Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 20 Transcript

Please listen or download here.

I started drinking when I was 14. I started by stealing liquor with my friends from my dad’s liquor cabinet. Initially the first time, like so many people who start drinking, it felt dangerous and completely different. There was an element of fun and laughter at how challenging it was to walk and hide the activity from my parents. We thought we were so cool.

Before long, I was also using tobacco. The two seemed to be like brother and sister. Take a drink, have a smoke. My parents did not want me smoking or drinking though. They were and still are nice people who were thoughtful and responsible parents. And of course, it is not like I was trying to do it in their faces. I was sneaky as were my friends.

It is important to note that my use of alcohol and tobacco did not start in a vacuum. I had peers who encouraged me and shared my predilection for getting high. We also had older people in our lives who thought that drinking and smoking was cool. These were the 1970’s. And much of society was engaged in the escapism that drinking and taking drugs provided. It was normal in a lot of places for the people who were just little older to smoke weed and drink.

And I stress that it was my own choice to get involved in this activity. Although my friends and the older children and young adults were doing it too, ultimately it was my own choice. And that is where it starts. It is possible and some recovery programs will start with the premise that alcohol or drug addiction is a disease. And it may well be. I do not want to to debate that issue. I can simply say for me that starting the abuse of alcohol and drugs was a choice for me. And I made it. Likewise, getting sober and leaving drugs and alcohol behind was and still is a choice. A daily one. Sometimes, and hourly one. But it still requires that I choose. And choose to be sober.

If you are thinking that it has been some easy road through drunkenness and impairment, I will tell you; it has been a very difficult and lonely road that has resulted in the loss of many things. The loss of relationships. The loss of opportunities. The loss of resources. The loss of time. Much of which there is no guarantee I can ever get back. I know the time I have lost to partying is not something I can get back. Time can only be spent once. And I have wasted a good portion of what was allotted to me chasing a drink or a joint.

I have gone through healthy relationship opportunities and cannot recover some of them. Friends and family who loved me and who I loved have moved on. And there may not be a chance to recover those relationships.

I have gone through jobs and opportunities that will not be offered again. That have passed for good. And now face a time in my life where I have to deal with the fallout. I have damaged my body, perhaps permanently and have to deal with the loss of my personal health. The cost of the party has gone far beyond just what it costs to buy a drink or a bag of weed. And now I may have to go to my grave long before I would have if I had made better choices when I was younger. Long story, short; It has not been a party. It has been a nightmare. But there is hope.

So if you are listening to this or reading this transcript, I want you to know that today you have a choice. Just as I do. I am choosing to stay sober. To deal with whatever comes today in my right mind instead of trying to run away into a bottle or a joint. That is my choice and it is a choice that you can make too. If you are thinking to yourself that it is too hard to face life without a drink or a joint or a pill: I want to encourage you. Yes, it is painful and sometimes difficult. It can even look impossible. But it all begins as a decision. A choice to seek help. And find a way back to a life that does not have the weight of substances as a crutch. You can do it.

Make the choice to start back now. And the first thing you can do is call someone. Call someone you miss. Call someone you love who you know is sober. Call 211. Pick up that phone. Turn this off and make that call and tell the person that you want help. That is the first step. Although it is your responsibility to keep your commitment to living without drugs or alcohol; you do not have to go at it all alone. There are resources to help you start and help you keep at it. But it all starts with you letting someone else know that you want to change. You want to win.

Here are a few phone numbers if you do not want to call your family right now. If you prefer to start this process and then seek support from your friends or family, you can start here. Call 211. Three easy numbers. 211.

211 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. 211 is currently available to 93.4% of residents in the United States. Here in the Mahoning Valley, 211 is available to anyone in this area.

Admitting that you need help can be daunting. And is not something that you may want to do. We all think at times, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But it is OK. You are loved. And we want to help. We want you to get what you need right now. And there are people who are in your life today or have been a part of your life who want to you get what you need. And want you to come back from the dark and loneliness place of substance abuse. We will welcome you with open arms, if you just decide that you want to come back. Call us, whether it be your mom, or your dad, or your brother, or your friend, or if need be call 211. But know that we are here for you still. We forgive you and want you to heal and recover.

