Political Ads or Class?

I turned on the television Wednesday afternoon right after my internship and what did I see? An advertisement for the governor race, this one “supporting” Chris Dudley…lovely. Within the span of the half-hour show that I was watching (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), I saw six different political advertisements.

While I understand that it is election season and one cannot have reasonable expectations of not seeing this many ads every time they turn on the television, I would like to point out one thing; they are not actually supporting anyone!

Where old ads would highlight certain candidates track record or strategy for the future, new ones simply attack every aspect of the candidate they are against. Rather than rooting for a candidate, they find it better to just degrade and harass the opposition. There is absolutely no difference in this based on party lines or political affiliation of any kind! Every group is making similarly hate-filled advertisements and I am sick of it!

But it does not just end with the race for governor; it goes beyond to metro president, and every other position that is up for election. This is tragic and the public agrees. Working in a congressional office, I often get calls of people complaining about both democrats and republicans making these terrible ads and all I can say is that I am sorry and hopefully one politician will face up and stop with the negativity.

Little did I know that it would be my own boss, Congressman Earl Blumenauer that would be that guy! The day that Earl’s campaign video went up on the internet I received three calls within one hour to tell me how happy and impressed that one person finally decided, enough with the negativity.

I have always been a fan and supporter of Earl, but this ad, in a season full of hate ads made me even prouder to work for him. November 2nd is very close and while I cannot tell anyone who to vote for, I hope that this teaches you to look beyond the terrible advertisements and look at the issues, the results, and what each candidate will really do for your community.


25-year-old geriatric

Meet Emily Hebbron!

Emily is a 25-year-old that graduated the prestigious Cambridge University in 2008. Unlike many other recent college graduates, Emily was able to find a real, full-time job within one year of moving to Portland, OR with her husband. After a few months at a “User-experience designer” for a California-based government contractor, Emily was able to find another full-time job as Casework Manager for Congressman Earl Blumenauer. Emily deals with a plethora of different types of casework; the two most prevalent being unemployment and housing/foreclosures.

As you would imagine, in this economy, she stays quite busy with people calling in about their issues. Despite the rash of calls and emails; many of which are quite angry or disturbed individuals, Emily stays upbeat.

When I say angry or disturbed, I mean “Jackass” level anger.

Despite the craziness of many of these callers, Emily looks beyond them as she understands the severity of situations that these callers are going through. Because of this, she never yells or hangs up on callers, instead allowing them to talk much longer than anyone could expect.

As kind as Emily is, she is equally as old…

25-years-old and Emily is not only married, owns a home, is a vegetarian, drinks absolutely excessive amounts of tea, only an occasional glass of wine or “good” beer. Beyond her eating and drinking habits, Emily stays in just about every single night, would rather drink some tea and read a book than go out to a pub or a bar with friends. She is domesticated and has forgotten her age. At last check, most 25-year-old’s that graduated college only two years ago have yet to meet a mate, either still live with their parents or are renting an apartment, which is being supported by their minimum wage job at a restaurant.

Although I am underselling how old Emily true is in my description of her “old people tendencies,” I feel like most of you get the idea.

She is an astonishingly happy, upbeat, and productive person and I greatly appreciate all that she has done for me. She is a lovely individual and while I occasionally bother her about her “oldness,” I don’t think I would want it any other way!

For a little bit more about Emily, here is an article from Willamette Week a year ago about her job pursuits.

Democrat = Republican

I mentioned in my previous blog post that I attended a special event where the President of the United States spoke. While hearing the man speak in person and shaking his hand were incredible, the things that I heard in-line and throughout the event were appalling.

All my life I have grown up as an extremely liberal person, with strong beliefs about fair wages and preferences towards a more community-like form of government. That said, for the past few years as I have become more active in understanding the government, I have found that the differences between the two major parties is less about changes and more about bragging rights.

While I am admittedly a die-hard Democrat and have no intention of ever changing that, I do have a problem with one aspect of the political arena, especially when fighting between Democrats and Republicans comes down to: “They are so illogical and not looking at the big picture,” versus, “They have no morals and are creating too much paperwork.”

