To Bern or Not to Bern!

I am growing weary of the superfluous yet at the same time deeply important clash between the #neverhillary Bernie supporters and the #nevertrump Bernie supporters. I’m not certain the split aligns perfectly with a millennial demographic or not, but somebody is either being somewhat politically naive or is incredibly ideologically pure about something. One puddle of wisdom (from my small reservoir of wisdom) that I have imparted to my millennial daughter on occasion, is that one of the things about life that sucks the most is you will have to sometimes do things you really don’t want to do. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times.

Here’s the thing. There’s a big difference between issues politics and electoral politics. The difference is that in issues politics it is necessary to demand 100% of what you want because that is the only way to get any of what you want. It’s you and your issue versus everybody else and their issue. There are multiple contestants in multiple battles so where you win you stay and where you don’t you move on. In modern electoral politics there are only two contestants (as far as is today’s reality) and the point comes (and it always comes) where you need other people’s supporters on your side to win, because your goal and reward is not a small victory in isolation but a majority victory in a contest decided by everyone. It is not a contest of you versus everyone else but of your coalition versus their coalition.

Compromise of ideologies is necessary in the electoral world and an anathema in the issues world. Many Bernie supporters come from the world of issues politics. They did not previously involve in electoral politics because they had no use for elections unless it directly affected their funding. Other than that they would only pursue an electoral victory if they had a champion for their issue(s). There have been single issues champions throughout the but rarely have there been any special leaders who could coalesce the numerous issues silo activists into a cohesive power bloc.

Issues activists are used to either getting what they want or leaving defeat behind and moving on to the next battle. They make black and white decisions. The concept of joining together in a coalition with the people who just caused you lose, who made you not get what you want, is utterly alien to them and feels dirty and immoral. So it’s not difficult to understand why they have trouble putting together movements. It’s just sad.

This phenomenon works in reverse as well, although people involved in electoral politics usually only drop in to work on issues when they feel burned out and made filthy by the deceits of electoral politics, and want to recharge and cleanse. Someone coming to issues politics from electoral politics will seek coalitions with what they consider to be like minded issues advocates, with similar issues. They don’t quite understand why the other issues groups leave the coalition once they get what they want. Then they remember why they were frustrated with issues activism to begin with and go back to electoral politics. To work in both electoral politics and issues politics concurrently takes some highly skilled compartmentalising, of which not everyone is capable.

This whole broken process has been a bane of the progressive movement for years, because it hasn’t really been a movement at all. It has been a bunch of separate progressive issues oriented advocacy groups all in competition with each other for grants and status and recognition. There is always a lot of rhetoric about coming together as one coherent progressive movement but it always dissolves into jealousy and competition for scarce resources. The scarcity of resources is intentional and part of a greater strategic initiative by right wing tricksters, but that’s another story.

These progressives have only come together in agreement when they have had a messiah figure to rally them. Gene McCarthy, George Mc Govern, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, all to widely varying degrees, were able to bring a number of progressives together into some semblance of a movement, enough to have some modest influence on the Democratic Party. Bernie has been the latest, most successful and probably least likely of these standard bearers. The rub is these movements died off with the relevance of their leaders. Without the focus of the strong leader the coalition descends once again into the relative chaos of egotism and economically manipulated competition.

Bernie is, and always has been, aware of this. Warnings about life after Bernie have been clear parts of his speeches from the get go. He has spent most of his time and energy since it became apparent he would not win the nomination imploring that his followers continue on and forge a game changing movement. This is true, and necessary. He has implored them to remember that this is not about him but about us. This is true, and necessary. He has implored us to defeat Donald Trump by any and all means. This is true, and necessary. He is showing and/or reminding us that 30% of 100% is much more than 100% of nothing. This is true, necessary and perhaps his greatest lesson taught.

What I don’t understand is why so many of Bernie’s followers, who have followed him through the crucible of mainstream efforts to get in his way, have now stopped listening to him. Actually I do understand. The messiah has betrayed them. He has not delivered on their issue(s) so they are expressing their rage. They will try another tack later after they get over feeling suckered by promises of glory in a progressive paradise. To be clear though, this type of betrayal is not an unusual occurrence. It is seen, commonly, in the affairs of both parties and is not fixable from the top down. Let me repeat, it is not fixable from the top down but only from the bottom up. This is why Bernie is so adamant that his supporters not run away licking their wounds but stay and fight and elect Clinton despite themselves.

