Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, March 7, 2016

Weighing in

Carl Beetz - Weighing in, 1939  - courtesy Blue Heron Gallery

I think I deserve a medal for tiptoeing around all the political dung piles so deftly of late and not getting myself dirty. Go to bed with dogs... However I am going to wet my toe in the fetid waters for a brief moment and would like to make a few comments, hopefully without frothing or spitting too much or totally giving away my hand.

Every presidential candidate has serious flaws, like all of us mortals do. But the office seekers in question today are far less important than the policies they espouse and I would like to try to focus on those policies rather than personalities. Because like them or not, they only reflect their respective constituencies by and large.

We Americans have been going through a nasty, long time divorce with each other, at least since the Clinton administration. We no longer speak. And all candidates start off being simultaneously loved and despised by a big segment of the population, it is pretty reflexive at this point. Reds and blues could flip policy and adopt each others exact position, and the voters would still find a way to back their same horses without skipping a beat. We've been conditioned and branded.

I read something interesting the other day, that the Trump voters second choice in several of these primaries was Bernie Sanders. Which tells us something unusual is up. That ideology is perhaps not as important as trust these days, that people are tired of typical establishment politicians. And maybe dynasties too, right Jeb? Now the trust in Trump might be a bit misplaced but we have a curious relationship with celebrity and you give a guy a television show and he or she can pretty much get themselves elected pope in America. The familiar.

I personally am a policy guy. And I would take Trump at the helm, nasty, racist, misogynist Donald Trump, any day over one Ted Cruz.

I read the other day that the Republican establishment hates Trump because he wants to tax the rich, keep entitlements and is really a social liberal. And I thought to myself, I am fine with that. I am a pro choice, pro gay, libertarian pot smoker who pretty much feels the same way. And I happen to believe that borders and citizenship mean something too. Not that I am voting for the Donald, I am honestly leaning towards sitting this one out but I believe that I understand the phenomenon.

I hate everything Cruz stands for, the theological moralizing, the cultural dinosaur, his brand of Texas evangelical conservatism frankly makes my skin crawl. A man hated by his GOP peers, some of whom say they will vote for the presumptive Hillary over him if they have to. A man who has thrown a wrench in the wheels of functioning government at every conceivable turn.

Trump reminds me more of Saddam Hussein, a guy without much ideological baggage, a guy who likes to make deals and get things done. An asshole who might just be able to pull a few things off and wouldn't piss all over his own leg when confronted by an enemy. Ruthless, a braggart, a prevaricator, a guy who knows how to work the electorate like puppets. The guy could have his minions goose stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue singing show tunes and it wouldn't shock me a bit, he is such a master communicator. Don't say it couldn't happen. This would be the biggest prize of all for him and I have been winning money betting on him all year. Right Warren?

We all have our weaknesses and soft spots. I often hear about one of mine, Israel. You would think I would be above petty tribalism but I care very deeply for my father's homeland. And I think that the Obama administration has been extremely destructive to both Israel and American jewry.

From raising dog whistles about jewish money in politics, to crafting a deal behind an ally's back while secretly tapping its leader's communications, divulging its military plans and intelligence to its enemies, tapping american jewish leaders phones on the pretext of national security, creating alliances and new funding avenues with Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, fomenting and organizing fake demonstrations on the ground among the Palestinians while financing NGO's, gutting the anti BDS bill, I think Obama has been despicable. Truly.

And as much as I like Hillary, I also think it is not beyond the pale to consider that she may be one of the principal architects for all the daylight that Obama has created with what was once a great ally. She disavowed the infamous 2004 Bush letter to Sharon. Said it was informal, didn't mean anything. Hillary was one of those people who wanted to celebrate the great Morsi revolution of the new Muslim Brotherhood, remember those guys that wouldn't let women or non muslims run for office, that jailed and beat demonstrators. Or her friends at Hamas that think it is okay to kill gay people.

It certainly seems probable that Hillary directed Ambassador Pickering to engage in all those spontaneous demonstration shenanigans in Israel. Abedin, Al-Maryati, the list goes on and on. The originator of thou shall not utter the phrase radical islam. I am not sure if Hillary won't be merely a continuation of Obama or even worse in the Middle East. Maybe Sid Blumenthal can be the new Ambassador to Israel. Or his kid. I do believe that she would be tougher than Barack, who lost all respect in the region when he failed to react when the famous Syrian chemical Red Line was crossed.

I get it that liberals don't like jews, war, Israel, neocons or zionism anymore. Hillary is a very able executive, fast on her feet. Not sure of her true convictions but who can be sure of anything these days? I had great hopes for Obama too. Can't blame him for a lot of things, do blame him for a lot of things. Of course Bernie is drinking the J street kool aid too.

I think that America is at a generational and political tipping point, the young aren't as racist, sexist, classist, religious or conservative, they are surely more libertarian than their elders. Things are about to change real quickly, I can already sense it in the new eight person Supreme Court. A lot of liberal ideals and dreams  that I have long held dear are being or on the doorstop of being enacted or institutionalized. I believe that the culture war has a clear winner. But I am not happy.

Because it turns out that the liberals are every bit as stupid and over reaching as the conservatives. I have recently read about the case for reparations, read far too much about transexual bathrooms, Norway style welfare entitlements, mostly involved by soaking the upper middle class I'll wager, the upper 1% far too smart to get tagged. Liberal political correctness has run amok and the attendant social engineering and paybacks destined to marginalize a poor, white class. And that's why you get a Donald Trump.

Poor whites figured out pretty quick that there were a bunch of people from the south coming up willing to take their jobs for less money, cash. The popular rejoinder is that white people won't work those jobs and perhaps they won't I don't know. But I think that is the fear. A relative did their thesis on black versus hispanic race relations. Humans would rather make a firm demarcation from the class rung directly below us than attack the apex of the economic pyramid.

Thank Ronald Reagan for Amnesty, Republicans. His 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made any immigrant who'd entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty and even stripped out the penalties for employers, resulting in about 3 million new Americans.

I know that it is liberal apostasy but you break our laws and enter the country illegally, I am not in favor of granting citizenship. Legal worker programs yes, citizenship no. But watch the politicians pander, they know where the new votes are coming from.

Bernie to me is exactly what the country doesn't need. We have been governing from the fringes since Bush II, we need to start talking to each other again, across the gulf and not go further to the extreme. We aren't ready for socialism in this country, at least except for subsidizing big farmers, cattle grazers, gifting the energy and power companies, giving away cheap mining leases and building stadiums for billionaire NFL owners. The good kind of socialism.

Or do we burn down the banks, take the pitchforks to Wall Street, in the final act Elizabeth Warren can climb up on Lloyd Blankfein's desk and tear his heart out on national television? I don't blame the millennials. They got dealt a crappy hand. Ain't quite like it used to be, has become much harder, especially with money flowing up out of the middle class reach for the last thirty years or so. Far be it for me to mess with your revolution. Your call, I never had a horse in the race.


Emergefit said...

Stephen Pinker, among others, suggests America become a democracy too fast, setting itself up for a more immediate collapse. I dunno, I'm just a little guy who lives in a shoe.

The season has been right for me to reread a little volume by Andrew Bacevich, THe Limits Of Power, which he published in 2008. Timely once again. It's an intelligent perspective on the develution of the presidency, as reflective image created by the ignorant masses. Among my favorite quotes from the book,

"Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, "the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably, the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda settler. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation's charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one."

I just hope our next president is dreamy, and looks good in jeans!

Ken Seals said...

great and well thought out analysis.