One of the things that have and still does help me is having something else to do besides drink. Giving myself a healthy alternative to partying. For me, it is doing this podcast and finding people to help online and off. Making it my personal mission and penance if you will, to help people. If you want help with some problem you are having with the internet and your desire to use the internet to communicate; then I want to participate. I want to help you from a place of experience and knowledge. I do not know everything about using this here internet thing, but I know some things and I know people who know things I do not. If you want to put us to work on your problems or challenges online, just let me know.

You can call me at 330 519-1205 or reach me on my website. I would love to talk with you about using the internet to communicate.

Meals on Wheels PSA with Mario Andretti

By now anyone who listens to this podcast knows that I like free events. Tomorrow, Laura Schroder of YSU will be discussing the Saga of the Mahoning River at YSU. as part of the Spring Semester Speaker Series on Energy and the Environment YSU CUSHWA B112. Free and open to the public. There is ample free parking at the on-street metered-parking spaces along nearby streets. Anyone needing assistance getting to the room should call the YSU Student Security Service at 330-941-1515

This will be a part of the Lecture Series on Energy and the Environment at YSU going on through April Click the link here to find out more.

Back to the Mahoning River:

According to a story on the WKBN Website, The Mahoning River has been part of our area’s history since day one. It was how John Young got here, arriving on the river’s bank, to land that would eventually bear his name. But mention the Mahoning River around Youngstown today and it’s more infamous than famous. Youngstown of the mid-1940s was the poster child for industrial pollution. The steel mills fouled the air and dumped their waste directly into the Mahoning River.

I am fairly certain that Ms Schroder will be discussing how far our community has come in restoring the River to a balanced and healthy waterway. In fact, the good news is that this once dangerous and polluted waterway has recovered so that when the weather breaks if you want to; you can kayak down the river and see the Valley from a whole new perspective.

Just a couple of years ago, our own Stan Boney proved this by kayaking down the river with a guide. According to WKBN, On Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 WYTV 33 News anchor Stan Boney was part of the first TV News crew to ever kayak down a stretch of the Mahoning River, which was once considered among the most polluted streams in the United States. What he discovered is that this river, which was once a centerpiece of America’s industrial might, is now being used for recreation.

His trip down the Mahoning River began at the kayak launching dock at the B&O station adjacent to downtown Youngstown. He was joined by Christine and Gerald Hurayt, a father and daughter from Austintown, and April Shirilla of Warren, a co-worker of Christine’s at Delphi in Michigan. Their guide was Chuck Miller.

“Water is low and very forgiving today. The level’s about 3 foot. It is recommended for beginners to go at this level,” Miller said.

Chuck Miller has made the 8-mile run to Lowellville 100 times. He did a small video on Youtube here to give you a little taste No offense to Mr. Miller, but you may want to turn the sound down just a little if you view this. This is of course is Mahoning County, but Trumbull County also offers many opportunities to put in and a few different locations.

According to The Trumbull County Metroparks Website, there are six different locations where you can launch your kayak to traverse the River. Click on the link above to find out more. You can also meet with some of the Friends of the Mahoning River at an event this Friday coming up.

According to their calender, Eclipse of the Hunger Moon on Fri, February 10, 7:00pm – 8:30pm at 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Rd., Canfield, OH, 44406, United States

February’s Full Moon AND a Lunar Eclipse! Hope for a clear sky as we walk beneath the only lunar eclipse visible here in 2017. Meet at Kiosk at MetroParks Bikeway Trailhead at MetroParks Farm. Call Ford Nature Center for details. Easy, 1.5 mi.

You can also join the Friends Facebook Group here.

Congratulations to the Lowellville High School Band who has been selected to play at the Ohio Music Education Conference on Saturday in Cleveland.

According to the Vindicator, Bob Antonucci, Lowellville’s high school band director, sees an upcoming showcase as the culmination of decades of work.

The Ohio Music Education Association has selected the band to perform Saturday at a professional-development conference in Cleveland.

