Thursday, November 28, 2019

Political and Societal Meanderings


   Right after the attacks on 9/11 there was a wave of patriotism that for a short time united the country. My politics were quite different back then but it felt good to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Americans despite our differences. What grated my soul during that time though was a little encounter I had with a loud-mouth, fat civilian at the South Carolina State Fair.

 I was at the fair in my army BDUs as part of a recruiting drive for the South Carolina National Guard. Sometime while my fellow soldiers and I were walking among the crowd passing out brochures, the operation against the Taliban and Al-qaeda in Afghanistan was launched. Naturally, with my compatriots and I wearing our camouflaged uniforms we instantly became the center of attention and started receiving congratulations from the now adoring crowd. No problem there, although I personally felt uncomfortable with the adulation since I was essentially at home and not part of the campaign.

What highly ticked me off though was getting slapped on the back by an overweight white guy, who while being careful not to spill what had to have been his fourth or fifth beer that late morning, preceded to give me military advice on how I was supposed to deal with those "rag heads."  Without going into details everything that non-serving idiot suggested would have gotten me charged with war crimes and court-martialed.

 I so desperately wanted to ask that fat moron that with his self-assumed and unearned military prowess how about he enlist and come join what he assumed would be a real life Rambo or Chuck Norris movie over in Afghanistan. In a rare display of good sense, I held my tongue and walked away but that encounter, and several others before and after still shapes my opinion of the general civilian population.

Fast forward to the present and we now have the Republican Party, overwhelmed with non-serving, arrogant, white guys, picking apart the reputation and loyalty of Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Vindman, someone who served and saw actual combat. It's beyond surreal to have Republicans throwing hissy fits defending Trump attempts at international blackmail at the expense of a true American war hero. This is a degree of hypocrisy and decadence worthy of a Greek or Roman tragedy.


    Since Presidential Derangement Syndrome is a persistent malady stretching back to at least Bill Clinton with symptoms appearing during Regan's tenure, my reaction to Trump could be played off as just another sore loser whining about politics. The trouble is that no president has ever embraced racists and racism like Trump. The best case in point was his reaction to the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years back. Neo-Nazis, Neo-Conferates, Klan, and other assorted human scum generally classified as the "Alt-Right" were protesting the removal of a Confederate statue when they encountered counter-protestors.

Violence ensued with a self-identified white supremacist deliberately ramming his car into a group of counter-protestors killing one person. Even with a collection of known hate groups on the right, Trump somehow found the gall to say there "were good people" on both sides. Yeah, I've got vital news for the ignorant, if you're consorting with Nazis, you're on the wrong side of everything. Trump's antagonism towards what seems everyone not white is about as self-evident as the sky being blue on a cloudless day.

   Hey, this one is not an attempt at knocking Christianity in general. There are millions of Christians across the world who truly try to practice the teachings of Jesus. None of us are perfect, except President Jimmy Carter who needs to be made a saint even though he's not Catholic.

 My beef is with the sanctimonious types who profess to be followers of Christ but yet hold intensely anti-Christian views when it come to the treatment of refugees. Yes, I recently had dealings with someone who while regularly claiming a moral superiority based on his religious beliefs but openly and proudly supports separating families and caging kids at the border. His "logic" is that all nations have a right to control their borders.

 A wonderful idea except I don't see American sovereignty threatened by Mexican and Central American people fleeing drug gangs roaming freely in their countries. Especially when those drug gangs are the creation of a complete lack of coherent drug policy here in the United States.  Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign and zero tolerance laws did nothing to offer a different path for people stuck in poverty. All those laws did was mass incarcerate millions of African-Americans giving us a bigger prison population than Commie China.  As for recreational drug users, who were quite often white and at least middle class, they seemed to escape much of the draconian punishments.
   So yeah, I find it darkly humorous that in the coming weeks nativity scenes will be pulled from dusty storage boxes and put on display. All the while those owners will whine and gnash their teeth at news videos of poor refugees fleeing persecution being rounded up and put in cages.      

   In a better world, Trump's campaign would have died right then. There were other candidates just as right-wing as he proclaimed. But they were slightly more polished, more able to act like a decent human being despite wanting to take away health insurance or cut social security. And those other candidates would have absolutely not kissed Putin's ass like Trump does on every opportunity. Trump's one talent is his ability to corrupt everything he touches. He plays to our worst fears and coaxes our worst hates out into the open like dry kindling does a flame. "Evil" is an overused word but for Trump, I think it fits.

 To all those disgruntled progressives who even now whine that their candidate hasn't been proclaimed the nominee already, this is the creature we face. He and his sycophants are actively working to undo every reform for the last sixty years. This election cycle is not an "opportunity" as some of us on the left have dizzily proclaimed. The November 2020 election is about survival. He's gotten two Supreme Court picks with Justice Ginsburg's health becoming more questionable. We're on the edge of an abyss and another screw up like 2016 will be fatal.    


sage said...

"His fourth of fifth beer late that morning" That's a good line that does show how a little alcohol can blow common sense out of the window... but Trump doesn't drink so there must be something more sinister behind him.

The Bug said...

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