20 May, 2017

Dealing in Democracy—The Consequences of Not Voting

[Dealing in Democracy grasps at, wrestles with, questions, critiques, and explores mere tinges of the brittle and broken bones of American politics through my admittedly biased eyes and offers me an outlet through which to fumigate the horrors both presently presenting and ever-present.]

-=: I originally wrote this right after the election, but got caught up with school or writing something else and so left it unpublished. Cornell West, on Bill Maher the other night, tried to argue that voting for Clinton was almost as bad as voting for Trump, and so reminded me of this argument I kept pressing on people torn over their votes. Since the cult of the individual still reigns mighty in the USA, it is still very relevant, and so here it is.:=-


Many people considered this election as a choice between two evils, or at least two distasteful individuals. As I've written before, I used to dislike Hillary Clinton until I investigated my reasons for disliking her and discovered that the few reasons I actually had were based on zero facts, and when I searched for facts I found myself respecting her much more. But all of this is beside the point.

We treat presidential elections as popularity contests between individuals instead of establishment of the policies those individuals represent. Briefly, here are the policies each candidate represented:

Hillary Clinton, et al.

  • Maintenance or expansion of the Affordable Care Act, possibly extending health coverage to the more than 33 million Americans who still have zero access to any health insurance; the costs of emergency care and crisis management for the uninsured is astronomical.
  • The social safety net (unemployment insurance, food stamps, medical care for children, education for the disabled, social security, medicaid, medicare, homeless shelters, and all the other programs that try to ensure that every citizen can at least survive in this country).
  • The supreme court should have filled its vacant seat under Obama, as it is his constitutional right to do so, but Republicans have set a very dangerous precedent by first denying Obama's overly-reasonable nomination a hearing, and now by establishing simple-majority voting for confirmations—this will, eventually, bite them in the ass, but they got their stolen seat because people didn't consider the next 20-40 years of American history when they voted. At stake in the Supreme Court are some of the following issues:
    —Abortion
    —Citizens United (unlimited dark money buying more of our politicians)
    —Voting Rights
    —Workers' Rights
    —"Religious Freedom" as a cover for legal discrimination
  • Fair minimum wages
  • The right for cities to make their own laws
  • Education
  • Lower/zero college tuition
  • FUCKING CLIMATE CHANGE
  • War
  • Building the future instead of some imaginary past
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Banking reform
  • Equal rights act—equal pay for women
  • Fair(er) taxation

Donald Trump, et al.
  • Repeal of Obamacare, which means:
    —Over 20 million Americans may lose coverage immediately
    —Reversal of Medicaid expansion
    —Preexisting conditions no longer covered or priced out of affordability
    —Insurance companies first, patients last
    —Increasingly higher premiums
    —Humans treated like cars or other merchandise 
    —No more mental health and birth control coverage required
    —Loss of basic services in many insurance packages
  • NO TO SOCIAL SERVICES: Gutting the safety net, food stamps, unemployment insurance, ETC
  • CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL: No clean energy investments or research, trying to purge the EPA, appointing climate change deniers in every office relevant to the climate and energy, going to expand coal, oil drilling, and fracking
  • NO FREE PRESS: Believes the press should be sued for writing "negative" stories, which is anything Trump disagrees with
  • WAR: Wants to expand the military and has signaled a potential war with Iran, intentionally provoking China, now North Korea
  • ANTI-ABORTION
  • ANTI-MINIMUM WAGE
  • ANTI-UNION
  • ANTI-DIPLOMACY
  • ANTI-HISTORY
  • ANTI-SCIENCE
  • ANTI-CONSTITUTION (freedom of speech, of press, of religion, unlawful search & seizure)
  • ANTI-WOMEN
  • PRO-NUCLEAR WEAPONS
  • He IS those "elites" he keeps screaming about.
  • Will do his damndest to pass massive tax cuts on the wealthiest among us
  • Believes in the debunked voodoo of "trickle down" economics, or says he does
  • Will do absolutely anything to save face, to stay in power, to be the "tough guy." Anything.
Whoever you voted for in this election, you did not vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as much as you voted for the policies associated with them. If you did not vote, by default you voted for Trump's policies. 