Lowellville’s band submitted a recording last May to OMEA. The state association, which is an affiliate of the National Association for Music Education, selects the ensembles it will feature via a blind audition process.

“What OMEA has realized is that they’ve been focusing on the big schools from the suburbs of the big cities – the school districts that have thousands of kids, tons of money, tons of teachers,” Antonucci said. “They’re realizing that there’s good things happening in school districts that don’t fit that. … So, this year they’ve made it a point to feature the top programs in rural and urban school districts, as well.”

About 3,000 music-education professionals will attend the OMEA conference this week. Lowellville’s band, which comprises about 65 students, will play six pieces from a variety of genres.

Like the OMEA Facebook Page here. For more information about Classical Music Events and Opportunities, Like the Orchestra Players Page here.

Adopt US Kids PSA

Episode 17 of the Mahoning Valley Podcast

Please listen or download this episode here. You can also subscribe from this link.

Show Summary: Ohio Posts Record Year for New Business Formation. Harlem Globetrotters Tall Enough to Install Smoke Detectors. Austintown School Counselor Recognized by The First Lady. Idora Neighborhood Workday. McDonough Museum of Arts Receptions. Pet Look-a-Like Contest Starts Friday.

According to the Business Journal, Business formation in Ohio saw a seventh consecutive record-breaking year in 2016, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted reported. Last year, 105,009 new filings were made with the secretary of state’s office, up from the 97,746 new businesses that filed in 2015, setting the previous record.

“We are offering better services to entrepreneurs at a lower cost and as a result, more are choosing Ohio for their new business than ever before,” Husted said in a news release announcing the 2016 results.

Making it simpler and less costly to do business in Ohio has been a top priority for Husted since taking office in 2011, according to the release. Initiatives toward that goal include the launch of Ohio Business Central, which enables Ohio-based businesses to form and renew their business status online; establishing a partnership with Google’s “Let’s Get Our Cities on the Map” program to put additional tools in the hands of new and growing Ohio businesses; and partnering with the Cleveland Sight Center to reduce wait time for callers into the Business Services Call Center.

The initiatives have enabled Husted to reduce spending in his office by $14.5 million in his first term when compared to the previous administration, he reported. In his second term, he requested a cut, not an increase, in his budget, and last December he requested a 100% cut in General Revenue Funds for the next biennium while announcing his plan to run the office for the remainder of his term without the use of taxpayer funds.

This is the sort of thing that deserves recognition. Growing opportunity without growing cost. I figure that anytime anyone can figure out a way to increase opportunities for the Mahoning Valley without asking for more money to do it, they deserve some props. So well done, Mr Husted. And Thanks.

According to WKBN, A Harlem Globetrotter helped the American Red Cross install free smoke detectors in Youngstown homes on Wednesday. To prevent fire tragedies, the Red Cross is working to set up free smoke detectors in homes across northeast Ohio.

On Monday, volunteers installed 61 smoke detectors as part of the Red Cross’ Home Fire Campaign. Volunteers were back at the life-saving project again on Wednesday. Most of the time, a volunteer needs a ladder to install a smoke detector, but not Zeus McClurkin. The Harlem Globetrotter is 6’8″.

He said the Globetrotters partnered with the Red Cross for this project. “We’re doing an amazing initiative trying to help install some smoke detectors to underprivileged areas in the city. One thing that we’re going to be doing is replacing old smoke detectors and giving people free, new smoke detectors.”

He installed smoke detectors in two homes Wednesday afternoon. At one of the stops, he and the Red Cross installed three brand new smoke detectors for a man on the east side of Youngstown.

McClurkin said he’s happy to be part of such a great program.

“There are actually three home fires in northeast Ohio every night and we’re hoping to make that number go down every day,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do that with these free smoke detectors that we’re installing.”

But it wasn’t all work for McClurkin. He showed off some of his Globetrotter moves and even had a homeowner join in. The smoke detector program is ongoing. For more information on how to get a smoke alarm or volunteer with the program, visit the Red Cross’ website. Volunteers work about three to four hours a week to install them.

FEMA PSA

According to the Vindicator, Austintown Elementary School counselor Kelley Mills was among the school counselors from across the country who stood onstage with the First Lady during her final speech in that position.

