Slainte mhaith

Prof’s Political Meanderings

The air, it seems, is suddenly aflutter with the commotion of the US Presidential race, still more than a year away but breaking ground in the hearts and minds of voters across the country. Donald Trump has filled said air like a Macy’s Day balloon, blocking a large amount of sunlight from hitting the other 16 candidates vying for the party’s nomination. With last week’s first Republican debate and other events of our day as backdrop, I invite you to take a brief walk with me through my Political Meanderings.

Staring out over this current political landscape I feel lost. I remember how I felt in 2007, that real change was coming, an end to the reign of the neo-cons, hell-bent on American isolationism and a foreign policy bred on fearmongering and ignorance, led by a monkey sitting in his daddy’s chair. Now it’s eight years later and while that tide has been broken (for now), it was certainly no easy swimming as our (certainly my) beloved Obie was bent from passionate idealism to pragmatic maintenance, forced to settle for small stolen victories rather than ushering a new progressive era. The extremism within modern American conservatism is something I’ve long found troublesome and within the past half decade it has seemed to find a more open and often bellicose voice in our national discussions. That extremism is used to veil racism, discrimination, and greed beneath the issues of personal liberty and national security. It works to justify a cowboy attitude both foreign and domestically, one that makes us the ire of the world, which we then foolishly convince ourselves is because other nations don’t like freedom. ‘Merica. It embraces a contrived battle against “political correctness” because “we just don’t have time” to not be sexist, racist, blowhard pigs. While I support freedom of speech, the notion that we don’t have an ethical responsibility towards civility is alarming and ugly.

And electing incivility is sure as hell a bad sign.

We have allowed that ugliness to edge its way out from the shadows to which we are often able to banish it, permitting a fertile breeding ground to develop for hatred, fear, and war.

Then I’m forced to wonder, did we ever actually banish it at all, or was I simply too young to realize? Were we all too young?

What kind of Sixth Reich am I living in where Donald Fucking Trump dominates the race for POTUS? A horrorcore circus dragged out over a calendar year, a battle of attrition between the performers, slugging it out like college kids in a power hour, fighting to be the last one not vomiting on the floor.

Armed open militias roam Missouri streets as if we haven’t evolved past the Old West. Used to justify their love of guns and aggressive tendencies, it’s “for the protection of the people” they say, forever one shot away from scrambling into anarchy and fulfilling the vision of said militiamen, lost on dystopian dreams of societal destruction where bunkers of munitions and stored food will divide the wise from the dead.

Were we ever more civil? Were we always like this? Will we always be like this, locked in a cycle of constant fear of unknown enemies because it makes us feel more safe than opening ourselves to someone that may be different than us?

Were we truly once a nation of stately men, too eager to do right by the world to have their vision consumed by their own greed and special interests, or is that nostalgia? Or is it built into the design?

Will I ever live in an America where a candidate like Bernie Sanders, one driven for REAL, VISCERAL CHANGE, will ever stand a chance? Or will they always inevitably be drowned out by a bipartisan noise machine, intrinsically more interested in its own survival than societal evolution?

I can almost like Marco Rubio, which simultaneously makes me worried about him.

I actually do like John Kasich, but am not worried as he will never get his party’s nomination. I feel like he got lost and ended up at/in the wrong party. I feel he can perhaps be brought back to the light side of The Force.

Will I ever live in an America that composes its foreign policy out of intelligence and not fear and bravado?

Ted Cruz is simply disgusting. Even word out of his mouth is a lie even, somehow, when he’s telling the truth. He looks like a smarmy mobster accountant who’s always just about to laugh at you for believing what he’s about to say. His tough guy plan for destroying ISIS is as shallow as it is arrogant, as are most of the inflammatory soundbytes he cobbles together into a political personality.

I will say nothing of Yeb except to say that had it been him and not his brother in the White House 16 years ago (holy shit I’m old) I would not have hated it quite as much. Y’know because of the at least not being a bumbling, incompetent buffoon thing. His weeks of posturing, though, campaigning without announcing his candidacy in order to skirt campaign fundraising laws makes me most angry for its transparency. It’s not enough to cheat, you have to act like the rules are a fucking joke.

The Left, Bernie strongly excluded, is equally uninspiring though it certainly has less of the meth lab feel than the candidate field on the Right. Is Hillary really inevitable? Why? I don’t really have anything against her but there’s too much on the line at the moment, too much battleground for it to be her time just because it’s supposed to.

It speaks to the flaccidness of the Democratic Party that Lincoln Chafee is even allowed to run and hasn’t yet been stuffed in his locker during gym class.

A year removed from the tragic events of Ferguson in one direction in time, a year away from a new leader of our nation in the other. Has anything changed or progressed in a year? In one respect it is encouraging to see the focus on the issue continue, when normally a movement such as #BlackLivesMatter would have been coopted and swept away. We’ve seen officer Ray Densing indicted for the gutless murder of Sam DuBose with strong denouncing language from the County Prosecutor, a seeming break from the cops-getting-away-with-it theme but would that have happened at all had Densing’s body camera not caught an eye-witness account? Have we actually rooted out anything, exposed any cockroaches to light?

Will anything progress in another year?

Will we find a way to hold our societal standards accountable for both justice and lawfulness or will we boisterously sprinkle those standards to the wind like ethical confetti?

Will we engage in noble ideological battles or will we devolve into bitchy subterfuge and schoolyard scrapping with big fucking guns?

Does Trump really think he can get elected or is this the greatest of personal PR campaigns, perverting and making a mockery of the American election system? Now that I say that, can it really be perverted much further?

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