In order to have a bottom up re-evolutionary movement that succeeds the Sanders coalition must stay together and organize. To accomplish this it is critical that the activated millennials not get jaded and cynical and go back to their X-boxes. Bernie is trying his damnedest to impart the knowledge that this whole thing is bigger than him and must survive his primary loss. And the first step towards that accomplishment is to prevent the uniquely American fascism of Trump and his minions from ever getting enough control to do irreparable harm to our nation and thus the globe. That would take generations to recover from.

So listen up kiddos and ex hippies. You think you need an unconditional Bernie electoral victory, when what you really need is for the many wonderful progressive issues activists out there to drop their ego facades, overcome their economic jealousies, and form the powerful progressive movement that has always been there, dormant, and ready to flip the entire political landscape. I can help, but I’m old, as are my beautiful tye dyed peers. The mantel is now being passed from Bernie’s hippie contemporaries to Bernie’s hipster acolytes. We’ll all help actually, if you let us, we’re experienced protesters. And we still know how to roll an English joint.

Here’s a parable for us to end todays sermon. When Mom broke out the Ben and Jerry’s  you told her you wanted 3 scoops of Cherry Garcia. She said no but you can each have a half scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough, because that’s all we have. Do you say no, I know you have some Cherry Garcia in there and it’s either the whole 3 scoops or nothing at all. Or, do you take the cookie dough and get at least a bit of a sweet taste in your mouth. If you all keep bugging mom maybe you’ll get some of that Cherry Garcia next time.

You weren’t that stuck up in school, were you?

The Bernie and Donald Hypotheses

A continuum is a line. A line extends infinitely through space, through the universe. The universe is curved. Therefore a line will eventually meet itself in space as in as circle. A circle with one point missing is considered a line. There can be an infinite number of points between any two points. Thus, speaking from the standpoint of nuclear physics we have established a paradox whereby a line can also be considered a circle based on the observers point of view.

Why am I starting off with all of this gobbledygook? Because it provides a mathematical basis for my hypothesis based in science. Using this information, continuums, which are nearly always portrayed as lines, are actually circles. Therefore the far ends of continuums, rather than being opposites, as is commonly perceived, are very nearly the same thing. Some examples include the fact that both extreme heat and extreme cold will burn the flesh. And obviously the continuum of the changing of the seasons does not have polar opposite ends but ends that run smooth;y into each other.

So to get to the point, (Thank God) it has always been my contention that radical right wingers and radical left wingers have more in common than they have in contention. It is our tendency as humans, these days strongly influenced by the media, to want to see dualities, black and white, in order to simplify life. This causes us to see the ends of a continuum as opposites and encourages us to see extreme liberals and extreme conservatives as complete opposites. This is just not true. This year’s presidential campaigns provide us with good evidence of that fact.

Conventional wisdom would consider Bernie Sanders and his followers to be polar opposites of Donald Trump and his followers. However while they disagree on a number of policies they share many of the more visceral and esoteric ideas about the issues and politics in general. I have experienced a large number of people who say they have been Democrats all their lives who will be voting for Trump as well as life long Republicans that will be voting for Sec. Clinton. Many of these folks go so far as to say they are changing parties permanently. Why is this?

Most of these switchers are Sanders supporters angry at the nomination process and appalled that the Democrats would nominate such a dangerous person who is not a real progressive. There are also traditional Republicans angry at the nomination process and appalled the the GOP would nominate such a dangerous person who is not a real conservative. What do these people have in common? A general mistrust of government and how it operates. Their main goal is to throw out all the mainstream politicians, who they feel are all corrupt sell outs, and replace them with outsiders who are not politicians but are ideologically pure. Most of them have never been involved in politics before, normally because of their strong mistrust of the process, and a belief there is no difference between the traditional parties. They want to throw away government as we know it and start over, based on their interpretation of the constitution and the idea of personal liberty.

But these two factions, as they are considered to be, are generally looked upon as opposites, especially by the press. Now this is true of of much of their overall reasoning, specific complaints, interpretations of the constitution,understanding of the intentions of the founding fathers, and most importantly who they blame for all of it. But the bottom line is they both believe America is going to hell in a hand basket and the only way to save it is to return to government of, by and for the people. And I believe that in essence they are right about a lot of this.

