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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 16, 2017

My entire life, I’ve always fought bullies; be they a teacher, a boss, a classmate or a neighborhood thug. I was a smart, outspoken kid, who was more or less well liked by my peers and had the confidence to fight back. I often found myself in the position to take up for someone who was in a weaker position, or without the ability to fight back. I always fought for the underdog. The kid who was different, or weak, or new to the country, or didn’t speak the language well.

I fought teachers, principals, employers, and other kids. I would use my intelligence, wit, popularity, threat of shame and sometimes the threat of physical violence as tools in my fight.

I think back once again to Dalton Trumbo’s thoughts on his many fights.

I’ve always thought of my life as a sequence of conflicts, each a separate battle, segregated in my mind under the heading, “My fight with these guys” or “My fight with those guys.” In thinking back now I realize I have regarded each fight as distinct and unrelated to the other, and have sometimes marveled how one man could have so many of them. I now realize it was all one fight; that the relation of each to the other was very close; and I am really no more combative than any other man. It just happened in my case that the original fight once undertaken, expanded marvelously into what seemed like many many fights and the most recent in a sequence of fights is actually no more than the current phase of he primary engagement. Since all men have at least one fight in their lives, and are not considered professional troublemakers because of it, the longer view reveals in me a citizen no less peaceful than his neighbors.

It’s possible, that this applies equally to me. That my original fight—that of standing up to bullies—once undertaken, expanded marvelously. It’s not the answer to all my troubles, but it could certainly be viewed as a defining motive. I’m also just a cranky misanthrope, who while despising the herd, is often quite fond of the individual.

I think people who only know me on social media, are quite surprised to meet me in person. I place a high value on personal etiquette and manners, at least my version of what constitutes good manners: empathy, compassion, civility, decency, and kindness. I might not like you, but there is no reason to be rude.

I don’t generally walk around angry. But when I’m thinking critically about a subject, my ire often comes to the surface. I’m bothered by many things in life, and when I’m writing, or arguing with a friend I trust about a topic I’m passionate about, I can get quite animated.

Which brings me to politics.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 9, 2017

There is a current feeling among many progressive Democrats that religion is the enemy of liberty and in all fairness, it’s not without cause. Conservative religious groups have often been on the front lines of so-called culture wars that have done so much harm to vulnerable groups outside of traditional norms. For many, particularly among white, college-educated professionals, the church has become the enemy of progressive politics.

But that’s a mistake.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Election day is finally here and for better or worse, what’s done is done. The die has been cast. We win. We lose. We move on.

But even before we know the results, I want to begin to think about the future; the next election, and even the future of the party.

In many ways, we’re still recovering from the 2016 election, the divisions in the party and the continued infighting between more moderate democrats and the progressives to their left. We need to find a way to come together and build a stronger party that has a relevant message to today’s voters.

The way I see it, is that Democrats, and liberals in general, got smug over what they saw as a populist movement led by a buffoon and a cadre of conservative fear mongers and bigots. Democrats came off as condescending and elitist; not in touch with the fears and realities of too much of the country.

Many of us are still in disbelief that such a large percentage of the population would vote for a party that, while claiming to represent average Americans, was proposing policies that would do great harm to those same communities.

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading the news on a daily basis is an exercise in endurance. The never-ending headlines, the constant tweets, not to mention the endless droning on of self-important blowhards if you happen to watch television news at all. It’s exhausting.

Some of us, who consider ourselves part of the Resistance to the near constant attack on social norms, democratic institutions, common civility, the health of our families and civil liberties, find it near impossible to take. You start to fight one battle, and three more appear right behind it. Like I said, it’s exhausting.

But what really wears me down is how an entire group of people can so brazenly and flippantly make decisions that will definitely hurt other people, most disgracefully it’s most vulnerable, and do it simply to make rich people, richer. That’s not some partisan whining. There’s simply no other way to look at it.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It’s nice to see the Republicans in disarray, fighting amongst themselves and seemingly unable to govern. It’s good to know that they are so dysfunctional that they come across as completely ineffectual. Unfortunately, they’re still doing quite a lot of damage, and rather than focusing on rebuilding the party, developing an effective platform and determining a new message, Democratics are fighting amongst themselves. Mainly Hillary supporters versus Bernie supporters. It’s bullshit.

There is no real leadership in the Democratic Party. No one to get behind. We have a bunch of the old guard, defending their ground, and refusing to change. We have angry people on the Left (here I thought all Democrats were on the Left), sick of the status quo and looking for change.

This is probably not new I guess. There are always different factions pulling one direction or another.

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Most people in Cape May County would tell you that the engine that drives the economy is tourism, and they’d be right. But the problem is, that engine isn’t enough to sustain growth and provide a living wage for all our residents. We need more opportunities and a vision for growing the local economy.

Danielle Davies and Gregory Wall are running for Cape May County Freeholder. They have a plan to reinvest in Cape May County Technical Schools and take advantage of the best opportunity this county has for growth: the marine industry.

Between the fishing industry, marine construction, countless marinas and pleasure boating businesses, we also have boat manufacturers such as Yank Marine and Viking Yachts. There is a need for skilled jobs such as welders, engine mechanics, and electronics technicians.

The reality is, not everyone is going to go to college, but that doesn’t mean those kids don’t deserve a future. With the ballooning cost of higher education, for many people, it’s just out of reach. As a nation we need to be reinvesting in technical and trade schools. Give our young people a foundation towards making a living wage and a path towards success and the American Dream.

