Fire and Desire..for Nuclear War

For Trump Supporters Nuclear War is just one acceptable consequence for the advancement of White Supremacy.

I wanted to write about something other than politics this week. However we are at an urgent moment in history. We are witnessing the dissolution of norms that most of us had taken for granted until now. I’ll be honest as a student of history, a political junkie, and a human being the idea of nuclear war remained an abstraction for the majority of my life. From what I understood the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we ever came (although some declassified documents suggest that’s not quite true) and it would take some extraordinary circumstances for us to ever come that close again.

Well, extraordinary circumstances thy name is Trump. We currently have an occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that doesn’t have the moral or intellectual capacity to lead. As much as I can I’ll drive home the point that when it comes to matters of mere policy Trump isn’t so much of an anomaly and is really just a Republican with no shame. But in so many ways Trump isn’t a Republican politician so much as he is a Republican voter who stumbled ass backwards into the most powerful office in the world. And if you know anything about the Republican base (older, whiter, angrier, less educated, richer and tons more racist than the average American) then every single thing Trump does makes absolutely perfect sense.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Like Howard The Duck trapped in a world we never made. Caught between a rogue nation with a hermit king who is unpredictable and inexperienced and a faction of white nationalists within our own borders who have the same exact resume, it’s hard not to feel helpless, frustrated, and angry. We have to put the pressure on our elected officials of course but in the meantime the best thing you can do is educate yourself about how this world works. We have to train the next generation of leaders. We have to emphasize how close to the brink we have come. We can’t let the next generation forget the way these 63 million Trump voters forgot about the Cuban missile crisis. We have to convince people that their Whiteness shouldn’t be the priority when they hit the voting booth because having a President who is an incompetent racist hurts everyone not just minorities. But having a President who is mentally unstable becomes a grave threat to the entire world.

The anger, fear and confusion are natural responses. I hate to betray my sardonic demeanor, I am a blogger after all. I have to retain this cool bemusement with even the most dangerous global developments. My purpose here isn’t to stoke, provoke or amplify your existing fear. I only intend to give you my point of view and let you know that you’re not the one who’s crazy. Unless you’re Donald Trump then yes you are the one that’s crazy.

Despite the fact that we live in an age of extreme political divisions there are some persuadable people out there. Persuadable people are people who are smart enough to not just be wrong by default but not quite smart enough to be right on their own. If you find yourself near a persuadable, please persuade them. Don’t let the evil side direct them towards the cliff. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade ignoring the persuadables and that’s the only responsibility I will take in this current mess. The problem is people are so dumb they don’t respond to debates they respond to marketing. I’ve been going around sharpening my rhetorical skills but I suck at marketing. The problem with debate is it requires a level of knowledge and sophistication from the judges and audience to declare a winner. Most people don’t have that level of knowledge and sophistication. But they can tell you Coke beats Pepsi because the commercials are better.

I don’t know how to save America from itself. Maybe Donald Trump has the answer. Maybe his reckless demeanor and total disregard for the gravity of his position as a global leader will scare enough persuadables to come over to the side of the righteous. Maybe we are just experiencing growing pains, taking two or three or eight steps back so we can take a huge leap forward. I’m not so sure. Besides the fact that Donald Trump is President we see so many other signs that our country is under siege from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Trump and his cadre of neo-Nazis could really care less about America. Well not the real America. The America they fight for doesn’t exist anymore. Their America is an America with whites only water fountains. Their America is an America where black people don’t go to college. Their America is an America where fighting drug epidemics equals locking up black people. There America is an America where foreign powers are so terrified of our military might that they move about meekly hoping not to incur our wrath. Again this is a fictional America. This is an America that exists only in the myths white people construct to justify the decades of racism, misogyny, and homophobia inflicted domestically and the violence exported globally.

I’ve previously written about the faux redemption of John McCain and the urgent need for Non-Voters to join the rest of us in these upcoming elections. This week my message isn’t quite so clear. I feel a deep ambivalence about the state of our nation. On one hand I feel like Trump is the lesson we needed on how the southern strategy and the embrace of the racism that secretly powered the conservative movement for the past 50 years is ultimately a corrosive that will eat our nation from within. On the other hand I feel like the people who most need to learn this probably won’t reckon. For anyone still happy with Donald Trump I guess Nuclear War is just an acceptable consequence for the advancement of White Supremacy.

Weekly Recommendation –

Anyway I’m going to end most of my blogs from now on with a recommedation of some sort. This week it’s a video game that brings friends together only to tear them apart. I’m of course referring to Tekken 7.

