Still recovering but here is something to think about. 6 Minutes of images worth 613 pages or 1 Trump rally.
So I was on a semi-self-imposed news blackout until very recently due in no small part to my own personal upheavals, but also just because….Trump.
So now I’ve begun paying more attention, watching and reading more news and following more closely, the national goings on. Thankfully I’m in a much better headspace for all of this because if I’d decided to forgo reason and dive head first as my personal life was unraveling, I’m honestly not sure I’d still be writing today.
Watching our president move with the sound off is frustrating enough, but with the sound on, it’s utterly terrifying.
How could we have been so stupid? How in the hell could we have elected this orange-thin-skinned pussy grabber, the leader of the free world? How do we not see this as the horrible national embarrassment it truly is? That a uniquely unqualified buffoon who clearly has no aptitude for the truth because he hasn’t a clue as to what that word even means, could possibly win a plurality of electoral college votes, with not a single dissenting maverick to stand in the way of this thoroughly embarrassing national disgrace?
Where are our Paines, our Parks our Kings and Peltiers? Why don’t we see how obviously our dissenting voices are absent from the debate, and how obviously we’ve become twisted up in what it means to dissent in the first place? How did the Alt-right, an animal crafted as a propaganda arm of Nazis and internet trolls who finally feel like they have a place at a table that is owned by the Jewish Cabal, actually become a legitimate voice in national politics?
I’m not of the mindset that this country is over, that with this one election we have sealed our fate. I do believe this is the last death spasm of an old skin being shaken off, but what of what’s underneath?
When will we, as a country, as a people, realize that we’ve entirely fucked up.
When we have people like Alex Jones and Mike Chernovich actually participating in the public dialog as legitimate players, how do we not see how truly fucked we are?
At the same time though, it easy to become un-fucked, just pay attention.
I don’t do Facebook much. Every time I’m lured back by some innocuous post and I get sucked back into the insanity for a bit, I pull a little further away. On several occasions I’ve been worked into such a frenzy that I feel like my heart just might quit. Frankly, aside from a few friends and relatives, it really isn’t worth using anymore.
The ridiculousness of this past election cycle had me closer than ever to hitting “delete.”
When you hear friends you thought were reasonable, say completely unreasonable things, or friends you knew were unreasonable already, say things so outrageous you can’t believe they felt emboldened to say them “in public” it feels like time to pull away.
This whole planet has me concerned at the moment. Where the US is heading is very well a dangerous and potentially violent place. Some of us believed that having access, making information and opinion more democratic, would create a learned republic. One akin to the one the founding fathers envisioned, except more varied economically with women and Black folks included, effectively democratizing learning and making us all better voters and better citizens. HA!
It seems there is that little missing element that also exemplifies an egalitarian democratic republic, ignorance.
When you have no compelling reason to cooperate in the democratic process there is no incentive to educate yourself and its so very easy to just hit the nearest button that has written on it how you feel at that very moment. Not how you think, or have reasoned through, but simply how you feel.
Now feelings are great, they are great for creating art, for manipulating and coercing your kid to do their homework, great for schmoozing and wooing, but alone, they are terrible for democracy. Feelings betray biases, and generally biases are not reasonable, they may come from a vague place of reason, but they are not reasonable in and of themselves. Feelings should not be the sole reason you vote for a particular candidate, using feelings as a sole measure will always lead to buyers remorse.
So does this mean that democracy may not be the best way to go?
I really don’t know but as the days go by, I’m doubting American democracy more and more and that scares the shit out of me.
This is not the end. Yeah this sucks but it won’t forever and now we have a reason to get up every morning and fight ignorance, bigotry and hate by being better than that.
And maybe, just maybe, like every other prediction about this election, the prediction that we are on a fast track to hell will be greatly exaggerated.
Edited 9:47 EDT on 3/17/16 because I hit the “publish” button way too soon.
I don’t do Facebook much. Every time I’m lured back by some innocuous post, I get sucked back into the insanity for a bit, I pull a little further away. On several occasions, I’ve been worked into such a frenzy that I feel like my heart just might quit. Frankly, aside from a few friends and relatives, it isn’t worth using anymore, but I probably still will.
The ridiculousness of this election cycle has me closer than ever to hitting “delete.”
