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Dept. of Political Thinkey-Thoughts

Post Deluge Ruminations

Some of these are gathered from comments I've made in earlier post-election conversations here and on LJ. Others I've thought about more recently.

1.We are witnessing a worldwide paroxysm of counter-revolution, by people who were in power under the old status quo - or, equally important and possibly more frightening, those who weren't in power but who thought and hoped and were duped into believing they could be in power under the old status quo - who are making what I have to believe is a last ditch stand against the forces of progress.

The problem with understanding (or hoping) that this is a last ditch stand, and that it is bound to fail if we all fight hard enough, is that we also understand that the last ditch stand can last years, and that countless millions of lives can be ruined.

And with the world past the brink of ecological disaster, with said disaster encouraging and exacerbating wars across the globe, we no longer have the relative luxury of mourning those millions but looking with hope to the future. Because if the counter-revolution succeeds, even for a few years, our globe is, not to put too fine a point on it, fucked.



2. I'm terrified, and the only strike against me is that I'm a woman. I have gay friends. I have black friends. I know people whoa re Muslim and Hispanic, and they are all under far more serious threat. This is the fucking death of the Weimar Republic being played out right here.

3. Irrationally, I found myself thinking, "you absolute fool; you cheered when the Chicago Cubs won a World Series after 108 years, willfully forgetting that if something so unexpected could happen in sports, it could happen in politics."

4. I am so done, so very done, with calls, mostly from the loosely aligned tribe that I call "my side," to "understand where Trump voters are coming from." I am very sorry to say that I pretty much know where they're coming from. They are either right on board with Trump's racism, misogyny, nativism, no-nothingism, et-bloody-cetera, or they were willing to let it slide for the reality show fun of sticking it to the man. The first is repugnant, the second is mind-bogglingly tragic because what that means is that millions of people voted for Trump because they unconsciously wanted the immediate, no-effort, "tonight on E-TV!" change that Trump promised, because they've lived in reality TV-land for years - and it didn't dawn on them that the fun of sticking it to the man with a man like Trump, who "tells it like it is," whatever the fuck that threadbare and bathetic phrase means, comes to an early end, while Trump and his minions go on. So, no, I'm not going to try to understand those people. We're always the ones who try to understand, and the people we understand always stick a shiv between our ribs. Done. Fucking done.

5.I think I am becoming less circumspect about how and when I show my political leanings and my cultural beliefs. Why the hell should I worry about my bosses' displeasure when I'm thisclose (relatively speaking) to retirement? This election has changed the country in a fundamental and dangerous way, and I need to be as active as I can - or at least not worrying about giving money to causes that will now desperately need my money.

6. Thanksgiving is going to be a challenging exercise in scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to be thankful for. The one thing I
can think of is you, and my family, and the close friends who might as well be family; all of you are precious to me.






This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/430400.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
a_phoenixdragon
Nov. 14th, 2016 03:50 am (UTC)
That's what has rather gotten me about it all. It is like everyone has bought into the 'reality' of reality TV and not gotten the joke. And now? The joke is on all of us.

And yeah. I'm tired of 'understanding'. I get smacked in the face for TRYING to be understanding by people who don't WANT to be understood (then they complain about how libtards like me are the problem and why can't I understand that??) OMG, done with it. And it makes me feel like a bad person to have lost patience with it - and I'm rawther pissed at feeling like the bad guy...seems to be happening more and more frequently. But then, I don't have the luxury of rose-colored glasses. And if anyone says one word to me about how they 'thought it would get better, I don't understand what happened' I will smack the shit out of them and hope it rattles their brains into comprehension. Because they bought the PT Barnum act, we ALL pay for their Stupid.

Wow...I thought I had calmed down. Sorry, honey. Ye gods...

*HUGS*
kaffyr
Nov. 14th, 2016 08:09 pm (UTC)
As you can see by the gentleman (or lady? I'm not sure) who commented here after you did, there are many out there who don't believe what you or I believe. This person was relatively polite - and I did leave the door open, as I told him - so I tried to provide a thoughtful response. The background that I am guessing he or she comes from - a country where authoritarianism was paraded around as "socialism" - makes it understandable that this person mistrusts what they call "leftist ideals." I tried to give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

But folks who grew up on our side of the Iron Curtain, in this country? Nope. Done understanding them.
a_phoenixdragon
Nov. 14th, 2016 10:03 pm (UTC)
Well, I have read their comments...and while I can tilt my head to see their point of view, I still find their thinking vague on points they think are destructive to society and yet, their viewpoint is also rigid and brainwashed. Freedom to think and express oneself is bad? Training body and mind is good. Whereas I agree that extremes on either of these is a bad thing, I don't know exactly what they are trying to say? We should have thought, word and deed dictated to us? What are we training our bodies and minds FOR? And why do they think we have a shortage of children - and how is the excess of immigrant children (or, I dunno, the children there aren't a shortage of?) the fault of divorced women?

