Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Trying to Grow Up

Posted: July 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

I am currently staffing at the Boy Scout National Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia. It’s going to be a wild experience, as this is the 100th anniversary of Scouting in America. As a 20 year old, I am accustomed to serving as adult staff at many different BSA events, rather than as a youth. Typically, this involves sleeping in a cabin with old men, with lots of stretchy and wrinkly parts.

But since this is the National Jamboree, there is a very high concentration of young adults (18 years and up) here. In my tent, there are 9 other people who are all 18 to 19 years of age. And I don’t understand why they’re all trying to grow up so fast.

They’re all talking about what their summer jobs are, trying to compete over who makes more money, about who got into a more prestigious college for the fall, over who has a hotter girlfriend, over who’s man enough to try and sneak a smoke in the woods, over who’s ever hit a blunt of weed, over who drives the fastest car, over who’s gonna get away with the least amount of work while staffing this camp. The verbal pissing match is wearing me thin. I spend as little time as possible in my tent.

I’m here for fun. For a relaxation from worldly responsibility. To focus on what’s important: bringing Scouting to 50,000 visitors at this Jamboree. I play games, work hard, eat good food, and get excited for the next few days as we prepare for kickoff on the 26th.

Being here is like being a kid in Scouts again. I don’t want to grow up so fast.

Way back in February, I was more than stoked to head out to Little Si and hit the ropes. It was a bright, sunny day, with temperatures well into the mid 60’s. I on-sighted Violent Phlegms (5.11b), and was sure that this was an exciting beginning to a very long summer climbing season.

And then, Washington decided that it was instead a nice time for winter to catch up.

The following months just saw weekend after weekend of rain and poor weather. In between February and mid-June, I was able to get outside a total of two more times. Adding to the chronic pain was the constant build-up of school and research, including the preparation of a poster for a national conference in Anaheim, California. With all the needs and responsibilities of the world surrounding me, even my climbing gym sessions totaled less than ten times. However, all of this was rectified as of last week by this:


Smith Rock State Park

Jessica, Kevin, and I trucked the five hours down to Terrebonne, Oregon last Monday, staying until Friday afternoon. A fourth was to join us on Tuesday afternoon, but unfortunately was unable to make it. Regardless, we had a great time. After some mild adventure on the way down (including McDonald’s breakfast and falling asleep at the wheel) we pulled into the parking lot of Smith Rock State Park right around noon. The camping facilities there are amazing compared to most camping/climbing locations. Running water, hot showers, and clean bathrooms were all readily available within 100 yards of the tent sites. Town was a mere 3 miles from camp, so a grocery store and restaurants were also minutes away. With the responsibilities of the world behind me, I was more than ready to kick back and enjoy five solid days of beautiful climbing.

After some quick sandwiches, we headed down into the gorge to see how much skin we could lose on the first day. Armed with the 1992 first edition of the Smith Rock guidebook and asking lots of directions (shhh…insider beta: GET THE NEW EDITION), we found ourselves at the base of the most popular route in Smith: Five Gallon Buckets (5.8). Surprisingly, only one other party occupied the popular Morning Glory Wall with us, and we were able to hop right onto the route. Thanks to our mid-week climbing trip, we actually didn’t have to wait for any routes at all for the entire week. After getting over the hollow rock (it’s solid, I swear) and figuring out the technical high-step nature of the volcanic tuff, I found myself warmed up and ready to try harder things.


Jessica at the top of Five Gallon Buckets (5.8)

Some fun, intermediate .10’s later, I found myself at the base of Zebra Direct, a super classic 5.11a right up the middle of Morning Glory Wall. Appearing to be more featured than the rest of the face, I was quickly surprised and pumped at the super delicate crimps and side-pulls required to ascend the route. A lower crux with the first bolt at about 15 feet up was not very helpful either. After pitching just above the second bolt, I made it up to the chains with the beta figured out, ready to give it another go. Kevin, the local wunderkind that’s been seriously climbing for less than 9 months, gave it his all and came out with a cool flash of .11a on his first day sport climbing outside ever. Awesome, yet disgusting at the same time. His send got the train started, and I hopped on right behind for the second-go. A beautiful line, that everyone should definitely try.


