“The source of every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions.” ― Thomas Hobbes
I’m going to ask my readers to bear with me on this one, because this post will feel as though I’m traveling down various rabbit holes and dragging you along with me. It’s going to be longer than normal – even my normal – but I hope you understand where I’m coming from in the end. You’ll get a glimpse of the mess that is my brain, but I’m doing so to provide a broad picture of how our tribe mentality has evolved. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all wrapped up in one post.
My post about why I’m supporting Evan McMullin (read here) made mention of the term “Tribalism,” and I received a good deal of feedback in regards to that particular label. I found myself explaining – repetitively – why I blame tribalism for the vast majority of our issues today, and why it’s at the core of my refusal to support either leading candidate. After having the conversations, I’m more convinced now than ever that it’s an important topic we need to discuss more often. Why?
It’s political theater time again!
By now you’ve heard about the marketing ploy, dressed up as La résistance, that took place on the House floor – literally – by Democrats. Maybe you’re one of the few wondering why this all went down, and what the Democrats wanted as a result. Now that the sit-in is over, I decided to write a condensed post that touches on as much of the debacle as possible. I highly encourage reading and watching the links I attach, as well.
Here goes! The week that nobody made you any safer: A recap.
What was clearly meant to conjure up emotions, and surely inflame cultural animosity, simply resulted in the crash and burn for any hope of meaningful dialogue.
Do you remember that scene in Jurassic Park when they lowered the cow into the Raptor cage? It was just full on disorder, animal moans, and inaudible screeches? This was not unlike that.
The House session officially ended in the wee morning hours on Thursday, but not before passing the Zika Bill.
Some may be surprised to find that if given the choice, writing fiction is far and away my first love – as opposed to giving my puddle deep personal reactions to current political issues. If I’m ever less of a coward, I might actually act on those ambitions, but until that day comes, here I am, offering up my opinions on the world around me. That said, my admiration for the world of fiction has so often molded my perspective on the world, and I believe that the most penetrating ideas, theories, and useful metaphors are born in the musings of make believe. As Albert Camus once said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
This week I was engaging in a countless number of political debates on social media – it was just one fight after the other. I eventually deleted a few points that I had made, because – while I had not crossed the Rubicon – I had gone up to the political discourse etiquette line and began flirting with the other side. My post (read here) was mild in nature, yet set off a vast row of tumbling dominoes, and in the end I was given the labels of “purist” and “cannibal” by those who once appreciated my unabashed honest take on politics.
In this situation, standing by my principles required that I go against my personal desires, which also meant going against the desires of many who follow me.
Rubio has said multiple times that he tried to defeat Trump, that he did his best in the primaries to stop him from blanketing the conservative movement with the nationalist, racist, and sexist ideals of an egomaniac who has the power to utterly destroy. I agree, Marco tried. But Marco’s 2016 election legacy won’t be that he tried, it will be that when his own agenda failed he waved the white flag. While many refuse to fault him for this, and even I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be in his shoes, I will not apologize for expecting more.
About five years ago I binge watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and have kept up with the show ever since. They’ve gone down the political road before, like many “brave” TV shows, but last night Grey’s Anatomy went after women, and shamed those of us who enjoy an evening stroll without the paralyzing fear of those who will gladly take advantage of the weaker sex. I can smell their sanctimonious – “We’re going to get attacked, but we’re doing the right thing!” – mock worthy martyrdom from here.
Usually I take a good 48 hours to breathe before venting, but this subject is so simple and stupid-proof that, quite honestly, anyone with an IQ greater than that of a cantaloupe should be able to gather their thoughts rather quickly. And, well, I’m irritated and feel like writing.
The episode began with a dramatic crisis – per usual – and the team gathers in wait of the approaching ambulance. An eight year-old has been shot by his friend who got a hold of his mother’s gun, which they overemphasized was locked away. The doctors rushed the child to the operating room, and then began to have the following discussion:
Before getting to the meat of this post I just want to say that I’m incredibly proud of Marco Rubio and his campaign. I believe in Marco, and I saw how humble, passionate, and decent he was. In a better world a man of good character, such as Marco, would have an easier path to the White House. Unfortunately in today’s world, the rejection of the angry masses is a badge of honor.
I think the featured image (GIF) explains my mood on Wednesday. Who’s with me?
Now, to the post:
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
– Benjamin Franklin
You guys may be shocked to hear this [sarcasm], but I’m a rather stubborn person. From the time I was little I made choices and came to conclusions independently (to the displeasure of some) and, while I listened to others, if I didn’t agree I didn’t concede – regardless of their title (I owe a few pastors apologies). Oftentimes it wasn’t even concerning moral issues; if everyone dressed their Barbie in pink, but I didn’t like pink, I wasn’t going to put my Barbie in pink. Not out of defiance, but simply because – in my opinion – Barbie looked better in yellow.
So… That happened.
Yesterday was Super Tuesday and, oh boy, did it not live up to its name. I think the words “should drop out” saw more action in one 24 hour span than Jack Bauer saw in 8.5 seasons. Everyone stood around poking what they assumed was the dead carcass of The Republic proclaiming, “What did you do?!”
Fingers were pointed, accusations made, and every candidate left has absolutely no viable path to the White House, or so I’ve heard. Some are right, some are really, really, really wrong, and others are over in the corner with a yo-yo trying to figure what makes it go up and down; we’ll call them “Ben Carson’s remaining supporters.”
