Showing posts with label DNC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DNC. Show all posts

05 November, 2018

Letters from Trumplandia: Politics and the Phenomenon of Craving






A.A., like any other organization dedicated to a single idea, has it's own mantras and jingoisms. The Serenity Prayer has been co-opted by our culture -- especially the part about asking for courage to accept those things we cannot change, since it pretty much feels like no one has control over anything pretty much all the time. One Day at a Time and  Easy Does It get tossed out at regular intervals by a fairly large cross-section of people -- larger even than the cross-section of people who are among the 10% of people who have that particular allergy to booze that makes us one day either get to a meeting or crawl into a ditch. 

As a culture, we like mantras and jingoisms. They reduce complex ideas  down to sound bites that are easier to chew on. We like to be able reduce our moral, ethical, and spiritual life down to easily marked and remembered catch phrases that will rise above the one-liners advertisers throw at us to get us to buy the Next New Shiny Thing.

And since is a Political Season -- November 6 being an election day -- we have been further bombarded, traumatized, and had our central nervous systems cauterized by political ads. Incumbents who want to keep their jobs. Up and comers who want to unseat the incumbents. And we are being extolled, ONE MORE TIME, that this election, is The Most Important Election of Our Generation.

If you're wondering why I started with Alcoholics Anonymous and led into the election, it's pretty simple. It's what we in A.A. call The Phenomenon of Craving. An alcoholic drinks and the craving kicks in and there is no common sense that will make us stop.  Politics, and the emotional urgency its dealers push on the American people -- nearly all of whom are drunk on one brand of politics or another (that includes the politics of apathy) -- kicks in that Phenomenon of Craving. We can't help ourselves. We drink in that sweet, intoxicating moral urgency and sense of mission that will disappear as soon as the election results are in and we are all, once again, pressed with our individual tyrannies of the present that will drive back into the intoxicating arms of mantras, jingoism, and name-calling -- 

all while the Laughing Boys who are in charge and will most likely continue to be in charge regardless of which political party you hang your hopes on carry on making us hate one another so we're too busy seeing what the hell they're doing. 

Common sense, in both cases, is roundly ignored.

My politics of choice and experience tends to fall somewhere near the Far Left -- though not far enough to swallow every last drop in the bottle. My politics and my world view are probably best described by old radical standard (that fewer and fewer radicals know anymore),  The Internationale:





I've sang The Internationale drunk in a room stock full of well-intended liberals who fantasize about fighting fascists but never will. I've sang The Internationale sober with all the sad passion of Amazing Grace, waiting for God to tell me if I really need to fight, if this cup is really mine, or if I'm just one more vainglorious sap who is hoping for victory against the cyclical tide of historical implosion. I've sang The Internationale in a room full of unionists who barely knew the words and who probably would have refused to sing if they'd known where the song actually comes from. I've sang The Internationale with friends, drunk on bourbon and dizzy on didactic rhetoric -- only one of whom I actually believe could take on the fascists as a personal mission for the Almighty... and woe to them if that ever actually happens. I have sang The Internationale but I have never seen the collective fraternity, community, or egalitarianism it is supposed to represent... certainly not on the Left and never, ever, in all my years (including the ones growing up in the ultra-conservative Rust Belt) on the Right. 

And that is why the Radical Left is losing and why, if they don't rethink strategies that isolate them along ideological lines so tenuous that the lists of enemies is longer than their lists of friends and comrades, they will continue to lose. 

There is no moral urgency to this New Wave Fascism. The sense of inevitability people feel -- and believe me, people on all sides feel it, especially those that cry out against it from every social media corner of the country --  that causes them to call this election one more Most Important Election of Our Generation comes from something much deeper, something more dangerous, and something more profane. 

It springs forth from the shadow heart of us all, the evil that will not die until the last trumpet sounds and against which we have been fighting since man's evolutionary ancestors developed enough cognitive ability to dream darkly and to commit their hands to making those dreams happen.

So drink up, my friends. I'm not saying not to vote. If you still have the right to vote then you should, if for no other reason than to prove the cynics and oligarchs wrong. But Easy Does It. We need to take these days One Day at a Time, but it helps to be on the look out for that hangover. Because in spite of the jingoism, life will march on after this election is in the books.

And.. get to a meeting.

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26 July, 2016

Evolution for the hell of it

Pliny the Elder, who when Rome was burning requested Nero to play You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille, never got a dinner! - Red Buttons 


The problem with most revolutions is that they end up crushed under the weight of their own sense of nostalgia.

If the political season has reinforced anything for me, it is that I should be leery of political leaders crying out for revolution -- especially leaders calling for "revolution" within the structure of an institution (read: voting) that was meant, from the beginning, to avoid the previously aforementioned revolutions.

One friend of mine, whose political astuteness I respect even if I don't always agree with him, has been talking about the problem of ideological purity in the DNC. I was not able to make it to Philadelphia for the donkey circus like I did  to Cleveland to sit sideline and watch corporate media facilitate the very frenzy The Orange Il Duce described in his 75 minute prophesy of doom (read: nomination acceptance speech). The Bernie or Busters are busting a gut and threatening to go Green.