The logic is all over the place. They are concise and very clear on what their views may be...but what those views EXACTLY are is less clear. But obviously one is not born rightwing, they are made. Which is something else I don't understand, but that's okay. I'm living and learning as I go...one day I might get it.

But I won't get the blamist culture. And it sounds like they come from where you were born, but are very unhappy with how their country is run. I find Canada very progressive (one reason I want to move there) and for all their declarations of the freedoms they DON'T have versus the freedoms we (supposedly) do, I would ask them to look at how those freedoms are handled or restricted. This is someone who likely does not like freedom as a whole (or maybe only parts of it, again, I'm not sure).

Either way, I'm done with it. I've tried to get it. I've conversed with many a Republican over the last 18 months and really, it is like a record that gets passed around: all the usual talking points, no thought or policy behind it. Might as well stand around shouting "BECAUSE AMERIKER!" and call that explanation enough.

Edited at 2016-11-14 10:04 pm (UTC)
kaffyr
Nov. 15th, 2016 11:50 pm (UTC)
If you can tilt your head to see their point of view, and not get a splitting headache, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

I think they may have originally been from outside Canada (there are few native born Canadians that I know of who write in Cyrillic), which makes their anti-immigrant stance particularly sad.

Yeah...because America/Benghazi/Obama/Barrowman!! (Sorry; needed a bit of non-political levity there .... )

Edited at 2016-11-15 11:50 pm (UTC)
nemesid
Nov. 14th, 2016 03:33 pm (UTC)
Interesting how you declare yourself a "forces of progress" and claim millions of lives will be ruined.

Doing so you completely disregard that there's nothing progressive in leftist ideas(look at where all leftist countries end up- yes right there in a third world), you also disregard that millions of lives are already ruined and being ruined by your leftist immigration and trade policies. Lives of American citizen, who you disregard in favour of bringing criminals and welfare check collectors.

The only "strike" against you is not that you're a woman. It is that you are dependant on social support one way or the other. And this is what you're afraid you're going to loose.
kaffyr
Nov. 14th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Hello, and welcome; although I don't know you, I posted this without putting it under a friends' lock, which is like leaving the door to my house open. And I don't mind visitors.

Since you don't know me, let me introduce myself: I'm 61 and have worked steadily (with a few months off between two of my early jobs where I did, I confess, depend on unemployment insurance) since February of 1975. I am still working and I expect to be working at least until I'm 65 and probably longer.

I depend on "social support" in the way I imagine you do, too; driving on roads paid for with state and federal money, going to hospitals that are at least partly subsidized by federal programs, having studied in schools supported by tax money. I support my family, and I gladly pay taxes on the little condo that I bought with help from my savings.

I also gladly pay taxes toward programs that help those who are not as lucky as I am; those who are disabled, those who need care that they cannot provide themselves. They are part of my world, part of my nation, and I am honored to help them. If that is the type of "social support" you are talking about, then yes, I'm happy to support it.

You refer to "leftist ideals," but that's a pretty broad umbrella under which to park a diverse number of things, as I'm sure you'll agree. What ideals would you consider leftist? Caring for the least among us? Cooperation between workers to ensure decent treatment in the workplace? A medical plan that provides at least minimum care for senior citizens and disabled citizens, as we have in Medicare and Medicaid? More specificity is always better than less, in most cases at least. It would help this discussion, I am sure.

I note that you come from, or have previously lived in, either the former Soviet Union or an eastern European country under the USSR's sway (forgive me, I don't read Cyrillic, so I can't be guess more specifically than that.) That means you have seen and experienced what I rudely refer to as the complete cultural and economic clusterfuck of authoritarian cults of personality (a la Stalin). And that's what those were, there is no mistaking that. The countries to which I refer lacked freedom, lacked a sustainable social care network - lacked, in fact, a sustainable economy. And coming out of that might lead anyone to be suspicious of that society's stated "socialist" aims and missions.

But I submit to you that those societies failed not because of any leftist ideals, vague or specific - they failed because they gave into greed, corruption, and cult of personality; precisely the things I am afraid this country is giving in to.

The job losses in this country were caused not by some amorphous group of leftist thinkers, but by capitalist captains of industry who decided that, instead of big profits, they wanted even bigger profits, by moving their industries to other countries - countries where they wouldn't have to pay a living wage, or pay attention to safety or environmental standards. That did not happen because of people like you or I - look to those, like Mr. Trump - whose "Make America Great Again" hats are made in China - as the culprits. But that is a discussion I suspect we would need an evening or two, over coffee, or possibly a beer, to complete.

