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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