We Should Give Republicans & Conservatives The America They Want — But Only If We Put A Wall Around It First

As we watch our Democratic Republic slowly sink beneath the waves of corruption, let’s play a thought experiment. What if we could “give” Republicans & conservatives the country they want America to be? What if we could arrange so that if you want to live in Trump’s America, you go live in the south. Want to be a Confederacy again? Go ahead.

We’ll even give the Republicans & Conservatives a “satellite” territory — Wyoming and Idaho. We’ll throw in the remotest parts of Nevada too — so all the multiple-marriage-loving Mormons in the FLDS church can feel at home in this their new country. The Trumpian States Of America.

One caveat though — the whole thing must be walled off. I bet they’d insist, too, because the last thing they’d want is all that nasty diversity outside the wall (that set them off to begin with) infiltrating their lovely White Christian Male Kingdom.

Meanwhile, outside the wall, the Real America will go on. We’ll continue to innovate and research and problem solve using every tool available to us — including the wide knowledge base that comes from so much diversity. Diversity, after all, is what makes America exceptional. Nowhere before in the world’s history had one country become a blending palette for all the world’s cultures. It took a thousand years for the various tribes scattered around France to become French. Same goes for all the tribes scattered around Britain to become British or the German tribes to become German et cetera et cetera.

If European pathogens hadn’t wiped out most of the Native American population before Europeans arrived en masse (they found an empty continent mostly because their germs — having preceded them via the first explorers — had already wiped out literally millions of people), our story might be very different. But diseases did kill the native populations so efficiently that more or less seizing their land became easy.

That newly vacated territory filled with a new-fangled thing called “Americans”.

The Trumpian States Of America will be a very, very, VERY white place. It will celebrate whiteness and being white and staying white forever. It will point to its pure whiteness as proof of its superiority — regardless of the fact that, white as it is, it’s failing horribly in every possible way. Most people of color will flee because who wants to live in a place where you are clearly a second class citizen at best.

Every white person with a double digit IQ will be right behind them.

The white people who stay — who proudly call themselves citizens of this place — won’t be America’s best or brightest. They won’t be our most talented or our best problem solvers. They’ll be sheep — doing what they’re Amertold to do — spouting the shit they’e told to spout. For a while, things will seem normal. The trains won’t run on time because white people don’t need trains. They all have trucks. But the trucks will get to drive wherever the hell they want. Same difference in a Trumpian’s mind.

But then things will start to break down. Mechanical things at first. Good thing lots of good mechanical minds stayed behind in Trump’s America. So the status quo can be maintained — for a while. But Trump’s America won’t play well with others. They’ll pitch obnoxious trade deals that make them a pariah. Because America doesn’t manufacture much anymore, the Trumpian States Of America will have to rely on the rest of America — or foreign countries like China — to get equipment. Being as the Trumpian States of America have little to offer anyone, they’ll be in the typical Trumpian negotiating position — a horrible one.

In time, people outside the wall will simply give up on dealing with the Trumpians. It’s not like they ever pay their bills anyway, right?

Mechanical breakdown is eventually in Trump’s America. I give the electrical grid 5 years max. That’s assuming no one hacks into it and shuts it down before it breaks down. It’s a fact — the Trumpian States Of America will end up living in the dark the exact same way most of North Korea does.

Funny irony? It’ll be Kim Jong-On building North Korean hotel-spas on the shores of Trump’s America rather than the other way around.

Trump’s followers may be dim-witted but they still need their creature comforts. Remember — they’re a jealous lot. They live by their grievances. When the quality of their lives dips below standards even trailer trash demand — they will take to the streets with pitchforks and torches.

Unable to solve its own problems, unable to do anything other than slowly sink into the cess pit they created for themselves, the leadership of Trumplandia will appeal to the rest of us: Help! Give us money! Fix us fast!

Of course, being Trumpanistas, they’ll blame US for THEIR problems.

That’s why we’ll tell them to go screw themselves. Them AND their country. I hope all those Trumpanistas understand. Screw em if they don’t.

