Tag: Barack Obama

Can’t You Trump Voters Just Own It, Already?

Trump voters are sad that people are mad at their support for the Orange Menace. From the New York Times:

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”

He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

Others claim that they’ve been denied dates or that the sight of protests upsets them. It’s enough to make you weep, I know. If I weren’t in a cold sweat about families being broken up by deportation squads or my own health insurance going into the shredder, I might spare a thought for their woes.

But you know what really frosts my shorts, Trump voters? This “I didn’t choose a side” garbage.

You fucking well did, and you know it.

For irony’s sake, I’m going to drag out a shopworn phrase from your side of the political divide: “personal responsibility”. You have agency in life, my orange-president-cult worshipping friends. You voted for a racist, sexist criminal fraud because you wanted to vote for a racist, sexist criminal fraud. You looked at Trump in all his cartoonish awfulness, assessed him, and concluded he was preferable to a dedicated center-left public servant. Your choice. You weren’t duped by him. You sure as hell weren’t forced by us.

But it is interesting that the reaction of others to your vote distresses you so. If, a few years ago, I said on Twitter that I voted for Obama and some troll said something nasty about it, I blocked the motherfucker and went on with my life. It didn’t bother me that I’d annoyed him. It didn’t make me happy either. My vote wasn’t about him. I was comfortable with my choice and didn’t give a damn what he or anyone else thought of it. I’m tempted to think of your comparative angst and shame as a sign of consciousness of guilt. You know who feels consciousness of guilt? The guilty.

So, Trump voters who feel shitty right now, own up. You voted for Trump not because of the media, or your annoying liberal Facebook friend, or that person on Tinder who sees you in your Make America Great Again hat and swipes left. You voted for him because you wanted to. And maybe you now feel some guilt about it because you know he’s going to hurt a lot of people and that suffering is partly your doing. But if you keep supporting him, you’re reaffirming that you’re fine with families being torn apart and people dying sooner or going broke because they lack health insurance. If that’s the case, don’t blame Meryl Streep, or CNN, or me because your friends and neighbors look at your choices and decide they mean you’re an asshole.

Obama, Trump, and Something I Put In My Book

When I was writing Summer of Long Knives, Bush’s War on Terror was still fresh on my mind. Part of what kept me going through the novel was a chance to explore, in the context of Nazi Germany, the effect that Bush’s Black Sites, Torture Centers, and Guantanamo–to which we frequently kidnapped people without establishing whether they’d done anything wrong–would have on Muslim populations that we would need to trust us if we were to secure their help in rooting out Al Qaeda. In the book, Kriminalkommisar Rolf Wundt has to track down a serial killer who once preyed upon the Jewish community of Munich. This means that he, a homicide investigator in Hitler’s Germany, has to get witnesses to talk to him, and even though this is 1936 and the Nazis aren’t arresting Jews for being Jews quite yet, this proves difficult.

From what Rolf could intuit from these witnesses, it was neither ordinary forgetfulness nor fear of direct reprisal that stopped their mouths. It was Rolf’s mere presence in their environment that seemed to spook them. Rolf often wondered what they believed he was really looking for, or if they thought he’d come to plant drugs or subversive literature or bomb making materials. He noticed that none of the witnesses ever left him alone in a room. the one time Rolf had asked a middle aged woman if he could use her bathroom, she’d blanched. Perhaps she thought he’d plant a bug in there. This, Rolf thought, was one of the ironies of the police state, and one of its more destructive feedback loops. The National Socialists gave the police phenomenal powers and better surveillance, which when unleashed created a public who didn’t trust the police with information. Because information was now more scarce, the police needed broader powers and better surveillance, which further eroded the trust of the people.  Someday, in the future, Rolf thought, they’d be planting bugs in people’s brains, and in response the human race would stop thinking. At which point, mission accomplished, Rolf supposed.

This put me in mind of something the President said yesterday that I thought exactly right:

Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

Bigotry isn’t just deeply immoral. It’s also an asinine basis for policy. It ruins the ability to respond in any kind of coordinated way to collective threats, like terrorists. It gives them places to hide that they wouldn’t otherwise have because as much as the population a terrorist comes from might fear the terrorist, they also fear those trying to stop terrorist attacks and feel, in their own way, the same grievances that feed the terrorist’s cause.

What recent even might alienate Muslims? Something like this.

(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, — Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policyreleased data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.”