Mills was in Washington, D.C., to be recognized as the 2017 Counselor of the Year State Representative for Ohio after being selected as Ohio’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year and overall School Counselor of the Year.

Education has been a centerpiece of the first lady’s agenda during her eight years in the White House. In her final speech, she talked about her “Reach Higher” initiative, which launched in 2014.

“Now, when we first came up with this idea, we had one clear goal in mind: We wanted to make higher education cool. We wanted to change the conversation around what it means and what it takes to be a success in this country,” Obama said. “Because let’s be honest, if we’re always shining the spotlight on professional athletes or recording artists or Hollywood celebrities, if those are the only achievements we celebrate, then why would we ever think kids would see college as a priority? So we decided to flip the script and shine a big, bright spotlight on all things educational.”

Obama credited school counselors such as Mills with helping to make her initiative a success.

“And we know that school counselors like all of the folks standing with me on this stage have played a critical role in helping us get there,” she said. “So our school counselors are truly among the heroes of the ‘Reach Higher’ story. And that’s why we created this event two years ago, because we thought that they should finally get some recognition. We wanted everyone to know about the difference that these phenomenal men and women have been making in the lives of our young people every day.”

Obama went on to tell the assembled counselors, “You see the promise in each of your students. You believe in them even when they can’t believe in themselves, and you work tirelessly to help them be who they were truly meant to be. … These men and women show them that those kids matter; that they have something to offer; that no matter where they’re from or how much money their parents have, no matter what they look like or who they love or how they worship or what language they speak at home, they have a place in this country.

“And as I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send our young people in my last official remarks as first lady,” she said.

The experience was inspiring and rejuvenating, Mills said. “I thought it was really powerful, and I was really excited because the little ones at Austintown Elementary live-streamed her message, so they were able to see me as well as hear her message,” she said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me – for anyone, really.” Well done Ms Mills and congratulations.

Saturday January 21, 2017 Join the YNDC for a day of cleaning up and working in the Idora Neghborhood of Youngstown. Meet at YNDC Office, 820 Canfield Road. Parking available around the corner at 822 Billingsgate Avenue.

McDonough Museum of Art Events,

Selections from the collection of the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, Ohio Wesleyan University

January 20-March 3, 2017 Public Reception, Friday, January 20, 6-8pm

The permanent collection at the Ross Art Museum consists of more than 2,500 works of art including American and European prints, drawings, photographs, paintings and sculpture. Artists featured in the exhibition include Elliot Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Alen MacWeeney and Frank Stella. We are grateful to the exhibition sponsors Dr. Albert and Suzanne Cinelli for introducing us to the Ross and its outstanding staff.

Alex Webb: La Calle, Photographs from Mexico

January 20-March 3, 2017

Public Reception, Friday, January 20, 6-8pm

An elusive presence identified as “no one” wanders, strays, gets lost, and finds itself again in the poem “La Calle” (The Street) by Octavio Paz, which is set in a silent, desolate territory bordering the world of sleep, where dreamlike street corners always lead to the same place. It is from this extraordinary literary work that photographer Alex Webb (born in San Francisco, 1952) took the title for his compendium of street photographs of Mexico, which he’s taken over three decades. However, the street that appears in Webb’s images, in contrast to Paz’s, is an often crowded, vibrant, ever-changing place, where “no one” becomes a metaphor for the precarious, the chaotic, the multitudinous.

First in black and white (1975–78) and then in color (1978–2007), Webb has documented the multicultural, syncretic, lively, overcharged, and at times turbulent reality of a nation that during this period has known all sorts of political and economic crises, but has also offered ample evidence of its capabilities for resistance and survival, despite the relentless pressure of threats and tragedies, most recently the ferocious violence caused by the growth of organized crime and the government’s erratic fight against it.

The Business Journal will be sponsoring it’s annual Pet Look A Like Contest starting January 20. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love between people, but there are plenty of kinds of love in the world. That’s why The Business Journal is celebrating furry, four-legged friends in our newest contest.

The Pet Look-Alike photo contest wants to see who loves their pet so much that they actually look like each other!

