saw her at the hospital the next day. and we talked and joked in a very familiar way, almost oblivious to the sterile surroundings. As we left, I lingered behind to say what I understood might be my final good-bye to her.
We spoke some more and then I grabbed her hand and smiled -it wasn’t an affected smile trying to fight back tears or hide hurt, but rather a large and genuine smile as one soul may give to another as they part ways after a brief (30 year) and benevolent time together.
She said to me, “I guess this is good-bye for a long time.”
“Yes,” I responded, immediately aware that she was talking about more than just my upcoming departure to Germania.
At that she gave me a kiss and told me to take it with me. After one final squeeze I backed away from her still smiling, feeling more closure and peace than anyone in my position might reasonably expect to feel. She’s right, it is good-bye for a “long time,” but I’l see her again, either in this life or the next.

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The upshot of all this is that I’m ready to be on my way. As I mentioned above, I don’t feel healthy here. Three years ago was the last winter I spent in Canada and my health suffered drastically, partly as a result of the lack of light and probably partly as an indirect result of depression induced by coming out of a major break-up. From what I understand, Berlin’s weather is more comparable to southern Ontario’s weather than it is to Latin America’s and so this gives me pause.
As well as my concern for my own health, I know that in winter people tend to clam up, stay indoors and generally not be as open. I tend shine brightest in the sun and from what I can tell I have more power to uplift those around me in said circumstances. Bearing that in mind I will have to make extra efforts to engage and interact, rather than resign myself to wintry isolation.
I’m scared though.

Another thing that troubles me about being in Canada is the politically-correct culture. It has in the last few years had such a deleterious effect on me and my confidence as a man that repeated excursions to the developing world became a must; Say what you will about Central America and it’s problems with violence and machismo, but at least you can call something what it is without people complaining that you’re being offensive.
This PC culture, or perhaps more accurately this Socially-Sanctioned Self-Delusion, has indeed fallen to the periphery of my awareness in my absence from Canada, but it never quite disappeared as I was always plugged into social media. However, coming back here, even for a brief few weeks I’m sickened by the atrophied spirit of people.
Is it the weather getting people down? Perhaps.
Is it my own projections bringing me down? Likely that too.
Still, there is a resignation that people have to their own inability to say the things they’re inclined to say and act the way they’re inclined to act. I say “inclined” instead of “want” because I get the sense that people have convinced themselves they don’t want to speak truth. I recognize this behaviour because I suffer from it too and I’m trying to recover so perhaps I’m more sensitive to it. Yet even catching snippets of SNL and Seth Meyers I am reminded constantly that ostensible taboos are framed as “I can’t say _____” rather than “If I say ____ there will be consequences.” The latter is true but the former becomes a limiting belief and it’s a limiting belief that is pushed forcefully on the masses. This is perhaps what I object to most: the snarky voice of progressive western culture saying “You can’t do/say that!”
Don’t ever believe anyone when they tell you that you can’t do something -they are misguided devils trying to limit the godliness within you insofar as it finds expression through your voice and hands.
Normally it wouldn’t be too much of a problem cause I’m only here for two weeks, but I’m moving to Berlin which from what I understand is a very “progressive” city, and unfortunately the experiences I’ve had show me that progressiveness often goes hand in hand with repression. So in the same way I’ll have to double my efforts to keep my energy up, I’ll have to double my efforts to speak my own truth. My first order of business will be getting a job chopping vegetables -I need a few weeks of some mundane labour to process all the experiences and info I’ve been gathering over the last two years and I think prep work in a kitchen is the route I’ll go.

Winter is coming. My watch has just begun. But if there is any silver lining, it’s that I understand Germany is quite amenable to unskilled fighting-age males with darker complexions.


This is the face I’ll endeavor to face this new challenge and all new challenges with.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

#MigrantCrisis

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Division of Labor

Friends,

I spent the last month of this past winter in Nicaragua working at Carpe Diem eco-village.

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It’s a project where volunteers can go and live for free in exchange for working roughly four hours every morning on the various eco-friendly construction projects being undertaken there. Given that it is a place where you are learning these processes for free it is actually quite a good deal as you leave the place enriched.

While it is not an intentional community proper, I did learn some things about human behaviour and initiative that I imagine would carry over. As I ultimately hope to live in such a community, I have wondered how people would sort out who does what and what would motivate them to do it when the monetary incentive was removed.

There are two primary lessons I learned:

1) The Culture Dictates Behaviour

Ghislain, the owner and originator of the project described to me how during the first season of the project he attracted a lower calibre of volunteer -people who wanted to come live for free but didn’t much care to fulfill the work obligation, preferring to go out boozing every night and recovering every day. It was an uphill battle, but as a start-up project he had to take what he could get. The larger problem was that when new volunteers would show up they were shown a culture of lazing and idleness and would either be turned off or fall into the same habits.