If we followed Trump’s advice, it would drive a thick nail in the coffin of American greatness, especially since Trump intends for this policy to extend to Muslim-American citizens currently abroad. The next logical step from there would almost have to be mass Muslim deportations, a policy with grim antecedents. Treating Muslims in this fashion would anger hundreds of millions of Muslims abroad, ruining any chance of securing their cooperation in identifying and monitoring extremists and making any of our foreign policy goals in the Middle East and Southeast Asia unachievable. When other countries do things like this, they have to spend decades begging for readmission to the human race, with centuries of mistrust to follow.

For civilization, much less democracy, to work, we have to be able to have a minimum level of trust in and respect for each other. We don’t have to think of each other as angelic, but we do need to think of each other as human beings, not always good but not always bad, worthy of respect until proven otherwise, and not subject to collective punishment because we share a race, a gender, an ethnicity, or a religion with someone who commits a crime. We have to be smart enough to interrogate and by interrogating control our natural impulse to fear and suspicion, which, if left unchecked, will make it impossible for any of us to live a decent life.

Since I’ve been quoting a lot here, I’ll end with one more, from JFK:

So, let us not be blind to our differences. But let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

 

 

 

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?

A couple of days ago I did the Jeopardy Online Test. I most likely passed, but I’d be a damned sight happier if I hadn’t vapor locked on the Oscar Wilde question.

History tells us that when Europeans forget how to stop pursuing policies that have no chance of working, things get ugly. (Not that we don’t really suck too.)

Barack Obama’s choices to do his inaugural benedictions make me wonder if only awful preachers volunteer to do the job.

My love of history and my love of movies are both satisfied in this AV Club discussion of capturing history on film.

Literature is doomed. Has been for centuries.

Jacob Soll’s review of Ben Kafka’s book about paperwork’s meaning in the modern world. Yes, I am nerdy enough to think of this as a must read.

Later.

 

Re: The Year Just Past

The publication of Dismantle the Sun and the death of my father serve as the headline events for my 2012. I am pleased my Dad made it long enough to know that the book was out, but regret that he was in no condition to actually read the damned thing.

So it goes.

The election came and went. Despite the political media’s insistence that it would be close and would go either way, I had little doubt through the year that Barack Obama would win reelection. As early as January the polling data and the economic numbers suggested it, and Obama was not going to make the kinds of mistakes that would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So I at least was spared living in a day-to-day panic about how that would turn out.

My beloved Raiders were a crashing disappointment this year, losing four more games than the did in 2011 and never fooling anyone into believing they could make the playoffs. I’d like to think things will be better for the Silver and Black in 2013, but I’m skeptical they will be.

Favorite Books of the Year (Has to be new to me, not necessarily something from 2012): Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis, Power Inc: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead, The Marriage Plot.

Favorite Movies of the Year (Same Note): Rampart, The 400 Blows, Citizen Ruth, Skyfall, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Panic, Heavenly Creatures.

Favorite Television: I’m slow to warm up to new television shows, but I did find Parks and Recreation, which I’ve come to like a lot.

Favorite Moment of 2012: The Dismantle the Sun reading at Third Place Books:

Image 8Worst Moment: Take a guess.

Basic Feeling About 2012: Well, Utah, it’s taken nearly three decades, but I’ve finally found a year that was worse than the ones I spent with you.

Favorite Way to Distract Myself From How Much 2012 Sucked: Riffing movie shorts with Larry Dahlke.

Someday I hope to take a vacation.

Thing I’m Looking Forward to Most in 2013: Turning the Page.

Thing I’m Looking Forward to Least In 2013: Two Michael Bay movies will come out in 2013, the clearest indication yet that we’ve gravely offended a cruel god.

Later.

Are You Pondering What I’m Pondering?

The disruption of a dead fuel pump and fuel relay put a huge dent in the pondering end of my business. But though I’m certain that there’s another giant car repair bill looming on my horizon (the password is Timing Belt), and though I’ve been wrestling with technical problems related to our upcoming MMIP release, Blood Promises, I have found time for a little pondering.

Lindy West on finding the humanity in even the nastiest Youtube troll.

Obama supporters, I want you to do two things right now. First, chill the hell out. Then, once you’ve chilled, wake the fuck up. (How to do both? Be large and contain volumes.)

And incidentally, Barack, you might want to watch your Australian counterpart for inspiration before your next debate.

Song on my mind: Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill. This version is actually my favorite, possibly because it’s the version I saw him perform in Tacoma twenty years ago–the only time I was ever in the front row of any concert.


Alex Karras will soon be gone. I didn’t get to see him play football much, but I did love his acting in the TV version of MASH, Blazing Saddles, and Victor/Victoria.


Later.