I Don’t Want To Be A Member Of A Political Party (My final political post before I vote…)

I don’t want to be a member of a political party.

I don’t like political parties. I don’t like group think. I don’t like homogenization of the idea pool. I don’t like the us vs. them mentality.

If we must have parties, I’d like more of them, so more views can be represented. The either/or dynamics of American politics are a travesty and a crime against our country and its people.

This doesn’t mean, however, that I think there is no meaningful difference between the parties. On the contrary, there are huge fucking differences between them, staggering differences, life and death differences.

There are foundational things that are similar between the parties, of course. Both are beholden to big monied interests, because we have allowed the system to mutate into a black hole of cash, and to attain and hold power in the current political ecosystem, you need a hell of a lot of money. The Democrats, at least, try to wean us from the teat. The Republicans insist that money should flow freely in all directions, that money is speech and  corporations are people, that even foreign cash from anonymous donors should be allowed into our elections. If it pulls in money for them or their masters, the GOP doesn’t care what the source is.

In my younger days, I used to nobly proclaim that I would always disregard party politics and vote for the “best man.” But you just can’t do that. It’s not that there are no best men or women, it’s that they are still so much a part of the current ecosystem that even they are ultimately soldiers for their parties. You cannot disregard the fact that every member of a party who holds office boosts the power of the party as an organism. Your congressperson may be Thomas Jefferson by way of Clark Kent, but if his winning his seat helps put a maleficent party in control of Congress, he should not win.

The sad truth of the moment is that in any race I can vote on, I will vote for the Democrat. This is not because I consider myself a Democrat, though my personal values don’t diverge hugely from the general Democratic views. It is because I am most devotedly not a Republican. That party has become such a corruption of everything our country is supposed to stand for that I have to vote for whatever stands in its way most effectively. In our binary party system, that means voting Democrat.

That said…

I generally like Barack Obama. I have huge issues with him on some things, and even in areas I agree with him, like healthcare, I’m disappointed in the way he has often started the fight by jettisoning options before they can be debated, thus giving in to resistance from the right before it even manifests. But, still, I think he’s a good man, a well-meaning man, and in this instance indisputably the “best” man of the two with a shot at the title.

I see nothing to admire or like about Mitt Romney. He is as politically craven as any politician I have ever seen, standing for nothing but whatever makes him look good to whoever is standing right in front of him right this second. He has no actual ideas, no solutions. He makes promises, then refuses to even make an effort to at least look like he has any specific ideas about how to fulfill them. This is the guy who has actually said “ask me how I’ll do it after the election.” And his running mate has explained that their plan would take too much time to explain. How anyone can see leadership in this protean, compassionless, power-hungry android is beyond me.

Last week, I shared a series of excerpts from an exceptional blog post by “David,” no last name offered, a political historian. It’s called “Why I Will Not Be Voting Republican For The Foreseeable Future,” and David writes intelligently, at length, offering point after point of solid reasons for not supporting any GOP candidate, for any office, in the current political ecosystem.  I agree with pretty much everything he says, and when I posted the bits I posted, I got absolutely no feedback from my Republican friends (and I have many, who are not slow to pick at my political posts). I think that’s because David presents his argument so well that they had nothing to offer against it. So they retreated into the cognitive dissonance which allows them to continue supporting this festering infection of a party and let my posts sit unassailed.

And I do think that it’s cognitive dissonance, because many of these people are quite intelligent and thoughtful. I think they just have their issues, economic or social, and they have traditionally supported the GOP, and still see it as their team, even though it really does not actually stand for the things it claims, and which they still value. Of course, that may be my particular cognitive dissonance, that I give them credit enough that I think they’re deluding themselves. Maybe they really recognize what their party is now, and they support it. I don’t like that thought, because I don’t like what it makes me think of them.

I highly recommend reading David’s post, whether you are on the left or the right. And I welcome any dissenting commentary, because I’m interested in seeing if any of you on the right can actually offer a good rebuttal to the things he has to say.

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Tim Gets Ready To Fix America… [Updated]

As we enter the final lap of the presidential race, my mind is even more on matters political than usual.

That’s saying something, because I think about politics year round, every year. It’s not that I enjoy politics, because I really don’t. It’s just that they’re important, especially when we have only two parties, with power fairly evenly split between them, and one of those parties is on a fairly constant warpath to ruin everything we’ve accomplished in the past couple of centuries. That party, if you are dense, corrupt, and/or uninformed, is the Republican party.

On the other hand, the Republican party has almost simplified the job of being an informed citizen in America. Once upon a time,  issues had to be parsed carefully, and details debated, and the calculus of conscience exercised.  But in the past couple of decades, the GOP has arguably made that sort of effort pointless. Now, you can plot a pretty accurate course by just looking at a candidate or an issue and asking “Are the Republicans for him/her/it?” If the answer is “Yes,” odds are you need to be against him/her/it. Unless, of course, you’re filthy rich and don’t care what happens to other people, or you’re a religious nut who cares way too much what other people are doing and thinking.

This isn’t to say the Democrats are anything near what they should be, but if voting for a Democrat is like inviting a friend into your house who doesn’t like your dog, voting for a Republican is like inviting a crazy hobo with a machete in who promises to kill it and steal all your stuff.

If you argue that both parties are the same, you’re either what they call a low-information voter, too lazy or apathetic to actually pay attention to anything beyond the most superficial available information (Romney was more talkative than Obama in that debate, that must mean he’s a better candidate!), or you’re so naive and/or cynical that you’ve removed yourself to the wilderness of inaction or protest voting. When I see someone cockily post that, in their most wise opinion, it won’t matter who wins, I’m not impressed by their lack of awareness or their world-weary individualism; it’s kind of like watching someone try to eat soup with their fingers.