Get it now from Amazon:

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The Enemy Of The Good

Turning non-voters to voters is America’s best hope.

Election Day is still fresh in my mind. It’s August of 2017 and I’m still thinking about last November. Why, you may ask. It’s simple. I’m coming to the realization that I was never a true skeptic. Sure it’s cool to say everyone is evil and we are all screwed. But there was a part of me that fundamentally believed in the steady march of progress. Or as the saying goes “the arc of history bends towards justice.” I guess I swallowed enough propaganda to believe that America was interested in fixing its flaws.

What the election of Donald Trump taught me was that there will always be people who have different ideas about what’s right. We all may be a little too close to our own truths and I know everyone feels like their side is the right side but I was naïve. I guess I was always aware that America was capable of bowing down to someone like Donald Trump after all White Mediocrity, blatant cronyism and subservience to the moneyed elite was the recurring theme of the Bush Administration. That’s just how Republicans want to be governed.

What’s unique about Donald Trump though is that he seemingly has none of the qualities Republicans claim to care about and all of the things they actually do care about. The same way some of us were superficially supportive of Obama because of how he made us feel about our possibilities is the same way Trump diehards judge him. They are happy mainly because we are unhappy. When I say we I don’t mean black people. I mean people of good conscious, people who are pro equality and anti-discrimination, people who prioritize people over corporations, and would rather give welfare to a hungry family than to multi-billion dollar corporations. The truth is we are actually the majority. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

My constant refrain (in the previous iteration of my blog) is that Trump voters are a coalition of the Greedy, The Ignorant and The Hateful. So we must be The Selfless, The Informed, and The Compassionate. With that being said we can’t be aimless hippies slinging empty slogans like “Love Trumps Hate” and despite the outcome of the previous election we should be looking for candidates that know how to govern responsibly.  What we have to realize is that even amongst ourselves there is room for disagreements on the specifics of policy. But we must agree on the underlying principles. Before we even get down to the legislative agenda of the other side we must stand universally opposed to their harmful worldview.

When considering your power to affect change in America you must consider what you want your role to be. If you wanted to be an activist you would probably already be an activist. But if not all you can do is inform yourself and vote your conscious. Don’t shy away from reality no matter how tiring it is. The steady stream of scenarios coming out of Washington, D.C. that wouldn’t happen if Hilary Clinton was President are mind numbing. But never lose sight of one thing. The legislative Agenda doesn’t belong to Donald Trump. It belongs to the Republican Party first and foremost. As a rule of thumb if you are in favor of little kids receiving their cancer meds you should never vote Republican under any circumstances. (There may be exceptions that’s why it’s a rule of thumb).

You should never vote Republican if you are willing to suffer a few welfare cheats in order to ensure some needy kids won’t go to bed hungry tonight. You should never vote Republican if you believe that people fleeing war zones deserve a chance at a better life. You should never vote Republican if you think that black people deserve to not be killed indiscriminately by overzealous law enforcement. You should never Vote Republican if you want millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes. You should never vote Republican if you think science class should teach science and not religion. You should never vote Republican if you want to rebuild the corrupt criminal justice system. You should never vote Republican if you want to be a responsible global citizen.

Before you start with to rebut me with the “yeah but the democrats…” I’m going to stop you right there. If I told you the majority of the peaches in the produce section were laced with arsenic and that you should never buy peaches would you reply “well some of these bananas are overripe”? I know it’s hard to resist the urge to compare and contrast. But I’m going to ask you to do just one thing. First and foremost never Vote Republican. That’s your first answer. They are effectively a white nationalist front at this point. If you don’t believe heterosexual white male Christians are more important than other people you should never ever vote GOP.

Now that we’ve established this. Feel free to vote your conscious among the candidates that remain. You may feel like you’re an independent but I would urge you to change your voter registration to Democrat. I say this for two reasons. I’m presuming if you are not already a registered Democrat or a registered Republican you feel like neither political party reflects what you is important to you. And without knowing your values off hand I would not presume to try to persuade you otherwise. But before you decide that make a list of things that are important to you and take a look at the Democratic Party platform. If your views align on 7 out of 10 issues come on you’re already a Democrat just do it. The second reason you may want to consider being a Democrat is to take a look at the state of the Republican Party. There was a time when conservatism was subdued and pragmatic. They may have been fundamentally racist but they were measured in their approach there was room for compromise, there were actually a few decent Republicans who did and said things that weren’t horrible. But starting in the mid 90’s the grassroots of the GOP constituency began a slow and steady ascent in the party hierarchy. All of which came to a crescendo in 2010 with the rise of the tea party and with Trump we can only pray that white anger has reached its climax. The entire Republican Party’s priorities have shifted. They represent the worst most unhinged untenable aspects of so-called conservative thought.