Zebra Direct (5.11a)

The top half of the route exits through some fun, easy bucket climbing. On the last bolt just before the anchors, I was reminded why even on such high trafficked rock, you must always be prepared for the possibility of disaster. With just a light tap of the foot, I shifted and dislodged a block of stone that easily weighed 10 pounds. Fortunately, it stayed put and didn’t fall. Quickly warning everyone to back far away from the wall, I finished the route (not about to give up my red-point) and set up my rappel. Fearing that someone would attempt to pull on the block, I brought it down with me back to the ground, looking as if I was bringing the Ten Commandments down from the mountainside.

The next few days continued similarly, with many beautiful 5.10’s, a few easy but super fun trad lines, and some more difficult 5.11’s. Smith is surprisingly skin-friendly, with the soft rock allowing hours and hours of climbing every day without turning the fingertips raw. I managed a tricky on-sight of More Sandy Than Kevin (5.11a), which got me super excited. Kevin came super close to flashing as well, sticking the crux moves before pumping out at the very end. Regardless, super fun climbing and great company was plentiful. It was also great to gain perspective on climbing ability at the same time. While I was on Nine Gallon Buckets (5.10c to the third anchors), Matt Spohn of Mad Rock Climbing was just 100 feet to the right of me, running laps on Churning in the Wake (5.13a). Yet we were all just having a great time, pushing personal boundaries rather than chasing numbers. That little number is a fun way to quantify my improvement while climbing, yet as long as I’m having a great time, I’d rather climb 5.8’s and .9’s all day outside than to be stuck inside a cubicle.


Kevin pulling hard on a near flash of More Sandy Than Kevin (5.11a)


Blue Light Special (5.11b), the one that got away

In an effort to get stronger, Kevin and I spent some time throwing ourselves on Latin Lover (5.12a), and getting spat off super hard in return. Great movement was consistent throughout the route, but the small crimps, side-pulls, and pebble-pinches continued to get smaller and smaller until I felt as if I was pulling on the edge of an envelope. Even though we both eventually made it to the chains, we agreed that Smith is a very difficult place to push grades, and that Latin Lover would have to wait for another day when our skin was fresh and our fingers were strong.


Latin Lover (5.12a) not lovin’ back

Wednesday met us with some light but consistent rain throughout the day, so we headed into town to find some entertainment. A climbing store, two grocery stores, a post office, a hardware shop, a hair salon, and a quilting supply shop later, we found ourselves having happy hour food at the Terrebonne Depot. Between the hours of 3-6 pm, all climbers in the area should definitely make the the Depot a regular destination. Since we’re known as phenomenally cheap people, a $5 pizza satiates both the stomach and the wallet. And it was just the right amount of energy to get us back on the wall in the evening as the skies finally opened up.

On Friday, I hooked up with a friend Matt whom I had met in the campsite to head up the ol’ Pioneer Route (5.7 A1) of Monkey Face. A 350 foot spire of rock with a simian appearance on the peak, Monkey Face is a classic multi-pitch not to be missed. I led my first bolt ladder that day, while also seconding on probably the most mind blowing traverse I have ever done, a 5.9 thin and hairy move out and towards the summit, with nothing but air underneath you. A short but sweet climb, we finished the 3 pitches in around an hour and forty minutes of climbing. The local dirt-bag who lives in the campsite just recently set the free-solo speed record of the Pioneer Route, finishing the same climb we did in a mere 7 minutes and 43 seconds. Graciously, he left the fixed rope he used to get down for others to rappel off the top, allowing us to do a 300 foot free hanging rappel all the way to the base of the Monkey.


The top of the first pitch


Leading the A1 bolt ladder


Matt following into the mouth of the Monkey


Rappelling off the summit

Five days later, and I found myself back in Olympia, more psyched than ever. Smith is a little slice of heaven nestled away right in our corner of the country, and I hope to find myself there again and again. More pleasant company couldn’t have been had, and such good climbing is found in places few and far in between.

Notice that I am in a surprising amount of photos that I have posted, a rarity for climbers who normally end up photographing others. For this, I cannot thank Jessica enough, who spent the majority of the trip taking over a thousand photographs of me, Kevin, other climbers, rocks, lizards, and llamas.

Texas voting

Posted: September 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

I realize that the election has been past for over nearly nine months already. There are no longer any votes to be tallied, no more Presidential candidates TV commercials to be aired, nor any more conventions and rallies to attend. Even though the season is over, politics are still firmly engrained into the Americain mind.

