Tag Archives: 2020

Vote on Behalf of Someone You Want to Protect

October 19, 2020

Culture and Society

The next US presidential election happens in just over two weeks from this posting. It feels like an understatement to say that this is a big deal.

Of course, it is a big deal.

To be clear, I am not a fan of our current president. He is a misogynistic, racist, sexist, and homophobic businessman who only cares about his self-interests. His handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has been full of misleading (and often misguided) information and a complete lack of empathy. Over 200,000 people have now died in the US.

Now that I got that out of the way, it goes without saying that people have a right to choose whomever they want for president. It is actually more important that people vote, regardless of who they vote for. In a democracy in which a majority of the people exercise their power to vote, there is more ownership and interest in the future of the country. This is always a good thing.

With all of this in mind, I wanted to present a simple idea.

Early voting is now in full swing across the country. People can either do so in person at local voting sites or by absentee ballots through the mail. Voting on election day will also be happening on Nov. 3. While it is absolutely important to exercise your right to vote, it is also worthwhile to think about why you are voting.

Personally, it seems easier to make a decision based entirely upon yourself and your own singular needs. For example, you could say . . .

“Sure, I have food on the table and a stable home. I’m not poor and destitute. Let’s keep everything the same and keep the current guy in office.”

This is certainly a perfectly reasonable line of thinking, but what if, for example, you shifted your perspective and thought about your beloved, ailing, and elderly grandmother? What if you considered her needs and situation?

Her affordable healthcare, as she grapples with pre-existing conditions, is supported by Obamacare. How will your vote affect this delicate balance?

Let’s say someone you deeply love and admire in your family is LGBT.

Which candidate is likely to push for a reversal of gay marriage as well as revoke equal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity?

Let’s say your sister suddenly has Coronavirus. Which leader and administration would be more competent in getting sick patients the support that they and their caregivers need?

These can be real-world scenarios that are happening in communities all across the country.

As you make your plans to vote, please think about who your vote will protect beyond just yourself. I would vote differently if the life and livelihood of someone I loved would be destroyed by the outcome of the election. Think about the future of your children, your parents, brothers, sisters, best friends, and your spouse. If the wellbeing of someone I loved was on the line, I would move mountains to make it right.

So, just think about it. Vote on behalf of someone you love and someone you want to protect.

When you do this, you vote with compassion. It becomes an act of love and kindness toward someone you care for. This makes all the difference in the world.

—Roqué

Caring for Oneself in these Trying Times

October 5, 2020

Culture and Society

I have to admit that all of this is getting to me. In the last two weeks alone, there have been thousands of more Coronavirus deaths, a massively chaotic presidential debate, a terrible outcome in the Breonna Tayler case, the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, millions of acres of California burning in flames, thousands of more jobs lost after businesses have closed or downsized, and the October surprise of the US president testing positive for Covid-19. I am also feeling more anxiety as the US presidential election approaches on November 3rd of next month, and I have finally been able to admit to myself that I have been experiencing a low-grade depression for the last few weeks.

Yes, all of it is getting to me.

What bothers me the most is a feeling of powerlessness amid all of this death, injustice, and chaos. What is there to be done?

I wake up some mornings feeling drained and unmotivated. I sigh when I come across another news headline of something terrible. All of this is impossibly sad and frustrating.

I have been alive long enough on this planet to know that I need to take responsibility for my own wellbeing. I cannot keep spiraling down this path. I cannot let all of this gloom and doom get the best of me.

With this in mind, here is what I am planning to do:

  1. Acknowledge my emotions whether they be sadness, anger, frustration, or any form of depression. It is important to sit with these feelings and hear them out. Denying that they exist will only do greater harm. Writing this blog post is one way of dealing with this, and another is taking some quiet time to myself to think about it all.
  2. Exercise outdoors on a regular basis. I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog that I have been going on long walks every day. I will continue doing this, and maybe find other places to walk for a change of scenery.
  3. Stay hydrated and eat healthy. I am blessed to have access to homegrown food every day from our garden. I’ve been avoiding sugar since January 1st of this year. Thankfully, I am well-positioned for this part of my plan.
  4. Handle my daily frustrations with kid gloves. Whenever I am feeling aggravated about a mistake I made or something I utterly failed at, I will be gentle with myself. Take a step back. Take a deep breathe. Maybe take a nap or step outside. I won’t be so hard on myself.
  5. Connect with friends and loved ones. I do not have to experience the troubles of this world alone. I will reach out and stay connected with others, even though the dominant introverted part of me finds that difficult.
  6. Seek out opportunities to laugh as much as possible. Laughter is healing, and so I am on the hunt for the best comedic films to watch. I am open to suggestions.