There is no perfect candidate. There are astronomically different levels of imperfect candidates, though.

Anyway, I come not to praise Democrats, nor to bury Republicans. Rather, in my next post, I want to offer up some ideas I think would greatly improve how our esteemed republic functions, and possibly save it from itself.

Or, rather, from us.

UPDATE: Bit off more than I can chew at the moment, so I guess saving America will have to wait. Maybe after November, when I know whether we’re still moving at least somewhat forward with Obama, or just saying “Fuck it” with a Romney presidency…

A Bit of Racism I Just HAD to Share

So, this happened in my Facebook feed this morning.

Sabrina was classy enough to delete the comment, no doubt not wanting her wall polluted with such hateful filth. But I like casting bright light at roaches like these when they scurry out of the shadows.

Meanwhile, when a friend from high school posted a link yesterday to some “satire” about the Democratic National Convention which was low on wit and high on racist commentary, I commented saying exactly that. Now that “friend” has vanished from my friends list and even blocked me entirely. I guess I struck a nerve.

Good riddance.

Cookie Monster Presents The Song Of The Week, 8/30/2012

It’s all about the cookies this week…

First, this isn’t a song, but it is the funniest damn thing I’ve seen in a couple or three weeks on the internet. I’ve probably watched it twenty or more times and I always laugh:

Our actual song this week I offer in honor of the Republican National Convention currently infesting Tampa, “God’s Away On Business” by Tom Waits, karaoked by Cookie Monster…

I’d sell your heart to the junkman baby
For a buck, for a buck…
If you’re looking for someone to pull you out of that ditch
You’re out of luck, you’re out of luck…

Vote! (or “I Believe In Harvey Dent”)

If you refuse to vote because “both parties are the same” and “it makes no difference who you vote for” all you’re really saying is you’re just going to bitch until society crumbles and rebuilds in a more perfect form.

Good luck with that. I’d rather claw forward and embrace any progress we can make. Better to be a warrior for change than a sour scold watching things crumble and offering only bile.

Also, if you think both parties are the same, you’re sort of an idiot. Both parties have fundamental problems in common, but their agendas in a lot of vital areas are very different. While in many ways it’s true that they are just two sides of the same coin…

The coin is Harvey Dent’s.

Harvey Dent is the government. He started out as an idealist, but was deeply damaged and corrupted, though his more noble nature still exists in him, at war with his darker, more violent side. How he acts, good or bad, is decided by the toss of a coin, a force outside of himself, our elections.

The coin has two faces, the two parties, and Dent will choose to be “good” or “bad” according to which comes up on the toss. Now, for the most part, “good” is less a matter of taking beneficial action than it is of not taking maleficent action, though that’s not an absolute; sometimes Dent will go out of his way to do good things if the coin toss dictates he do so.

He will never do good things if the bad side of the coin comes up. For the record, in this analogy, the bad side is the Republican party. Perhaps at one time their face was noble, but they have scribbled and scratched so maniacally at it over the years that almost nothing of their original nobility remains. (And through unethical and undemocratic actions like vote suppression, they’re busily trying to scratch up the other side of the coin, too, so they’ll always win the toss).

Would it be better to not have Harvey Dent as our government? In realistic terms, with power and greed and human nature being what they are, in a representational system is it possible to not have Harvey Dent as our government?

It would be better to have someone incorruptible, someone who does not do bad things to advance his own desires, someone who will always look out for his fellow man. But I don’t see that guy anywhere, and don’t expect to. Maybe he’s still on Krypton.

We have Harvey. And the coin. And the way it falls may not make the world perfect or imperfect, but it can make the difference between whether Dent shoots us in the head or not.

2016 UPDATE: Turns out that guy who always looks out for his fellow man? He was in Vermont the whole time. But people were too stupid to see the opportunity he presented. Meanwhile, the “good” side of the coin is as bad as the “bad” side was when I wrote this, and the “bad” side is damn near destroyed.

Dear CIA and Fearstream Media…

Dear CIA and Fearstream Media,

I am a wacko and an idiot and I have a lot of weapons training. You should be relieved that I am no longer in a position of influence within the military, but you should probably start watching me very closely anyway because I might snap at any moment and guns and other murderous equipment are very easy to get in our wonderful country.

Sincerely,

Crazy Eye Dude

If We Shadows Have Offended…

So I lost another friend on Facebook.

He’s a writer, and a fellow pulp fan, and I’d enjoyed knowing and occasionally interacting with him. I liked seeing what he had to say, and what he had going on.

I knew he was a conservative, while I am not. The fact that he holds to certain ideas didn’t make me think less of him as a person, it just made me wonder how he could reconcile those ideas with observable reality. But we all have our filters and our failings and our blindnesses, and I hoped that he, and the many other right-wing friends I have, wouldn’t allow disagreement with ideas to lead to discord between us as people. That has happened, of course, and people have fled my friends list over such issues, and even issues more trivial. The game writer S. John Ross unfriended me and actually blocked me on Facebook for a single polite comment disagreeing with his opinion of Johnny Cash. Talk about the courage of your convictions.

My attitude is usually that a friend lost in this way is no friend worth having, and I tend to operate on the principle of “If I offend you, that probably just makes us even.”

But anyway, I hadn’t seen anything from this friend for a while, and I grew concerned that maybe he was having health problems or something. So I visited his page, where I found that we were no longer friends. I naturally suspected the reasons for this, but I sent him a message and asked why he’d unfriended me, telling him that if I had offended him it hadn’t been because I intended to.

This was his response: Continue reading