THE CONTEST THAT CAN'T BE WON

This election, stretching all the way back to the summer of 2015 when the invisible primary began, has been hard for me. Lord knows I haven't had to do any of the work on the campaigns and I have the manifest luxury of being able to ignore it for a day or two here and there. But it has been a profoundly depressing experience and grows more so every day. Were it possible to sleep through the next nine weeks and awaken with the whole thing over, I would do it and accept the loss of gainful employment as a steep but necessary price to pay.

Late last week, for reasons that are not worth explaining, it hit me why this has been such a singularly depressing experience. It seemed profound at the time, although in hindsight (and at first sight to many of you) it seems obvious. This election is horrible in new ways that elections have not been in the United States in living memory. It is horrible because there is no outcome that can erase how awful the election itself has been. It is doing damage that can't and won't be undone. We've seen a part of who we are as a nation and as a society that is so viscerally ugly that no amount of time, reflection, or half-hearted exhortations toward national unity will make us forget what we saw. Have you ever seen anything so gory and shocking that it's with you forever? Maybe seeing somebody get shot, or seeing a victim of a car accident. It's like that. Now that we've seen that a good portion of white America's real beliefs, noble-sounding crap about small government conservative principles aside, boil down to "Keep the Mexicans and Muslims out, and put the Darkies back in their place," well…there's no way to un-see that.

An ordinary election is two boxers alternating between attempts at strategy and the exchange of blind, wild punches. Some of those even slip and land below the belt. At the end of the bout there is, if not mutual respect, at least nothing that happened in the ring that either side will be unable to let go. This election is one boxer in the middle of the ring and the other standing in the corner screaming racial slurs and calling her a bitch. My opinion will not be shared universally, but I believe this election has exposed a divide that no platitudes or soothing language can overcome. That's the funny thing about, you know, mainstreaming and attempting to normalize white nationalism. Turns out that it leaves hard feelings all around.

I will never say that I don't care who wins. That is a statement of pure privilege, the ability to declare that as a white male of middle income I'll probably be fine either way so who cares. I care who wins inasmuch as there are plenty of other people who stand to lose a great deal in this election, and inasmuch as I am not 14 or a total narcissist, other people are important to me. But I'm convinced now that regardless of who wins, there is no outcome to this election that we will be able to define as Good, or even Okay. The best possible outcome is a mediocre, middling neoliberal president bickering unproductively with House wingnuts while Americans attempt to forget that something like a quarter of us appear to want a dictator.

How do you walk that back? How do we process all those "nice" but "misguided" or "uneducated" acquaintances and family members who openly advocate genocide in the same way that a normal person might suggest going to Ikea? How do we collectively ignore how easy it was for an uncharismatic asshole to get millions of people to follow him like slobbering dogs even while he was openly contemptuous of them?

Someone will bring up the Civil War and remind me that time heals all wounds. That's possible. Maybe this is catastrophic thinking caused by excessive exposure to what is going on right now. But a lot of our social problems now flow from the fact that we're having an increasingly difficult time ignoring problems, which has always been the preferred American technique for fostering unity. Racism? Hey just sweep it under the rug and let's hug it out over some Monday Night Football! Now, though…I dunno, man. We've seen things. I don't think there's any way to go back. And that, despite how many aspects of this election are horrible, is the worst part about all of this.

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52 Responses to “THE CONTEST THAT CAN'T BE WON”

  1. JustRuss Says:

    I don't know…since the Clinton presidency we've had a Republican congressional delegation that would gleefully screw America if they could blame it on a Democratic president. Hell, it often has. We've been cascading towards a Trumpian campaign for a couple decades, and surprise, here it is.

    We've always known the haters and bigots were among us, Trump's just given them an outlet to be loud and proud. I don't how we get that genie back in the bottle, but the shitstorm we're in has been brewing a long time. Maybe getting it in the open will let us deal with it. Or maybe we're screwed.

    And remember, a lot what's fueling this ugliness is the fact that our society doesn't treat gays and people of color quite as poorly as we used to. If the price of progress is that bigots get riled up and frothy, I think it's worth paying. Hang in their Ed, and keep the faith.

  2. lofgren Says:

    Someone will bring up the Civil War and remind me that time heals all wounds.

    Because Lord knows our current problems have NOTHING to do with the War of Northern Aggression!

  3. Noskilz Says:

    I suppose what is most critical is what happens in November.