I was touring the Stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas this afternoon, enjoying the sights of an area formally devoted to the exchange and sale of hundreds of thousands of heads of livestock a year. Now, in this era of auctions and computers, the Stockards have been rendered obsolete. Insead of cattle, they now welcome tourists year round who wish to experience some of Texas’ agricultural history. Pens that used to hold sheep and swine have been converted into shopping areas and eateries.

In the corner of one of these areas was a little bookstore, specializing in used volumes of Texan lore. Books about cowboys, Jesse James, and combine harvesters lined old dusty shelves. An elder gentleman sat behind a glass counter, shooting the wind with another senior citizen outfitted in the garb of a true native Texan. Honestly, the books were of little interest to me. As most students will understand, there is little time for recreational reading during the school year anyway. What laid under the glass counter that he man was leaning on caught me eye, though.

Political buttons of many generations of American history laid there in protective cases. Experiencing the last election as a student on a large college campus was very exciting. It was easy to get caught in the wave of rallies, parties, and campaigning that was at the University of Washington. Somewhere in a drawer in my room, I still have a collection of stickers, buttons, and posters. And here was a collection that spanned not only the last election, but all the way back to Kennedy.

I couldn’t help myself. I bought a “George Bush for President ’88” button. It will join the ranks of many other buttons on the strap of my book bag. I feel like I am safer from the wrath of people who did not support Bush senior, being that most of he political activist on camps were just born during that area. As I placed he button on my bag, the two older gentleman engaged me in an excited discussion of past Presidential candidates. As I had chosen a button from an extensive collection, it would make sense that I would be familiar with all of he candidates in the glass case, wouldn’t it? I believe that both gentleman forgot they were speaking to a man of much fewer years than they, as they debated with me the effectiveness of Spiro Agnew as a vice President, and whether or not Ross Perot’s stand on healthcare was still applicable now. I smiled, nodded, and tried to paricipate in the conversation that began to drift to simply between he both of them.

Both men were obviously politically active in this past era. And in ’88, both men voted for Bush.

The University Way

Posted: October 6, 2008 in Uncategorized

So I have to say, living on a college campus is something else. Staying in a dormitory is quite amusing; about forty people on my floor that mill about during all hours of the day and night. Certain people are only available at certain hours – most likely, my roommate can be found in the early afternoons and late evenings, while either studying or watching his new obsession – Firefly. My girlfriend likes to be up in the mornings, so if you want to get a hold of Jessica, be at her door between 10:30 and 12:30. I’m generally at home from 10:30 – 1:30, and after 5, my breaks between classes. There will almost always be someone in the lounge watching TV, though.

Living with forty random people is kind of like flipping a coin forty times. If you’re lucky, all of them will be great, and none will rub you the wrong way. Generally, the mean edges towards a few that you really like, a majority of which you just don’t speak to, and a few that make you feel like living in the dorms is akin to picking the most whiny people you have known your entire life and compressing them into one person that just happens to live next door. I got a mix of each.

My roommate is a pretty neat guy. Even though it’s election year, his political views have been wisely hushed in order to avoid dramatic conversations. Apparently he’s well known on this floor already – his nickname is “Naked”, in reference to his lack of shirts while walking through the hallways. He likes mostly organic foods, listens to funny music, and has a preference for very loudly crunching cereal. We’re living together pretty comfortably, though some issues have arisen. As good a match as we are, the cereal has become a problem. Kashi designed their food to be healthy, not to be quiet. When my first class isn’t until 11:30 on Fridays, my roommate’s crunching can sound like his molars are jackhammers on cheap plywood. Which is my opinion on how his cereal tastes, but that’s not my job to judge. We go to church and hit the climbing gym together, though, so I suppose all is forgiven.

There are lots of people on my floor whom I am acquaintances with. I don’t know them very well. This empty paragraph symbolizes the lack of knowledge about my newly found friends. Until I can acquire more information and develop my own ideas, there’s very little I can say about them. Yeah, that’s what they teach you in English Composition 1.

Then of course, there’s that one guy. Our introductions were quite droll. My neighbor knocked on my door and asked:

“Andrew, will you do me a huge favor??”

“…”

“Can I keep all my stuff in your fridge?”

I’m not sure how to respond to a question like that. A Residence Hall at the University of Washington is not a very private place to live, so any semblance of personal space is closely guarded. My fridge is hidden away in my closet, away from prying eyes and mooching hands, and is also shielded by a laundry basket of dirty clothes. If my new neighbor thinks it’s perfectly normal to enter my room every morning to pour himself some milk to have with his cookies, I think a discussion on boundaries should be held. This was one request that I did not have to discuss with my roommate before I gave an answer.