This is bringing the Nader bashers out in Memeworld -- poor, statistically inept souls who think somehow that Bush II only won the first time because Nader had the temerity to run for President in spite of the two party system. Claims by Bush I supporters that  Texas billionaire crack pot Ross Perot cost Bush a second term have been roundly debunked.  The problem with any recent third push, as far as a I can tell, isn't in the desire for a viable response to a broken two party system. The problem is that they never try and build from the ground up. The Green Party doesn't spend money on local, state, and federal elections. They go for the Big Chair on Pennsylvania Avenue. The problem isn't that Jill Stein will split the progressive vote. The problem is that the Green Party lacks a strong enough base to knock either corporate party off it's feet.

There are a lot of calls for unity behind the now coronated presumptive Queen Hillary, whose only smart move has been to pick a VP who at least knows how to play the harmonica. Meanwhile, journalists are arrested the DNC -- which, for all of it's circus and foreboding fascist themes, did not happen at the RNC.  Having seen how local law enforcement tone can have an impact on these situations, I am more inclined to put this off on Philadelphia's Police Department than I am the Democratic Party. Then again, corporate media outlets, the blogosphere, and memeworld have been brewing up a fight since Bernie Sanders first conceded the race and endorsed Hillary Clinton.

I'm more inclined at this point, rather than calling it for one political hack or another, to pick up my guitar and play a little music. Then I'm going to go write a poem. Then I might weed the garden. I could get angry at politicians behaving like politicians, or at corporate media acting like corporate media. I could sacrifice my ideological stance in the name of being on the winning team*.

Or, I could go camping.

Yeah. Camping sounds good.

______________________________________________________________________________
* #GoTeamFascist


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29 February, 2016

RE: Donald J. Trump in Louisville versus The Empty Seat Coalition

I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.- Genesis 3:15

My body is my ballot. - Utah Phillips quoting Ammon Hennacy  

Mab J. Trump, Queen of the Pixies
In case you missed it or live under a rock, Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is going to be here in River City tomorrow. The rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center has promised to be jam packed full of people looking for a leader who can deliver the sort of America they say they want.

There's also a protest building that I call The Empty Seat Coalition. The plan is this: people are supposed to go through Trump's website, reserve two free tickets to the event, and then not show up.  This is an apparently popular form of protest, or so my Facebook feed would have me believe.  Many of my lefty/progressive Facebook friends have embraced the idea that Trump will get the idea that Kentucky doesn't like him and his dangerous rhetoric if he shows up to a rally full of empty seats.

 Now, if that actually worked out, the visual impact would be amazing. And given that many of my lefty/progressive friends pretty much only talk to other lefty/progressives, the idea has gained momentum. And naturally, one form of free speech is orchestrated silence, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.

There's only one problem.

A lot of people DO want Trump to be President.  A lot of people have bought into the violent and
Hillary J. Trump: the ultimate neoliberal
dangerous rhetoric.

He's built a campaign on anti-immigrant venom, machismo, and a brand of anti-populist anti-establishmentarianism that only a millionaire can pull off.  He refuses to reject to the endorsement of the KKK. He promises to build a wall between us and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. He promises deep corporate tax cuts. He is not as critical of national health care as the traditional GOP thinks he ought to be, and stumbles over religious questions.  Most recently, he quoted Benito Mussolini -- who was another anti-populist,anti-establishment, self-described successful business man (he published a newspaper.) He's not a conservative in the traditional sense .He is, in short, a neoliberal ... just like the presumptive Democratic Candidate.

The problem with ignoring Donald J. Trump away is that ignoring him only feeds the fever tide he is rising in front of. Let me be clear - Trump did not create the tide of fascism he has made himself leader of. It was here already and, like a smart opportunist (a good businessman) he took advantage of it and has built it up into an irrational fervor.

It's in these kinds of situations that I think of a cheesy Merlin mini-series I watched as kid. It starred Sam Neil as Merlin, the last wizard. Mab, who created him to wield magic against humanity, tempted him perpetually, much in the same way the serpent tempted Eve and the way Satan tempted Jesus in the biblical tales.  Merlin eventually defeated Mab by ignoring her into non-existence.

Such a nice story. Except there's a reason it was made-for-tv fiction.

It doesn't work.

I have a ticket to the rally, and I'm going. There is nothing that could ever compel me to embrace the fascism Trump is preaching. I'm not going because I'm considering voting for him. I'm going because voices like mine need to be there, and because someone needs to be there to give an actual report of the event.  I'm going because if my body is not my ballot, nothing else is. Democracy is not supported by the piece of paper or computer screen in a voting booth. Democracy is  supported by people showing up -- to vote, and sometimes, to protest.

If you are reading this and you bought tickets in order to leave them empty, let me suggest that you go to the rally. Let's all sit together and sing "This Land is Your Land." Let's all sit together so our voices are represented, not ignored.  Imagine if Martin Luther King decided to address America's racial and economic inequality by not Marching on Washington. Or if Rosa Parks decided to protest racist policies by not riding the bus. Or if Big Bill Heywood and Joe Ettor had decided to speak out against the treatment women in New York City sweatshops by NOT going to New York and instead telling the strikers to go back to work.

It's not enough to wish evil away. Evil must be faced directly, without hesitation, and be banished. Otherwise, you're just making yourself feel better by cooking marshmallows while the world burns. The only people who win then are the arsonists.

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