Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Why the Left Can't Stop Trumpism

Now that it is final and there is no more hope for deus ex machina salvation from Trumpism, the left is being forced to come to grips with the fact that we are stuck with something that, mere months ago, seemed inconceivable: a government entirely in control of the right wing and ready and eager to rip apart everything that is precious to us.

So, progressives wonder, how do we fight them? Some ask questions like, “Now, in the era of Donald Trump, Democrats are wondering: Should we draw from McConnell’s playbook and use every effort to block Trump’s extreme platform?” and others tell us that “Opponents of Trump should be at least as aggressive in challenging the political legitimacy and moral authority of his presidency as Republicans were in disrespecting President Obama, whose political legitimacy and moral authority were beyond reproach.” They look on in stunned disbelief as the North Carolina legislature executes a perfectly legal though perfectly immoral and unAmerican power grab right in front of their eyes. They react with sarcasm and anger to Trump’s Cabinet of Cognitive Dissonance. And they tell Democrats to filibuster every single SCOTUS candidate, every single appointment, every single law that Trump sends their way.

Here is the essential problem with all of this: it’s a waste of time. It’s as much a waste of time as hoping for the Electoral College to save us (as it had every right and probably a Constitutional obligation to do but was never going to). And there is a simple reason for this: progressives will never do any of this because progressives are wimps.

That’s right. I said it. I’d worry about those being “fighting words” if I were saying them about conservatives, but not progressives. Here’s the thing about the Left: we always like to think we should take the moral high ground. Give us two choices and we can be counted on to take the one that feels more honest and more philosophically correct. We don’t get down in the gutter and brawl; it’s gauche. We complain when we see the GOP cheat and lie and change the rules midstream and complete power grabs like North Carolina...not because we didn’t think of it first but because we sincerely think they are morally wrong for doing these things. In this way the “man on the street” Trump voter is completely correct in stating that we think we are “better” than they are: we do think we’re better than people who’d stoop so low. And doesn’t it feel good to do the right thing? Doesn’t it? Aren’t we happier right now because, as a collective, we fought fairly?

One of the oft-repeated axioms of the campaign, originated by Michelle Obama and spoken by Hillary Clinton in umpteen rallies, was “They go low, we go high.” We reveled in that moral superiority. But do you know what happens when they go low and we go high? We get cut off at our ankles.

Does anyone actually believe that the Republicans, having won a three million vote plurality in the popular election and lost the EV by a mere 70,000 votes over three states, would have accepted the results? Does anyone think Trump would have conceded? No, we’d be mired up to our knees in lawsuits and recounts, and, once it came out that the freaking RUSSIANS had helped their opponent win the race, they’d all be seeking some way to do the entire election over. And they wouldn’t rest until they got it. Because the GOP plays dirty. It’s what they do. It’s why there is no Justice Garland. It’s why we never passed an infrastructure bill or a massive jobs bill under Obama. It’s how they justified threatening to shut down the entire US government to get their way. They play dirty.

We don’t. We pride ourselves on playing by the rules. We see ourselves as the good guys. Isn’t that nice? Well, here’s the thing: I hate the game the GOP plays as much as anyone does. I wish they too would play by the rules...and in the case of NC not only the rules but the spirit of the rules. But if you stubbornly insist on playing by the rules when you know that the other players are cheating their asses off, you are a fool. And you are doomed to lose every time.

We like to think that not only are we a moral group, but an intelligent one. But in this case, at this time, those two characteristics are, sadly, at odds with each other. In today’s politics, the only intelligent thing to do is to play the game the way it is being played until such a time as some kind of balance is reached and both sides begin playing by the rules again. In today’s politics, you cannot be both moral and intelligent and play the game to win.

Thus I say that those who ask our Democratic leaders to fight as if they were Republicans are wasting their time. Because they won’t do it. They are far too steeped in their concept of honor to play to win. And that is why we are destined to lose.
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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

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All-Time Favorite TV Shows

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Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
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  • Franklin and Bash
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