However, this is where I think things go off the rails. People want all of this change, right away,  but for a number of reasons they aren’t ready to do the work necessary to make it happen, especially in the way they imagine it will happen. There are a large number of folks, lovingly referred to as low information voters, who have little to no knowledge of how America works, what our major issues are, and what impact proposed policy will have on them,  the nation, and the world. These people are easily manipulated by appeals to strong emotions and will believe lies if they are told loudly and often enough.

Then there are voters who know a little civics and have opinions on things but who are just too busy to participate in the process. Some are simply disinterested in participating, for various reasons ranging from laziness to feeling that government never changes anything for anyone, ever. These citizens only care about elections the last two weeks before election day. Which is why most campaigns bombard the broadcast media with commercial after unfair commercial in those two weeks, virtually all of them about how awful the other candidate is. So right when they are finally looking for facts, after months of ignoring the campaigns, all they get is innuendo, half truths, and actual bald faced lies.

These two groupings are a very large segment of voters, likely  comprising a majority. And what they have in common is a need to hand over responsibility to those they elect and then forget about politics until the next election. The economy has forced them to be busier than ever before, in order to support their families. They might want to be aware but they can’t afford to be. So, many of us want and expect the president to solve every problem, and right away. They want a savior, a messiah to lead them figuratively out of Egypt, up to and including parting the Red Sea. This phenomenon is one factor that has made President of the United States the hardest job in the world.

The final demographic that needs a savior, and to me the most dangerous, is the radical activists. They are very aware of what is happening in politics and society, both domestic and international. They have a clear idea of what they think will save us and they know that to make it happen they need one strong leader who can get the job done in the face of adversity. It must be somebody who displays supreme confidence and the charisma to sell themself, even to the most opinionated of the activists, who will then follow them fervently and bring along their own followers.

There are many societies who have such a strongman at the top of their government, controlling virtually every aspect of society. Some of these leaders are benevolent but most are authoritarian and dictatorial. I believe the US has avoided such a regime primarily because it’s two party system keeps both parties from straying too far into uncharted authoritarian waters. They have never felt confident that taking such a dramatic stance could be successful, not with a majority of Americans having basically center left or center right views. But things have changed. I’m willing to guess that the change is, in large part, the responsibility of the rise of the political purist, brought on by frightened parties that felt they needed to pander to extremists to gain power. The extremists eventually gained enough power (This happened primarily in the GOP) to require an ideologic purity test for candidates. Which led to a bloc of legislators who refused to make compromises and thus ground the business of the legislative branch to a halt.

This paralysis has been the last straw for those of us who have been progressively more and more disillusioned with government and it’s failed ability to serve the people. They have come out of the woodwork to strongly influence the current presidential race. They were able to get Donald Trump nominated as a Republican, much to the chagrin of many prominent Republicans who know he is far from being one. And they nearly succeeded in nominating a Social Democrat, Bernie Sanders, as the Democratic nominee. What has transpired then is victory for the establishment in the Democratic Party, after a more heavily contested primary than they ever imagined. And their candidate, justifiably or not, has an extremely low likability rating. Lucky for them the GOP nominee, a loose cannon strongman, has an even lower rating.

This brings us to a place where we now have the most disconcerting race is recent US history. The hold your nose, lesser of two evils factor is off the charts. People are tired of having to elect this kind of President. They want someone they can admire. They want big change and they want it now. This frenetic anger has left us vulnerable to an authoritarian strongman being elected President. He will most likely break his promise to make the country a better place for the people, and will institute policies that oppress us even more than we already are. But in the event we can stop this very real danger, the alternative does not inspire much hope that she will ever institute many of the progressive policies this country needs.

This brings us round robin to the longtime democrats and republicans, plus the disillusioned radicals or traditionalists,who are abandoning their ostensible party’s nominee.Some of them are now voting for the other guy by write in , the other teams guy by write in. or a fringe party’s candidate. What affect will this have on the dynamic of the outcome of the election? I doubt any of the mainstream pundits know. This is out of their comfort zone.