Beginning Friday, The Business Journal will hold a photo contest on their Facebook page to see who loves their pet the most. The contest closes Feb. 19, with the winner announced on National Love Your Pet Day, Feb. 20.

Entries are limited to one picture per email address. Voting is limited to one vote per Facebook user per day. The Business Journal reserves the right to remove submitted pictures that are inappropriate.

WWF PSA

Transcript Episode 16 of The Mahoning Valley Podcast

Listen, Subscribe or Download it here.

New Star from Youngstown. NIE, (Newspapers in Education) Outing the Mainstream Media Ownership in Mahoning Valley. Bits and Bites at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. Sign Up to become a Change Bandit for Akron Children’s Hospital. And Opinion on the Trump Inauguration and Impending Presidency.

According to our local CBS affiliate, The star of the new show, “Hunted,” premiering this Sunday, January 22 on CBS, is a Mooney grad from Youngstown. While it might sound glamorous, life for Robert Clark started with everything stacked against him. His early years were nothing like that of a network TV star. Clark was born in Youngstown and raised on the tough streets of the south side, spending ages 4 to 12 in foster care. His father, Bobby Clark, operated the mob-owned Casablanca Night Club until January 15, 1980, when he was allegedly murdered. Robert Clark said his years as a high school student at Cardinal Mooney, Class of 1984, changed him. “They are a part of who I am. The motivation that I had to not just be different, but to be the difference that I want to see in the world,” he said.

Clark also played football at Mooney and was part of the 1982 state championship team under Coach Don Bucci.

Here is another story of people rising up to overcome adversity and history. Much like many of us here in the Mahoning Valley and indeed the Valley itself. Our Valley has a long and storied history of adversity and challenges. Struggles with our local economy, and struggles with less than scrupulous individuals who operated beyond the rule of law and spread fear and strife in our community. But some of us, myself included believe that those struggles can be things of the past. That it is possible to rise above the history of crime and corruption and face the challenges. If you believe that too, you should consider getting involved with this project. Even if you fail to see any reason to drop a couple of pennies in the coffers of this project to keep it going; you can like this and share it with your friends.

Here is something that many people who hear this podcast or read the transcripts may not be aware of. Free Educational Resources from the Vindicator.

For instance: Beyond Comprehension: The Newspaper and Critical Literacy
Dr. Sherrye Dee Garrett, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
Introduction & Overview (mp3, 23 minutes) / Lesson Activities (mp3, 30 minutes)

Critical literacy involves the analysis and critique of the relationships among texts, language, power, social groups and social practices. It shows us ways of looking at written, visual, spoken, multimedia and performance texts to question and challenge the attitudes, values and beliefs that lie beneath the surface. (courtesy NAA NIE Conference) This is just one of the over 300 lessons designed to help your children learn about the world around you. And it is all free. Did I say that? Follow the link above and get in touch or start downloading and teaching them youngins.

Why would you want to download and listen to this particular item? Well, one reason I can think of is that many of your mainstream media outlets in this valley may be just about getting your money. No matter how much squawking they do about their local point of view, they may just be here to make money. Both our CBS and ABC Affiliates are not even owned by a local company. The people who run WKBN and WYTV and the other channels on these bandwidths like 27.2 FOX 27.3 ION and 33.2 and 33.3 live in other communities and have big fat paychecks so they can hire our local reporters and anchors and producers to act like they give a crap about this community. And the local people who work here probably do care about this Valley, but their employers may not.

Although there are a few local people who work for Media General and it is likely they do actually care about the Mahoning Valley; for the most part the editorial direction and personnel decisions are coming from another state and a big media conglomerate located over there in the fine state of Virginia.

Why am I talking about this? Because this company that owns a few of our local tv stations is a public company. That means they have no real interest in local issues or struggles. It means that they are beholden to their stockholders to make a profit and that is all. So that also means that anything they report to you should be taken with a grain of salt.

