Archive for November, 2022

Perhaps It’s Just as Well

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

Everyone’s claiming a mandate. The democrats, establishment Republicans, Trump, people who hate Trump, you name it. No one really has one. What’s the takeaway?

The democrats who’ve been running the country into the ground over the last two years, did not receive vindication. The Republicans did not earn confidence as any sort of replacement for them. I’m taking that to mean the populace is giving up, for the time being, on Washington solving our problems. Well that would be good. There are those who would insist, if Republicans decisively won this thing, they’d just spend money every bit as fast as the democrats ever did. I can’t call that wrong. Maybe the nation’s resolving to give up on big government and look within. Fire them all, get to work, and generate enough assets to maybe climb our way out of this debt spiral.

But, it’s a little worse than that. You’d have to admit the democrats did something right here, and the Republicans need to up their game at whatever that is. Besides the obvious cheating, there’s something else.

Suppose Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the premiere embarrassment of today’s democrat party, says something I don’t like and I confront a democrat about it. How do you think that would go? Let’s see…first there would be some denials that AOC is anything but a low-ranking, marginal player who doesn’t really represent anyone. If that doesn’t play, there’s going to be some “actually” stuff about how AOC is courageously calling it as she sees it, and there’s some meaningful nuance in there that’s escaped my notice. She’s the bright one here, I’m the ignoramus for not seeing what she actually meant. We know it would be something like that. Some sort of apologia. Something to soothe the tensions and soften the blows. Take it to the bank.

Now let’s say Donald Trump says something I don’t like and I confront a Republican about it. That will be like lighting a bottle rocket. Oh look! Someone (else) who doesn’t like Trump! Maybe we can make a wave out of that! There will be no apologia. There will be no “Maybe what he meant was…” There will be no “Actually that’s not so bad.” There will be plenty of “Yeah, and you know what else he did?”

A highly polarized, depressed and disenchanted electorate sees two political parties like these. A disengaged, distracted, weary electorate. Two sides jockeying for power, neither one worthy, both tried and both found wanting. But one side eats its own.

This is all twenty-twenty hindsight, which is gutless. But, gutless things are gutless because they enjoy advantages. We often frown on this kind of hindsight because it’s too easy to see things with clarity, looking in our rear view mirror. Right now though, clarity is a good thing. The democrats beat the Republicans here, and it happened that way because one party is united and the other one is being eaten alive by these Trump-hating parasites who have no vision for success and just want to hate.

So perhaps it’s just as well that we all learned this lesson.

Defending the Status Quo

Monday, November 14th, 2022

So, my blog just turned eighteen, yay. As it does so, we’ve been waiting on key House and Senate races, three, four, five days past Election Day. It occurs to me that when I first started it, there had just been an election, the smoke had cleared and nobody was waiting on anything. Four years before that, of course, there was the Florida debacle of 2000, and there was shame. Shame led to fixing things and elections became much more passionate but still much more decisive. One and done. Now we’re back to “Oh, lookee, hold up, I found a dimpled chad, or a station wagon full of ballots…”

Some people crave the drama. They don’t see anything wrong with this.

Well, to be fair, let’s break it down. There are three reasons to defend the status quo.

1. Partisan advantage. There’s a certain party that consistently wins, or at least benefits, from mushy/nonexistent definitions and inefficient, unreliable counting with convoluted variables tossed in the mix that shouldn’t be there. When the goalposts move several days after the deadline, they consistently move in one direction…which isn’t suspicious at all.

2. Fear. It has often been said that “If the public is polarized, and both sides of the polarization think they’ve been cheated whenever they lose elections because they lack faith in the process, that puts us in a REALLY bad place!” That’s certainly true. What’s not true is that you have to maintain faith you don’t really have, to avoid going to this bad place.

3. By default. A lot of people will defend the status quo just because it’s the status quo. Given doubts, they will award it the benefit of all these doubts, when it doesn’t deserve such benefit. Perhaps they don’t want to integrity-check the reform proposals for ulterior motives, so they figure it’s less work to leave things the way they are — forgetting about potential ulterior motives in those who want to keep the status quo. So they harbor the serpent to their bosom, hoping it isn’t venomous.

After those you get into emotional stuff. It’s fun and exciting to play-act like you’re in possession of some nugget of information that completely changes the game; everyone who agrees with you gets it, and everyone who opposes you is some ignoramus who hasn’t managed to catch on to the fundamentals and it isn’t worth explaining it to ’em. Trouble is, nobody can define what that nugget is. There has been a “branding,” of sorts, that you’re a cool sophisticated and good American citizen if, and only if, you maintain a belief that our elections are sound — without any evidence to support it. And if you’re hounding “election deniers” for evidence to prove the opposite, especially if you’re adjudicating consistently, and arbitrarily, that what they can bring you is inadequate. If you join those deniers and maintain any doubts, or just ask inconvenient questions, then you’re a slope-foreheaded rube type, best-case. A buck-tooth. Maybe a terrorist. A pariah, in any case. So the fashion-verdict is clear.

