Wow . . . it’s been a while since my last post. What have I been doing?
Honest, the days just flew by. I’ll tell you a bit about them, starting with the news. Yes, it turns out I’m affected by the news even though I currently watch no news programs and only minimally read about what’s going on. The problem, you see, is that what’s in the news these days — mostly politics — leaks into non-traditional venues. Despite me avoiding it, invariably someone asks me a question or I overhear conversations or it’s mentioned in unrelated articles, blogs, or podcasts.
By the way, I’ll be putting up a few flower photos for them who are not interested in words. Some of the photos will be different versions of the same shot; first the altered shot, then the photo processed as I usually do. Of course, as usual, you can click on the photos for a larger version or go to THIS SmugMug Gallery.
For them not interested in SmugMug or scrolling through the post, there is a gallery at the bottom of the post (a fast scroll).
Anyway, my thoughts on what’s going on out there, in the social-political wasteland.
Oh, one more thing; if you are looking for my comments on what the Big Orange Combover is saying or doing, sorry . . . no can do. There is just too much crap flying off of various spinning blades for me to even attempt reasoned commentaries on the individual events.
In that regard, I’ve become rather numb. Every morning — or so it seems — I wake up to some crisis or other precipitated by gross incompetence and outright stupidity. I’m not referring strictly about Trump himself; a number of his appointees and many supporters also play in that cat litter box. There are just too many nuggets to address individually.
Plus, guess what? . . . the other side is not exactly shining with their behavior and comments.
Let’s just say it would be incredibly entertaining if it weren’t so disheartening.
So, nope; no comments on events. The title of this post is in reference to the behavior of the Left Loons and Right Loons.
Let’s begin with . . . going back to the 1970s. No, first the 1960s.
In the 1950s and early 1960s — yes, I’m that old — one could actually complain to the parents of children who did something wrong and be reasonably certain said children would — at minimum — get a stern talking-to.
“Mrs. Smith; did you know your son Joey threw rocks at the newborn kitten in Mrs. Jones’s yard?”
“Oh, my goodness! I am so ashamed for me and my family that we raised an inconsiderate jerk. I shall take steps to ensure it won’t happen again! Thank you for letting me know.”
That’s basically how I remember it. By the early 1970s, I’d already seen the first signs of what would — by the 1980s — morph into the following response:
“Who the heck are you to tell me my son did something wrong? How dare you!? We are great parents and our kids are angels. I kid you not! You can almost see their little halos shimmering right above their perfectly behaved bodies. You better leave before I sue you for slander!”
Now, that lasted a bit. I mean, it changed at some point before now, but I can’t place my finger on the timeline because I wasn’t playing attention. I suspect changes coincided with the advent of the 24-hours Cable “News” cycles.
Suffice it to say that the current response is more like this:
“Well, what if he did? He’s emotionally overwrought and you can’t blame him for his criminal behavior. You see, people disagree with him and also — get this — ask for the same considerations he wants for himself. The nerves! No wonder he’s acting up! Rather than scold him, you should be working to fix things and ease his life’s burdens! Plus, why are you picking on him? The other kids do it too!”
Where am I going with this? The above describes the progression of social and political discourse, at least to my tired eyes.
There are two ways to react to Trump. One, point out the consequences of his and the GOP’s actions and do so in a lucid, consistent, and reasoned manner. Ask the tough questions, demand answers, demand data, point out fallacies, point out greed, point out conflicts of interest, and so on and on. Do so clearly and don’t get sidetracked by how many scoops of ice cream the man eats.
The other way is throwing temper tantrums, smashing things, assaulting people, making wild claims and most of all, whenever engaging anyone, be as shrill as you can be. Alway, always, always manage to accuse everyone who’s not in 100% agreement with you of being bigots, racists, and misogynistic containers of feminine hygiene products.
Apparently, the Left Loons and the Democratic Party have collectively decided the second approach is the way to go. That’s what today is considered the “high road.”
Now, I will grant you, the general public is — on occasion — spectacularly dense. A population that believes the Rapture will occur in their lifetime, that believes in divine destiny, that thinks Fox News is actually about the news and is “fair and balanced” — like all news these days, it’s about getting people riled up and making excuses — seems like an easy mark, but trust me on this . . . if you say and do something sufficiently stupid (I’m excluding religious claims) even the most gullible of people will stare back slack-jawed, thinking “you’re a moron.” They will even point it out.
The Right Loons have a slightly different and less-than-nuanced approach when dealing with Trump’s immature insecurities, childish pronouncements, insane rants, and self-adulatory rants.
They interpret his behavior as justified based on what they consider incessant persecution coming their way. Trump is a saint, you see, a patriot, a businessman who selflessly opted to burden himself with returning this country to greatness; he’s trying to do a good job, but them summabirches on the other side just won’t let him be, you see!
On those occasions when that argument falls short, the response drifts to “they did it too!” As a last resort, they’ll name the perennial scapegoat, Obama. If there is anything wrong with this country, Obama is solely responsible for it. According to Trump supporters, this includes all of Trump’s own and numerous fails.
And, they are right.
I mean, they are right about the other side doing it too, not about Obama screwing everything up. The road to the present required a combined effort over the better part of the past twenty-four years. As much credit as one could give Obama, he’s just not that good.
I mean, he’s good, and he’s lied and screwed up plenty, but he’s only been around eight years.
I know, I know, I’m rambling and not making much sense. I’m trying to be clever, you see.
OK, let me simplify and explain the title of this post.