We are entering a new era of American politics, one which may result in a system with multiple viable parties, and a more parliamentary method of creating government. The progressive revolutionary laundry list of changes is long. Right now the re-evolution is in it’s infancy and as in any revolution heads will fall. But should we call the executioner just yet? Who’s to say? I’m disqualifying myself.

It is a critical, crucial time to be an American, even more so an educated and aware American. This is the most important election in American history. I’ve said this every four years since Reagan’s second term. Perhaps prophetically that election was in 1984. At its core it was true every time. This time its true on steroids. It has existential implications for the planet. The arc of plant earth’s future will be forged this November, historic like never before.

Our Millennial generation are the only ones who can save us, in my estimation. But they are being systematically destroyed by overwhelming student debt. This is intentional. They are being squeezed by a shrinking job market and reduced public services across the board. They are being distracted by any number of petty playthings designed to numb them from their pain. We boomers, as our last redeeming gift, must protect them, we must run interference for them, we must exert ourselves to keep them from getting picked off one by one by despair. We must keep the light shining so they have something in the distance to aspire to.

A dictatorship will make that nearly impossible.

But we have defeated dictators before.

There is a reason both love and courage come from the heart.

Do We Have Room for This Crate Of Kalishnikovs?

I think if people really take a close look at things they will see that the real reason people fight so desperately to keep access to semi automatic weapons is that they want to be the ones with the powerful guns and stockpiles of ammo when the government fails and the country descends into anarchy. And to be honest the chances of that happening are not insignificant.

Yes, economic chaos is a real possibility. Fostered  by the wealthy and powerful fools who control and manipulate our economy, and thus the world’s, through greedy risk taking and egoistic speculation, the whole thing could come crashing down on their, and our own heads any any moment. The resulting domino dynamo that follows will plunge the world into a dark age.

This is only one possibility among many. But instead of brushing it off as conspiracy it is a real enough threat that it must be considered and attempts to prepare for it are not folly. This is the course that the gun hoarding anarchist/survivalists expect and in fact desire. They feel persecuted by a government that oppresses them and won’t allow them the freedoms they think the constitution ensures. They want the chaos, because with the guns and ammo they will turn the tables on the “weak and corrupt” government and will become the rulers, as is their right.

This is the source of the NRA’s fringe hardcore stance on semi automatic weapons. They have no problems with folks owning rifles and handguns under the 2nd amendment for protection because they will either get them to join their merry band or will have superior fire power with which to dominate them. But they absolutely must be able to own as many dangerous weapons as they can find large elaborate glass case for. They have already banded together and have huge stockpiles of powerful weapons. They come from that same government they hate and fear, who has more firepower than it knows what to do with. Yes, we have “well regulated militias” out there. They are not regulated to protect government interests but to suborn them.

Now I don’t have an issue with a man protecting his home in any way he deems fit. And frankly I’m not afraid of the quasi-military organizations and lone wolf survivalists. Egoistically I believe my life skills will be appreciated in a world like that. That ego might get me killed anyway but I have no family save my daughter, who gets it, so I can take the risk. Anyway, I strongly believe their dreams of conquest and vilification of the government will be squashed by a military that still functions amid the madness. That’s what the military is designed to do. It’s superior firepower will prevail, until there nothing more than small pockets of resistance.

Conspiracy theory 101. I’m not above it.

So here is my proposal for the “I’ll show you. I’ll be running this place soon and then you’ll have to answer to me” crowd. Go ahead, have as many AK 47s and AR 15s as you want and a silo full of ammo to boot. have some salvage military weapons, rocket launched grenades and pounds of C4. Go ahead, protect your homestead. Wait lovingly for the apocalypse. But if you take one step over your property line with any semi automatic weapon, including pistols, any military weapon, or even the ammo for such weapons the penalties will be more than draconian. For example, a minimum of 40 years and up to life with no chance for parole. Same for anyone found in public with such a weapon. No license to carry. No concealed carry. How is that for a compromise?

In the event of a nationwide meltdown I’m confident that when these radical Libertarians  go against the semi-organized remnants of police and military forces they will create the battles they have craved, and come out as oppressed as they ever were. The ironic thing is they created the military. They were the ones who wanted America to be strong in the face of its enemies. They wanted drones and cruise missiles and stealth bombers and hardened tanks and everything that will keep them pacified in the chaos. They created  the militarized police forces by insisting that anyone could get a powerful semi automatic rifle, and use them in committing crimes. They screamed that police forces were outgunned. So the police got their own tanks and troop carriers and hand held rocket launchers.