Other than that, living here isn’t half bad. The food’s expensive, the appliances are cheap, and the lounge doesn’t always stay clean. But hey, college is the best years of my life, right? I love it.

thinkandrew

Pulau Redang

Posted: June 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’m kickin’ it back in South East Asia right now. Eating local food, visiting friends, and all in all becoming a little brown boy as the sun shines hotly on 4 degrees north of the equator.

Life seems to go at both a slower and faster pace over here. There’s not a time in the day when I can’t find someone that’s willing to sit down at the nearest hawker market, drink some tea, eat some noodles, and talk about life, politics, music, or whatnot. But when we cross the street back home, you’ve gotta have not only eyes in the back of your head, but on each side too, for motorcycles and rogue compact cars will barrel down the tiny gap between trucks and the curb. If you don’t want to get hit, you’ve got to have your sixth sense aware.

But there’s still time to sit in a hammock, with sandals on, and stare out into the beach.

thinkandrew

It’s all planned

Posted: June 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

I was extremely disappointed when I wasn’t given a spot on the Mount Rainier climb that was scheduled to go up last weekend.

For the past few years, it’s been my goal to climb Mount Rainier on the summer of my 18th birthday. Sort of like a culminating project of school, scouts, and all the bruhaha that goes along with the 18th year, I imagined a summit of Rainier as sort of a crowning achievement to all that I’ve done. Originally, the plan was the pay the some $800 ridiculous fee offered by various guiding services for a shepherded trip. That plan had many holes in it to begin with, starting with an obvious lack of fundage. However, upon joining the Mountaineers (Boy Scouts for big boys), a whole new world of trips were opened up.

There was a trip scheduled for June 6-7, last weekend. I was psyched beyond psyched to sign up for it, and called the leader. It was to be led by someone from the Seattle branch of the Mountaineers, rather than from the Olympia branch, so I’d not met this man in person. However, upon calling him, I was told that “I really just made this trip for my friends in Seattle. So thanks for telling me, I’m closing registration now.” More than a little miffed, I disappointedly resigned myself to a weekend of no climbing.

Come Saturday, the rain began to pour and pour and pour. The snow level dropped to 3,300 feet. Looking out the window at the torrent of water flooding our driveway, I was very happy not to be climbing at that moment. Miserable is not a word sufficient enough to describe how I would have been feeling if I had been in the middle of clipping onto a fixed-line on Disappointment Cleaver, soaked to the bone. I decided then and there that God was watching out for me, and hadn’t let me gone on that trip on purpose. Either that or it was retribution to the Seattlites for not allowing me on their trip. Just kidding.

So when my July 18-20 trip to Eldorado Peak was canceled due to leader injury, I had mixed feelings. I wasn’t sure if God had something better in store for me, as it’s kind of hard to imagine that such a great coincidence could happen after being disappointed by trip cancellations twice in a week. However, things are planned more in advance than I thought.

Just ten minutes ago, I received an e-mail with an updated climb list offered by the Olympia Branch this summer. Mr. R, my favorite instructor in the Mountaineers, with whom I also go to church with, is leading a Mt. Rainier summit climb on July 18-19! Seems as if someone was watching out for me all along, letting me get on a trip with good company and fair weather. I’m very excited.

thinkandrew

Birthday! – Part 2

Posted: May 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

Thomas generally doesn’t wake up until 12 noon on LAN weekends; most of his evenings involve a lot of fragging anyways. So when given the opportunity, he’ll sleep until lunch time. The rest of us, seeking to maximize gaming time, were up and running Crysis by 9 am. Which is really kind of ridiculous when you think about it, but hey, it’s a birthday party, and I’ll do whatever I want.

Gaming time was drawing to a close by around 11 am, though. A hearty brunch was sitting on the dinner table upstairs, and once the meal was done, it would be time to pack up our computing hardware. I think it’s important to note at this time that my mom did an incredible job cooking, even with the amount of limitations placed on her. In the group of 8 guests I had over, three of them can’t eat any pork, one is lactose intolerant, and one of them is allergic to a list of foods bigger than a stack of punch-cards for a 70’s computer science grad student. But her food still received many praises, and leftovers were still popular during brunch. Not that the breakfast pizza, french pancakes, and quiche weren’t all tasty as well. With 10 boys to feed, the more food the merrier.

