Has Bernie Sanders’ Candidacy Destroyed the Democrat Party?

Bernie-Sanders-Called-Communist-by-New-York-PostThe left-slanted mainstream news media loves to predict that the political party they hate will be destroyed by a certain candidate they  really don’t like. But what about the party they promote through their biased news stories?

The Democrat party has as one of two major candidates a man who is not a part of the Democrat party. Who does not claim to be a part of the Democrat party. Who has rejected the Democrat party in favor of ‘democratic’ Socialism.  He currently claims to be a European-style socialist, but he honeymooned in the Soviet Union and that didn’t put him off socialism. I would not trust him.

Now, of course, none of the socialist/Marxist/communist parties in the US has a hope in hell of getting their candidates elected to office at any level, except perhaps to city councils and school boards in certain troubled major cities. But the idea that a socialist can simply run in the Democrat party primaries— and beat out their current Chosen One candidate, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, in several states— should be alarming to any American.

Why? Number one, a minor party candidate running for one of the major party’s nomination is pretty dishonest. Second, it paves the way to replacing the two party system with one of many parties— or with a one-party state which seems to be more popular with the Left as they automatically demonize every non-Leftist candidate as a racist, sexist and ‘h8ter.’

What happens when the Democrats or Socialists get the notion to run candidates in the Republican primaries as well as the Democrat ones? What happens when the Republicans retaliate and do the same thing?

The two-party system, flawed as it is, ensures that winning candidates have the support of more than half the electorate, or at least close to that. Countries with viable third parties often have to make concessions to tiny, radical parties in order to have functioning governments. A one-party system, on the other hand, makes voters feel like they have no real choices.

Many of us have been made disgusted by the ‘partisanship’ of one or both parties in the US. But look at how extreme the differences between the two parties now are. One party supports killing of unborn children and of sick people who can be persuaded to consider assisted suicide. In Oregon, their rationed health care Medicaid system means they refuse to treat advanced cancers— but offer the victims of that policy free assisted suicide. And the concept of freedom of religion has been literally abandoned, since now it’s controversial to pass a religious freedom law that would have protected the right of pastors to refuse to officiate at same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies in violation of their faith— and Disney Corporation threatened a boycott to pressure the conservative governor into vetoing this religious freedom measure. [Even though interracial marriages and marriages after divorce have been legal since forever, pastors have been free to decline to officiate at these if they felt it was not acceptable to their faith and no laws have been passed to force the issue.]

It stands to reason as the political parties grow further and further apart, each party will have to be more ‘partisan’ just to stand up for its most basic values. But the answer isn’t to reject political parties to end ‘partisanship.’ The answer is to get informed, use multiple alternative news sources along with the mainstream media, and support the party that best follows your own personal values. If you don’t participate, you are ‘voting’ for the worst possible choice— rule by the ignorant, like those people interviewed recently who could not for the life of them identify who the vice-president of the US was, or that college-age fellow a few years back who said he voted for Obama because ‘he’s da MAN!’ America needs better than that.

Bad Guys in the Zombie Apocalypse

walking-dead-dwightIs it better to be in a group of bad guys or one of good guys in the zombie apocalypse? A lot of people just assume bad is more powerful and good is weak, but where is the evidence for that?

A group of bad guys, looking for survival supplies in the apocalypse, can find, create (with things like food) or steal from others to get what they want. They even have the option to kill people they steal from to prevent retribution. Pretty sweet, huh?

But their reputation will precede them. Other groups will hide from them. Stronger groups will fight them. They might even decide to wipe the bad group out, as Rick’s formerly-good group on The Walking Dead planned to do with ‘The Saviors.’

A good group does not have to be a pacifist group. It is morally permissible to fight back against murderers and thieves. They cannot get the survival supplies they need by stealing from other groups without turning toward the dark side, but that route has its disadvantages.

What a good group can do is arrange trades with other groups. No other groups will willingly trade with evil groups like the Saviors, the Wolves or the Claimers. That wouldn’t be safe. But most groups would be glad to trade with a group that acts in a moral way, once they are convinced that the group really does have moral values and isn’t going to enslave or kill their group  members.

A good group also has the ability to take in new members more easily. Rick’s group on TWD has absorbed both individual stragglers and remnants from other groups, and has also merged with the Alexandria group. An evil group can take in new members, as when the Claimers took in Daryl Dixon. But the Claimers didn’t win over Daryl’s heart and mind— he only stayed because they would have killed him otherwise. A wiser evil group would not have touched Daryl. But if an evil group is too suspicious of potential new members, they can’t replace their casualties.

Another big advantage of the good group is that they can, and often will, show compassion to smaller groups and to individuals. Remember in TWD when Rick’s group rescued the faithless Episcopal priest Father Gabriel?

A group that becomes known for showing compassion is a group that is likely to find compassion from others. Imagine a good group providing food to a smaller group that has lost much of its food supply to theft. In addition, the good group teaches the small group better methods of growing, hunting or foraging for food, and helps them have better security. If the good group falls on hard times down the road, or needs help from a medic, gunsmith, electrician or plumber, isn’t it a certainty that the small group will help if they can?

