I am tired of purity politics. I’m tired of American political parties demanding homogeneity from their members. I’m tired of being only Democrat or Republican or liberal or conservative or moderate or progressive or neo-conservative or paleo-conservative or environmentalist or libertarian. I’m tired of activists demanding that ‘allies’ be all things to all causes andRead more about Purity Politics and Being All Things to All Peoples[…]
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the death of civil society and what it means to sound right in the course of attempting to ackrite. One of the biggest bogeymen in American life is the concept of political correctness. In its most original (and I would say benign) form, political correctness demands that we use “language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society”. Such an approach is ripe for abuse and often shuts down debate on those same sensitive topics.
However, the backlash itself against political correctness has gone overboard and squashed reasoned and nuanced debate in this country. Instead, we have replaced debate with a level of coarseness that goes nowhere and leaves almost everyone feeling enervated. We use our best rhetorical cudgels to shout down any dissent on the very topics which require the most civil and thoughtful debate. We’re screaming past each other or not talking at all. Read more about The Un-Civil States of America …
Why do individuals turn to extreme solutions in their quest for a life of significance?
There is a current running through right-wing populism which links with the insecurity experienced by those in the Middle East who have lashed out against the West. People yearn for a life of significance. To belong to something greater than themselves. This is the offer of religion, which cannot be matched by atheism, scientism or any -ism which strips the sacred from daily life. Read more about The Significance in Populism, Jihadism and Communism …
I heard an interesting quote the other day,
Donald Trump’s supporters took the man seriously but didn’t take his words seriously. Trump’s opponents took his words seriously but didn’t take the man seriously.
I have been assured by friends who voted for Donald Trump that they don’t agree some of his more divisive rhetoric. That, yes, they realize he is an “ass”, to use one friend’s term. (Seriously, being a fanboy of Trump or any other politician is naive). Okay, I take that to heart. I’ve known some of these people since elementary or middle school. I believe they have good intentions. But now that he has become our President-elect, what promises and policies of Mr. Trump’s should be taken seriously? The following is his 100-Day Plan, taken directly from his website. Read more about Taking President-elect Trump Seriously …
One of the issues I have with the political debates in this country is the misguided notion that political parties’ philosophies are monolithic. They just aren’t. Political parties aren’t religions. They have shifting alliances and priorities and philosophies throughout time. No matter that the parties themselves will try to tell us otherwise. Parties are private entities whose aim is to get into power. They will use whatever means necessary to get that and if it means shifting their constituencies from time to time, they’ll do that too. If you are a Democrat now, does not mean you would have been a Democrat 200 years or ago or even 40 years ago. Same with Republican. Parties will compromise internally with the greater goal of getting into power.
I don’t care about down-the-line party politics much anymore. I have voted Democrat because I’m mostly a social liberal. Sortuv. But there was a time when the Republican party had liberals in its midst. There was a time when the Democratic Party had segregationists in its midst. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Jefferson Davis, a Democrat, was President of the Confederate States of America. The segregationist Dixiecrats moved from the Democratic party to the Republican party. Richard Nixon launched the Southern Strategy. I don’t care. Read more about Political Parties aren’t Religions …
… Or Ya know, Governatoring! Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America. Yesterday, I wrote that I disagreed with Hillary Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy but did not trust (now) President Trump’s temperament:
Whatever negative views I may hold about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy views, I at least trust her with the nuclear launch codes. I trust her not go on flights of fancy about her ability to railroad and rearrange the world to her liking through sheer force of personality. I trust her to have a plan and to seek sober counsel about the global challenges she will inevitably face; unlike Trump who once claimed that he knows more about ISIS and other issues than the America’s Generals.
I trust Hillary Clinton not to unilaterally end Muslim immigration or denounce Latino immigrants or call to register Muslims SS-style. I trust her not to pick fights with SNL over how she’s parodied. I trust her to respect women.
Or … She Ain’t That Muchuva Jagoff
I’m not all that broken up about Hillary Clinton getting my vote for President on Election Day. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not disappointed. In liberals, in Democrats, in Republicans, in our country.
My main voting issue has usually been foreign policy. In the first two Presidential elections in which I voted (2000 and 2004), the Democratic Party supposedly represented a stark choice to the Republicans. They advocated a more cautious, diplomatic approach. They didn’t bloviate about forcing the rest of the world to respect us or make naive assumptions about the instant transformative power of Democracy. FREEDOM! No, the rest of the world doesn’t hate us for our freedoms.
It wasn’t difficult to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 either. He made the same assurances that Gore and Kerry did. Respect for international institutions and our allies. Perhaps a pullback from using the military as the blunt edge of democracy promotion. And then he went and cocked it all up. Sending troops into Libya in the first place, not closing Guantanamo, nearly getting us into a war in Syria. President Obama got my vote in 2012 but with much less enthusiasm. And behind many of his most hawkish decisions was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Read more about At Least Hillary Clinton isn’t Donald Trump …
Holy effing eff. The mathematical gymnastics needed by Bobby Jindal just to keep his No Taxes pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform are stunning. Consider: SAVE raises $350 million in revenue to help close the budget hole. It also creates a tax credit that—in theory—offsets the new revenue with a $350 million taxRead more about Louisianans Should Impeach Bobby Jindal[…]
Kevin Drum on Hillary Clinton’s lovely but completely ineffectual and unimplementable announcement speech: As near as I can tell, Americans seem to vote for president based almost solely on affinity. That is, they vote for whoever says the right things, with no concern for whether those things are obviously impossible or little more than self-evidentRead more about The Politics of… Srsly No One Care About Clinton’s Announcement Speech[…]
Or… Chafee’ing at the Bit
Last week, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to the Presidency. I think most of us would predictably yawn. Chafee intends to press Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy record which I think is all good and well seeing as how Clinton has functioned as the war-mongering foreign policy hawk that I had hoped her former-rival-turned-boss, President Obama, would not become. He did. Very disappointingly. Clinton had a chance to be a steadying hand as Secretary of State but she fell right in lock-step with El Presidente.
Chafee has almost no chance whatsoever in preventing Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama had a magnetic presence that Chafee does not; Clinton will not be denied again and definitely not by an old white boy. Given current Republican alternatives, I have a hard time picturing myself voting for the eventual Republican nominee.
So why should we care about Chafee’s predictably doomed campaign. Because predictably, Congress is full of lily-livered jagoffs who care more about being able to complain about the occupant of the White House than actually fulfilling their constitutional duties. Witness:
In 2011, President Obama announced that he could go to war against Libya without congressional approval. Congress hemmed and hawed, but in the end was unable to agree to do anything about it. Two years later members of Congress were vocal about Obama’s lack of action against Syria when it was revealed that the Assad regime had been using chemical weapons. Obama eventually responded and asked Congress for approval to take military action. Congress did nothing. Now we have yet another war, this time against ISIS, and Obama asked for congressional approval months ago. Result: nothing. Members of Congress would rather be free to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail than to actually commit themselves to a strategy. [Kevin Drum: Yet Again, Congress Is Too Scared to Assert Its Warmaking Powers]