Because climbing all day at Mount Rainier simply wasn’t enough, I brought the party to go climbing all afternoon at the Warehouse Rock Gym as well. A bunch of geeks going out to go rock climbing was a pretty funny image, as we continuously made references to doing it “Sam Fisher/Logan Keller style” (Tom Clancey characters, from Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six respectively). It was a complete and total blast, climbing on all the routes in the gym. I never realized how big the Warehouse Rock Gym really was, until we fit so many of us in there comfortably, along with a few other people that trickled in on their own. Belaying each other, we never really had to worry about waiting our turn, as we could each just pair up with another and switch off on different routes. When our arms would get too fatigued to hold onto the wall, our belayer would start hoisting us up the face, giving the illusion of amazing skills.

Our given time slot was up at 3. If anyone ever needs a venue for any sort of party, I’d definitely recommend the Warehouse. It was an amazing time, and I think quite a few of us will be headed back there quite soon. However, that didn’t turn out to be the end of our party. On the drive home, we were drawn to the side of the road by a myriad of tents and kayaks on the shores of Capital Lake. The Spring Outdoor Festival was in town, and letting people test out their kayaks for free! Within minutes, our little saunter around the lake turned into a fierce race, one that ended in many of us getting the seat of our pants wet. Fortunately, nothing capsized, even though some of us tried.

So the party consisted of so many things, that it was difficult to count. I guess if every day of my future years are as fun as the single day I had to celebrate my 18th, I’d be a pretty happy camper. Kudos to all who made it a great time for me, too. Thanks for coming!

thinkandrew

Birthday! – Part 1

Posted: May 6, 2008 in Uncategorized

A pocket-knife and a comic book. What more could a guy ask for?

There’s a myriad of things that I’m now able to do, since turning 18. I can go to a Federal Prison. I could buy cigarettes. I could gamble. I can sign my own liability-release waivers. I can get a credit card. Possibly most exciting, I can call the *must-be-18-years-or-older-to-call* phone numbers from late-night infomercials. I always wanted to own my own Bedazzler ™! A wonderful birthday, indeed.

All in all, it turned out to be a pretty crazy weekend, involving a 22 hour day, 12 computers, a rock wall, 8 kayaks, and one very tired dog. Having planned the weekend’s events for almost a month, I was wildly anticipating it’s coming. The entire event was split apart into two days. On Day 1, I woke up at 5 am, and spent the entire morning and afternoon at Mount Rainier National Park. With the Olympia Mountaineers, I was practicing Z-Pulley rescues. To put it simply, I would jump over a cliff, and three guys would pull me up by using a 3-to-1 mechanical advantage pulley system. In the mean time, I would just hang by my harness in the air. It took a few minutes before I realized that I could reach into my pack, after which I began eating my sandwich. Climbers not doing anything threw pieces of chocolate down to me, and I picked up some giant icicles. It’s a heck lot of fun, and I came back tanned, even though clouds were sitting on the mountain all day.

Just as I got home, the guys showed up in our driveway. My friend Jessica and her fruit salad were already there, when a bad-smelling Acura and an old station-wagon pulled in. Over about half an hour, we hauled in 10 computers, an extra table, and network hardwear for all. Adding in my own computer, we were sitting at 11 Crysis-compatible PC’s and 12 people to share it among. Throw in a brand new video game (Rainbow Six: Vegas 2) that I got for my birthday, along with 6 pounds of gummy-bears, and we had a recipe for an amazing night. After an incredible dinner and cake, we were ready to dig in. Bear in mind that by that time, it was my 16th hour of being awake.

It’s a funny thing. Every time I go to a LAN party, we end up playing slow-moving Real Time Strategy games that have as much excitement as peanut butter on stale bread. Creamy peanut butter, not chunky. But being my birthday party, I had the honor of choosing the games that we were playing, a responsibility that I did not take lightly. Vegas 2 was followed by Unreal Tournament 3, which lead to Battlefield 2 and Savage. In the morning, we were rolling out Crysis before we packed up all of the hardwear. I think we converted my mom into a LAN-believer: she actually stayed up until midnight, watching us game. Jessica left around that time, the two women ready to go to bed.