I grew up in Canada. While Canada has many problems, it is a successful country. It is a country with programs I think you'd describe as socialist (I might not, but we'll go with what you might think). It is not a third world country. Whether what Canada has done can scale up to America's size is an argument I will leave for economists; we certainly won't have the chance to try anything of the sort for a while.

tl;dr: As a hard-working almost-senior citizen who has supported her family for decades and is proud to help keep the social safety net going, I suspect you and I won't agree on many things. but I hope you will take the time to consider what I've said in my response.



Edited at 2016-11-14 08:10 pm (UTC)
minnehaha
Nov. 14th, 2016 08:35 pm (UTC)
You have grasped grace, and slowly opened your hand to reveal a rare blossom.

K.
kaffyr
Nov. 14th, 2016 08:44 pm (UTC)
You are kind. I vacillated on responding or not responding, and decided on the latter, but it took some careful thinking.
nemesid
Nov. 14th, 2016 09:39 pm (UTC)
Well, lets look into this one by one.

1)First, think we can agree on trying to avoid labels. Therefore original statement of "forces of progress" is unfair. We do not know whats progress and whats degradation into extinction.

However if we look at such a simple thing as producing healthy capable children that will in their turn produce healthy capable children- then are we looking into progress with the below?

-freedom to look and behave whichever way you want to look and behave
-freedom to not train your body and mind, and call it right to be yourself
-freedom to not make a career, not to work and live off social support

Im sorry but this is no way a progress. Total social acceptance, absence of enforcement that was in place for centuries only brings up generation of homo erectus who are incapable of taking care of themselves one way or the other and burden the rest.

2. Why would you think being woman is a "strike against you"? Like what, we are going to exterminate women all of a sudden?

You personally need not worry of this due to the age, but I am confident that current divorce system(woman takes it all) hurts reproducting healthy capable children- see nr 1. We do not have enough children and therefore have to import them via immigration.

So, this might be fighting for womens rights for someone, but in reality men are afraid to look at women, men are afraid to marry, men are afraid to have children, but in the end we do not reproduce.

Even the pay equity is absurd. You get equal pay for doing equal amount of work, not having equally labeled job titles.

3)Yeah just as well we got Trudeau and his liberals win in Canada. And these guys are hastily making life worse here.

They brought too many immigrants from third world and it is not safe anymore. Not anywhere. They brought over people who agree to settle 8 people in bachelor apartment, due to lower standards of living they had back home. This brings wages down.
They are raising taxes and prices right and left and themselves being caught in corruption scandals one after another.

4)Well, hard to argue here. Labels, labels, labels. Lets just make one statement- Right wing is not ultra right wing. Ultra right means you are who you were born. Right wing means you are who you become. And yes, in right wing point of view not all people are equal. Hell no. As long as some of us feed the others- we can not be equal.

5)You cant complain here. You live in America, country with Freedom of Speech. I live in Canada, country with no such freedom but with Charter of Rights. Charter that shuts down any inconvenient right wing voices.

Can we be against homosexuals? No, you dont choose who you are born. But can we be against those who contract AIDS because of unprotected anal sex and die 20 years younger, those who unnessessary burden the system? Hell, yes.

Can we be against other races? No, again you dont choose who you are born. Can we be against those who grew and become criminals? Yes. We shouldnt be paying 100k a year for holding them in prisons. They should either pay for themselves or dissapear one way or the other.

You are calling for human compassion for the weak, so they survive. I call for human compassion for the strong, so we survive and breed more. I call for evolution the way it always was, for millions of years.

This is the cornerstone of dispute between right and left. And yes, you are correct- those who are strong, had power and now you are trying to kill them.








kaffyr
Nov. 15th, 2016 09:29 pm (UTC)
I believe that you and I have very different interpretations of what evolution is, and equally different assumptions about whether humans are, or should be, at the mercy of physical evolution.

I'll forgo talking too much about why I think that using evolution as a moral or cultural benchmark is the wrong way to judge humanity's success, other than to say I believe that's the case for the same reason I believe that it's wrong to use a church's architecture to judge the strengths of the faith practiced inside the building.

What I will say is this:

Ever since homo erectus gave way to later versions of humanity - ironically to a larger-brained model whose very increased intelligence was because of a skull that made childbirth harder for its females (proving that evolution is a pretty poor determinant of efficient physiology) - humanity has been defying evolution, not giving in to it.

We are the only species on earth, as far as we currently know, that is self-aware. As such, we are the only species that can transcend evolution - which we have done ever since we discovered and used fire, ever since we created clothing to keep ourselves warm, ever since we created stories and songs to enrich our intellectual lives, ever since we developed insulin, eyeglasses, antibiotics, the list goes on forever. None of those things came about as the result of evolution. In fact, your view of evolution would - correct me if I'm wrong - mandate that diabetics, the short-sighted, and those suffering from infections should all die because they were too weak to survive.