The irony.

So sit and stare at your beautiful gun collection. But don’t you dare bring them anywhere near me.

Like my daddy always said, “keep in in your pants”.

I’m a Lousy Ally

I’m a lousy ally. I think I know what racism is. I think I know how to fix it. I think I know what black people are thinking. And I think I know how to tell them what to do about it. Are you kidding me? I don’t know anything about racism, really. Not firsthand. Not from experience or with any real knowledge.

So it’s back to pre-school for me and for the vast majority of white people in this country who don’t have the vaguest notion of why black people are responding the way they are to the individual acts of police violence that have plagued this nation for a very long time, but more poignantly (a really white adverb in this instance) recently.

It is easy for isolated instances to be deflected away from pointing at their systemic root causes. We hear “You are just playing the race card”. This isn’t a card game. It’s not an expletive game. The mantra is “I’m not a racist. I don’t see color”. I hate to burst your bubble Mr. Racist,  but black IS a color and if you don’t see it you damn well should.

Ok, I’ll admit it. I do about what some kinds of racism. What I really don’t know is how devastating it is to the people who face it on a daily basis. But painfully, another thing I do know is how people try to muddy the waters when the waves of truth batter them.

That 99.9% of all the police are good people is said. That we don’t know all the facts is said. That the victim(s) acted poorly is said. One or all of these things may or may not be true. But white people, myself included,  please hear this. These things have nothing to do with the issue. To better understand the real issue I must swallow my false pride at being so “liberal” and  “sympathetic” and listen. We must all listen to the voices of color, full of both pride and desperation that together can only tear at someone’s soul. Yes, I can see the tear but it is impossible to feel it without the recipient bearing witness. Just the attempt at trying to tell us about the rending is far more painful than my simple epiphany about racist deceit.

I need to hear and understand, so that I can become a true ally, and teach what I have learned to other white people, especially those who think they already know what racism is and what black people are thinking. And graduating from pre-school, realizing that we have another 13,14 years of school, or more, before we can graduate is humbling. Humility is a poor apology for the hubris of”knowing” racism.

Teach me well people of color. Teach me well Americans of color. I’m certain you aren’t sugar coating the facts.

I’m a lousy ally. But that is changing.

America’s New Four Party System

Evidently it took a pair of transgender sisters to give us a portent of the future, but perhaps not the one they intended. In their Matrix trilogy the then brothers Wachowski named their main character ‘Neo’. I’m not certain if they were aware of their prescience but it appears they have hit on the latest big thing in American politics.

From observations over the last several years, and clearer observations this election cycle, I am seeing the American two party system, which has dominated our politics for many a year, fracturing into four distinctly different parties. This is happening without some of the participants actively being aware of it. The role The Matrix plays in all of this is perhaps more syntactic than anything but were I to name these four new parties, the prefix “neo’ would be used more than once. More about this later.

Probably the oddest thing about these schisms is that traditional, 20th century, liberals and conservatives have been effectively left behind, scrambling to either align themselves with one of the new factions, aggressively hold on to their obsolete values a while longer, or give up on politics altogether. Perhaps this is because the issues and political philosophies of the last century no longer maintain an agreed upon clarity, or, as in some cases, they may not be relevant at all.

For most of the 20th Century Republicans and Democrats had modestly but obviously different outlooks on how best to service the nation. The operative phrase here is “serve the nation”. In those days both parties cared about serving the nation, and were not only able to work together to do just that but both liked and respected each other, for the most part.

But the politics of the early 21st Century has revealed itself to be dominated by rabid partisanship and a dedication not to serving the nation but to serving special and monied interests. The lust for power has replaced the common good as the prime motivator of the modern politician and their parties.

It isn’t surprising to me that both major parties appear to be splitting in two, with none of the resultant parties truly resembling it’s predecessor. This is because the lines dividing the previous two parties are no longer clearly defined.  Currently we are seeing the development of a somewhat loose coalition of former progressive Democrats, Greens, pure Socialists and Democratic Socialists. This far left coalition has not been heretofore what one would call united, left wing politics normally being more identified with absolute correctness on pet issues than with forging partnerships.