I believe the official time that Andrew went to bed was around 3:30, too gamed-out to continue the mindless clicking. The other 7 people trawled on until 6:30 in the morning, playing Savage non-stop. But just like then, the story won’t continue until the next day. I’m going to sleep now, too.

thinkandrew

Moon

Posted: February 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’m sitting here, staring at the moon. It’s staring back at me, in a somewhat sleepy state. It’s eyelid is half closed, giving me the impression of drowsiness. Perhaps he’s just as tired as I am. Tired of this day, tired of certain people, tired of the crap that happens in this world. Every discussion in my Multicultural America class turns into a political debate, whether it’s against Christians or against Republicans. The moon might be angry because of people not taking care of this Earth we live on, dumping raw sewage into oceans, and letting people live on the streets. It’s a sad state of affairs.

But I’m also happy! I’m exuberant beyond belief! God has given us this short time of our lives, and we have to do with it whatever we can. Relationships grow and flower, academic work leads to work worth doing, and I’m going camping this weekend to explore God’s creation. The moon is happy because she sees how people across the world are gathering in prayer, how charities are giving their time and resources freely to those in need, and even because of the joy of a child that receives his first puppy.

The moon’s shining brightly tonight.

thinkandrew

The U.S. of A.

Posted: February 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

In response to discussions from my Multicultural America Class, which will be elaborated further on.

I’ll be the first to admit. Our country isn’t perfect. It was based on perfect ideals, but, as human nature goes, things fell through. People fell victim to racism, prejudice, and vast discrimination. Japanese were placed in Internment camps, Blacks were lynched, Native Americans were placed in Reservations, and even many whites fell victim to their own ignorance.

However, I think it is completely unfair for someone to say that America is a terrible country, that we don’t believe in freedom anymore, or that “if so-and-so is elected President, I’m moving to Canada”. We’re a country based on freedom, and we’ve still got it. It’s repressed in some areas, but it’s still there.

Where else are you going to be able to speak out against the government in such a fashion? I’ve lived overseas for over half my life, so much of my experiences are first hand. In Malaysia, the government has become increasingly afraid of people’s outspoken beliefs, a freedom of speech that is so widely exercised in this
country. The G-men have jailed political activists, and the Federally-supported newspaper sued a blogger for slander, in reaction to unfavorable posts towards their articles. One government official is even suggesting that Malaysia-based bloggers should have to register, putting their content to the subject of filters that can
remove anything deemed “un-print-worthy”. With MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, Xanga, and many more, there is an unlimited amount of resources for us, Americans, to speak out not only against our country, but against any country in the world. And we’re not being pulled out of our homes by the police while we’re at it.

Freedom of religion? That’s a heavy argument. Supposedly, religion is oppressed throughout this country, with society blocking out beliefs that aren’t widely accepted. This may be true, that society is not completely open sometimes. But when has this ever not been true? Has there ever been a people that was so widely accepting of everything different from themselves, with absolutely no prejudice towards them? There is no such record in history, I guarantee it. Sure, Islamics and
Buddhists are not that widely represented in the United States, at least not in the favorable light that other beliefs are. But if you practice Christianity in certain parts of China, you’ll go to jail for it. Pastors are being beat up. In parts of the Former Soviet Union, Islamics or Christians face much more prejudice than any sort that we experience here. Be happy with the bowl of soup you’ve got, cuz ain’t
nobody gonna give you the ladle.

One more note on the topic of religion. I believe one of the rules that we suggested for the “safety for classroom discussion” was to argue points, not people? To single out a certain culture or people as “f****d up and selfish” certainly seems like the very prejudice that our class is preaching against. It’s not worth it, really.

History is to be learned from, so not as to be repeated. However, History should never be resented, either. Because of a man’s mistake two hundred years ago, we suddenly find ourselves justified to declare him completely and morally bankrupt, with no place in being a hero of our country. But history is what it is, the past. Don’t hate it. It’s made our country what it is today. And I’m pretty sure the people that decided that Andrew Jackson would be on the $20 bill were fairly educated people, and aware that he was responsible for the Indian Wars. He’s still a war hero, even though he did bad things. He saved us from the British during the War of 1812. I’m pretty sure we don’t say that America was prejudiced and racist towards England.

The United States of America is a proud nation, a nation that is said to protect and defend, to welcome and shelter, and to serve its people. It doesn’t always do that, but that doesn’t mean that we resent it for what it is. We praise it for trying, and praise it as the mother of over 300 million people. You don’t like the way this country is run? You’ve got it better here than anywhere else in the world, I guarantee it. Nobody I knew moved to Canada after the last election.

thinkandrew