When you hear friends you thought were reasonable, say entirely foolish things or friends you knew were unreasonable already, say things so outrageous you can’t believe they felt emboldened to say them “in public” it feels like time to pull away.
This whole planet has me depressed at the moment. Where the US is heading is very well a dangerous and potentially violent place. Some of us believed that having access, making information and opinion more democratic; would create a learned republic. One akin to the one the founding fathers envisioned, except more varied economically (with women and Black folks included), effectively democratizing learning and making us all better voters and better citizens. HA!
It seems there is that little missing piece of every utopian fantasy gone awry that we all appear to have forgotten about, human nature.
The culture has become even more intellectually lazy, shiftless, boorish and crude. Not the good crude that ties us together with our individual baseness. Not potty humor crude, more like making a doody and smearing it in someone’s face crude. In this great experiment, we are in a very tenuous place.
I don’t consider myself intellectually lazy, nor do I feel that I am lazy in any other way, but I do feel very drained. To persist in a world that doesn’t read, doesn’t process information with a mix of emotion and logic, doesn’t care if they hurt others for what they feel they need, that fears, that hates, takes energy that on some days I feel I’m lacking.
Is this what it feels like to give in? Is settling for a country or a life that is 1/10th of 1% of what it could be, worth it? Is getting up every morning as the sun comes up just to face another day of shit worth the effort?
If I feel that way, I can only imagine what others who have much less than I do, or much less processing power than I do, or much less of a future than I do, feel.
I’m not only talking about the grim realities of living in a country so rich that a small number of people can own enough land, have enough capital to house, feed and clothe everyone else, and still have plenty left for themselves. For the most part, I’m talking about good hardworking people with no education or not enough ability, or who are too old to be part of the agile workforce. I feel on the edge of that last one myself.
The poor kid in South Philly and the old rancher in New Mexico both share these feelings of ennui. They share them for very different reasons, but the sense of helplessness and fear are the same. They have different things, at different levels, to lose, but they both feel a strong fear that they will lose it all.
At this very moment, it isn’t my task to try and separate the feelings or the reasons, the manipulators and those manipulated. I’m not setting out to, right now, tell the rancher that his fear is unfounded. Or to tell the kid that he should “work harder.” Right now I just want to accept that we are all on some level afraid.
And just let that sink in.
Does President Sanders really sound worse than President Trump?
For fuck’s sake will a single, now outraged, republican who isn’t voting for Trump please admit that they’ve been part of the problem?
The closer we get to the inevitability of Trump winning the people’s choice award for the now fully irrelevant and angry white male contingent of the Republican party the more roaches start looking for lifeboats off the sinking ship that it has become.
As I have said before, if Trump wins (which he will) the republican nomination, gets his ass handed to him by whomever wins the democratic nomination (check) and still keeps talking (which he also will) there will be far reaching consequences. The rest of the world, already bewildered by our treatment of our current president and thoroughly bug-fucked scared at even the remotest possibility of a Trump presidency, are shaking their collective heads so furiously at the laboratory of fascism we’ve become that they have fanned the four winds into the first January Atlantic hurricane in 60 years.
In yesterday’s New York Times, a “paper” whose relevancy and integrity continue the long slide down the sewer pipe, former Republican speechwriter and “conservative” cheerleader Peter Wehner (I never heard of him either) finally takes a stand and says that Trump is the Antichrist out of space who has single-handedly dragged the party from the virtuous free-market religiosity of the Bush years to the bat-shit insanery that is now. He’s not the only one. Nikki Hailey, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, “the other white Bush”, and even evangelical fuck-nut Mike Huckabee, nary a one among them who hasn’t scorched the earth with a smaller version of the flame thrower Trump has been proudly shouldering, have all denounced the front runner as inflammatory or some other rhetorical phrase that means next to nothing.
Look, I said it before and I’ll repeat it now.
You fuckers had it coming.
For anyone to state without a severe ironic drawl that Trump is anything but the embodiment of the true nature of the modern Republican party, nursed on the southern strategy and tuteled in a one room backwater schoolhouse on the prairie by Lee Atwater under principal “Joe” the plumber, is to reject these little things called “history” and “common sense.” How these morons can possibly not see their own complicity in the creation of FrankenTrump out of the rotting corpses of Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed and the Von Mises institute, lit up and brought to life by a withering lightning rod on the (wholly inadequate) roof of Angry White Male Inc. is beyond cognitive dissonance, it is irresponsible, and infantile. It is “blaming the other guy who rented the house after we blew holes in the walls” fucking insanity.
YOU, you lazy piece of shit, YOU, you pandering, forgetting where you came from douchebag, YOU, YOU are to blame for the care and feeding of the out of control animal you stuffed full of wingnut paranoia and birther-ism when it served you and and ego-stroked when you needed votes yet now want to disown as someone else’s problem. YOU, you irresponsible asshole, not the misled, misinformed, misshapen white men you so easily manipulated into blind hatred for anything NOT them, YOU!
How many Republican who voted for Reagan, Bush and well….Bush stood up against the dog whistle politics of Lee Atwater? Or the identity politics of the Christian Coalition? How long did it take for them to shake the cobwebs off and take David Duke seriously? How deep up their own asses were their heads that they ignored, sympathized with or played upon the Angry White Male fear and loathing syndrome that swept across the country in the mid 80’s culminating in the patriot and militia movements and finally the single worst act of domestic terror in our history? How many of you have taken responsibility for the rhetoric that called for “second amendment remedies” and “head shots” that encouraged the attempted assassination of a US Senator?
How fucking long did it take for Republicans of good conscience to speak out? With every act of violence, with every stoking of the rhetoric of hatred cloaked in OxyContin fueled “common sense”, with every suggestion by mainstream republicans of the racial fear of “the other” invoked and consequently blown off as rational… you fucking begged for this.
And only now, as the consequences of the ignorance of these growing embers gathers to burn down the forest of the party do they suddenly find a conscience? Even in my youth, untrained but attuned to the subtleties and not so subtleties of racial coding and white anger at the whittling away of their inherent privilege, did I see this coming.
Not, mind you, in such a package, but if ever there was the perfect marriage of cultural collusion it is Mr. Trump. Money and the power that follows, fear of the other while simultaneously exploiting the other for profits, playing into fear and hatred while somehow claiming the opposite while still maintaining credibility. All in the most unbelievable package, a package of Viagra and trophy wives stewed together in a chunky stew of opulence substituting itself for virility. Men in hunting gear gathering support for a guy who golfs with celebrities and probably could not not survive outside under the best conditions for more than an hour? The embodiment of an appeal to nature fallacy appealing to nature.
Only in America? Probably not. But there is so much of America, mostly the bad parts, in him that we are willing to overlook it all in favor of the fantasy of him.
Somehow the establishment, after playing with the same fire, stoking the same hatreds for their benefit, believed that this was impossible? They are only words after all, and only liberal English professors actually believe that words have consequences.
The Republican establishment’s willingness to ignore the warnings of 50 years of identity politics, racial bating and scapegoating of those we have invited here with our uniquely American rhetoric (Tired, poor, yadda, yadda…) are the reasons we have Trump. The culture that promotes the appearance of virility through enforcement of will in so many anti-democratic ways here and abroad, created this monster. Our lack of reasoning and squashing of dissent as un-American lead us here.
And now we have a choice that leads us, either way, to more pain, more suffering and more stupidity.
But still, we do have a choice.
Trump, Charlatan, fascist or both?
I just read an article over at Vox that does a pretty good job at answering the question “is Trump a Fascist?” Asking historical “experts,” mostly academics whether The Donald fits the bill they pretty much all say no, with some qualifications, of course but by the definitions supplied by these experts Trump falls short. Of course, no one should tell him this, no one wants a demagogue told he isn’t something enough.
Also at Vox, alternately hilariously, alarmingly bizzaro-worldish and freaky, Marie LePen, the leader of Front National (or National Front) the French right-wing populist party that is historically anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and generally racist disavows the proposed anti-Muslim ban Trump boisterously and famously proposed last week. Saying it “goes too far.”
Before anyone cheers LePen though it has much more to do with the fact that she’s a savvy politician who actually knows what a constitution is, rather than a multicultural softie.
If nothing else it exposes Trump for what he is, a dangerous example of charlatanism, a power hungry mogul who will say anything and stir up any amount of shit to get what he wants, even at the cost of violence against the most vulnerable. It gives one further pause in considering Trump as a serious candidate when the closest mainstream equivalent to the Nazi party stakes out a position to his left.
Baguettes for thought indeed.
I feel I should just pack it in now, because nothing could be more stupid than this.