At least for the past three administrations — it goes back further, but it’s been more in the spotlight since Clinton — the ruling party’s and opposition party’s roles have been as follows:
If you are in power, concentrate only on things that help you and your friends. Denigrate the opposition, and ignore their constituent’s needs and desires even as you pay tepid lip service to your own constituent’s needs (while you’re screwing them too).
If you are the opposition, never give an inch, avoid doing any actual governing, and bide your time until you get back into power. In the meantime, stoke your follower’s animosity for the opposing party as you make promises you never intend to keep.
Rinse, repeat . . . Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump.
The people in power will tell you they had to expand the role of the President, they had to skirt rules and laws, they had to turn a blind eye to the letter and intent of the constitution, they had to put the interests of their party ahead of the interests of the American Public . . . for the good of the country.
The opposition will tell you they cannot compromise, they cannot negotiate, they cannot put their constituents ahead of Party Politics . . . for the good of the country.
I bet I could point to any random person on the street and get one of those two exact responses. No desire for compromise, no interest in debate, no willingness to give an inch, and no admitting anything they’re doing/saying could possibly be called into question.
And one more thing . . . unless you completely agree with them, absolutely stand with them in everything they want, they will turn you into their sworn enemy. They won’t even want to look at you, let alone talk.
. . . and that’s a good thing because if they look at you, often things come to blows.
That’s the Left’s current default response and it will ultimately cost them. You can’t win over hearts and minds if your vehicle of persuasion is violent protests and threats. Worse, you’re handing your opponents the ammunition to shut you down.
Before I’m called a bigoted and misogynistic racist, understand I object only to the methods and rhetoric of many on the Left. The intent is good, the execution sucks.
I give a certain amount of room to someone like Bill Maher because he’s a comedian. His role is to entertain, not to lead political parties.
However, even there, I feel he’s shooting himself in the foot and not doing “the Resistance” any favors. He’ll make an excellent and insightful comment, score direct hits at the very heart of what’s wrong with Trump and/or his policies. . . and then unravel it all by adding Trump has a small dick or making some other crude and tasteless joke and dragging his supporters into it.
John Oliver is the same way . . . excellent exposition marred by the uncontrolled desire to make crude — and personal — jokes.
. . . perhaps I’m just way out of touch with the way things are . . .
Understand, I stand at the altar of humor as a powerful and effective way of taking someone “down.” Except, I contend it can be done tastefully and by attacking the ideas instead of the person.
“Hypocrite!” I hear someone yell. “You mention the combover, stupidity, and ignorance. Aren’t those personal attacks?”
Defensible attacks; attacks I can defend by showing photos, playing videos, and using Trump’s and his supporter’s own words against them. It’s a fine line and perhaps I’m only fooling myself, but I don’t venture into the realm of crude innuendos.
I also despair when I listen to a podcast like Left, Right, and Center. That show purports to present a balanced discussion without yelling and animosity. Certainly, you’ll not hear any crude jokes . . . but, you will hear shrill-sounding and near-fanatical
comments pronouncements from the Left and disingenuous evasions from the Right. While Obama was still President, those positions were reversed.
Most of what I hear is not anchored in reality; it’s just a more high-brow continuation of the main strategy of both the Left and the Right . . . never admit even the possibility you are or ever were wrong about anything and always blame the other side for everything, including your own failings.
I’d started listening expecting the Center would challenge and call them both on it when they so obviously offer a tunnel-view comment of their respective positions. But, no.
It’s a waste of time beyond offering a reading on the pulse of what passes for “reasoned” discussion.
Using the ACA as an example, the American Public is thoroughly screwed as long as the “reasoned” discussion has Republicans and the Right Loons contending there’s “nothing good about the ACA and that it should be repealed whole” and the Democrats and the Left Loons contending the ACA is “the best thing since sliced bread and not admitting it’s a flawed piece of legislation on a slow dive to disaster.”
Perhaps the Senate will “deliberate” their way into something that compromises on the difficult aspects of health care while maintaining the utility and what is good about the program, and perhaps pigs will fly and money will fall from the sky as we all cheer the wisdom of our elected officials.
Look, I don’t have an answer, hence the title of the post.
All I know is this: if we cannot find a way to talk to each other, talk frankly and without reserve, and if talking does not lead to compromises and a mutual desire to advance the greater good, we are destined to fail at whatever we try and this experiment is essentially over.
Obviously, I’m not the first one to have come to this conclusion and for the life of me, I can’t understand why the Far Right and Far Left don’t see the end game. What’s their expectation here?
It’s almost as if they each hold — and more worrisome, occasionally voice — the idea that the ultimate goal is the complete eradication of the opposition. That’s the only reasonable explanation for no quarter being given in the public square, for the complete denigration of the “other side” and the refusal to assign even an iota worth of merit to an opposing idea.
Even if an opposing idea has no merit, you need to both accept and understand the underlying problems pushing these “wrong” ideas and offer up better ideas to replace them. Stating there is no problem, dismissing other people’s concerns leaves no path forward.
Sadly, it’s the view I see ahead of us. I don’t see a personage on the horizon who can walk us back from the path we’re on, and the path is leading us to a fractured and dysfunctional society . . . assuming we’re not already there.
Before getting to the gallery, let me leave you with a song I had forgotten about but that we heard played — to the joy of the both of us — in the latest Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s pretty much a “regional” song and hit from 1970.
It’s got nothing to do with politics or the post, but listening to it will get me in a better place than I was a couple of paragraphs ago.
Here’s the gallery:
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
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