Memories Of The Moon Landing

Some of the most durable memories from my youth are attached to news events. One of my very first memories was the sadness in the house after JFK was assassinated. I remember watching his funeral cortege move through DC — and John-John’s salute — play on the black & white TV in our living room.

Another enduring memory is watching the Vietnam War play out every night on the TV in our kitchen during dinner.

And then there was the Moon Landing.

In July 1969, I was 10 — spending another summer at sleepaway camp in Maine (I went to an amazing place called Camp Skylemar in Naples, Maine which still exists). The landing took place in the middle of the night but Lee and Herb (the two men who owned Skylemar) set up TVs on the stage in the Rec Hall and set out the chairs as they did for shows and rallies.

My dad was a surgeon — and a plane spotter. We spent hours sitting at the ends of runways watching the planes come and go. The idea of a rocket launch was organically exciting to me. And America was enthralled with the Space Program. Each accomplishment made us genuinely proud to be Americans. We used to feel very proud! The Moon Landing didn’t open my eyes as my eyes were already open. Everyone’s eyes were open — which is why the rec hall was packed in the middle of the night despite the fact that we’d all spent another day playing sports and having a blast.

It was surreal and yet incredibly real. I remember being transfixed — wishing the TV screen were bigger. Wishing the images were clearer, the voices less garbled by the distance they’d traveled. But there were Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong — literally walking on the moon and talking about it in semi-real time.

We knew at the time that by witnessing history, we were, in a very small way, becoming part of it. Does human history actually “happen” after all if there are no humans around to witness it?

Back then, the news cycle kept “bankers’ hours”. It respected the sanctity of the weekend and dinner time. In fact, it relied on the sanctity of dinner time — because they knew they were part of it.

In retrospect, the strongest memories I have from the Moon Landing are less the images and more the way the Landing made me feel. How the Moon Landing still makes me feel. Growing up in an anti-Vietnam War house, I wasn’t a homer. My dad served in the Air Force but our values were Progressive. It is possible, you understand, to hold two conflicting points of view. It wasn’t unnatural to despise, say, Richard Nixon & his war policies (most every one of his policies) and yet feel proud of what Americans could accomplish.

It is absolutely possible to be proud of what this country has been (in brilliant flashes) in the past while feeling mortified by what it has become (especially since it’s a reflection of what it always was). Maybe it’s 50 years and some wishful thinking… I felt pride that night both as an American and as a human being. Look what we could do — we.

That’s the big takeaway all these years later — the things that teamwork could produce. The things that teamwork CAN produce. That’s teamwork spelled “DIVERSITY”.

What Did YOU Do In The Culture War, Daddy?

There are times — at the beginnings of wars usually — when one side knows a state of war exists while the other side doesn’t.  Pearl Harbor comes to mind.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the residents of Hawaii — Pearl Harbor in particular — slept soundly in their beds, unaware that they were moments away from being bombed, strafed, shot at and in every way attacked.  Japan was at war with them.  Japan knew it — they, unfortunately for them, did not.

That’s pretty much how the Left has been reacting to the Culture War the republican party declared not just on the Democratic Party but on the majority of Americans, too.  We’ve been almost oblivious to it.  We’ve heard the war-like chatter in the background but we’ve never taken it seriously.  We damned well better — because the war Newt Gingrich talked his side into launching years ago has finally established significant beachheads in American Culture.

newt-gingrich

Michelle Cottle nails it: “In his zeal to cripple Democrats, Gingrich poisoned the public against the entire American political system. ”

In Newt’s own words: “You have to confront, delay, and undermine and impose failure in order to move the public.”

Newt made it his absolute goal to impose FAILURE on his perceived enemy — everyone who wasn’t HIM.  That included the CULTURE in which the rest of us live.

Right Wing Culture is a lot like what Astrophysicist Neil deGrsse Tyson calls the ‘Diminishing God of the Gaps’ — the place you go to when you reach the end of what you ‘know’.  Right Wing culture — once thought to be a significant part of American Culture is now understood to be a fringe element at best (and shrinking rapidly).  Right Wing Culture is that thing everyone with a sense of humor laughs at.

