I haven’t been writing lately. I know. It’s not that I have been busy. I’m just really full of existential malaise. The current state of American politics is depressing. I have had general discussions with like minded individuals (mostly other academics that study politics). I have been wondering why things are in the state they are in and why it is so frustrating.
I have concluded that it is the culmination of several problems. One is the general shift to the Right that has been going on in America for the past 30 years. On top of this, the general tactic of the American Right is downright frustrating, seemingly on purpose.
First of all, I don’t know how many times I have to point out that Barack Obama is not “far Left” or a “Socialist” or anything extreme in any context. If one were to go to Political Compass, it’s pretty clear where Obama stands… pretty centered. He’s more conservative than the Labour Party and as authoritarian as the Conservatives in the UK. (Less authoritarian than any GOP candidate, aside from Ron Paul.) Obama has even moved farther right since 2008. Yet, the Conservatives continue to claim he is a “radical.” Yes, if Reagan was also a radical.
There is a constant distortion of the issues. This makes any semblance of a coherent ideology almost impossible. They claim to want a small government, but turn around and want the government to dictate which people can be married. They want freedom of religion, as long as everyone is a Christian. They want lower taxes but they want to decrease debt. They want to “take America back” to a period of unprecedented wealth, but they want to ignore all the tax rates and policies of that time period. They talk about fairness in tax code, but they don’t want to close loopholes that allow the wealthy to pay lower taxes.
Half of the claims made by the new Right are baseless. This whole Libertarian, Alex Jones conspiracy nonsense is dangerous… I see what the Libertarian newsletters say… it’s all hyperbole. The economy is going to collapse and we are going to be living in Mad Max world… so stockpile guns and food. If that is what you are anticipating, why should you be allowed to make any policy decisions?
My constant defense of President Obama is often taken to be support of President Obama. This is not the reality. I criticise this president all the time, but with valid criticisms. I want to talk about policy, not about if Barack Obama was born in Kenya or is a radical socialist… because that is just hyperbolic distortion. The only reason I tend to side with Democrats or President Obama is because they are the only legitimate counter to the current Right Wing extremists in America.
What resource has this president nationalised? The only thing close to socialism this president has done is the Affordable Care Act… which is the most business friendly health care act in the Western world.
A woman testifies that birth control can effectively be used to control uterine cysts… and she is called a “slut” for wanting her health insurance carrier to pay for treatment that some churches disagree with… really?
And then, when people question the president’s nationality, and we ask why… we are told that we are making distortions. I’m trying my best to find coherent ideology on the Right, and none of it is plain. None of it is open. Hidden under all these layers of hyperbolic subterfuge is this ideology of supply-side economics… a failed economic ideology… and moral legislation. Maybe they don’t want us to be able to see it plainly because it resembles fascism so much.
All I know is that when you put all these distortions together, you just get static. The American Conservative today runs on a platform of white noise. How do you debate that?
I came upon this image on Facebook last night. It says so much, so quickly, but none of it is very positive.
Tea Party Birther's are not racist?
First, just to be critical, let’s look at the image. What it is implying is that President Obama is a Kenyan citizen and not a valid president. The innuendo in the image is quite obvious. He is wearing a Kufi, which is often considered a Muslim hat, but is predominant in West African heritage (and African Americans). It says “Africa Kenya” on the “Birth Certificate.” There are bones on his necklace. The Obama button is now earth tones, instead of Red, White and Blue. The imagery is just degrading.
The Kufi is not a “Muslim” hat, but typically West African. Kenya is in East Africa. That does not mean they do not wear such adornments in Kenya, only that it is “stereotypical” of the West. It would be similar to showing a Virginia teenager with a surfboard and a VW Bus. Farther, the year Obama was born, Kenya was part of the United Kingdom. The correct name of the country in 1961 was “Colony and Protectorate of Kenya.” Prior to this, it was just officially called East Africa Protectorate, as part of British East Africa.
Then we get to those bones on the necklace. This is just racist imagery. The portrayal of the “African Savage.” And is he sitting on hay? I can’t even figure that one out. How is this not a depiction of racism? It demeans the character of the President of the United States because of the colour of his skin. It attempts to invalidate he capabilities simply because he has a West African phenotype.
This whole damned thing is revolting. I really do not know where to start. This whole debt ceiling debacle makes me sick. I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I cannot understand why it is not more clear.
The Corporate supported GOP and Tea Party are playing a dangerous game, with the United States, and the world. The only thing more disturbing is how the American Democrats, the American Left and the International Left are refusing to stand up and speak against this massive bowel movement. It is revolting. I guess it is safe to say, “The Tea Party is revolting.“ It can mean any number of things.
We keep hearing the same talking points from the ideological Right with little evidence to support any of their claims. “Big government is the problem,” they say. They keep claiming that increasing taxes for the wealthy will “destroy the American economy.” They keep claiming that the debt of the United States is far too massive. They keep claiming that the problem is Unions, benefits, and pensions. Clinging to the claim that “Trickle Down Economics” are the final solution for everything. And they keep insinuating that “entitlements” are the problem. They also have this infusion of racism and ethnocentrism that run through the middle of their claims. The claim that drives me nuts is the claim that we need to “share in the responsibility.” Funny, these are the same people that call taxes on the wealthy “socialist wealth distribution,” but distributing debt on all of us – is just “the free market.”
Since 1979, the American worker has seen a 0% to 11% increase in wages. The wealthy have seen a 200% to 300% increase in compensation. (The wealthy do not have ‘wages.’) How long do we have to wait for this “trickle down” effect of Supply-Side economics? 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush, and then another 8 years of another Bush were not enough? The wealthy are inordinately wealthy . . . how much more wealthy do they need to be before it trickles down? The only thing that is trickling down now is typically in a colostomy bag.
A scene from the publication Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In this scene, Howard W. Campbell, Jr. has returned from WWII and is reconnected with a woman from his past. He learns that Armistice Day has been changed to Veteran’s Day and is upset at
Recently, someone asked me, “What would you like to see in the United States that would make you feel as though things were positive enough for you to desire to stay?“ It is a really long explanation on how we arrived at that point, but I thought it was an honest question. I realized that I often offer criticism but rarely put down my own, honest views.
So, today I am going to do a rough draft outline of directions I feel the United States needs to go in, in order to continue in a positive direction. These are not philanthropic desires. These are items that I think need serious attention in order to benefit American society to sustain as a preeminent country and culture in the world. This is what needs to happen for people like me to want to stay and invest in America and American society.