Now imagine an equal but opposite reaction from the forces in society that want true equality. Imagine an influx of young people who represent our ideals. Imagine some of them get elected in local government, state government, and the house of representation. Imagine free college, single-payer health care, judicial reform, police reform, immigration reform, and sensible policy on combatting climate change all become the new obsessions of the Democratic Party. It’s not up to Congress. They are old and getting older. Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi won’t be sitting in those seats forever.

The fact that Bernie Sanders was even a viable candidate in the Democratic Primary speaks to the potential of the Party. The only litmus test for Democratic voters is a basic respect for humanity and a loose adherence to the basic principles of the party platform. As an example there are pro-gun, anti-choice Democrats, there are no Pro-Choice Republicans. But okay you don’t want to be a Democrat that’s fine. Remain an independent because it’s your right. On Election Day do some more calculus. Being disgusted with the whole sordid affair is your right. I would persuade you to look at all available candidates. Does the Green Party candidate embody all of the things you are looking for in a candidate? Or perhaps some other third party candidate on the ballot in your district has caught your eye. You can vote in a vacuum that is vote strictly based on your principles using none of the mental calculus associated with the prediction of a reasonable outcome. It doesn’t matter what anyone says once you get in the booth.

When evaluating candidates I would advise you to not let perfect be the enemy of the good. If you follow politics, you know which way the wind is blowing in America. I’m going to say this not without love, but a huge swath of our country is suffering from their own ignorance. Don’t be like them. I’ll use our favorite whipping girl Hilary Clinton as an example. As a negative people on “our side” brought up some pretty incendiary racist comments from the early 90’s that she made in reference to young black gang members. I believe the term was “Super Predators”. Others on our side pointed towards her vote to authorize the use of Military Force this led to a perception of Hilary as a “Hawk” although I argue that the Presidency of The United States is inherently militaristic as Obama himself demonstrated.

We sometimes forget that candidates are human beings and that even as we evolve they evolve. Using Obama as an example: He took America’s temperature in 2008 and came out against gay marriage. As America showed him it was more chill on that subject he loosened up. I’m sure Hilary has taken her party’s temperature on that racist bullshit from the 90’s (racist shit that many in the black community supported and echoed at the time) and reckless military engagements and evolved her position. Hell she said as much in-between her Trump bashing. She took the step of meeting with black activists and having the temerity to not patronize them with simple answers. Bernie Sanders soon followed.

The Differences between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are perhaps too many to count. I’m sure some people who voted for a third party candidate feel some regret. I’m sure some people who sat the election out feel some regret. Hell even a few of the idiots who voted for Trump have regrets. If we were to look at election 2016 pragmatically I’m sure there are some Hilary supporters who truly felt like she was the best thing to ever happen. Her credentials as a Senator and Secretary Of State mattered more than her divisive tenure as a first lady to most people. There are others who were generally supportive but only because their candidate (Bernie Sanders) was no longer an option. There are some still who may have felt some apathy about the whole process but really just didn’t want Donald Trump to be President. If you are looking for someone to vote for instead of someone to vote against in future elections take some lessons from those Bernie supporters who made the switch. If you believed in what half of what Bernie believed in, Hilary Clinton was the only viable choice.

But enough about the 2016 election. Lets look at elections in general. So many of the things that affect your life are decided at the local and state level. Unfortunately our people, and by our people again I mean people who want the arc of history to bend toward justice don’t show up for non presidential election cycles. We tune out when its boring. American Civics may be unbearably boring but they are necessary. Renewing your car registration isn’t exactly a thrill but we manage to do that every year. As my generation turns from the governed to the governors (already I see several of my FB friends are actively involved in political campaigns) we must realize that there are people who don’t take it for granted that we should vote. Some of them don’t feel like they are a part of the political process. What The Democratic Party must do is to ensure that when the pendulum swings back in their direction that they do enough for those people. Improve their lives and they will vote. Turning non-voters to voters is America’s best hope. But as a voter or non voter or whatever, the next time a candidate pops up take a long hard look at them. Spoiler alert: They will not be perfect. They might have a flawed record on civil rights, or campaign finance reform, or gun control but are those compromises or are they fundamentally opposed to your existence as a human being. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

John McCain Is Just A Republican

Cruel. Irresponsible. Reckless. Selfish. Evil. These are just some of the words I’ve used to describe the Republicans and their agenda since 2009. Mitch McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, declared that his only agenda was to make sure Obama didn’t get re-elected. Let’s be clear, the opposition to Barack Obama’s presidency went beyond politics. America is hooked on two drugs Racism and Denial. I continue to believe that these two things are crippling our political system and it is threatening to collapse under the weight. Barack Obama by becoming President of the United States challenged the unstated belief that this is first and foremost a white Christian country and they just tolerate the rest of us.