    Trump has done any number of things that would traditionally have been regarded as suicidal in a campaign, and I don't think all those screw-ups will suddenly turn out to be good ideas. If it's a humiliating failure rather than a relatively pedestrian sort of failure, perhaps the people who do run campaigns and primaries will take the hint – they are in the business of politics and having their asses handed to them because they decided to run with a fantastically unscrupulous reality show clown probably isn't an experience they'd care to repeat. Where that leaves them since their base seemed to be quite keen on the notion is another matter – but having the institutional framework of the GOP decide to shrug and hope for the best does mean I can't be terribly sympathetic to their predicament.

    I am a bit disappointed at how many are willing to take someone who is at best an inept con-man seriously, but perhaps more disappointed that I find it hard to be especially surprised.

  4. Deep Thought Says:

    Thank you for expressing better than I ever could how I feel about the UK's "Brexit" referendum. Us poor limeys currently have several politicians saying things like "we need to bring the country together", and I for one have never felt more separated from those on the other side of the vote. That is why I feel bleak about our future at the moment – I just don't see how we move on from the hole we are stuck in now.

  5. HoosierPoli Says:

    I was watching a documentary on German television about the race riots in Detroit in the 30s, and race riots is of course a euphamism for widespread white vigilantism and murder on a scale that a Rwandan would recognize. And I thought to myself, these were the good old days. For some people.

  6. duquesne_pdx Says:

    Damn it, lofgren, you beat me to it.

    To go a little more in depth, the problems we are seeing now are, arguably, the direct result of unhealed wounds from slavery/the Civil War/American Apartheid.

    The only good thing about this election is that we are starting to see how deep the rot really is.

  7. Joseph P. Says:

    Class and race have always been used as wedge issues. It isn't necessarily unhealed Civil War wounds. The unemployed in the rust belt aren't longing for the return of the old South as much as looking for scapegoats for their misery.

    The root of Trumpism is in Reaganomics. Reagan's supply side and pro-corporate policies destroyed middle class security, and at the same time created oligarchs like Koch and Adelson that could shovel money into propaganda to divert the attention of the worker class. Hate radio, Fox News, and neocon political operatives, funded by filthy rich corporatists, fueled the rot that created Trump (as well as catastrophes like the Iraq War and catastrophic policies like denial of climate change).

    The oligarchs that now run the US have contempt for the US voter. They believe that they can always steer him to do their bidding. And besides, they have corrupted both parties to the point where it doesn't matter so much. Trump would be an absolute disaster of course, but the oligarch-loving Hillary will be destructive in her own way with her hawkish neoliberal pro-corporate policies.

    Extreme concentration of wealth is what caused the pre-Civil War South to continue the destructive policy of plantation slavery even when economically and socially it could not stand. The same thing is happening now with the entire country—extreme concentration of wealth as a result of Reaganomics is driving the country to an untenable economic position.

  8. Katydid Says:

    There's a saying in my southern state about pockets of the state: "They believe we're still fighting the Civil War…and that the south is winning." Not surprisingly, this is the rural parts of the state who are deeply dependent on the more urban (and progressive) part of the state for financial and infrastructure report. Periodically they threaten to secede from the rest of the state, until it's pointed out to them that they can't feed themselves, don't have the tax base to keep their roads plowed in the winter, or keep basic services running. But they all dream they're Confederate warriors.

    That's an interesting point about Reagan destroying the middle class. I was thinking of George Bush, and of course Sarah Palin, the Alaska Independence Party member who wanted to become Ruler of the USA, who called then-candidate Barack Obama a Muslim and made it easy for the racists and bigots to let their freak fly. This leads us to Donald Trump and his utterly unhinged devotees, including the Albanian one with the Muslim name who attacked two hijab-wearing young women in Brooklyn, assaulting them and screaming that America is Noah's Ark and that America was founded so that everyone could be the same.

  9. Major Kong Says:

    I hear it at work periodically, even before the election.

    I had a Captain tell me "The economy won't improve until someone assassinates Obama".

    I looked at him and said very seriously:

    "Bob, what made you think I'd agree, and what made you think I wanted to hear that in the first place?"

  10. doug Says:

    Having the ugliness out in the open is good. Will be cathartic.

    The best times are yet to come. Lot's of graves to be filled over the next 15 years.

  11. Really? Says:

    It's not the civil war itself that we are still fighting, but the lies that were told to reunite the country after the war. For the first 100 years after the war the lie was that being poor and white was better than being successful and anything else. For the past 50 years that lie has been both legally challenged and revealed to be bullshit.

    Being poor sucks and the society we have built doesn't give a shit. What a lot of trump supports want is the security of the old lie.

  12. Paul Says:

    Seriously, you're just now figuring out that there's racism in the United States? Go do a little research into the George Wallace for President campaigns. Dixiecrats ring a bell? Maybe living in the Texas and having too many bubba redneck relatives emailing me shit all the time has kept me up to speed with 2016 racism but it's no different than it was decades ago.

  13. cackalacka Says:

    Yeah, this has been on my mind ever since one candidate started calling for law enforcement presence at polling stations.

    Never thought I'd live to see a major party candidate work to de-legitimize the political process so vigorously.

  14. Tteddo Says:

    I think that things are trending to the left in the big picture and am hoping that Trump and his followers are a last gasp of a dying breed and not a bump up to the real last gasp. Like Doug said, there's lots of graves to be filled in the coming years.

  15. Safety Man! Says:

    First point of optimism: At least it's a quarter and not 51%, as best I can tell. It vexes me, some of the biggest Putin lovers I know are all ex-military, I'm not sure what to think about that.

    Second: This may well be the year that Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, etc., lose it and start calling for actual nation rebellion, instead of "just asking questions", after which they won't be on the air anymore.

  16. RosiesDad Says:

    If Trump wins in November, we may retire a little early and leave. The thought that Trump gets to replace Scalia and then probably Ginsburg and Breyer means SCOTUS is fucked for the rest of my life (I am almost 60) and so it will be time to go elsewhere. My wife and I are both healthcare professionals so we can pretty much go anywhere we want. Canada, Ireland, Costa Rica, Australia or New Zealand. Almost doesn't matter as long as we won't be here.

  17. RosiesDad Says:

    @Major Kong: And what was Bob's response? (Other than a look of cluelessness…)

  18. Major Kong Says:

    @RosiesDad

    I think we decided that politics would be off the table for the rest of the trip.

    Frequently I'm paired with the same Captain for an entire month so we have to at least try to get along.

    Normally when it turns to politics or religion I'll say something like "We probably don't want to have this conversation".

    Every so often I'll get one that just won't let it go. That makes for some "lively" discussions.

  19. Tim Says:

    @Major Kong, I know the feeling…had a coworker try to defend Tomi Lahren to me in my office and had to tell her that, "this conversation falls outside the scope of our relationship as coworkers."

    You would have thought I called her a see-you-next-Tuesday from the look she gave me, but there are only so many polite ways I can call someone I need to work with every day a f*ckwit.

  20. Chicagojon2016 Says:

    "Have you ever seen anything so gory and shocking that it's with you forever? "
    Not until you got me looking into 9/11 truther links from one of your FB posts.

    "How do you walk that back? How do we process all those "nice" but "misguided" or "uneducated" acquaintances and family members who openly advocate genocide in the same way that a normal person might suggest going to Ikea?"

    I'm going to try by calling them out when it's someone/people around me just like I call out my dad when he parrots Rush Limbaugh talking points. He's not like many of the Trumpers, though, because deep down he's compassionate, not racist, & knows that he won the life lottery for his children by moving northwest from his birthplace instead of southeast.

    To me this isn't much worse than trying to figure out what world we can live in where Clarence Thomas takes some of the positions he does. For both I think they're improvable if not fixable (campaign finance reform, term limits, good journalism) but I don't have much hope for things getting better without a good old fashion revolution.

  21. pabrocb Says:

    We are at retirement age, and are going to look at Victoria, BC.

    Even if Hillary wins, what are we left with? I can't unsee the hatred and bitterness.

    To "friends" on Facebook, I try to point out that the chief trauma surgeon helping the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando is Muslim It does no good.

    I had been taught to think critically, evidence based stuff. Hoaxers now gloat that they know better.

    It all makes me sick.

  22. Chautauqua Says:

    Major Kong,

    People like this captain (small "c" to denote the clear lack of respect he seems to warrant) piss me right the hell off. Maybe he's unaware that piloting a very large aircraft carrying tons of avgas, probably in vicinity of large sensitive government installations, while openly advocating the assassination of the President is very likely to get him a visit from the FBI or Secret Service, perhaps even get his ticket yanked. If he protests that he's a veteran, then perhaps he's unaware of the saga of Lee Harvey Oswald, USMC, and that the Secret Service neither forgives nor forgets.

    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. Back to mowing the lawn.

  23. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @Tteddo,

    I think you're at least partially correct. I can't remember where I saw it, but I did read a fairly in-depth paper about how over the course of US history, progressive accomplishment is almost always followed by a conservative backlash. Just within the last decade we've had the first black president (two terms no less), an actual national health care program, legalization of gay marriage, increased taxes on the wealthy (to some extent), equal treatment for transgenders, and at the state level legalization of pot.