Let’s look at some other mainstream media companies here in the Valley so you can get an idea of where they are coming from too. The local Newspaper, The Vindicator and Channel 21 WFMJ. These two companies are owned locally. So when they say, “locally owned and locally connected”; they are not flat out lying. But they are also owned by a couple of wealthy people who live in Canfield and are about as connected to our community as a bank is to it’s depositors. As long as they are making money, they are as happy as they can be most likely. To be fair, they do employ some people here in this Valley and contribute economically in terms of taxes and fees and what not. But they also clearly have an vested interest in keeping up with the maintenance on their million dollars estates far removed from the struggles of the city.

Are you interested in knowing how to get in touch with these media mavens who run the show over there at the Vindicator and WFMJ? Here ya go. I figure if I let you know, and you don’t like the way they are doing it; then as a community we can hold them accountable. For the Vindicator, they are required to publish their names and positions and here they are. Keep in mind that Ms Jagnow and Mr Brown are also the people who own the company who holds the FCC License for WFMJ.

Whether or not the Mahoning Valley ever reaches its potential, or starts to grow and flourish due to their influence; that is the question that only they can answer for themselves.

And just so our neighbors in Trumbull County don’t feel left out, The Tribune Chronicle is published by a company out of Wheeling West Virginia. And for those of you in Columbiana County, the Morning Journal, also owned by a company out of Wheeling.

Our Radio Stations also are owned primarily by out of state corporations who are beholden to stock holders more then to our community. The two biggies are Cumulus Media and of course Iheart Media.

So although our mainstream media companies here do have a vested interest in the Mahoning Valley; with the exception of the millionaires who live in Canfield who own the Vindicator and WFMJ; our mainstream media is controlled by people who do not live here. And in many cases do not have any interest here in this community other then how much money they can suck out of us. So when you hear people talk about the media elite and the mainstream media as biased, it probably makes more sense.

I am actually an avid consumer of the media. Not just TV and Newspapers, but interactive media as well. I source much of the information for these podcasts from the local outlets. Sometimes I quote them to talk about the good things that are happening here. Well a lot of the time. That is because in order to talk about the good things that are happening here in the Valley,

I need to know about them. That is one of the things that you can do to help support this project. When you hear about something that is good, let me know. If you have an event that is not all about the money, then let me know. Or if you are doing events that do have a financial component to them like fund raising or raising awareness, at least send me a notice. Give me a chance to cover it here and link to it.

That is the difference between independent media, like this podcast and other independent information sources and the mainstream; I at least am not being enriched by this project greatly. I am doing this podcast as a community service that I have sentenced myself to do. Because I enjoy podcasting and publishing and I love this area. It is my home too.

FEMA PSA

I have received some feedback on content ideas for this podcast and most recently it was to discuss some history of the Valley. Well I got something even better for you if you are interested in the history of the Valley. A free discussion that occurs every third Thursday at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

This Thursday, you can join the Mahoning Valley Historical Society for the new Bites and Bits of History Lunch Program. Bring your lunch to the beautiful Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center on the third Thursday of every month at noon for a historical presentation. These free lunchtime discussions will cover a variety of topics and give you a chance to explore local history in a new way.

The daily parking lot on the west side of the building is available for $2.00. Place money in the numbered slot which corresponds to your parking space in the white box on the Federal Street sidewalk. Do not park in the monthly lot on the east side. Street parking in marked spots is free. Additional visitor information.

Bring your own lunch, or visit Overture for their $6 Bites and Bits Lunch Special. Call Overture at 330-744-9900 to place your order. Coffee, pop, and water are available for purchase at the History Center.

This Thursday, The People’s House: A History of the White House

Kimberly Kenney, Curator – William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Learn more about the history of the most popular historic home in America! This presentation will cover the design and major restorations of the house, and features an in-depth look at the rooms of McKinley’s White House from the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum archives.

I encourage you to help the Akron Children’s Hospital this year by signing up to become a Change Bandit. Change Bandits “rob” their friends, family and co-workers of spare change to raise funds for Radiothon.

Children, individuals and families register to participate here.

Schools, businesses, community organizations and hospital departments register here.

We’ll mail your kit to you in early January. It will contain complete, detailed instructions to get your Change Bandit program started, including how to set up an online fundraising campaign for your collection efforts.