This plan does not seem like much, but I have always believed that incremental changes across a long period of time make the most substantive and deep shifts.

2020 is far from over, and there will quite likely be more chaos and trouble to come. I am trying to figure out a way to cope with it all.

One way or another, I will simply do the best I can. This is all I can do,

Roqué Recommends: New Suggestions for Books, Films, and Music to Enjoy

August 17, 2020

Culture and Society / Reading Books / Roque Recommends

As I noted in last week’s post, we are all stuck in quarantine one way or another in this age of the Coronavirus. Maybe you’re looking to be entertained, comforted, or inspired to help you cope with this new normal? Well, I have some suggestions for you. When I am not making short films for my YouTube channel every week, I seek out various forms of entertainment and inspiration. I generally stay away from television and episodic-style shows because of all the time they take up, but beyond that, everything else is fair game.

The following recommendations align with my tastes and sensibilities. Have a look at some of them and try them out if you are intrigued.


BOOKS:

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
by Ocean Vuong


I loved this book. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I understood within the first few pages why it became an instant New York Times bestseller. Particularly if you are a poetry enthusiast, you will truly appreciate what author Ocean Vuong has written. This book is a poetic memoir about Vuong’s upbringing as a Vietnamese immigrant who migrated to America with his mom to live with his grandmother and auntie in Connecticut. His entire family lives with the trauma sustained from the Vietnam War, and this book chronicles the healing (or lack thereof) from such a devastating set of circumstances in the war-torn villages of their homeland. Family struggles and an immersive first love between two boys fill this book’s pages with many tense and tender moments. If you’re looking for something fun and lighthearted, this is not the book for you, but if you are looking for a masterful work of nonfiction that is as transcendant as it is honest and brutal, give this book your full attention in a quiet space.

The Night Tiger
by Yangsze Choo

Twists and turns, whimsy, and intrigue infuse this novel that is set in 1930’s colonial Malaysia. There is a mysterious and terrifying beast roaming through small villages at night and slaughtering the bodies of villagers beyond recognition. If this sounds a bit too gruesome, rest assured that it’s only one component of this beautifully written story that intertwines the lives of two separate characters who you will find yourself cheering for and worrying about until the end. I’m not going to give anything away, but I enjoyed reading this book for all of the exotic adventure and rich mystery that it brings.


MUSIC

Seven
by Taylor Swift

I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been a big Taylor Swift fan. I can appreciate her talent as a singer and songwriter, but outside of a couple of lovely ballads and catchy pop songs that I liked from previous albums, there has not been anything in her output that has fully gripped my attention. Fast forward to this summer with the surprise release of her new album “Folklore”, and I found myself listening to many of its songs and buying a vinyl copy of the album. One song in this collection has been on repeat for me, and if the summer of 2020 had a personal soundtrack, this song would be its centerpiece.

Swift’s vocals subtly shift between lilting resignation and plaintive vulnerability in a delivery that finds a tonal sweet spot that is perfect for this song. It is a quiet and pensive marriage between melancholy and hopefulness. Personally, everything about this song is reminiscent of something Tori Amos would manifest down to its engaging piano riff. The lyrics convey a conflicted longing for a childhood past and a desire to recapture the spirit of those times. The song crescendoes at the end with piano and strings taking center stage in a gorgeous melodic outro. This song is a gentle work about innocence lost and the promise of possibility. It is a piece of art from an artist finding new heights in her craft. I was not expecting to find such an unassuming little masterpiece as this, but I am quite happy to have it now.


FILMS

This Beautiful Fantastic

I have a thing for movies that are sweet and whimsical. Recently, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole that led me to this film, and thank goodness for occasional rabbit holes. This film has a lot of elements that I generally enjoy such as beautiful gardens, intelligent British people, striking and rich set designs, and obsessively neurotic characters. Its story embodies a personal journey that a woman experiences in order to find her own footing in the world . Central to the plot is an elderly and certifiably grumpy misanthrope who becomes a mentor and friend to his neighbor. He teaches her how to become a gardener. An unlikely cast of characters forms a family around this relationship. So much about this film—from its script to its colorful aesthetic, performances, and cinematography—is incredibly well done. If you share my sensibilities, watch this movie. You’re welcome.


There you have it. These are some of my recommendations for you to enjoy. Whatever you choose to do, be safe and kind to yourself.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.

My newest film release is a preview of “The Preservation of Self”, which is a short film I created that comes out on my birthday on 08/28 and expresses some more of my thoughts about colonialism. Have a look right here: