Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Never Be The Same

Responding to some mildly vitriolic political diatribe—by current standards, anyway—posted by a Trump supporter on her Facebook page, a friend emphasized her desire for civility and the need for all of us to recognize that one day this current president will no longer be in office, but we will still have to contend with each other, namely the family and friends with whom we’ve disagreed or even feuded over our feelings regarding POTUS45.

My immediate reaction, aside from disagreement, was to refer to Chris Rock’s most recent comedy special, Tambourine, in which he talks about how his infidelity—among other things—led to the end of his marriage. But there was one particular aspect that came to mind: how once it’s confirmed that there’s been betrayal, a relationship can never be the same.

Aside from the fact that the presidency of this vulgar bigot and con man has further coarsened the public discourse for decades to come, I feel there are a great many of us who have felt betrayed by those from our inner circle who support a morally decrepit individual of this magnitude. It goes much deeper than disagreeing about political ideology, it’s the realization that people we loved and/or respected have decided to stand with a monster. And what that reveals about them.

Yes, in many if not most instances, these folks will remain in our lives long after the Orange Nightmare has subsided. But as anyone who has remained in a relationship tainted by betrayal can attest to, it will never be the same.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Democrats Are To Blame

Yes, indeed. It's their fault. The feeble approach that has allowed the toxic partisan cesspool that is American politics to fester, is the Democrats’ crown of thorns. Like a clueless albeit well-meaning dude who continues to pursue a romantic relationship with a lesbian, the Democrats repeatedly fail to understand the political playbook the Republicans are incredibly well versed in: “Winning isn’t everything; it's the only thing”, to quote the old sports cliché.

Someone once said that the social values of the ‘90s alternative rock community—ethnic and sexual tolerance, respect for women’s rights, etc—didn’t fully permeate the American social fabric because the flannel shirt made the average person feel kinda itchy. In other words, Americans are not the most tolerant of folks and are certainly not creatures of nuance and subtlety—otherwise, the “freaks” would stay in Podunk, USA—especially in the bloodsport that is politics. Civility is perceived as cowardice; to be reasonable and measured is deemed a lack of leadership; and to be fair to your opponent is for the gutless and weak. This is the world in which our politics operate. It is a sad state of affairs but it is our current reality.

So, instead of adapting to this new paradigm, the Democrats have decided to be the only ones who abide the old rules and put forth banalities like “When they go low, we go high” instead of going all Sopranos on these fuckers. We’re getting our asses kicked by Johnny Sack while Little Carmine wants to mediate and talk it out. The current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is an avowed and self-incriminating sexual predator with almost two dozen accusations lodged against him, not to mention a scandal involving an adult film actress that may have campaign finance implications and, ultimately, bring about felony indictments. Meanwhile, the Democrats made Al Franken resign over a couple of boneheaded indiscretions.

This crystallizes why the Democratic base is angry: the Republicans can do whatever the fuck they want and the Democrats seemingly do nothing to make them accountable. Granted, there are plenty of times when not having a majority in Congress cuts you off at the knees but even when they do have the upper hand or a bit of temporary leverage—as in the recent government shutdown—they manage to find a way to somehow fuck it up. It also explains the internal California rebellion brewing in the form of opposition towards Diane Feinstein’s return to the Senate. There’s a feeling that the current representatives on the Hill are adopting a ‘Well, what can we do?’ stance and getting steamrolled, unleashing the ire of rank and file Democrats who are simply sick and tired of the mild-mannered, milquetoast bullshit. And it’s been this way for over a decade.

Barack Obama, for all his positive attributes, lacked the necessary fire-breathing intensity to be a 21st century POTUS which, frankly, was quite surprising considering how this is part and parcel of the cut-throat and often ruthless world of Chicago politics from whence he sprung. Say what you will about the currently toxic Bill Clinton, but do you think Mitch McConnell would’ve pulled that Merrick Garland fiasco on his watch, let alone intimidate him into not disclosing to the American people that the Russians were actively involved in meddling with our elections? Even his fiercest detractors know Slick Willie don’t play that.

This is who we are in 2018: a country where those who love flying the family values flag and plant it on the moral high ground, aided by their spiritually bankrupt religious leaders, are bending over backwards to defend the character of a man who is nothing short of a disgusting human being. These same people and their political leaders see us not as fellow Americans who they ideologically oppose but enemies who must be crushed. It’s in the way the terrorist NRA spokespeople refer to us; it’s in the laws the Republicans try to pass or alternately repeal in order to harm us; it’s in the conversations of the average conservative who hates us, despite many of them sucking on the teat of what our taxes afford them. And to top it off, they’ll commit and/or defend treason if it perpetuates this orange quicksand they so gleefully and hypocritically endorse.

If this were a game they wouldn’t be content with just winning: they want to also whack us with 2x4s and have us walk home in our underwear in the rain. And they will avail themselves of every avenue, legal or not, to achieve nefarious results. The deportation of otherwise law abiding undocumented folks residing here for decades? That’s nothing—wait until someone decides that naturalized American citizens aren’t really Americans. Then US-born, first generation Americans will be next. You don’t think so? I bet you didn't think you'd see an American president having a cozy relationship with Nazis, right? Or a sworn US enemy, either.

And the Democrats? They seem to be under the delusion that this is all just a misunderstanding that can be resolved by winning the midterm elections. OK, then. I guess they're pretty sure the Russians won't meddle again this time.

Maybe I can interest them in some Nebraska beachfront property...

I Want A New Drug

Over the last few decades, western society, if not the world at large, has been moving in a more inclusive, open-minded, tolerant direction....