Tag Archives: Politics

Trump’s Authoritarians at The Gate

I have disabled comments here since this is a reblog.

Here they come, in droves. In truth, though, they have never left. The paranoid style of American politics that goes hand in hand with the authoritarian personalities* of a substantial subset of th…

Source: Trump’s Authoritarians at The Gate

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Political Heartburn

Feeling the Bern

Flames leap with each beat

up my throat

 

How can so many

hate

   Progress

Defeat

Every step countered

 

They don’t wave me over in the lot

I’m not of their Lot

They smell the liberal sprinkling of salt

Imagine me burning

Imagine us flailing

What’s left when all that’s left is anger

and entertainment

My chest is one match from explosion

Apart

Together

Tired of the same

Begging for change

It shall come

From whom?

For whom?

The future is now

See the light

Feel the creeping cold

 

nuclear possibility

 

Who causes Armageddon?

Who brings Heaven?

 

You.

 

Me.

 

We.

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” -Ben Orki

brain-exchange
Stories are never simple. Rhetoric is simple. Propaganda is simple. 5-minute news story soundbites are simple. But stories, stories are never simple–especially when they’re true.

Us humans, we have a tendency to block out information that disagrees with our worldview. We buy into stereotypes to simplify people so that we don’t have to consider their humanity. Our search bars may even be compounding these inimical propensities.

Whether online or not, we dig into the trenches of our opinions and convince ourselves that we are right. It seems logical that sometimes we are, but also that many times we are not. We change our minds here and there, but the ability to compare ideas seems to peak during the teenage years.

There is a depressing variety of situations in which it becomes necessary to ignore or shut out the ideas and viewpoints of others, but how do we keep ourselves from doing so unnecessarily? I think the answer is both simple and grueling: seek information.

The goal is not to find multiple opinions that agree with yours, or even multiple opinions that don’t. You’ll find opinions laced in every article and segment, even those that strive for editorial distance. The trick is getting information from enough places to embrace the gray.

Lately, when I think of Trump supporters, it is hard not to imagine them as a mass of A New Hope era Darth Vaders. The rhetoric and propaganda Trump is spewing may belong on the Dark side, but I’m willing to bet that most of his supporters have more in common with the morally-conflicted Vader of Return of the Jedi. People are often simpatico, even when groupthink is not.
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When I’m having a hard time remembering that complexity is an all but constant truth, I remember Serial. The tagline for the podcast is ‘One story. Told week by week.’ In a world where I can ingest years worth of media in a few short days, Serial is an exercise in patience and attention. It speaks honestly of editorial opinion and reporter impression. It does not offer answers in two tones. It embraces the gray.

I doubt any person alive has the time or desire to approach every story they hear with an open mind, skepticism, and a willingness to withhold opinion. I do think that every person that tries to embrace the gray can succeed in doing so more often than not. The world is not made up of enemies and allies, as I remind myself almost every day.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” -Gandhi

violence
I’m sitting in my room with my headphones on. The low murmur of CNN is still detectable. There was another shooting today. My husband needs to know. I already want to forget.

I watched with him during some of the calmer moments–SWAT teams walking around a residential neighborhood, that sort of thing. The anchor and her guests were stating the obvious things about American police tactics that they always talk about during times of action, but no information. Then they talked of Paris and radicals, terrorism and bombs. They prefaced everything with acknowledgements of their ignorance, but that did not stop their mouths.

As they spoke, the never-ending scroll of information caught my eye: United States decides to start bombing after some debate; Britain to start bombing soon; Germany gearing up to start bombing; France asking for more bombs…

I am not a pacifist though I imagine I could become one before my life ends. Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results?

I think of America’s Civil War and World War II and decide those were wars that needed to be fought, but I say that with the distinct advantage of hindsight. Would I have thought the same thing if I had been around at the time? Would I call them justified if they had ended differently?

How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?
-Howard Zinn

We do this thing where we spend millions and billions on war, then we leave. Maybe the fighting is done, maybe it isn’t, but we leave. We leave these people that we have terrorized with ruined homes and ruined lives and expect them to fix what we have broken. We may send a tiny fraction of the money we spent destroying them to rebuild, but never enough. We leave the ones we claim to have “saved” in squalor, usually worse than where they began, and are surprised when they grow to hate us.

We contribute to the cycle of violence with every act of violence we commit, regardless of our intentions. So, how do we stop? Can we stop? Evolution is a game of getting to the top and it was a bloody rise for humans. Societal evolution has been just as bloody, but even worse, for we have been violent whilst having a conscious.

My children’s first acts of violence came long before they could speak. I regularly played games in which I and my friends imagined ourselves in situations of heinous hardship. Our entertainment is not just laced with violence–violence is often the point. Our games are purposely ‘us versus them’. Do these casual examples of violence serve as outlets or provocations of our worst traits?

Fear is such a basic instinct. It is easy to lash out in pain, easier than to spread happiness. The dichotomy of good versus evil is uncomplicated compared to the complex reasons why people deliberately cause harm. Are we doomed to rinse and repeat the bloodshed until we are no more?

Imperialism is not our answer, but neither is willful ignorance and inaction. This is not a day on which I feel optimistic about the human race.

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” -Napoléon Bonaparte

America touts itself as the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’. I guess ‘Land of the Imprisoned and Home of the Assholes‘ doesn’t have quite the same ring. Still, considering all of the tyrannical, war-torn places I could have been born, America is pretty good. There’s a slogan: America—Not as Bad as Some Other Places.

With every stroll of progress, we take two steps forward and one and a half steps back.
For example:

Can someone please explain to me how this meme of a human being is not only leading the 2016 republican presidential nominee polls, but significantly widening the gap between him and his slightly less absurd running mates? Anybody?