Monday, February 19, 2018

Take the Low Road

Originally written January 15, 2017. President’s Day is coincidental.

I’m glad Donald John Trump is president. For decades now, Americans have known huge segments of the government are corrupt. Now we have a quite bright red cherry on top of a shit sundae. It’s a work of art. Now, no thinking person has to take the idea of American governance seriously again. It’s a card to pull out when anyone attempts to drop a reference to the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the Electoral College, and any correlated values. Exposed are the shaky grounds, and the harrowing reality that ideologies and laws are imperfect, and the rigidity that makes them work will lead to their entropy if they are ignored. The idea of any of effective overarching order in the form of governmental control can be relegated back to a cute, quaint ideal inside of a cheap romantic novel.

I am genuinely content. America’s over-inflated sense of self-worth was always a problem. The impression some may have got that we’re the greatest, or the most moral, or the taste-makers has been shattered. Replaced is a more accurate mirror, America as: reality TV shows, shallow populism (in words and ratings), fake tans, wealth without class, and insecurity-driven sadism. If only there was an alternative: “When they go low, we go high!”

No, that won’t do. The DNC showed just how low the democratic party is willing to go. Going high is not a good strategy when your candidate just happens to be the poster-girl for corruption, lying, and questionable finances, and her husband is the poster-boy for political and sexual scandal.

Now we have an aggregate of Youtube comments Tweeting out helpless stupidity regularly, and soon to be sworn in. It’s the Art of the Deal. It’s a culture obsessed with winning that can’t even agree on the rules, let alone when a victory is settled. Our president-elect has been accurately described as a “human Molotov” thrown in protest at the entire system.

Of course something like this would happen. I was cautiously pessimistic. After a long party rule, the pendulum tends to swing back. Brexit proved growing frustrations from the right. The left was fanatically stupid in standing behind their administration without question and goading any disagreeing party as hate-mongers. I saw the signs and none of them read “Hillary – Kaine.” She couldn’t even put Bernie on the ticket as a shallow olive branch for the purportedly shallow generation.

It was inevitable, for the sin of every half-baked argument on every college campus dismissing the idea of freedom of speech; for every politically correct gesture where the fear response is the first response; for every voice of an alternate opinion shut down with accusations of bigotry. That was the left’s great failing.

Now I feel, if there’s any time, they’ll be quite happy to use those freedoms they desperately sought to subvert. Now that dissenting opinions are coming from the left, I guess freedom of speech will be important again. Now, people on both sides of the spectrum have ample reason to care about politics. This is what needed to happen.

There was appeal. After a mostly liberal media granted Trump a billion dollars in free advertising (to line their pockets with advertising revenue), the abrasive demagogue had been eased into the public consciousness. Finally, someone who called out the corrupt politicians and put their feet to the fire. Finally, an outsider who challenged things like Federal Reserve and lobbyists. Finally, someone who agrees with my paranoid hallucinations, my online echo-chambers, and my conspiracies regarding reptilian humanoids. Wait, we went too far. Too late.

He struck chords of a necessary shake-up. It was entertaining. Here’s the moment it wasn’t entertaining anymore: episode 204 of Penn’s Sunday School. Penn Jillette did a season of Celebrity Apprentice. He’s an entertainer with a brilliant mind who happens to espouse libertarian values and produced a show called Bullshit!, a show conservative enough for Karl Rove to personally praise him for it. It was on that episode where Penn outlines the candidate as a madman with nothing to lose, seemingly pleased only by his self-aggrandizement. The general sentiment was stated simply, “He does not give a fuck about you.”

This isn’t written for democrats or republicans. It’s for anyone wise enough to know reading essays you agree with and sharing them is not enough. It doesn’t take a genius, only anyone smart enough to know voting in an unhinged reality TV hack might not be the best course of action, nor is his support or normalization.

Articulating words nicely doesn’t matter. Being a moderate doesn’t work. Appeals to reason mean nothing to the unreasonable. Diplomacy requires you to know its definition. Respectfully disagreeing isn’t enough. If anyone doesn’t think this administration is a looming disaster, I disrespectfully disagree. Understand, simply:

Your measured considerations and polite talk won’t accomplish shit.

Calls for “compassion” and “empathy” don’t work because, obviously, people without them never understood the concepts. Is calling someone “bully” supposed to work? Garbage doesn’t care about your perception of it, it only cares about getting what it wants and getting away with it. There is no taking the high road with refuse. Unfortunately, this current administration requires septic maintenance.

What would be a better way to describe the president-to-be?

An attention whore. A textbook narcissist with the thinnest skin. Profoundly insecure. A man loaned the modern-day equivalent of tens of millions of dollars who made less with his empires than if he had invested in stocks. A brilliant con-man and a brilliant troll. A compulsive liar and manipulator. A self-confessed sexual predator. A man with a pathological, soul-consuming desire for power. Completely morally insufficient and inept. A joke of a political figure. A hack of a celebrity. A champion of cheap charisma. A boring egotist. A probable traitor. And worst of all and rooted in all others, humorless.

This sad idea of a person is a type of parasite that thrives on attention. Unfortunately, he’s too well-monied to ever be denied the time of day. But see that trying to reason with this is the equivalent of trying to have a debate with a house-fire. It requires contention. There’s time to acknowledge people’s opinions, but there should never be a mandate to respect them.

Enough niceness. Base creatures require a base response. And if flag burners deserve prison for being unpatriotic, fine, but why not start with the 60 million people who voted to say “America isn’t great” and their pathetic, naked emperor?

Maybe sometimes we collectively as a society have to put our finger in the socket to remind ourselves of what pain is. Another thing we do as a society is prop up idols and cultural icons, only to tear them down, to sacrifice them for our amusement when they don’t live up to our expectations. Here, that would be the best case scenario, a kind of subconscious karmic retribution by a malicious society to its embarrassment-elect: “You’re fired.”

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