It is a fact of life that Right Wing Culture has no sense of humor.  Oh, it can laugh all right — at other people.  Especially if they’re suffering some sort of misfortune.  Then they turn hilarious. Right Wing Culture is sanctimonious.  It believes it understands the divine; it believes the divine has chosen it to be its representative here on earth.  Right Wing Culture is seriously delusional.

Right Wing Culture honestly believes that IT is American Exceptionalism — that its very whiteness and maleness and Christian-ness is exceptional.  It’s wrong of course.  America’s DIVERSITY is what makes it EXCEPTIONAL.  That kind of broad diversity never happened before in one country.  It produced remarkable — no, EXCEPTIONAL — results.

White Christian Male culture is the exact opposite of exceptional.  Aside from rage and grievance, it can’t point to a single thing it’s added to the conversation.  Being weak and having few weapons at its disposal, White Christian Male Culture counts on drawing us near enough to sneak in a dirty low blow to neutralize us.

They’re going to be disappointed this time.  A lot more of us are woke now.  We’re paying attention.

And — as much as we can — we’re doing the thing that cuts Trumpists & Religionistas & RW Culture Warriors deepest:  We’re laughing at them.

 

America Has A ‘Body Image’ Problem: Why Gerrymandering Is Our DYSMORPHIA

What does America ‘look like’?

Imagine us sweeping into a dressing room for a fitting.  How shall we ‘dress’ going forward (through the door of the next election — there, that’s the whole metaphor)?

Turns out we have the whole world’s attention as we twirl in the mirror.  They all see us how they see us — like friends and rivals, each with a history and an attitude toward us.  Can’t do much about that right now.  History is history.

But, as we twirl, we catch our own reflection.  And what we see staring back… It confounds us.  We know what we are in our heads.  Why doesn’t our body look like it?

Welcome to Gerrymandering.

Quick example (drawn from Lawrence Wright’s wonderful piece in the New Yorker from a few months back about the effects of gerrymandering on Texas).  Austin, Texas has a largely progressive voter population.  And yet — of the SEVEN voting districts into which Austin has been carved, as of the time Wright was writing, only ONE was represented by a Democrat.  The rest of Austin’s six — predominantly progressive — districts were represented by conservatives (and in several districts, ARCH conservatives).

The (intended) result — A MAJORITY  Progressive voting population is represented as a MINORITY Conservative population — the Will of the People has been completely CIRCUMVENTED.  The intended result isn’t just an electoral win for the MINORITY candidate but the creation of a Juggernaut of electoral invincibility that will keep the conservative white, Christian minority in power over a progressive, diverse majority.  In heavily gerrymandered districts all over the country, Democrats must, in essence, generate at least twice the voter turnout just to achieve ‘parity’ that overcomes the distorting effect of the gerrymandering.

Because that’s what gerrymandering does (aside from circumvent the will of the people) — it creates a distortion — exactly like dysmorphia — to take root in our brains.  The News Media — glomming onto the numbers (like it was our weight expressed down to the atom) — doesn’t see or acknowledge the context that gerrymandering presents, that the numbers, without that context, tell, in fact, a very false narrative about a district that doesn’t exist.

If you’ve ever experienced body dysmorphia — or know someone who has — a dysmorphic’s body image does not match reality.  They desperately need a meal but their dysmorphic mind says ‘Go on a diet’.  The diet could kill them.

That is us — America.  A progressive-by-nature country (that’s what diversity does — it’s why diversity COMES in the first place because progressive places welcome while regressive places turn away) being run by arch conservative people NOT because the progressive population ‘wants’ to be governed that way but because the arch conservative people figured out how to HOLD ONTO POWER despite the fact that they were no longer the majority entitled to hold onto power.

And they did that through GERRYMANDERING.

When America looks in the mirror, it sees THIS —

It sees diversity.  It sees every color in the rainbow and every variation on the theme of being human.  It sees America staring back at it.

When Conservative America look in that same mirror, this apparently is what it sees staring back —

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City

THEY look like that, yes.  They do.  And they’re proud of it.  But it’s not what WE look like.  It’s not what America looks like.