So the next time there is a fucking election, look at the policies. Look at the consequences of those policies based on which hold sway. Because of this vote, or many non-votes, there is a chance that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. There is the chance for another war in the Middle East, and Iran is no scattered backwater like Afghanistan or divided dictatorship like Iraq—Iran would be worse, and America would lose any remaining global support for tearing up a deal for peace that America itself created which would be seen as nothing less than provocation for war. It means even greater fiscal and social inequality among our citizens. It means the rejection of science on a whole. It means the enthusiasm for more countries armed with nuclear weapons. It means everyone in this country, from a union boss to the CIA itself, has to fear personal reprisal from a president who takes any and all criticism as a personal attack, and his only response to perceived attack is to destroy. It means dissenting view is not only dismissed, but forcefully put down.

That's what this election was about. Whoever you voted for, I hope you voted for the policies that come along with them. If you don't think about politics in this way, you should. You must. This is the reality, no matter how many attendees Trump envisions in his head or how many times his court of sycophants keep admiring his new clothes.

I think that's the point Bill Maher was trying to make: yes, Clinton may be a corporate shill, but she wouldn't have repealed the ACA or spilled state secrets to the Russians in the Oval Office or hired a National Security Advisor on the payroll of a foreign power or gutted the EPA and the State Department or have all references to climate changed purged from government websites. She wouldn't have hired her daughter and her son in-law or launched systemic attacks on poor and immigrant communities. She would have nominated a forward-looking voice to the Supreme Court who might have given us a chance to fight against the numerous and monstrous iniquities that plague this country.

I know it's almost impossible to argue facts anymore—people are scared and pissed off and it just doesn't get anywhere. So look at the ACTUAL POLICIES they want to enact and then imagine how those things will AFFECT YOUR LIFE. I know Trump wouldn't reveal any actual policy during the campaign—BECAUSE HE HAD NONE. A man who says he knows how to do everything and shows you nothing is selling snake oil, and he pulled off the biggest con in American history. 

So ignore the man, the woman, the person, and figure out what their power means. Then decide if that's power you can afford. We have less future to bargain with than we know.

18 May, 2017

Verse—"Bedtime Rituals"

"Bedtime Rituals"

You put a leg in your pajamas, NO—.
First (as things go) you must
divest that leg of previous attire, and
the other, and arms, too, and belly/neck/
chest—to prepare for pajamafication.
But why? Do dreams have a dress code? Does
sleep come quicker to the clothed? I confess
to scant preparations for sleeping, as such, just
what I was already wearing or some
soft cotton shift or nothing at all, but
the ritual changing-of-the-clothes is a con-
cept completely lost on the likes of me. On
my dislikes, too.

Perhaps it is closer to a custom—some-
thing you do because it is something
you do—or propriety—something you
do because if you don't, people or God or
whoever blah blah will think etc. It is
probably much more mundane, about
laundry or the likelihood of lice, which
not at all alters my perception of the
present—pointless.

23 February, 2017

The Regurgitated—Why Everyone Wants to Strangle a Book Purist

[The Regurgitated is...exactly that.]

-= #NOONEUNDERSTAAAAANDS=-

This story is a tragedy, made more tragic still by all the warning signs present, the ready explanations, the reason and forethought and practical common sense so readily, so easily apparent and available for counsel. And yet, our Lady Claire of House Williams—Denier of Sense and Photoshopper of Shite, chose instead to follow her heart, a heart that wailed at such length and at such a volume that even David and Dan could hear her despair from the deepest of the seven pits in the lowest of the seven hells:


WhhhhhhhhHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY don't the FUCKING TARGARYNS have VIOLET fucking EYES on the SHOW? WhhHHHHYYYYYY?????????????? It's an INTEGRAL PART of their FUCKING CHARACTERS, you mmmmaaaaAAAANNNIIIIAAACCCASS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me explain. 