I am not going to get into this in a larger form at the moment, but I will explain what bothered me about the event that I attended and how it relates to this issue:

1. Hyperboles! People on both sides make the leaders of the other parties out to be terrible human beings, fictionalized characters, and people who are entirely ignoring the greater good of the United States.
2. Hate Groups! The people that think it is more productive and better to put other candidates and groups down rather than trying to find a common bond. Also included in this is the countless number of campaign ads run by politician’s every-single year spewing all the negative things (and some made up ones) that their opponent has done in both their personal and political life.
3. Having only a political agenda! People who see an issue like abortion and decide that it is a hot-button enough of an issue that they want to attach it to a political party like Republicans as a way to gain support from more people, despite the fact that it has no real connection to the people involved.

George Bush was not someone who wanted to end America, Barack Obama is not attempting to destroy the economy by increasing the richest two-percents taxes, and Bill Clinton did not ruin the economy, in fact, he had a rather successful term in terms of economic growth for America.

People will always complain about politicians and that is there right. I work as an intern for a politician, so I am no stranger to these complaints, even with one of the most popular politicians in Oregon’s history. But we need to focus less on unrelated issues, negativity towards one another, and instead focus on the issues and how we can combine both parties ideas (your opponents have some good ideas as well!) and toward cumulatively to create better communities, a better America, a better world, and ultimately, a better world!

The President of the United States gave me a cold!

On Wednesday, October 20th, 2010, I was given a special ticket to attend a special event at Portland’s Convention Center. The event was set to start at 4 PM and unfortunately; I was set to work until 5 PM at my internship. Luckily, the tickets were not only from my bosses at my internship, but I was allowed to leave early in order to attend the entirety of the event.

Leaving work at around 3:30 PM, I stood in line, waiting to get into the event; I stood in a line that was filled with Democrats awaiting an event that theoretically will be a heavy influence on the upcoming election to elect a new Oregon Governor.

Two hours later and we were all inside the Convention Center and waiting for the event to begin. What were we all waiting for? President Barack Obama!

Yes, that is correct, we were awaiting the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama was set to attend and speak at the event in order to build some excitement and momentum in support of Democrat, John Kitzhaber, who is currently running for Governor of Oregon against inexperienced-Republican, Chris Dudley.

As if the hours of being crammed in a crowd to sneak my way into the first two rows of the events border surrounding the podium where the President would speak was not enough, the entirety of the event was filled with people screaming and yelling for the President suggesting that he had actually arrived at the event…He had not.

At about 7:30 PM, four hours after I had first arrived at the event, the man we had all come for was finally here. The entire place erupted in chaos as hands waved, flashes boomed, and screams bellowed. I attempted to take photos from my phone, but unfortunately most of them were not exactly the best quality.

At the end of his speech, which was beautifully prepared and quite inspiring, I had learned quite a few things, but most importantly; Obama is a fan of both the number one college football team in the nation, The Oregon Ducks (GO DUCKS!), as well as his brother-in-law’s school Oregon State, he was fighting a cold, and that he believed in our future and that if we continue to fight together, we will succeed.

Two of the three things were quite inspiring, the one that was not? The cold, because only minutes after his speech ended, he was within a foot of me as he reached over and shook my hand…I shook President Barack Obama’s hand…Half a week later and I am still in a bit of disbelief, but for the rest of life that will resonate as one of the most incredible moments of my life.

Did Obama actually transfer his cold to me? No, I am fine and hopefully he is as well, but it is incredible to think about the fact that if I did have a cold I could blame it on the President of the United States. That is something very few people have ever been able to say!

Don’t Get Robbed!

Flipping cell phones is a great way to make a profit in a limited amount of time. As I mentioned before, I have been flipping phones for a while, and have been doing it with profit and safety in mind.

When buying and selling phones online, specifically Craigslist.com, you have to be very aware of scammers and people who intend to rip you off. Because of that, maintaining that “cash only” is your only mode of acceptable currency is the most important element of not getting scammed. Online people that “live” in Africa and South America for some reason tend to want to buy cell phones from random strangers online in Oregon and want to overpay horribly…no they do not. This scam is often pulled and has led to many people being ripped off. That being said, make an ad that says cash only, and you are safe.

Beyond the cash aspect is safety. Safety is the most important element of successfully flipping cell phones. The key to this is making sure that you are in a safe and public place where you are comfortable. Because of this, I always make sure to meet somewhere near my house, during the day, and where there are tons of people around to be witnesses in case something goes wrong. To this day, I have never been ripped off.

While I have never been ripped off, it does not mean I have not been nervous about it. Recently, I broke my rule of making it a comfortable and close place because the deal for the cell phone was too good to pass up. Because of this, after work I left on the Max and rode all the way to Beaverton. I am very unfamiliar with Beaverton and as I got off the Max, I immediately wished I had dragged someone from the office with me.