They have been brought together this cycle by the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders. Having previously spent most of their time arguing over whose issues were more important they have come only lately to the idea of taking over the Democratic party. This “Neo-Socialist” party is the actual left wing party, right wing propaganda about our President notwithstanding, with social justice and a well regulated economy being their major issues.

Many of the remaining Democrats joined by some moderate Republicans comprise the Neo-Liberal party. Having been around in Europe for some time the Neo-Liberals have a socially liberal platform but their economic ideas run more toward the corporate capitalist model. They claim to be liberal on the flimsy idea that they support benevolent corporations instead of malevolent ones. Flimsy indeed. They are the center left party, or to those with a different vantage point, the center right party.

On the right we find the Neo-Conservatives, basically the mainstream Republicans of the 90’s and early aughts’s. This party’s platform is based in militarism and right wing Christian morality. It’s new role as a separate party came about because of a split in the traditional Republican Party, a result of Republican pandering to the Libertarian minded Tea Party. The Neo-Cons once held great power in the country, but over the years their credentials as true conservatives have been called into question. As of now they neither fully resemble the party of lower taxes or small government.

The Tea party’s premise lies in a basic mistrust of a government they feel has failed them, is incompetent, spends the public’s hard earned tax dollars foolishly, rewards laziness and disrespects hard working Americans. They have no problem with completely discarding traditional means of operating government in order to get their way. To them compromise is betrayal and treasonous. When the Republicans could not make good on their promises to this faction the Tea Party held them hostage through a small but united caucus of congressmen/women, a critical mass of votes in the House of Representatives that could quash any legislation it did not favor.

This Tea Party extended or as I have called it, in moments of weakness, the Neo-Anderthal Party (Shame on you Will Servant) bases its political philosophy on anti politics. They despise politics as usual and politicians in general for being corrupt and feckless and find common ground in wild and free capitalism, xenophobia, poorly disguised racism,  white supremacism and authoritarianism. Or should I just say fascism.

What used to be a substantial independent voting bloc has been reduced to mainly the legitimate personality  voters, the I vote for the person not the party folks, and dazed and confused former traditionalists from both former major parties. These include but are not confined to traditional Republicans who can neither relate to what they perceive as the drunken sailor spending of the neocons nor the thinly veiled hatred of the “Tea Party”. Former Democrats include those who cannot cotton to the corporatism of the neo-liberals or what they see as the excessive permissiveness of the Neo-Socialists.

But this group of “independents” which is really a misnomer, is smaller than before. The electoral focus of new this four party world will not so much be on winning over the smaller group of independents but on convincing people that they know the best way out of the desert and can lead us through the thick forestation of the complex issues we face as we head closer to the quarter pole of the 21st century.

The most these new parties can hope for under this Neo-Parliamentary (See how I threw that Neo thing in there again) system is to gain the largest plurality of the electoral college vote for their presidential candidate and have the most congressional victors, so they will have the most leverage in forming a governing coalition. This will represent a whole new era in American governance.

While I am obviously not right about all of this I feel that an eventual multi party system will breathe life into American politics and lead to more work getting done all around for the largest and most important special interest group, the American people.

The danger in all of this is that, as we are currently getting big hints about, the chaos surrounding the collapse of the two party system could lead America into a totalitarian strongman government, which would plunge the world into conflict that could make WWII look like a paintball match. “We the People” can’t allow that to happen. Lot’s of people have ideas, many of them good, of how to best turn the darkness into light. I have one too.

Perhaps my strongest feeling regarding the presidential race of 2016, with all of it’s fascinating and frightening subplots, is that those who wish to establish separate parties on either side of the increasingly more centrist major parties are concentrating way too much on the election viability of their candidates and not enough on the actual party building that is necessary for them to become viable. There are way more people out there, on both sides of the constitutional divide, than the intellectuals they have a tendency to bubble with. The average guys and gals and others who comprise most of the electorate really don’t have a clue, they son’t get it, and it’s going to take a s..t load of work to get them to understand the dynamic of life in the 21st century. So folks, build your base with knowledge and sincerity and hard work before you can expect electoral success.