So I accidentally clicked on one of those "sponsored content" click-bait links, and on the buffet of desperate acts seeking ad revenue I found this gem:

How the cast of Game of Thrones should really look by one Claire Williams. It lists 35 (!!) characters from the story, describes their show character, and points out the various "problems' the show suffers by not paying close enough attention to the text when deciding dye color formulas and prosthetic makeup. There is then a description of each as quoted by GRRM, a "rating" system, and sort of before and after photos: the first shows an actor in character from the show, and the second is photoshopped with the changes she thinks are necessary to fall in line with the books.

I hate things like this for a number of reasons, first and foremost being a complete inability to grasp that movies and television do not exist simply to make illustrations of books and stories. It fails to comprehend that written stories have strengths and weaknesses that are different from a visual representation, and the two must thus access vital components for themselves. Lady Claire of House Williams may think that, because television is a visual medium, it should get the visual stuff "right," which leads me to my next point.

Perhaps more important is the presumption of descriptions of appearance as the purest way to judge likeness of character, and anyone who has ever known another person, ever, knows this is not the case. There are times in this list when Lady Claire admits so-and-so's characterization is spot-on, but the problem is that he really has longer hair in hue closer to copper than blood. The real problem is thinking that is the real problem.

Which leads me to this little project. This list is so offensive to my sensibilities of writing, story, character, open-mindedness, and not being a quibbling fistula that action must be taken. It is the annoying humorlessness of book purists like this—the grotesque elitism—that has caused some people I know to swear off the reading of these books entirely. A grievous sin, indeed.

I do not know this Lady Claire of House Williams, by the way, and toward her I bear no animosity. This is just my way of coping with Things that Bug the Shit Out of Me on the Internet. All photos are as-is from the list itself. So here is my answer to "How the cast of Game of Thrones should really look" with "How Game of Thrones fans should really sound," replicated in style and spirit, fully attributed to the author. The title graphics, for better or worse, are my own.


20 January, 2017

The Regurgitated—Guns-n-Balls-n-Inaugurations, oh my!

[The Regurgitated is...exactly that.]

-= “I’m a white male who owns firearms. At least for the next four years I get to keep my guns and my balls.”=-

That was Richard Pease, a 53 year-old executive from New Hampshire, quoted in this article from the Guardian about the inauguration. Mr. Pease is also a shining example of the fact that if you repeat favorite lies to yourself over and over again, you're in no danger of recognizing reality or common sense. 

Mr. Pease, on behalf of bleeding-heart liberals everywhere. allow me to apologize for all those times we outlawed and then confiscated your firearms. Remember that? Especially that one time when it has never fucking happened? Sigh, alas, O' me. 

According to the logic of those two statements, he lost his balls when he was oppressed by society for being a white male, now widely recognized as great sufferers of discrimination imposed by all those women and brown people. But Mr. Pease read right through all those elitist calls for "equality" and "opportunity." His white scrotum has been sidelined for too long! We now have a president who boasts of sexual assault on camera! Who calls out Mexicans for what they really are! Who finally recognizes all Muslims are terrorists!

I mean, think about it. We now finally have a president who doesn't sit around and wait for reality and data and science and experience to tell him what the truth is. Our president jumps boldly into the Twitterverse and decides on what truth is by himself. That's so damn American it probably completely voids the selection of the most un-populist cabinet say, ever, and they probably just mean the cabinet by Trump's bed where he keeps Hillary Clinton's uterus encased in Kryptonite and guarded by a battalion Trucknuts modeled from life, all self-portraits. I've heard the real set were used as security on the loans that financed his casino bankruptcy. 

Seriously. Fucking genius.