When this next season began in January he resolved to not indulge such behaviour and even had to ask some returnees to leave after the first day -a difficult choice for someone whose vision demands helpers. But ultimately this discernment paid off as the small core group of hard-workers attracted more people and inclined them to stay longer. I can attest to this as I initially passed through CD in early January 2016 (the beginning of the season) and opted to return in mid -February after finishing my ayahuasca pilgrimage to South America -that’s how impressed I was by the culture there. I stayed a month upon my return and was impressed by not only how much got done, but also by the work ethic of my peers.

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It even brought out the inner maker in me and I frequently took
on small personal projects which I’m not always wont to do.

Still, it’s kind of funny to muse that if these same peers and myself had showed up last year, our more idle and lazy traits might have been nurtured too. But, by changing his standard he changed the culture of the camp into something more congruent with his vision. That’s powerful and profound.

2) Everyone Will Find Their Place

One volunteer showed up during my month there named Nina. Nina was a 19 year-old German girl who was neither diligent nor motivated when it came to work. Mixing cob, building walls, preparing food -these were all things that she would only make the most gestural efforts at, and those efforts only when she wasn’t too sick to do anything but lay about in camp.

At first I’ll admit I looked at her a bit resentfully as I carried heavy loads of building materials around and scraped the shit out of my limbs gathering the thorny firewood for our cooking fires. Quickly though, I overcame this resent because I am a firm believer in the maxim, “What you eat don’t make me shit’ -or simply, as long as you’re not posing a detriment to me it’s not my business. When I got over myself and my ego in this manner I could look at Nina a little more dispassionately and objectively. What I saw was that while she laid about she was engaging and playing with the young Nicaraguan toddlers who lived next to us and who would always wander into our camp to observe and play. It occurred to me that if this were an intentional community where people were having children and building lives, I would be grateful to have a Nina around -someone who relished being with kids and playing with kids…

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…and not simply just acting like a kid.

Then I thought about myself -for the duration of my stay I woke up at 5:45 every morning to get the fire going and the water boiling by the time people started waking up 6:30. On top of that I would do the wake-up alarm by singing at the top of my lungs every morning. Nobody told me I had to but I wanted to because I wanted to have breakfast and coffee before work started at 7:30, and of course because I love singing. As well, I always gravitated toward gathering firewood and building fires -I just liked to do these things and they needed to be done.

On a similar note, my friend Marijo usually did meal prep because she was good at it and liked to do it. Nobody said she had to.

And I think this is the larger point. I saw people finding their equilibrium and their place within a society in a very natural, very organic way. And this gave me hope that the community I’m looking to build and be a part of one day just might work.

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

Carpe Diem Eco-Project: https://www.facebook.com/carpediemecoproject/?fref=ts

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My (Current) Favourite Conspiracy Theories

Friends,

Despite how the two may be conflated in the derision and pejorative of the self-appointed guardians of the status quo, I still draw a distinction between conspiracy theory and critical thought. More specifically, I try my hardest to stay grounded in the latter without running away wildly in the realm of the former. That said, conspiracy theories can be fun shit and from time to time I like to put my tinfoil hat on and make bold predictions about current conspiracies and possible future ones.
And for the record, I’m not making any accusations here. Instead I’m acknowledging not simply possibilities, but plausibilities. For the purposes of this post, I’m less concerned with what is provably true and more concerned with what could be true.

The Activism Conspiracy
Look at all of the issues-based groups that are all agitating for change along certain gendered, racial or sexuality lines. Instead of trying to transcend a system which disenfranchises some for the benefit of others they are simply fighting for more without addressing the structural causes of deprivation. To me, this is very reminiscent of divide and conquer and it strikes me as not only plausible but highly likely that certain parties, whether corporate or governmental, might have an interest in infiltrating and radicalizing issues-based groups so as to keep them from working in harmony and addressing underlying problems.

The Identity Conspiracy
Closely related to the Activism Conspiracy, the ID Conspiracy has to do with the notion of “celebrating our differences.” We see this on the macro scale with nationalism and the Olympics, but also, at the micro scale with individuals making identity associations with skin colour, gender, sexuality, regions, schools of thought, etc. This is an inherently divisive practice which might be promoted by the same provocateurs behind the Activism Conspiracy. I think the ultimate end objective of the ID Conspiracy  is to not simply divide people but to make each fractional demographic seek legal ratification as their benchmark of legitimacy. By seeking this ratification and the associated rights and privileges afforded by being part of a legally recognized group, they think they are being empowered but they are really playing by the establishment’s rules.

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Also, they are doing violence through separation simply by defining themselves as different from other human beings who they are fundamentally the same as.