We are also very far apart in what we consider human strengths and weaknesses. I don't believe that it is "weak" to care for those who need care. Nor do I consider it "strong" to let the weak die.

I do not know much about the differences between right and alt-right, although I can understand your description of ultra-right as being "you are what you are born." I'm sure it doesn't surprise you that I think your definition of right-wing - "you are what you become" - is actually a core belief of progressives, along with the compassion that you don't believe should be wasted on people who aren't strong.

The last time I was up in Canada, earlier this fall, I talked to my fairly conservative former RCMP brother about the state of the country. He wasn't overly worried. I'll trust him.

I want to thank you for taking the time to converse with me, rather than rage at me; I hope I have shown you the same courtesy. I think I'm going to exercise the prerogative of a host and ask that we agree, at this point, to disagree. You are welcome at any time, precisely because you have been a thoughtful commenter. I tend more often to talk about fannish things like "Doctor Who," or my real life family than politics, but you might find those things amusing.

In the meantime, I hope you have a very good holiday season!



Edited at 2016-11-16 12:06 am (UTC)
apostle_of_eris
Nov. 14th, 2016 11:44 pm (UTC)
The most successful Big Lie of the Twentieth Century is that Russia was a socialist country.
kaffyr
Nov. 16th, 2016 12:06 am (UTC)
Agreed.
apostle_of_eris
Nov. 14th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC)
With respect [which I need to make explicit for other readers — you shouldn't be in doubt] you left Jews out in #2. It is very well known among American Jewry, rarely spoken, and very conflicted, "Thank G-d for the Negroes."
One of my worries is that the vulgar talking yam may feel the need to turn to scapegoating . . .
kaffyr
Nov. 16th, 2016 12:08 am (UTC)
You're right. I should have included Jews; there were so many blanks to fill in that that one got lost. And yes, he will need to scapegoat, and probably sooner than he expects.
strannik01
Nov. 18th, 2016 05:35 am (UTC)
As far as "understanding" Trump supporters - the way I see it understanding them isn't the same thing as approving what they do. You can understand why someone does what they do and still think they're wrong.

And as far as being less circumspect about your political leanings... Maybe the fact that I discovered you on LJ first is coloring my perceptions, but while you may express yourself in greater length and depth here, I think anyone who sees your Twitter account has a pretty good idea which political direction you lean :)
kaffyr
Nov. 18th, 2016 03:22 pm (UTC)
You can understand why someone does what they do and still think they're wrong.

For me, it's a case of hearing them say why they did this and being pretty certain their stated reasons aren't their real reasons, then not understanding, at a core emotional level on my part, what I think are their real reasons. (I know that's an overly complicated sentence, but it's the best way for me to describe what I mean.) In short, knowing why they do it, doesn't allow me to truly understand it, because I can't comprehend the feelings - the fear, the hate - that go into it. And I certainly think they're wrong.

You're probably right about my Twitter feed. I was a lot more circumspect on the feed when I first started it (back in 2014, I think?) because I felt I'd opened the account solely on the insistence of then-management. But lately, I seem to have run out of all the fucks I had in my "to give" basket.

flowsoffire
Nov. 18th, 2016 06:01 pm (UTC)


I don't have much to respond to this with but hugs. (I'll spare you my ramble on cognitive dissonance and how the capacity to turn a blind eye on what makes you uncomfortable is so inherent and yet so damaging in human nature—as you very well pointed out, there are limits to the understanding that can be expected of anyone. You have a right to be outraged, you are correct to be outraged, and you are wonderful for wanting to speak out, act and make a difference instead of just sitting in your outrage. Oh, and btw, kudos for a rational and open-minded discussion in a context that clearly didn't make it too easy *points above*)

kaffyr
Nov. 19th, 2016 02:22 am (UTC)
the capacity to turn a blind eye on what makes you uncomfortable is so inherent and yet so damaging in human nature

It's akin to compartmentalization, and is just as dangerous an aspect of human nature.

The conversation was probably a lost cause from the start, but I felt like I had to try. That person will never come back, I'm sure, but I hope some of my comments stick with him, like a burr under a saddle. (Yes, mean of me, I know, but there's only so far I can go in terms of being civilized.)
flowsoffire
Nov. 20th, 2016 07:58 pm (UTC)
Very much so, yes…

Trying was a good thing, yes. But as you said, there are limits. That's only normal.

*hugs*
kaffyr
Nov. 20th, 2016 08:05 pm (UTC)
Hugs back to you, my dear!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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