Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Politics and friendship

Not surprisingly, I'm seeing less of this quote this election season. I think the reasons I'm going to outline are troubling other people.

It sounds like a good sentiment. There's a good bond between humans and its importance message to it.

The trouble I always come to, however, is that Thomas Jefferson owned human beings. I think that would be a difference that would cause me to withdraw from any friendship he and I could have, no matter how otherwise troubled he might have been about the institution of slavery.

Now, the standard reply is that it was a different time and people responded differently to those issues at that time, and supposedly the pro-slavery crowd is good and buried. Purely for the sake of the argument, I'll ignore the many slavery apologists one hears about and accept this.

There's an old joke of varying attribution.

The man asks a woman if she would have sex with him for a large amount of money and she agrees that she would. He then offers a very small amount and she says something like "What do you think I am?", to which he replies, "We've established that, now we're just haggling over price."

Here's an article about the attribution of this story for anyone who is interested, Now We’re Just Haggling Over the Price.

That's how I feel about the politics and friendship. Once we've established that there's something out there that a person could believe in that would be disturbing enough that it would make being friends with them untenable, it's no longer a bedrock principle I can live with. The line is definitely out there. Now we're just haggling over price.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A note to long time Hillary Clinton supporters

Dear Hillary Clinton supporters,

Yes, I'm supporting Hillary Clinton in November. Let's get that out of the way.

This shouldn't have been as hard as it was to come to.

Look, I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. I still am frankly, but I accept that he lost. I'm of the more modest belief that he did lose fair and square, although I think some unnecessary shenanigans also took place, which is unfortunate.

I made the case about my feelings on other parties, in Other parties, but frankly I'm not voting for Jill Stein because I don't want her to be president. Although I'm generally to the left of Clinton, I have found nothing appealing about Stein. She seems to me to be getting a pass on a lot of big questions by other Sanders voters for simply being to the left of Clinton without any of the skepticism I'd like to see.

Clinton has done an admirable job of making the case for herself, which is the reason I will vote for her.

You, dear Clinton supporters, are the reason it has been difficult to make that transition. The one between, "I guess I'll probably vote for Clinton, because, well, that fucking guy" to "I'm with her". You fucking suck.

No group of supporters has ever been less inviting.

I've hidden more Hillary supporting friends on Facebook than supporters of that fucking guy. You are an insufferable bunch and, while I might be with her, I'm most certainly not with you. She does not deserve to lose this election. America does not deserve that fucking guy. You deserve to lose. You might even deserve that fucking guy.

It's impossible to find a pro-Clinton article to share that doesn't include some snotty-ass condescending sore winner bullshit about Sanders and his supporters. You know what that means, I'm not fucking sharing it, dumbfuck! Great information about how the left is sharing bullshit facts that the massive right wing media machine created in order to disparage her. I'd love to share that. Let's at least bring our own concerns, and valid real world criticisms, to the table to discuss rather feeding the right wing media machine. Oh, look, first paragraph, some bullshit about Sanders and his supporters. Too bad, I'd love to be disseminating the rest of that information, but I won't be.

Clinton supporters love to go off on "Bernie Bros", but my experience was reversed. Clinton supporters are aggressive, hostile, patronizing and utterly lacking in respect.

So, I'd like to make clear, if Clinton loses in November, you'll get yourselves into fuss blaming the "Bernie Bros", but before that happens, you should take a long look in the mirror and deciding why your camp is so much less appealing to Sanders supporters than Stein's or even Gary Johnson, because that's where it is.

I'm with her, but I can't fucking stand you.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Politics and groceries

Imagine that you have made a collective grocery list with me that you're responsible to get. This was a grocery list by consensus. You want every single thing on that list. There's nothing like my wife including avocados on any grocery list for me, where I'll buy them, because she and Conan will eat them and be happy, but I want no part of it. Nope. You agreed that every single thing on the list sounded delicious and you want it.

Now, it turns out you got to your favorite grocery store seven minutes before closing without noticing. So you shop for a couple of minutes and grab some items, then comes the announcement that the store closes in five minutes. You rush around and grab the things you can and run to the checkout with an incomplete list.

Then imagine that the same list was taken by me under the same circumstances. How likely do you suppose it is we'd come back with the same things? We agreed on the original list, right?

This is important in representative politics.

First, this is how many people end up feeling betrayed by their party. You saw they agreed with you on some policy change or another, yet they do nothing about it. They might even have thrown it under the bus in a compromise for some other thing that you agreed with in principle, but didn't care all that much about.

"Why would you get bread and not peanut butter? If you'd gotten the peanut butter, I could have put it on the tortillas we already had and been happy."

"Why would you get peanut butter and not bread? What good is that? If you'd gotten bread, I could have at least made toast with the butter you got."

This is inevitable, to a large extent, but political parties often come across as tone deaf in regard to it, especially in a two-party system in which most of us still pretty much agree with one shopping list over the other, even if there is avocados on it.

The thing this is relevant to is those independent and undecided voters. That amorphous group of people who likes and dislikes various things on whichever grocery lists and tries to figure out a candidate who best suits them, in part probably by trying to get a feel for how many of the things they agree on the person will grab in the last five minutes and how many of those they disagree on will likely be left behind.

Or so I would speculate. If any of those people want to chime in with an alternate interpretation, I'd love to hear it.

I know the things at the bottom of their lists can be things like "not torturing people" and other things I'm genuinely terrified to learn about a substantial group of people I walk the street next to every day... not even getting into my feelings about my neighbors who have the contrary item on theirs.

But, now, looking on at this election. I already knew there were motherfuckers who agree with that fucking guy and his crap. I did. I do.

That's part of life that I basically understand. Or, at least, I've come to terms with my lack of understanding.

It really is the people who can listen to the bile, the lies, the lack of ideas, the lack of qualification, the hatred and all of that. The ones who know it's wrong and nasty, but for whom fighting those things is just too low on their shopping list and they're going to push the button for that sociopathic son of a bitch anyway.

No, I'm not talking about the folks who are too far separated from either major party candidate and are going to vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. That's another debate and one that's being debated by many other people already.

I'm talking about the people who think that fucking evil is at the bottom of their shopping list and while it's their avocados, they can let it go and hope he isn't able to accomplish enough of them to make a big enough difference to bother them.

Those people can seriously go fuck themselves.

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