I get through that preamble to say this: John McCain is just a Republican. When McCain returned to the Senate yesterday to vote yes on a motion to proceed on a horrendous piece of legislation whose main purpose is to take healthcare away from millions of Americans he was just doing what Republicans tend to do in this modern era. They may pretend to be individuals but they are a borg like collective who toe the party line, grit their teeth and pray that the American people are sufficiently fractured so that the masochistic poor whites and greedy rich ones can make it to the polls next November to keep them in office. The sad part about this whole experience is that isn’t really a risky bet.

John McCain has been trading on this “maverick” image for decades. I became aware of him in the Republican primaries during the 2000 election cycle. He seemed like a credible threat to the ascendancy of George W. Bush. However it was not to be and he remained that cantankerous Senator from Arizona. The one who occasionally said something bad about George W. Bush but voted in lock step with his agenda 90 percent of the time. Today he is that same person. He talks a good game to be sure. He all but lets us know how he feels about Donald Trump. But Trump’s agenda is the Republican Party’s agenda. And right now their primary goal is to destroy Obamacare. We can get into the reasons why but that’s a whole different subject.

American media has this way of covering politics the same way they do sports and entertainment. They want clear simple narratives. They want good guys and bad guys. They would like to be consistent in their treatment of a subject for the most part whether it’s fair or not. (see Clinton, Hilary). John McCain’s reputation as a war hero and now as a cancer survivor has pretty much guaranteed he will not face true scrutiny from the most prolific voices in mass media. In America our idea of honoring someone or something is to pretend their flaws don’t exist (see all the cop loving jingoists who believe the police can do no wrong).  The elevator pitch for John McCain was war hero. From there it became Maverick. Now it will be cancer survivor.

The ironic thing about this is that John McCain cancer survivor is the one who just yesterday showed up fresh from removal of a tumor to vote to take healthcare away from Americans. He got a standing ovation from the entire Senate just by being present. There was no context for why he was there. There was no reflection on what his vote would mean. He gave a little lip service to the idea of the Senate serving as a check on the unbridled power of the presidency, then proceeded to vote lock and step with Trump’s agenda. As he has done over 90 percent of the time since Trump took office. Let’s not be surprised by this. This is what Republicans do. They conform. They’re conformists. Ask Reince Priebus. Ask Rand Paul. Ask Paul Ryan. There are no heroes among them.

John McCain is just a Republican. I say that again. It sounds dismissive and condescending. And it’s meant to. I no longer want to pretend like I only have political differences with Republicans. I have philosophical differences with Republicans. Like Mitch McConnell’s response to Obama this is about more than politics. This is about a worldview that is irreconcilable with mine. I look at people and value them more than property. I think healthcare should be a right in what (for now) is the richest country in the world. It’s already immoral and unethical for medical bills to bankrupt you. It should be illegal as well. John McCain might believe this too. But we’ll never know because he’s a Republican. So far now as a loyal Republican his goal is to help his party destroy anything that Barack Obama touched. Trump’s agenda like Mitch McConnell’s before him is not about political differences. This is about undoing everything the Black President did. Because in their minds a black man should never have had the audacity to sit in the Oval Office.

If the concern was really about healthcare the Republicans would have drafted a bill that improves health outcomes and/or lowers costs. None of their proposed bills accomplishes either of those goals. There are actual deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act to be sure. But that’s to be expected. The bill itself is largely a compromise with Republicans and an exercise in responsible governing back when that was a thing. Contained in the word compromise is the word “promise”. And the Republicans have broken theirs time and time again. Now they have seized control of all three branches of government and given a blank check to the most reckless man in the history of the office.

So you’ll forgive me if I fail to see this as politics as usual. We are way beyond that and we have been since Donald Trump stepped up to the podium at Quicken Loans Arena last summer and laid out his apocalyptic worldview and a stadium full of zombies applauded. Donald Trump and his coalition of fanatics, bigots, and Russian moles have declared war on our way of life. If you are waiting for John McCain to save you, you’ll likely remain a prisoner of this war.

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