Please contact Nicci Avalon at 330-543-8340 or navalon@chmca.org with any questions.

In a few days we will be swearing in a new president and vice president. Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Despite the fact that these good ole white boys did not actually win the popular vote in this county, we are going to have to endure another round of Republican Class divisionism. I know, that may not be an actual English Language word, but it does adequately describe what this country is in for now that the republicans are going to have a majority in the senate and the house and an executive to push through their let’s get ourselves and all of our buddies richer agenda.

Some people may think it ironic that me as a white male would be discussing this turn of events in such terms. In fact, some may think that it is a betrayal of my race or gender to even dare to call the republican party the good ole white boys party. But I just call it like I see it. It should not be called the GOP. It should be called the GOB. For Good Ole Boys.

I will clarify. According to the Wikipedia, this term can be positive or negative. Positive aspects: The term can be used for well socialized men who live in rural and generally Southern areas. If a man is humble and well thought of, he can be referred to as a good old boy, regardless of his age. It is also commonly applied to men from a family with multi-generational wealth or prestige, or to men who behave like a Southern gentleman.

Negative aspects: Pejoratively, the phrase can often suggest a man with an anti-intellectual bias or some other intolerant viewpoint. The phrase also can refer negatively to someone who engages in cronyism among men who have known each other for a long period of time. Collectively, these people are referred to by the slang term, good ol’ boy network (also known as an old boys’ club; however, note that in certain countries in the Commonwealth including the UK, an old boys network or club has a very different meaning involving alumni).

So if you don’t think that Donald Trump and Mike Pence and the Republican Party are a bunch of good ole boys, let me tell you as story. When I first moved here to the Mahoning Valley, I needed a job. Truth is, I probably still need a job, but that is not your problem. I started working at Infocision. One of the largest employers here in the Mahoning Valley.

If you are not familiar with Infocision, they operate call centers. They have a few here and a couple over in Western PA as well as over in the Akron Area. Large employer and actually not too bad as far as employers go. Decent wages back then and reasonable management with advancement opportunities. No they did not pay me to say this and that is why they get no link.

Anyway, I was initially assigned to the political division. Guess who was one of their clients? The Republicans. And a few of their various affiliations. And we called people. We called them at home, we called them at their offices, we called them from 8 AM to 12 AM seven days a week. We called them and told them all about how the republican way of life was under threat and how traditional values were going to disappear. We called them and lied to them about how they were the Business Person of the Year. We called them and tried to frighten them with tales of how the Second Amendment was going to be destroyed and they were going to have to give up their guns. We called them and told them anything we could to get their money.

It was and still is pathetic. In some cases it was exaggeration. In some cases it was outright deceptive. For instance, did you know that the only qualification required to be the Business Person of the Year is do be registered as a Republican and to donate money. That’s all the Republican Party needs you to do to be recognized as a Business Person of the Year. Some days I signed up 20 or so new BPOY’s. If that does not tell you something about this new administration, then maybe this will give you some clues about the kind of people we are going to be calling President and Vice President. Did you know that Donald Trump is still fund-raising? Yes, he is. He is running a store selling presidential bobbles and keepsakes. Inaugural Glasses and other trivial items. To raise money. HUH? No link to that either cause he is not sponsoring this project today.

I am not going to make any bones about it. I do not like modern American politics. I don’t like the democrats or republicans. I don’t like the tactics or agendas of either party. I, like many people think that national politics are not actually representative of my personal interests. But I am not saying we can just ditch the whole thing. As many people say, American Representative Democracy is an experiment. It was born in a noble ideal. That people should be equal and have liberty that is endowed from above.

That is a noble ideal. But it has been playing out like a good ole boys club. And the richer will keep getting richer. And the rest of us will be scrambling around trying to get a hot dog dinner for our families while we work 80 hours a week to put money in other people’s pockets. And trying to take care of our own. There is not a single shred of evidence that Mr. Trump’s Presidency is going to change things much for most of us. Sure, there will be changes. And many people may benefit. But most likely many people will lose too. And at the end of the day, our new President will likely get richer from his experience. And that is good for him. But is it good for you?