These are all terrible reasons to defend anything.

All three rely on this tactic I’ve heard so much over the last two years: “There is no evidence of widespread fraud, so unless you have some, STFU.” It genuinely shocks them when I tell them that’s not how it works — when I remind them that if you have integrity, but you lack transparency so you’re left just hoping the integrity is there, and assuming it’s staying in place, you might as well not have the integrity at all. So prove to me the results are honest. They look at me in genuine horror. They don’t know what to make of it.

But that IS right.

You really think, when countries dump democracy, they stop holding elections? You think that’s how it works? Give me five examples. Heck, give me just one. That’s not what they do. When countries get rid of democracy, they hold sham elections that are pure theater to make it look like they’re still holding them. That’s not what our elections are, even today? Prove it.

Technology has done amazing things over the last forty years. It hasn’t done anything to make our elections transparent. Look around. Derp dee doo, waiting on the counting, waiting on the counting, day five, day ten, day thirty…derp derp derp. You’re really that easily manipulated? Or you think you’re living in the 1830’s?

Anyway, if there was cheating, it’s only cheating that can be done if the numbers, pre-cheat, are close. And of course if there wasn’t any cheating, the numbers were close. What makes them close? What happened to the Red Wave? There are many thoughts about this.

One of them is that we did have one, and this is what it looks like. We’re living in an age in which all waves are reduced to trickles. Interestingly, this coincides with the age in which it takes several days or weeks to noodle out the results. That’s certainly suggestive of engineered outcome. But then there is this “Dump Trump” idea that has bubbled to the surface. This time we really got him! The public is fed up with Trump, and the Republicans better cut him loose.

Okay. Let’s give that a fair hearing too.

I say often that if we should be arguing about something, it’s important to argue about it honestly. People think that it’s easy and comes naturally. No. What’s easy is to get people to lie to themselves about what a thing is, when they argue about it. Seeing things as what they truly are is hard. Remembering what they truly are, throughout an entire session of arguing, is even harder.

Trump’s rudeness: Good or bad? Okay, what is that. Is it…making fun of a disabled reporter? That was resoundingly debunked, even by left wing “fact checking” sites. It didn’t happen.

And yet, Donald Trump certainly is not a model of refined, polite behavior. There’s something there. We call it “mean tweets” on both sides…so what is that exactly?

If we’re going to argue about something, then as always, let’s do it honestly. Donald Trump is “rude” because he says things like “Hillary managed such-and-such a thing very, very badly.” That is an example of his rudeness. He points out coherent reasons to vote against his opponent, which is something everybody who runs for office is supposed to be doing.

Argue honestly. Someone, somewhere, at sometime over the last forty years, give or take, came up with an “etiquette” rule that only democrats can talk about mistakes or missteps of their opponents. Republicans, somehow, are obliged to portray democrats as competent in all things…but, uh, vote for me because, uh, I love my wife and I’m a nice guy or something.

Trump is “rude” because he colored outside the lines of that stencil.

Argue honestly. There’s this big push to make Trump go away since Tuesday…but it didn’t start then. It’s been around awhile. A lot of people want to return us back to the way it used to work, the status quo pre-Trump, because that worked out well for them. Not for the rest of us though.

Everybody’s wondering what happened and what it means. My answers are:

One, because of the factors up top, a lot of people are defending highly suspect, sluggish, sneaky, shady elections because the results are providing opportunities for them to push their ideas. Republicans better cut Trump loose, keep abortion around forever, etc. They’re frustrated because they haven’t been able to achieve instant-victory with these ideas until now, and they see these sneaky, suspect elections as a handy tool to potentially generate enough lift to overcome the drag. They’re not focusing on the problem where it actually exists: Right or wrong, they never learned how to argue. How to attack an idea. Or how to defend one. They want the sneaky, shifty election to do it for them.

Two, when you advance the Republican argument, that the party in charge has to be dislodged because things are miserable, you’re thinking like someone over thirty-five. That’s not to say you’re wrong. But, kids don’t think that way. To them, the two parties are like two old guys, and it’s a “Devil you know or devil you don’t” thing.

I am among the people who have to face facts, and admit to error. I was walking on clouds toward the end, looking forward to an end of this chapter in which democrat party tutelage leads to economic misery, and economic misery leads to more democrats winning as their party escapes accountability, and it becomes a vicious cycle. It’s been going on since the 1930’s. Somehow, I had been lulled into looking forward to a bookend. I would have done well to remind myself of the hundreds and hundreds of densely-packed, blue-state cities in which this whirlpool of despair persists. The chapter’s not closing. The democrats bring misery, and then they thrive on it, that’s just how it works.

People lose sight of any vision for a cure. They get depressed — that’s why we called it The Great Depression. Your public schoolteacher will tell you FDR got re-elected three times because he was so bravely standing up and fighting the economic blight. Evidently that’s not really what happened. We’re living in what really happened, which is: The public’s desire for things to get better, wanes. They lose hope. They start to defend those who have been tormenting them, and to attack anyone else who comes along offering the potential of relief.