Looking around quickly I saw some people that looked a bit strange and instantly went into a wide-open area. Being there I was away from any groups of people and was very visible to all those around me. After that, I found where the Max cameras were and stood there making sure that I was in plain sight of the camera.

During this situation I was early to the meeting as you always should be to make sure that you are acclimated to the surroundings. By the time the guy arrived, I had located an open area, made sure that I was visible by a camera, saw where the closest police offer was, and thus had made sure that I was safe.

Although I would not advise anyone to do this same type of transaction, it worked out fine and I got a great phone out of the deal. Not particularly safe, but at least I didn’t buy the phone from a, “Hipster Youth,” that would use the money on more pointless tattoos or maybe a fixed-gear bike.

The “Hipster Youth”

As someone that rides the Max multiple times per day, I see a diverse range of individuals. Many are fine, upstanding citizens. That said, there is also a counter-culture called, “Hipsters.” These tend to be younger people, typically identified by their v-neck t-shirts, torn and tight jeans, purposely messed up hair, pointless tattoos, oddly placed piercing, Chuck Taylor shoes that look like they have been worn through, a major lack of hygiene, and an overall lack of quality contribution to society.

The “Hipster Youth,” are the teenagers that have seen this trend of people becoming hipsters in the media and thus have grown up having the misconception that being a “Hipster” is cool. Unfortunately for them, it is not. The other day after leaving my internship, I left work on the Max and saw this kid who personified a, “Hipster Youth” perfectly. The kid with the “Teardrop” tattoo, something that typically signifies a murder that one has committed, wore tight, “vintage” clothing, looked like he hadn’t showered in a week, and spent the duration of his time on the Max talking to a homeless man about all the things that he has done in his life that he is proud of.

The conversation which I overheard due to the high volume of his voice, went a little something like this:

Hipster: Yeah, I got arrested for punching this cop! It was awesome!
Homeless Man: Cooool man! I spent 10 years in the joint…
Hipster: Woah man! Yeah, I didn’t go to jail, my stupid parents bailed me out.
Homeless Man: Can I have a dollar?

This saddened me…why are these entitled teenagers wasting their lives acting like idiots? Is he sharing his achievements from school or work or maybe a passion? No, he is sharing a time when a cop told him to leave private property and he decided the best thing to respond with was violence. He wants to be cool, but is he cool? Nope. But when the misconception starts early and the hipster trend continues in the media, these will be the results. A wasted and ambition-less generation of youth creates this counter-culture that does not contribute to society and instead just puts a black stain on anyone that resembles his age…which I do.

It’s Kind of a Funny Personality Test

Did I not know that? Was I unaware after 21 years that I was an extrovert? That I was intuitive to what was going on around me? That despite a propensity for being logical, that I was more of a feeler because I pride myself on compassion? That I was a judger, who likes to know what he is doing, at least most of the time? The answer is a resounding yes to all of those.

The Myers-Brigg Personality Test is one that judges someone’s ideals and makes rash decisions about their personality from a few simple categories. While, I believe the test is valid and measures fairly correctly, I think it is better suited as a portion of a career assessment rather than a personality assessment.

To understand this a bit clearer, I use the example of the character, Craig from the new film, It’s Kind of a Funny Story. In the film, Craig is suicidal at the start and decides to check himself into a mental hospital. Craig is a very introverted, sensory-oriented, thinking, judger. Now, in the film, Craig is kind of a genius, so chances are, he knows all of these facts. He is anal-retentive about most things and tends to over-analyze anything that comes his way. But lets just say that Craig took the test before he entered the hospital, what would change? Would he be able to accept his personality and not worry as much about his uncertain future? Chances are, probably not. So instead, Craig would become more aware of his specific personality type and eventually use it to achieve a self-fulfilling prophecy and accept himself as defined by his personality.

As I mentioned before, I do think these tests can be helpful, but all I know is that if you begin to see yourself as the personality type you test to, others will as well. For example, if I had gone into my interview for my internship and called myself an extrovert who is an intuitive feeler who judges, would you have hired me? I would not have. Defining yourself by labels only limits you and what you can become, so instead of using Myers-Briggs, I use my friends, my family, and myself as judges. Until someone can explain to me why not to do it this way, I will continue…I would advise the same to Craig as well, but he has Zach Galifanakis.