Starting right now, we can make a difference in the lives of countless young people, change the direction of Cape May County, and begin to build the foundation for future growth.

We need to reinvest in education across the board, but we have immediate opportunities in the technical and vocational schools. We need to be working with local business to help guide our curriculum and provide graduates with the best possible chance of success. With a skilled local workforce, we can attract businesses to the area and become a catalyst for growth.

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Why Journalism Matters

by David Todd McCarty | Monday, November 28, 2016

My very first class at Temple University in 1986 was Journalism 101 with Dr. O’Shea. He began with a question. He wanted to know how many students had seen the Calvin Klein ad underwear campaign and every hand in the class went up without exception. The campaign was part of the culture. Marky Mark. Kate Moss. These black and white ads were synonymous with the 1980’s and were undoubtedly hanging on 75% of the dorm rooms throughout campus and beyond.

He then asked how many people thought that sex was effective in advertising. Many of the hands went down. Then he asked how many people thought that it was appropriate to use sex in advertising. Only a few of us remained.

He then explained that we weren’t there to discuss the value of using sex appeal in advertising underwear for Calvin Klein, but to discuss journalism. And the first thing we needed to understand was that there was no such thing as “objective journalism.” No two of us saw the world around us the same. We all had a lens through which we saw the world, that combined our own experiences, morals, religious beliefs, and childhoods into a perception of life.

Just like we all had different thoughts on something that was common to us all, our experiences colored our outlook on the things we saw and heard and we had to stay vigilant about allowing our personal experiences from coloring our judgement, and more importantly, how we reported it.

Journalism shouldn’t be simply a vehicle for our own personal biases, but an honest accounting of what is happening, or at least as honest as we can muster. But is there any integrity left in journalism? Is there any objectivity? Who can we really trust in this day and age of relativism and fake news?

John Pilger wrote in 2002:

Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the ‘official truth’. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as ‘functionaires’, functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words ‘impartiality’ and ‘objectivity’ is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They’ve been taken over… [they] now mean the establishment point of view… Journalists don’t sit down and think, ‘I’m now going to speak for the establishment.’ Of course not. But they internalize a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 17, 2016

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. We feel the hurt and fear and pain when it’s there. We feel the pride and joy and freedom when it’s there. When did so many of us lose the ability to do that, especially with anyone outside of our immediate social circles?

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
—“To Kill a Mockingbird”  by Harper Lee.

America is a culture that has worked to socialize people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic for over 200 years. In fact, America is the most individualized society in the history of the world. It’s every man for themselves. We pride ourselves on it in fact. It’s part of what makes us American! We don’t need nobody else. We’ll do it ourselves. We don’t care what you think. We know what we’re doing.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I had to make a change. It was all getting too dark. Too angry. So little hope. I was running full force down a dark alley with no choice but to run headfirst into the brick wall at the end.

I’m looking for a way back out now from the dark alley and I’ll attempt to start with people. Too much time on my own perhaps. It’s hard because I’m an introvert and too many people make me uncomfortable.

I’ve embarked on a new journey towards a mystic’s understanding of Christianity. I’ve pretty much walked away from God in recent years because the theology I was taught seemed hateful, bigoted, ridiculous and petty. But what I’m reading is pretty fascinating stuff and nothing like what we were taught as children with God as this big scary guy with a clipboard marking down your short comings. I don’t understand it enough to explain it yet, but suffice it to say I’m interested. That’s a start. If that doesn’t work out I might try Buddhism. For now I’m gonna give God another shot. See if He’s got anything up his sleeve?

I need some sort of hope.

The whole concept of Angry Dave, while entertaining to many of you, and often far too comfortable for me, seems unsustainable, at least in its current incarnation. Not to get too nerdy, but I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker, torn between the Force and the Dark side. I was careening too quickly towards the Dark Side and it wasn’t good. Some of you were cheering me on the way a crowd might encourage a man on a ledge to “jump” simply for the spectacle of it all. And I can create quite a spectacle, I’m sure. But no more.

That doesn’t mean I won’t still have strong opinions about social justice, religion, politics or etiquette. But I’m going to tone down the rhetoric and try to hold my rage in check.

I will continue writing, directing and taking pictures. But I have to get out of the instant feedback loop which has become far too addictive to me. I still look at my phone out of habit, but Facebook was a huge problem. I’ve deleted it. It was too constant. Radio Angry Dave broadcasting and responding 18 hours a day. Can’t imagine how that would be a problem. Sigh.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting pieces here about subjects that interest me. I hope to retain my humor without maybe quite so much anger.

Join me.

Stop by and comment so I don’t feel so alone.

And please share this with my friends on social media so they know where to find me.

— Angry Dave

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 10, 2016

“What do we do now?”

This is the question that was posed to me earlier today. What do we do now?

I don’t agree with the futile wasting of energy. I don’t understand the protest marching and I will not put energy or voice behind the effort to discount the electoral college.

The election is over. That much we should all be able to agree with. From that standpoint, we really do need to move one. But in what direction?

You’d like to think young people are generally more liberal, meaning they want or at least understand change and cultural evolution. But only 19% of Millennials voted in this past election. Of those, just over 50% voted for the Democratic candidate. So 80% of eligible young people didn’t vote, and of those that did, almost half voted for Trump or a third party candidate. At this point, young people marching sounds like a social event, not meaningful action. There will be plenty of time to march. For now I suggest you conserve your energy.

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