On the other hand the traditional parties are scrambling to hold together what base they have left. They are precariously scratching together the traditional coalitions that have, at various times, bought them victory. They have been so busy throwing up bandaids that they have forgotten how to develop good candidates. They have been at each others throats so long that victory has become the ultimate goal instead of public service. They nominate professional election winners instead of stateswomen. And what has it wrought? The two least likable candidates in USA history. So all four of our future major parties have their work cut out for them. The neo-revolution will manifest differently for all of them, but it won’t happen tomorrow.

Our modern power structure has been built to withstand  a traditional revolution. The revolution must be in the education of the public, in changing the paradigm. It must happen from the inside out. It’s like making wine or beer. It’s a process and it can’t be rushed or the final product suffers. Virtually all revolutionaries who went over the top too early, before they had a solid base, a leg to stand on, have failed. Some were successful early and then failed soon thereafter, some just plain failed. Telling someone burning with a passion to make everything right, who can’t stand it anymore, that they have to chill, is at best difficult and at worst impossible. But it is as valid a position as any that says we must tear down the house. Because it’s real.

After years of study, observation and research the oligarchs have perfected their methods of co-opting revolution by protest. They own law enforcement and the media. Never again will protesters in the streets have the influence they had in the 60’s. Violent revolution will be met with overwhelming force, as the oligarchs also own the military. Those means are lost to us. Frankly, in my estimation, the only way to bring about re-evolution in this climate is through the system, through good, old fashioned, American democracy.

The oligarchs have manipulated organizations to oppress the population but they have yet to oppress the people themselves, and will not be able to. That is the beauty of our democracy. The people actually do have the power. We have simply been coerced into not using it properly. We must display patience and restraint as the incremental change that will bring about continued peace can come about. The messiah Sanders has said so himself. He has told the people to get their butts off the floor, dry their tears and do the hard work of teaching, organizing, living and loving until the world they envision comes to pass. This is the true revolution, a revolution of the soul, first of the individual, and then of the nation.

As an aging hippie I have hoped for a real revolution, without guns but with hearts, for many years. I worry that I won’t see it.

But most of you will.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All Fine and Good…

I’m not fond of Donald Trump and I don’t support his candidacy. I suppose I’d go so far as to say his candidacy scares the living crap out of me. But I’m not about to tell you why. Why? Because everybody else does.

I’m glad that so many people have stepped forward to offer their take on why Mr. Trump should never, ever, be let anywhere near the White House, except for maybe a guided tour. They should. The people need and deserve to be told about how they are being hoodwinked by a snake oil salesman, which is one of the safer things I can say about the man.

But my issue is that among the many diatribes bashing the big basher himself, a large, even vast number of them involve some sort of analysis of why he has risen to the prominence of being the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party. An even bigger topic for these frightened American souls is who are his followers and why do they follow him.

The speculation runs from the sublime to the ridiculous and it seems lately that virtually every pundit who is worth his ego must needs weigh in. It’s like the Olympics of opine. I may be wrong, after all, but it appears to me that there is an amazing race (homage to the reality TV world of today) to see who can most definitively and correctly determine the correct and definitive reason for the phenomenon that is Trump and his minions.

Enough already. Frankly, we really don’t need to figure out why he is a mere 270 electoral votes from being the most powerful man in the “free” world. At least until after he is given a sound beatdown (although many of us have a pretty good idea why). And this is where the pundit analysts and opinion talkers, in my opinion, are failing.

In reality, these journalists and political analysts and pundits and party personalities are singing loudly, even if mostly on key, to the choir. They are educated intellectuals writing and blogging and making videos for educated intellectuals in places where only educated intellectuals will read, hear and see them. In other words, while often brilliant in their insight, they will have little to no effect on the votes of a sizable (read huge) majority of those whose hearts and minds are what really need to be changed.

Our task is to fight as hard as we can to defeat this charlatan, this wolf in wolf’s clothing. What we really need is for us educated intellectuals (effete intellectual snobs as Spiro Agnew once called us) to get busy, down and dirty, and get everyone possible who knows the real dangers of a Trump presidency to go to the polls and vote against him, better yet for a candidate who is capable of defeating him. And convince those who doubt this is a very real danger, that it is very real and very dangerous, and get them to the polls to vote against Trump also.

Holding ones nose strikes me as a much better option than potentially having no hands to hold it with.

