I may regret posting this. YOU may regret reading this. This is not going to be uplifting.
Between all the unexpected deaths in the news and the presidential election campaign, 2016 was bad, so 2017 was starting from the bottom. Then it kept digging. I don’t see 2018 getting much better, either.
Everyone in not just social media but regular media commonly makes assertions and has no proof to back it up. Claims are outrageous on their face, but there’s so many outrageous things going on that I guess we’re just supposed to believe everything. Cabinet meetings start with palm leaves being laid at Trump’s feet, so we are told. The whole White House staff quakes in fear and leaders of other countries take special care so as to not offend the Great Trumpster, so we are told. There are never any substantiations beyond “Senior White House Officials” or even vaguer characterizations. We hear this stuff from just anyone, whether we should be hearing any of their opinions or not.
You have no idea why anyone is doing anything, what actual positives might accrue; supporters just spout boilerplate that has been shown to be just words, not results. Ask Paul Ryan what is supposed to replace the food stamp program they want to end; any answer would be something at this point, but he will likely not tell you anything besides “Something wonderful,” and the journalists will not ask anyway. Meanwhile, anyone with a position against anything goes right to the most dire conclusions. The opponents will go directly to accusing supporters of hating America or wanting to see children die. We can’t have any kind of discussion in this country. Too many decades of “sell the sizzle, not the steak,” perhaps.
All I see is, the Republicans are bound and determined to see the one black president’s accomplishments erased from the books. A journalist needs a macro that outputs “reverses an Obama administration policy” because that phrase comes up so often. That and slavish adoration of the 1950s, or the 1770s, as if those days were always right and the world has not moved an iota beyond. And the Republicans are in charge largely because they shout the loudest and are more willing to lean on fear and muscle. Meanwhile, the Democrats are unable to muster anything that they didn’t try in the 1970s, and they’ve truly refused to hold any Republican accountable since Bush sent Powell to lie to the United Nations about Iraq. Democrats barely defeat a religious troglodyte in Alabama who should’ve been imprisoned thirty years ago, and they count it as if they just elected FDR.
And we can’t have more than two choices in America, oh no. It’s either Coke or Pepsi, the Cowboys or the Patriots, GM or Ford, Republicans or Democrats. Gods forbid that an actual progressive party comes to some sort of notoriety. If we thought we had as much choice in politicians as we do in television programs, our heads might explode.
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The worst of it is, the last two years should’ve shown all of us what a miserable society America has. If Trump, Pence, and the entire Congressional leadership disappeared tomorrow, we’d still be stuck with their millions and millions of supporters. Civil Rights movement? Hell, people are still fighting the goddamn Civil War in their heads and, increasingly, in their actions. Fascism and Nazis? Sure, what the hell, why not. We only, y’know, destroyed EUROPE in the 1940s to install and then remove Nazism. I guess those millions upon millions died in vain.
Don’t ask me how many friends who should know better are reporting that they’re tired of hearing about sexual misconduct cases. “They should’ve said something 30 years ago!” These friends (and many other) don’t understand that the women (and a few men) tried to speak up at the time, and the authorities not only did not listen, they often saw the victims as culpable in some way. I could explain, but a guy should not have to be the one to explain to a woman about how men don’t take women seriously.
Of course, I get the same reaction when I try to explain white privilege. Or why trans people matter. Or why just because America wants something, doesn’t mean it’s good for other nations in the world. Yeah, yeah … did you see that last episode of Game of Thrones?
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I’m bitter. I know it. Maybe I should not be using this pulpit to put more bitterness into the world. But I can’t help it; I don’t have sunshine and light. I can make my little corner of my world look better, but I cannot bring back the woman killed in Charlottesville this year or help heal the communities in metro St. Louis in their turmoil; I can’t make the Republican Party in Congress stop acting like thugs intent only on serving their wealthy donors. I’ve never been able to persuade. I doubt I’ll ever learn how at this age. Not only that, I doubt anyone is willing to listen.
So if you’re wondering why I haven’t blogged much in 2017, the foregoing is pretty much why. Sorry.