The “Conspiracy Theory” Conspiracy Theory
This insidious conspiracy happens when extreme, paranoid objections to a certain practices are inserted into related discussion to marginalize legitimate objections. We see this one at work when people talk about flouride in the water. Paranoid types love to talk about how Hitler put sodium flouride into the water in concentration camps to make people docile. We’re also told that flouride calcifies (flouridifies???) our pineal gland or “third eye,” preventing us from achieving enlightenment, and so on. What is not so commonly discussed is how sodium flouride is simply an industrial waste product which crafty businessmen have sold as tooth-protecting snake-oil to municipalities (probably with bribes) so they could turn a profit from their waste product rather than paying for costly disposal. To deal with objections to the municipalities buying poison, interested groups flood the internet with fringe articles about NWO flouride conspiracies so that anyone with a legitimate objection is immediately lumped into the conspiracy camp.
We see this at play with chemtrails too. Nobody is talking about how plane exhaust is horribly polluting the upper atmosphere because the conversation is so skewed in the direction of what harmful carcinogens and morgellons– causing chemicals are being deliberately released as part of some “Satanic New World Order Depopulation Agenda.” And who is skewing the conversation in these extreme paranoid directions? Well that is really the heart of this particular theory, isn’t it?

The Russell Brand Conspiracy Theory
This one hurts me the most to talk about cause I love that Russell Brand has been so outspoken as of late. The Trews is great and I find myself agreeing with just about everything he says but more importantly, agreeing with how he arrived at those conclusions. He may not have all of the answers but he has shown time and again that he is not afraid to ask the right questions. He has the charisma of a great leader, the eloquence of a great orator and the humor and humility of a real human being. He makes no apologies for his shortcomings and actually acknowledges them and is very open about his past struggles with drugs and current struggles with narcissism and all of the trappings of fame. I listen to him and I feel like someone else gets me and that maybe, just maybe, everything will be ok.
So, bearing that in mind, imagine how I would feel if tomorrow morning I woke up and #RussellBrandRapesYoungBoys was trending?

"Rock Of Ages" Press Conference

I would be devastated and honestly probably a little embarrassed, which seems like a petty emotion given the fact that little boys are being allegedly raped. But then I have posted a lot of his videos, and now like Peter denying he knew Jesus to the Roman soldiers I would try and distance myself from the alleged pedophile rapist. The conversation about Russell Brand would be less about the merit of what he was saying and more about who he was raping and how criminally underage they were. All the great ideas he has talked about would almost be taboo because to mention anything that even smelled like an idea he posited would be to support the rape of children.
I hope I’m wrong about this and that it never happens, but defaming figureheads is a powerful tactic to stymie a movement; look at what happened to Wikileaks after Julian Assange was charged with sexual assault; the conversation ceased to be about malfeasance in Iraq and became about the character of the founder. Fuck, the allegations wouldn’t even have to be true, as anyone who disagreed with what Brand said would cling to the notion that he was a pedophile even if he was cleared. It’s an ugly business, slander is. But it happens. I hope it doesn’t though…

I hope you enjoyed my predictions and maybe some day I’ll be vindicated by being proven right. But I really hope not :-S

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Truth in Jest/Solemn Deceit

Friends,

There is a saying about jesters being able to speak “truth to power,” which comes from a tradition of nobility keeping jesters/fools around to say the shit that all of their peers wouldn’t. Being fools, they weren’t expected to be tactful or genteel. On the contrary, they were expected to be abrasive and severe when spittin’ that realness. In my view, this tradition persists today in a more contemporary incarnation, The Comedian. Comedians today often get their yuks from criticizing the individuals, power structures and taken for granted customs and institutions that no else thinks to or is brave enough to.

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But the comedian of today faces the same problem of the jester of yore: the jester was a fool, and it strikes me as quite likely that many, his master included, didn’t always take his white-hot kernel of truth to heart. Doug Stanhope has a hilarious bit about this exact point as it pertains to modern comedians which I highly suggest you watch!!! (Start at 52:20)

DougThat link again, cause you should really watch it.

But what of the aforementioned peers, those other nobles of good breeding and refinement who knew better than to speak the brazen truth to people’s faces and instead mastered the arts of diplomacy, small talk and niceties? I would posit that this tradition carries on today in the world of politics. Politicians and statesmen are the noblemen of modern times, and while they are not landed gentry per se, they still run the land and the serfs/people on it.

So from this (admittedly generalized) perspective we have an historical precedent for what we (okay, I) see going on today: Namely, the people we should be taking the most seriously are those who are laughed at and taken lightly, while we hang on every word politician’s say, knowing full well as they are speaking to us that every word is a lie, calculated to convey as little as possible and obfuscate the actual workings of the state entity. However, due to the longevity of said entity and also the various political parties, we tend to view their words as somehow being more important and worth rallying behind.

Instead, we gotta rally behind the words that actually have meaning (not necessarily the people who say them) and start laughing off and then forgetting the words that sound pretty but don’t actually say anything.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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