A big disadvantage the evil groups will have is that after a number of good groups have learned to survive, have developed trade networks, and have grown in numbers, the next item on the agenda is eliminating the local evil group. And because of the circumstances of the zombie apocalypse, they won’t have the option of arresting the bad guys and putting them in a jail. The bad guys will be killed in the battle, or captured and executed (formally or informally). If one of the good guys has thoughtfully built a jail cell or two, it will go to more innocent members of a bad guy group, such as children, or women who claim to have been forced to join the evil group.

My conclusion, then, is that being in a bad guy group in the zombie apocalypse is something that has no future in it. Human beings need to be part of a community to survive and thrive, and that community can’t be based on doing evil to others. In time, evil groups will be dealt with.

Questions: how should writers deal with good and evil choices in fiction? Do some writers make evil too attractive or too powerful? How could one make a good guy character strong and powerful without corrupting him?

Story starter: In the zombie apocalypse, there are two groups, one good, one evil. Both need an object possessed by a third group for their continued survival. Third group’s headquarters is an old military bunker— they are a strong group. Show how the two group compete for possession of the desired object. You can make the third group willing to trade the item, but the price will be very hard to come by.

Walking Dead fans: Will we see Daryl Dixon on the ‘In Memoriam’ list next week? If so, who will kill Dwight?

Ideas: beginnings, middles, ends

My hens eating the good stuff.

My hens eating the good stuff.

Somehow recently I managed to subscribe by email to a blog by best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins. He had a great post called Secrets to Writing a Captivating Ending, which you can read here: http://www.jerryjenkins.com/secrets-writing-captivating-ending/

It really started me to thinking. Recently I got some praise from my therapist on all the original and interesting story ideas I have. I knew that was nothing to get excited about because none has ever lead to a finished novel as they were meant to.

Really, ideas are nothing. Everybody has them. Some people have only commonplace ideas— but then, many great works of literature have simple, common ideas like ‘boy meets girl’ at their core. Or sometimes, ‘boy meets vampire’.

It’s the follow-through that matters. And for that you need more than just a story idea— a beginning, a starting situation, a conflicted character— you need something that leads to an ending.

How do you handle a story idea? I usually toss it around in my head a bit and then mostly I write down the story idea. Sometimes I write a beginning for the story instead.

This is how my story idea-writing-down might look:

There are these aliens, see, and they come to Earth right at the start of World War 2. Yeah, I know, Harry Turtledove did that. But Turtledove’s aliens were conservative aliens. My aliens are worse. They are LIBERALS (progressives) and they really, really like the concept of eugenics.

They are going to get along with Hitler, right? Only which Hitler? Because, you see, in my story Hitler has multiple personality disorder. His alters are Angry Hitler, Affable Hitler, and Little Lost Boy Hitler. Angry Hitler makes an alliance with the aliens— but then the aliens inadvertently weaken Angry Hitler and put Little Lost Boy Hitler in a position of power.

As you can see, my story writing ideas mostly touch on things that happen at the beginning. I need to figure out what happens at the end. Even if it turns out to be a trilogy, I need to know what somewhat conclusive things happen at the end of Book One.

So, when I write down my various story ideas in my little blank book with Spiderman on the cover, I’m not just going to write down beginning ideas, but ideas for the ending. Because Jerry B. Jenkins says so. And he’s a good writer, even if he is a heretic.

Celebrate: Poem published!

Snapshot_20160304 (2)Today I’m celebrating an unexpected poetry publication. Many moons ago, I sent off a group of poems to the periodical Scifaikuest, a zine of sci-fi related haiku and other minimalist forms. I’d forgotten about it and assumed I’d been rejected until I got an envelope in the mail with the February edition of Scifaikuest. One of my poems was in it.

More than that, not only did I get a contributor’s copy of the magazine, but they enclosed PAYMENT!!! OK, it was a dollar. But it’s only been the second time I’ve gotten money for a poem of mine.

Check out the web site ‘Sciefaikuest’ for more information on subscribing to the zine, or on how to submit your own poems to Scifaikuest.

This is a blog post in the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. Go to: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/2016/03/celebrate-200k-page-views-giveaways.html   to read the other posts in the blog hop, join the hop yourself, or find your missing pink sock.

Celebrate blog hop

Writing a haiku for Scifaikuest

Step One: subscribe to Scifaikuest and read it faithfully. Or, if you have no money, read their abbreviated online version at their web site.

Step Two: read a few books of traditional haiku. Copy out some of your favorites.

Step Three: Start writing haiku of your own. Write two or three a day. Expect most of them to be bad.

Step Four: Make lists of keywords. One list should be your ordinary list of words. The other should have science fiction related words in it.

Step Five: start writing haiku using the sci-fi keywords (along with some from your other list. Write one every day. Expect most to be bad.

Step Six: After a few months, pick out the very best haiku you have written and revise and rewrite them as needed. Put them aside and then revise again. After this, select a small number of your very best haiku with sci-fi themes for your submission.

Step Seven: Submit. Be sure you have read the current policy of Scifaikuest on submissions, and have followed the instructions exactly.

Step Eight: When rejected, go through the steps again until you are published.