Archive for November, 2015

On Being A Political Outcast…

Posted in Grumblings on November 29, 2015 by chemiclord

Pardon me for getting a little political here.  Do forgive this dip into the sea of ichor and bile.  If there is a living analogue for the Biblical description of hell, a lightless void filled with the weeping and gnashing of teeth, it is likely manifest in our modern American political discourse.

I’m not really a moderate, at least, not in the way I define the term.  I am actually very strongly in favor or opposition to a good many political policies, and am quite unwavering in my favor or opposition.  But my political chart reads more like it got hit with a bundle of buckshot, with opinions that scatter much of everywhere.

On fiscal matters, I lean fairly conservative, though not Republican.  Republicans are “conservative” only in the sense that they actively oppose any Democratic spending.  Given their way, they’ve proven to be just as spend happy, merely on a different set of pet policies.

I’m not entirely fond of the attempts at universal healthcare, and personally think mandatory insurance is one of the greatest scams that state and federal governments have pulled on citizens.

I am wary of efforts to push the federal minimum wage to the lengths that the most liberal spenders desire, though I do think some increase needs to happen as we become more and more of a service based economy.  I think that such extreme measures don’t hurt the people who are actually causing the wealth disparity, and only hurt smaller businesses and entrepreneurs who are scratching to get by.

I’m not a particular fan of unions.  I feel they had an important role in the shaping of our current labor rights, but the majority at this point have become bloated bureaucratic nightmares that only exist to feed themselves, twisted into greedy monoliths that are no better than the corporate monsters they theoretically fight against.  At the very least, they need to be broken down and rebuilt by the workers who aren’t being well represented by them.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as “too big to fail.”  If a company has become so large and unwieldy that it will collapse under its own weight, that company needs to fall.  Companies that openly betrayed the public trust need to be forcibly ripped apart, their executives jailed, and the money they stole distributed as equally as they can to the people they hurt.  Not propped up by more tax dollars with a feeble promise that they won’t do it again.  Much like big, dying trees are burned away to clear the canopy for young trees to grow, so should businesses be allowed to thrive when the big boys invariably topple.

Yet despite all that, on matters of social and humanitarianism, I lean pretty ardently liberal, though not Democrat.  It’s amazing how so many have already forgotten that Democratic leaders were quite staunchly against rights like gay marriage until it was politically expedient to be so (I’m looking right at you, President Obama and Ms. Clinton).  I have not forgotten.  The Democratic Party frequently fails those they claim to champion.

I for one, don’t think it is any right but the woman’s when it comes to whether to keep or abort a fetus.  If she wishes to allow a husband and/or father to have their input, so be it, but the final decision should be hers, and no law should exist to deny or slow that decision, no matter what you believe her motives are.

I believe that any couple of consenting age should be allowed to join in a union in the eyes of the law.  I believe that transsexuals should be allowed to go into whatever bathroom they identify with (and the fact that this is somehow a hot topic of political debate makes me cringe).  I’m not even inherently against poly-amorous relationships, though I acknowledge making such unions a matter of law would likely be a minefield that cannot be navigated.  Consent and fair division of joined property, tax protocols, and rights of attorney is a quirky enough thing when it involves two people… adding more into the mix is probably something that our legal framework simply cannot handle.

I believe that women are still woefully mistreated by the law, as are minorities, and that the majority populations are dragging their feet far too much to purge that systemic racism.  It is despicable that it still lingers to this day, and it’s not just a “southern thing.”

I believe that such open access to firearms in this country is unequivocally insane.  We require registration of so many things in this country, that our government blocks such restrictions on the one thing in which its sole and primary purpose is to kill is nothing short of madness.  There is nothing in the Second Amendment or the Bill of Rights or any official document of our early government that advocates the lax gun controls we have now.

So, what does all of that mean?  Well, at the risk of offending minorities that have suffered active repression from voting, it leads someone like me to feeling disenfranchised.  It’s a failing of the two party system that our major political entities actively collude into maintaining.  There is no one that really encapsulates what I believe.

It means I find the current Republican party fleshy piles of insanity that would make Azathoth weep in jealousy; a babbling pit of proud ignorance, anti-intellectualism, and cultural blindness.  It means I find the Democratic party misguided at best, and maliciously deceptive at worst, deviously shifting in the winds of political convenience and lacking any real substance or grounding, be it financial or moral.

It means that around this time next year, I’ll likely fill in Hillary Clinton’s bubble on my ballot while holding my nose in disgust, all the while thinking that there has to be a better way than choosing between the lesser of two evils.

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On Building Up… And Breaking Down…

Posted in Grumblings on November 21, 2015 by chemiclord

Let me tell you a story about a girl named Ronda Rousey.

(Yes, I’m talking about a sporty-ball thing.  Relax.  It has a greater purpose.)

For the better part of the last two years, we couldn’t stop hearing about this woman.  Whether it was glowing articles about how she was “most dominant athlete in the history of ever” (opinion: she wasn’t even the most dominant female athlete this year, go look up Serena Williams at some point), or her cross-promotions into WWE, and apparently upcoming television and film.

Everyone wanted to interview her, and damn near everyone did.

But in that same stretch, our culture was preparing for the inevitable.  We were ready for it.  We wanted it.  And then we finally got it.

Ronda Rousey lost.

The turn was immediate.  I got whiplash following the twist narrative from “most dominant” to “glory girl” and “poser” and “clearly flawed.”  As annoying as the former was… the heel turn our culture made was just about as tedious.

Because, well, this is what our culture does.  We build up our heroes, seemingly for the sole purpose of tearing them down.  We want our icons to be successful, but not too successful.  We take as much glee from the schadenfreude as we do from the triumph.  We enjoy the fall as much (if not more) than the ascension.

In every field of entertainment, this is what we do.  We wait in eager anticipation for our “favorite” writer’s next book to bomb (especially if said book isn’t from the series we want that author to write in), or the director’s next film to crash and burn, or for the “dynasty” sports team to crumble.

It’s a phenomenon that’s annoyed me for a while, but now as a culture we’ve completely abandoned the pretense as well.  We don’t even pretend anymore.  This is what we want… to raise people on our shoulders simply for the purpose of eventually dropping them on their head, then laughing in delight when we drop them.

That’s not culture.  That’s a cruel prank.  It’s something that you do as 12-year-olds.

Which may just be our level of cultural maturity, I guess.