Death by Tribalism

“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?

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Support Evan McMullin

So a lot has happened in the weeks between my last post and today, and now that the busy summer schedule is finally winding down I’ll be back to writing more frequently – and I’m pumped about it.

im back john wick i'm back movies keanu reeves

So, what all happened during this eventful break? Well, the conventions for both parties took place, and the narratives were surprising; the Left embracing a progressive quasi-patriotism it has been lacking, and the Right a stench of authoritarianism like we’ve never witnessed from a candidate – with any chance of ever winning – in American politics. The former lacking a candidate of character and as misguided in policy as they’ve been for many years, the latter utterly devoid of any principled foundation befitting a party prepared to lead the free world. Yet the people – adorned in their red, white, and blue apparel, some bathed in the artificial patriotism sold to them by an angry snake oil salesman – celebrate.

“The war for our soul has just begun,” we preach. A sobering set of words repeated ad nauseam from those – like myself – in the political trenches, found somewhere between the radical camps of big government, messianic certainty, socialism, nationalism, tyranny, and bitter ignorance. Many repeat the wishes of a redo as we as a country tear through the warning tape, and speed past the vast number of cautionary tales being replayed in our minds while a small portion of the nation celebrates in their reckless abandon, shaking the severed brake lines in their children’s faces. Continue reading

Political Epiphany – I’ve met my ‘match’

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.

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Et tu, Repubblicanos? (A Tragic Tale of Back Stabbery)

Welcome to Election Hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Keep your hands and feet in the vehicle at all times. If you fail to do so, the rabid animals surrounding the minibus will gnaw on your limbs. Don’t try to feed them, and don’t play apologist for the zombie-like Trump supporters hunched over the carcass of the GOP with dead eyes, nibbling on its liver.

“They just got caught up in the movement.”

Jonestown got caught up in the movement, too.

While people like myself are watching our former knights kneel before the throne of an ego driven self-promoted demigod, we’ve found a few glimpses of hope in the words of individuals like Ben Sasse:

I’ve ignored my phone most of today, but the voicemail is overflowing with party bosses and politicos telling me that “although Trump is terrible,” we “have to” support him, “because the only choice is Trump or Hillary.”

This open letter aims simply to ask “WHY is that the only choice?”

Or Jeb Bush:

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Ted or Donald? What if the Quadrennial Convention Fails Us?

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Donald Trump will not be winning the White House. On a scale from Charles Pinckney to George McGovern, I’m guessing that Donald Trump’s loss – in a general election – would be at best an Alf Landon, but most likely a Walter Mondale. Yes, he’s crazy, dangerous, etc., but the most this lunatic can do is give us Hillary and destroy the GOP, he will never be the leader of the United States.

We all sit back and hope that at the Cleveland Convention someone other than Trump or his bedfellow opponent, Ted Cruz, walks away with the nomination. This is the best option for the future, full stop. However, what if that doesn’t happen? What if it comes down to Trump or Teddy? Pretty much everyone with a pulse would say, “Why, Ted Cruz of course!” 

But upon closer look… well, we’ll get to that.

I’ve been saying – since day one – that Trump is a parasite to Conservatism, and I haven’t changed my views on this; however, conservatives are deeply wrong in regards to choosing the lesser evil and what it will do to the GOP as a whole. At this point, choosing the lesser evil between the two is like giving CPR to a corpse and expecting that after it’s all over no one is going to judge you for going full Weekend at Bernie’s with it first. The only way to salvage this election is to either pick a completely different candidate at the convention, or go third party – I’ll explain why below, with three possible scenarios.

I’m also going to tell you why Donald Trump would be better than Ted Cruz on the general ticket if, God forbid, it comes down to one of them. Why? Because I’m the friend that tells you what you might not want to hear.

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Ted Cruz and The Moral Equivalence Litmus Test

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.

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Authoritarianism – The Ultimate Political Aphrodisiac

So… Here’s my very serious – GIF free – post (co-written by the other – ever brilliant, but not so frequent – Collision writer).

I have been asked why I’ve focused so much on Ted Cruz instead of Donald Trump as of late, here’s why:

I think most of us would like to believe that those who follow after Trump are merely misguided, but for many he appeals to the darker proclivities living within us, the part of us that craves control and power.

The authoritarian.

I’ve found that the vast majority of the men I’ve met who support Trump are authoritarians or, as one Twitter user noted, the embodiment of Dale Gribble (you can laugh, I did). Of course they don’t openly admit this, and many are in a state of delusion in regards to their own condition – yet they indeed mirror the characteristics of an authoritarian. They find themselves to be higher on the food chain, and feel rightfully placed in a position of power over those who are weaker. They don’t see the value in those beneath them, and have a black and white world view. While masked in self-righteous ego driven behavior, they project their own feelings of inadequacy and rage onto one individual or, in this particular case, a scapegoat group of individuals.

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Vote Ted Cruz, Because He Doesn’t Drink Water & Repeat Sentences…

Here’s the deal, guys, Marco Rubio repeated a sentence during the New Hampshire debate, but his despicable behavior didn’t start there. In 2013 – while giving a State of The Union response – the parched politician awkwardly grabbed a bottle of water. Rubio is also known to suffer from bouts of nervous sweating while engaging in public speaking where millions of viewers are watching, leading us to believe the devastating truth: he might be human.

We have to face these issues, and while I once supported the Florida Senator, I no longer can. Awkwardly reaching for H2o is simply not a forgivable act, and repeating a sentence simply drove the last nail into that Dasani flogged coffin. We should expect more from our politicians, it’s that simple. Our commander-in-chief needs to have the wherewithal to face the nation without needing to quench his thirst for life-sustaining liquid.

As an example of what we should look for in a presidential candidate, let’s look at the actions of Ted Cruz thus far on the campaign trail, compared to those of Marco Rubio.

First up, let’s talk about his campaign phone app. I mean sure, the Cruz Crew app might be antithetical to his supposed support of protecting the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens

His “Cruz Crew” mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users’ phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign.

But let me ask you a question: Has Ted Cruz ever entered into a situation under-hydrated? No. I didn’t think so.

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Unearthed Interview: Ted Cruz Continuously Dodges Immigration Question

UPDATED AFTER NH DEBATE!

Back in 2011, on The Duke Machado Show, Ted Cruz was interviewed on his immigration stance. The video, filmed in Waco, TX, following a Tea Party Senate forum, was not fully released until yesterday, February 4th. A portion of the video was released when the discussion on Birthright Citizenship was being bounced around, see below:

His stance has clearly changed, considering his current immigration plan, located here:

End birthright citizenship. It makes no sense for us to be providing the tremendous incentive of automatic citizenship to the children of those who enter illegally. Most nations on earth do not do so, and neither should we. Birthright citizenship was meant to ensure that the children of slaves were guaranteed citizenship. It was not meant to confer citizenship on the children of people who are here illegally; nor was it intended to confer citizenship on the children of birth tourists, a burgeoning industry that makes a mockery of American citizenship. As President, I will take immediate steps to pass legislation or a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship.

The full video, which lasts for roughly 21 minutes, has now been released by Duke, along with Patriot Insight. Five months ago, in the comments section of the above video, Duke – being a conservative – gave an answer as to why he withheld the rest of the footage:

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Aragorn is a uniter. Aragorn is smart. Be like Aragorn.

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.

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