We don’t need to figure Trump and his followers out. We just desperately need to defeat him.

Clinton isn’t a steamboat and Sanders isn’t a Colonel

Something that disturbs me, and more so as time passes, is the breaking out of the baseball bats and socks full of dung, used to bash each other upside the head by supporters of both Sen. Sanders and Secretary Clinton. Recently I read a post in a thread about this topic, a particularly virulent attack on Ms. Clinton that had more in common with a conspiracy post on “Infowars” than a rational discussions about left and centre left politics. I hear more and more rumblings and grumblings from Sanders supporters that if their champion is not nominated they shall take their ball and go home, or, perhaps worse, he will run as a third party candidate.

The result of either of those strategies would be catastrophic. What will such “brave and visionary” behavior bring? Shall we have a theocrat or fascist then as president? Or shall we have a wonderful man with a powerful, positive vision for an American people who are not yet ready to embrace it? Shall we have anarchy? Or an imperfect woman who has the most and best qualifications. The bane of the activist is that they insist on the perfect and reject the less than perfect. This is right action and imperative in fighting for a single, isolated issue. Those fighting this way need the strength that lifts them up, found in purity of mission.

However, In electoral politics we cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. I have grave issues with the corporate dependencies of HRC. I have serious problems with her neoliberal economics. Having spent many years standing in the public spotlight she has made plenty of mistakes and grown plenty of warts. However I have much graver, real fears about either of the GOP frontrunners and especially the well hidden dominionist nature of Kasich, who could be a brokered candidate.

I have admired Sen. Sanders for many years as a truth teller. Truth telling is a necessary and critical quality for any pubic servant to display. Bernie is one of the only, if not the only, truth tellers in Congress. However, truth telling in today’s America is only supported by between 30 and 40 percent of the voters. This is how effective the lies of propaganda have been.

It is not enough at this point in history to have the candidate who is right. To stop the victory of fear we must have the right candidate. Understanding modern American politics we find that the right candidate is often not the best candidate. This must change. The only way to change it is for activists to roll up their sleeves, and, instead of throwing themselves behind a candidate they love, but who they expect will do all the work, must go back to their communities and do the work themselves.

We must educate the public about both the lies and the truth. This will not be easy. The furrows have been burrowed deep in people’s minds. They react instantaneously to what they hear and read based on what frames have been physically established in their brains. They prize what they don’t have to think about.

So our work is cut out for us. It is not simply a matter of telling them the truth and expecting them to accept it merely because it’s true. We have to dig our furrows deeper than the other guy’s. This is an unfortunate reality of cognitive science. It’s not junk science. It’s not conspiracy. It’s reality. And we need to be a team and not a collection of individuals to accomplish the change.

We can gather and commiserate among like minds and we can complain to anyone who will listen, but the sad fact remains if someone like Bernie Sanders is to be elected President and, more importantly, be successful, citizen’s hearts and minds will have to be changed, and that will take a ton of real work. It doesn’t have to be done on a national scale. It can be done by small local, community organizations and even some individual activism. But the work needs to be constant and consistent. This is most difficult given the proclivity for activists to become disillusioned and leave a place for another place they think will be better.

Our work is before us. In essence my message is quit bitching about the way things are and start working on the way things must be. Don’t depend on a political savior to guide us out of Egypt. Although things are really fucked up, and we all know they are, reality dictates that we can’t change things from the top down. The top is too well guarded and insulated to invade without the will of a large majority of the people. Anyone who thinks we have a large majority with us is a fool.

I am so impressed with and proud of the many people who are speaking out and speaking their minds who have previously chosen not to. I have also been inspired to do so. Unfortunately speaking my mind involves surveying my mind, which seems to have always been complex and verbal. So this is just another example of who the fuck I am, with new and improved less fear of revealing such.

I will be happy regardless of whether you choose to read this or not. The clarity it brings me to put my thoughts in some sort of order feeds my joy. Life is meant to enjoy. This is why we fight. When anyone’s joy has been ripped from their soul it pains all of us.

The people who oppose us are not idiots, or fucktards, or repugs, or bat shit crazy, although I must admit some approach that. They are Americans who have bought the snake oil. Your mission Mr Phelps, should you choose to accept it, is to convince them that they have been played, and the snake oil will never heal therm. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds.