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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

We’ve had a few tense weeks here, and not because of current events. Short version: My wife had a cancer scare, but thankfully it was only a scare.

The past eight weeks, and especially the last two weeks, were filled with appointments and waiting and procedures and more waiting and biopsies and even more waiting. As you can probably imagine, during that waiting, all that downtime when the “What if?” scenarios bounce around your head like a ping-pong ball at a championship match, we desperately needed something to occupy our brains.

My wife (the one in greatest need of distraction) found her solace in Blue Bloods. It’s a show we’ve never watched before, and she now had eleven seasons (!!) to binge on.

And binge, she did (with me at her side, for much of it).

For those unfamiliar with Blue Bloods, it follows a family of Irish Catholic police officers in New York City. Gramps (Len Cariou) is retired, Dad (Tom Selleck) is the police commissioner, and the boys (Donnie Wahlberg and Will Estes) are cops. My wife was there primarily for Tom Selleck as the gruff but gentle patriarch. For my part, I was there solely for Bridget Moynahan, who plays the daughter, an Assistant DA for the city.

The shows are simple. There’s an A plot and a B plot in each episode. The family always gets together for Sunday dinner. There is ongoing character development, but for the most part, it’s purely episodic. It’s a dependable show. Dependably good. Dependably homey. Dependably entertaining.

During one episode’s Sunday dinner scene, I turned to my wife and said, “One thing I like about this show: they’re all Republicans.”

She looked at me like I had suggested they were all rabid dogs, a look that said, “Are you crazy? That’s impossible. I like these people!”

Given recent events, this reaction can be forgiven, but I stand by my opinion. Law enforcement skews strongly toward the GOP. Catholics lean conservative. Taken with the characters’ commentary about political and social issues (e.g., stop and frisk, personal responsibility, etc.), it was clear that this family had a strong conservative viewpoint. Doing the math, it was clear to me that the characters would probably vote Republican.

This deduction, however, was not offered up as an insult. As I said, I liked that aspect of the show. As a staunch liberal, a guy whose father campaigned for Adlai Stevenson (twice!), you might think it odd that I like watching a show about a family of Republicans, but it’s not odd. Not odd at all.

Why? Because these characters are old-school GOP, like the Republicans of my youth. Conservative? Yes. Tough on crime? You bet. Fiscally tight-fisted? Damned straight. But they are also capable of compassion, of seeing the gradients between black and white, of taking into account mitigating circumstances, and (above all) the necessity to compromise. They care for people as people, seeing the world not just as cops and robbers, heroes and zeroes.

In short, they are not of the rabid Jim Jordan GOP, nor the morally relativistic Lindsey Graham GOP. The Blue Bloods family is more akin to the Eisenhower GOP.

And I miss that GOP.

I miss the GOP with whom you could actually debate, the GOP that wasn’t blind to the massive common ground between the extremes. I miss the GOP that understood that politics is ideology but governing is compromise. I miss the GOP that was willing to give something up, to negotiate in good faith, in order to advance what they saw as the greater good.

Yes, polarization exists on both sides, these days, but if there’s one party that owns the centrist, moderate ground, well, it ain’t today’s GOP. Today’s GOP has been moving off that part of the field for over a decade, and in the past four years, they ceded it completely. Today’s GOP is all about power and money and control and is nothing about governing. Today’s GOP is the party of the Big Lie, conspiracy theories, and slavering devotion to Dear Leader. And sadly, of sedition.

I know there are some exceptions to this new norm in the GOP, and I feel for them. They are grossly outnumbered by the wild-eyed cohort that has shifted the GOP so far to the right. These few, these moderate few, are trapped between the mob their party has built and the abyss that now exists between our parties’ ideologies.

I miss the GOP, and I suspect perhaps some of these politicians do, as well.

k

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Full disclosure: I am a white, male, middle-class, soon-to-be senior citizen with liberal tendencies.

That said, I’ll tell you that I simply do not understand racism.

Oh, I understand that we humans like to draw distinctions, define the “Other” in the face of conflict. Such dichotomies make it easier to argue, to fight, to hate, to kill. I get that. Not a fan, but I get it.

But why skin color?

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Dragons AheadLong post ahead, but I was asked, so I’m answering…

To those struggling with what Trump’s America looks like, I’m not shouting “Get over it!” — How long did it take some folks to “get over” Obama’s election? About nine years, it seems. — but I am getting tired of all the memes and posts from the left about changing the electoral college, or about how “easy” it would be to keep Trump out of office if only Congress got together and did this one little thing — I mean, when’s the last time Congress got together to do … anything? — so at best I’m ambivalent about Jill Stein and the Green Party’s efforts to fund recounts of the general election.

That’s at best, and it’s a long road to that ambivalence from where I am now.

Where I am now is: Something doesn’t smell right about it.

Here’s my thinking on the whole schmilblick. (<– Go ahead. Look it up. Have fun.)

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Pup Dog SpeaksI’ve lost friends because of this election. Ironically, none were from the “red” contingent; losses came from my own “blue” cohort. Some partings were my choice. Others were silent retreats taken by the other party, discovered well after the fact. Either way, the losses were not a surprise, given the level of internecine warfare exhibited during the long, arduous run-up.

In the aftermath, though, as a middle-class white male, various outlets inform me that my feelings, my general shock over the outcome, and my actions of support are (depending on the source of the commentary) either embarrassing, ridiculous, ignorant, evidence of white privilege, just plain whiny, mansplaining, or other terms from a long string of unflattering, shameful attributes.

And all this comes from the left. The right, well, when they’re not enjoying the spectacle of progressives tearing at each others’ throats, they’re just gloating. And who wouldn’t, given the massive upset victory they achieved? (more…)

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Vote, dammit!!!

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La Sainte MadeleineThe USA is beginning another of its quadrennial conversations.

Whassat? You weren’t aware that we had regular national conversations? Not to worry; most folks aren’t aware of it either, but we do have them. You probably know them better by their more common name, the General Election, where every four years we have this big national discussion in which we ask questions, listen to opinions, and (in theory) provide answers in the form of votes.

The problem: We’re not all asking the same questions, and in my opinion, we’re not asking the correct questions, either. (more…)

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Yesterday, over on Facebook, a friend “Liked” a post that Kevin Sorbo made (which is the only reason it came to my attention). Kevin Sorbo? Oh, yeah, that guy.

Curious, I read onward.

In the post, Mr. Sorbo complained of people who put words in his mouth, people who said he resents helping others. To his credit, Mr. Sorbo does much more than the average person—he funds an after-school program that helps thousands of at-risk kids, he speaks before Congress about expanding his program—and for it I applaud him.

Unfortunately, then he launched into a rant about high taxes and how he pays “way more” than his “fair share.” This was followed by a tirade against those in need, in which he painted welfare recipients as whining obese freeloaders who”just feel like being taken care of.”

I pick on Mr. Sorbo because his post came across my desk, but his attitude—that taxes are too high, and that everyone on a government program is a shiftless freeloader—is common on the right, and while I’ve repeatedly countered the “taxes are too high” argument here and elsewhere (they’re essentially as low as they’ve ever been) what really gets my hackles up is this demonization of people receiving government assistance. (more…)

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