When we start to get healthy again — soon, I hope — we’ll see it.

 

What EXACTLY Do Conservatives Want To ‘Conserve’?

I’ve asked this before but haven’t gotten an answer yet… I know what Progressives want to PROGRESS toward: as much equality as possible for as many people as soon as possible.  Progressives want to progress in any we they can toward a level playing field where every American has the best possible chance to contribute as much as they possibly can to America while benefiting as much as they can.

Progressives want America to be as diverse as possible because they know that DIVERSITY is what makes America Exceptional.

Progressives want America to PROGRESS — just like it says in our name.  We want America to PROGRESS into THE FUTURE.

Okay, conservatives, we showed you ours, now show us yours:  What do Conservatives want to CONSERVE?  And how will conserving THAT get us anywhere NEAR our FUTURE?  To judge by republican policies and Trumpian attitudes, conservatives want to conserve the worst of America:  Its racism, its misogyny.  Its bigotry and willful ignorance.

Republicans want to conserve White Christian Male Culture.

Now, that’s easy for me to say — a progressive shithead but, for shits n giggles, I recommend finding a conservative friend — if you still have any — and ask them, point blank:  “Dude — what is it exactly you’re trying to conserve anyway?”  After they try to avoid answering, listen carefully.  They won’t say anything logical or even intelligible.  That’s the point.

Their simple answer is “How it WAS.”  Meaning, ‘How it was when WHITE PEOPLE ruled the world’.

The real joke of it is, White People really do believe the World is ‘far better’ when their Wonder Bread tastes and judgments rule everything and diversity is held at bay.  White People think they have a choice regarding the Future — and who ‘peoples’ it.

Shouldn’t someone tell them what happens to people in the MINORITY when the MAJORITY decides to treat them unfairly?

Oh well — Live and learn…

If You Hate Donald J Trump, You Hate White, Christian Male Culture; There’s Hope For You…

Trump cos more trump

Let’s define our terms first: The reason we’re in this damned mess is that the republican party (uncapitalized because undeserving), seeing a great demographic Black Hole and Extinction in its future, deliberately and knowingly conspired with RUSSIA to seize power from the American Electorate in a soft Coup D’Etat.

Election 2016 was Illegitimate probably from Top to Bottom.

When I say ‘republican party’, of course, what I mean is ‘WHITE, CHRISTIAN MALE CULTURE’ — a ‘culture’ built almost entirely ON BULLSHIT.

White, Christian Male Culture (WCMC) believes that White People are superior to all other people on the planet, that White People are smarter, better looking, better suited to succeed, better athletes, better everything.  They believe White Music is better (ever hear a racist rail against jazz?).  White Literature (hilarious cos White People don’t read).  White Religion.

Especially White Religion.  White Religion sits at the core of White Male Culture — the belief not that ‘god’ is White but that each and every White Person is ‘GOD’ themselves and therefore omnipotent.  What they say goes.

Problem is, it doesn’t.  Because when White People enter an environment that isn’t just ‘Other White People’, they bump into something that disconcerts the hell out of them:  DIVERSITY.  They find they have to COMPETE with people who haven’t had to compete practically EVER.  At least not with people who weren’t White.

America is diverse and has always been diverse.  DIVERSITY is what makes America ‘EXCEPTIONAL’.  Diversity IS ‘American Exceptionalism’.  All other countries evolved over long periods of time with scattered tribes slowly coalescing into a National Tribe with distinct National ‘characteristics’.  The French ‘evolved’ into being French, the Germans into being Germans, the Swiss the Swiss, the English the English and so on.  In the 1500’s, if you were to step into any of what became those countries, the national character we now think of as those countries was already well-formed enough to be reflected in the historical record.

And, then, all those DIFFERENT national characters started arriving in a ‘Neutral Environment’ — America (made a whole lot more ‘neutral’ via ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’ (to borrow the title of Jared Diamond’s excellent book).  None of those peoples who arrived on these shores were ‘American’.  They became American by being here — while their Culture met (perhaps for the first time) and mingled with other Cultures and began to ‘cross-breed’ with them.