I’m going to agree with some of you, chastise others, and give my own analysis of the situation.
WARNING: It’s about to get super nerdy all up in here.
As many of you are aware, I’m a bookworm, and J. R. R. Tolkien is a god in the literary world. So, of course, he created one of the greatest unifying characters of all time: Aragorn. I’m overwhelmed with great sadness over the fact that Aragorn is unfamiliar to many, and while I’m also rather disheartened that Khan may be a foreign name, as well, I’ll do my best to give a quick synopsis of their characters without going into incredible detail.
Disclosure: No, I’m not saying that Ted Cruz is Khan, nor that Marco Rubio is Aragorn. For example, I don’t think Rubio has killed any Uruk-hai and, quite frankly, I think we can all agree that we don’t want to see Ted Cruz in the bare-chested Wrath of Khan wardrobe. I’m just noting a few similarities in leadership techniques, and bringing some levity to the discussion because the current state of politics makes me want to curl up in a ball with a chocolate cake and regency era novels, and sob.
Khan Noonien Singh: Think Ricardo Montalban, not Cumberbatch. I may have picked this character because I could then refer to Ted Cruz as an “augmented human,” but as it turns out, the comparison fits quite nicely as a whole. In the very beginning, Khan is a fairly decent being; he comes across as kind, calm, gracious, but yet disregards the wants of others. Kirk even referred to him as “the best of the tyrants,” but also as the “most dangerous.” After being marooned on a “barren sandheap,” he led a revolt for the blind pursuit of revenge. Khan was indeed a villain, but he never saw himself as a villain, he felt as though he was righteously angry and deserving of revenge – he felt it was the right thing to do, you might say. His followers were dedicated and blinded themselves to his faults, as well as the danger an alliance with him induced, and they remained loyal because he was superior to normal humans. Ted Cruz followers offer this same level of oblivious loyalty; they trust him – despite blatant character scruples – so everyone should trust him.
Unfortunately, conservative writers and commentators whom I truly respect are beginning to seriously question their activism. I’ve now watched four conservative bloggers close up shop, toss the keys to angry “conservatives,” say their farewells, let Jesus take the wheel, and now have cat memes and dinner recipes filling their timelines. While Republicans in government are not in the uproar we’d like to believe, conservatives themselves are caught in a toxic battle that bears a resemblance to, but is far worse than, the war between the right and the left. Been there, done that. Those who don’t particularly like your opinions quickly look for that button to press, the one we all have. “I’m over it,” and “what good am I doing?” are both theories thrown around by those bombarded with sermons from the pulpit of complacency. “Give me memes or give me death!” is the mantra of the 21st Century. “Agree with me or I’ll silence you!” is the universal opinion of the aged schoolyard bullies; albeit older in years physically, their deplorable maturity level sipped from the fountain of youth around the same time they shoved Billy in his locker.
The truth that goes unsaid in public, yet is whispered in private during moments of defeat, is that we could all walk away. The madding room of information bouncing wall to wall could be silenced, the gentle hum of Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN lingering on TVs while emotional quotes and stories of the daily grind fill the gaping hole where information once called home. We, both small – like myself – and large voices, could walk away and hand the reins over to the bitter and incompetent fools playing pretend in their own little political world of Gunfight at The O.K. Corral.
It’s true, we could.
Call off the angry mob, because it’s time to have a real conversation about Paul Ryan and the Omnibus. Many of my friends have taken various sides on the issue, why not throw mine out there, as well.
First and foremost, I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post, but there’s a lot to cover.
To begin with, we need to realize how ridiculously hasty we have become. Living in hysteria is exhausting; we’re weary of attempting to fetch the smelling salts for them, and they’ve got to be getting tired of declaring the death of our country every time a patriot pundit updates their status.
So, I recommend the following steps when political news breaks: Read the news, listen to a little Bob Marley, take a few days to read even more news from various perspectives on the issue, practice a few deep breathing exercises while you ponder, make a list of pros and cons, resist the urge to share that rage inducing image of Paul Ryan in a Nazi uniform from any Facebook page with the word “patriot” in the title. Most importantly, answer this short list of questions:
- What are we dealing with?
- What were the other options?
- What would happen if we went with the other options?
- Have I acknowledged the positives?
- Have I been manipulated?
- Do I understand this issue enough to put a curse on someone’s soul?
We shouldn’t need #6, but sometimes people can be irrational beings, doing what we sincerely hope is just their best impersonation of an inebriated Sybil, so it’s necessary. We live in the world of hysteria, where the brash response is celebrated. We’re the societal version of Who’s Line Is It Anyway: Everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter.
*Updated with information on Rubio and Cruz immigration beliefs*
I had a conversation on politics and religion with my Mom during a shopping trip on Sunday, which gave me the idea for this post. We don’t always agree on every issue, and while Ben Carson is not my choice, she finds him “refreshingly genuine.” We talked, we disagreed, and then we moved on and had an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates at Olive Garden.
See, I don’t even pretend to agree with my own mother.
She’s a fan of sarcasm with a purpose, but not snark, per se. I try to mold my posts around those ideals since I know she’s not alone. I once watched my mother’s eye twitch when Michelle Malkin said, “He’s just a lying liar who lies” while bobbing her head back and forth in teenage girl fashion – it physically caused my mother pain. So, alas, I try to infuse my posts with calmly delivered sarcasm, but try to stay far away from snot-nosed attitudinal snark.