The result of all that cross-breeding is us — America — and all the dynamism and actual Greatness that flows from us.  We are The World mixed together.  We’re the lab for what happens genius from one culture meshes with genius from another culture to produce genius from a third (our) culture.

And it works.  God-damn, it WORKS!

That, apparently, gives WCMC a sad.  It makes it feel scared.  Threatened.  Unqualified.  It isn’t of course — WCMC is no better or worse than any other culture; it, too, has produced great things.  It just has the wrong idea of itself — it thinks it’s better than everyone; good thing that’s fixable.  Ask Germany.Cult

Donald Trump is the literal FACE of WCMC.  It is White-White-White-WHITE.  It is Christian — it does not believe a word of the faith it professes (having never read the actual texts their faith is based on) but claims to be among its most ardent followers.  It is Male — oh boy, is it Male; nothing makes it happier than waving its dick in your face or, worse, sticking it in you against your will because IT feels ENTITLED to.

So, yeah — Donald Trump IS White, Christian Male ‘Culture’.  If you voted for it?  You WILL deserve everything that befalls you.

Think of it as ‘getting cultured’.

What Tribalism IS & ISN’T

Our illustrious, observant MSM points out a lot these days how TRIBAL we’ve all become (and how ‘it’s both sides’ fault that we HAVE become so tribal).

As I’m fond of saying on these pages here, if you start from a place of BULLSHIT, you will only ever see BULLSHIT in front of you.  And THAT is top shelf, Grade AAA BULLSHIT.

No, both sides don’t do it.  Both sides are tribal and experience tribalism but not all tribalism is created equal.

Allow me to throw down a metaphor to illustrate:  In my time I have been an ardent Lakers Fan.  During the Kobe Bryant Championship Years, my friends loved to watch the playoff games with me at my house because regardless of how entertaining (or not entertaining) the game itself might be — I was going to put on one hell of a show.  I’m passionate.  At the time, I lived and breathed Lakers.  There were Angelenos who shared my passion and Angelenos who didn’t give a shit and even Angelenos who supported that ‘other’ LA team — the Clippers (and this was during the Donald Sterling ownership days so the Clippers were easy to hate though they were perennial underdogs).

If a tragedy had befallen Los Angeles back then — an earthquake, say (we get those here) — my intense Lakers Tribalism would have been subsumed into Being An Angeleno.  My larger tribe would have taken precedence over my smaller, more local ‘allegiance’.  Logic (and survival instinct) would have dictated it.

Tribalism is natural to any sentient being who sees companionship in another sentient being.  What happens when you add a THIRD sentient being to the mix — that’s what determines how the future tribes in that grouping will play out.  Unless, of course, both sentient beings — and then their third — are all EXACTLY ALIKE.  If THAT’S the case then we’re talking less ‘a tribe’ and more ‘automatons’.  Or maybe just a ‘Tribe’ of ‘Automatons’

Republicans.

Because we live in a ‘Both Sides Do It’ media culture, the assumption is that BOTH KINDS OF ‘TRIBALISM’ ARE EXACTLY ALIKE.  But are they?  Let’s compare —

REPUBLICAN TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe: White, Christian Men principally.  The tribe’s rules & regs are designed to keep White, Christian Male Culture front and center — to keep it as THE DOMINANT CULTURE regardless of the fact that it no longer represents THE MAJORITY of the people in the culture.  In other words, Republican Tribalism seems bent on imposing ITS dying, no longer relevant, completely EXCLUSIVE culture onto the LARGER Culture.

DEMOCRATIC TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe:  Everyone Else.  White, black, brown, Asian, Native American, male, female, LGBTQ, rich, poor, American or willing-to-risk-your-life-to-BECOME-an-American.

When your ‘TRIBE’ is everyone who ISN’T WHITE, CHRISTIAN, MALE?  It means YOUR ‘tribalism’ isn’t quite the same as THE WHITE GUY’S ‘tribalism’.

If DIVERSITY is a ‘tribe’?  Include me in its numbers.  More importantly, where do I send my check so I can get my ‘Membership Card’?