    Honestly, I never thought I'd live to see the day for most of that, so the fact that they all happened within the term of one Democrat POTUS who remains quite popular (58% according to WaPo today) shocks even me, and I support all those things. Imagine how it feels if you're opposed to them!

    So I think what we're seeing is the inevitable conservative backlash against progress. Throw in the relative decline (population-wise) of whites, the increasing electoral importance of Latinos, and the economic shift away from manufacturing, and you have a perfect storm for older, white, conservative anger and resentment.

  24. mojrim Says:

    @Ed: You're half right here. All is as you say it is, and that's a good thing. As Joseph P and Really? pointed out, the so-called unity and comity we've grown accustomed to were lies invented to make dirt-poor southerners fight for plantation owners' wealth. That has been maintained in one form or another to this day but, after 40 years of economic decline, it can't hold any longer.

    Trump is tearing off the band aid, and destroying the modern republican party into the bargain. Race in america is an invention designed to detract us from the real issue: class. The Great Antebellum Lie has made race enemies of otherwise natural allies, and this election *may* provide the leverage to make that happen. Keeping everything 'nice' and 'polite' hasn't gotten us anywhere.

    @Major Kong: I was in Afghanistan when Obama was first elected in 2008 and the things I heard from people in uniform were downright scary. I went off on a couple of the kids about sedition and mutiny. Saying you were only joking won't fly on the Article 15 hearing.

  25. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Perhaps Trump is America taking the first step and admitting it has a problem?

    Nah, I got nothing.

    Now that the "alt right" has had a hit of the good stuff, the chances of it quietly receding back into the digital sewers isn't particularly good.

  26. Aero Says:

    Why just focus on "white" America? Ed, I love reading your stuff, but I think you're focusing way too hard on one facet of this shitshow, and missing the myriad of other horrible things this election has dug up in relation to America's culture. How about the increasing push from a portion of "black" America to segregate themselves right back out of the culture? What about the chunk of illegal Mexican immigrant students that have successfully agitated for financial aid and scholarships (in California at least) without any particular push to have them actually become citizens of the US along the way? Quite honestly, I think the last few years, alongside this election, has thrown open the windows and the doors on a whole host of opportunistic portions of every population group in this country. Pick an identifier, and there is a large, vocal group of them doing some incredibly shitty things to screw everyone else because they can and proving quite successful at it. And when they're called out on it, they scream "oppression" and scurry back under the banner of their affiliation of choice. Rome is quite set to sack itself.

    You're right that this contest can't be won. Absolutely no one is coming out the winner; skin color and gender don't matter. All of us are picking sides and screaming down the opponents while waving whatever sharpened rocks and pointy sticks we can find. All for a piece of the pie that we "obviously" can't all share. The chant of "Fuck the other guy. I want mine," has taken us this far and there's no sign of slowing down. In fact, we've doubled down on it with Trump, a guy whose entire life has been that one concept repeated in every situation. It's not his bankruptcies or his failures that matter to the people who favor him, it's that he can make himself look like the "goddamn winner" even now. And it's worked too, look who has the mic and the limelight. It's the same principle with die-hard Hillary supporters. They don't care what she's done or hasn't done (unless it scores them points in online debates), they see her as the victory of women over men, or even more broadly, the victory of progressive ideology over historical precedent. There's an obsession with history-making lately, and it all comes out of that same desire to prove, definitively and without question, that this or that group has won. And by god, if we can't find a big enough opponent to overtly challenge us (racists, sexists, etc.,) then we'll create an invisible network of them, or stir the pot until we raise their ghost once more. Anything but do the long, boring work of establishment and acceptance.

    Was it the media (all of this makes for some amazingly dramatic news, you must admit), the Rothschilds, aliens, or just our own collective realization that we'd settled the big issues we could agree on, and all that was left was endless years of bickering over the nitty-gritty and putting out minor fires as they sprang up? Whatever the case may be, the genie isn't going back in the bottle because we've wished ourselves the revival of all the old dragons we'd slain once before, and just like last time, it's going to take a very long time to slay them again.

  27. MS Says:

    The current situation in the U.S. looks very much like the run-up to the Civil War in the 1850s. The politicians of the time decided to cope with pressing problems by producing compromises which offended everyone, leading to major political shifts and increasing divisions in the country. Southern politicians proposed radical bills in Congress. The wealthy exploited the situation to inflame passions further. Pro-slavery and anti-slavery folks publicly threatened (and did!) violence and were met with inadequate governmental responses. (Think Bundy ranch.) The shooting started in Kansas. Once the elites were infected by the radical partisanship as well (think Dred Scott, and compare to today's elites/celebrities advocating radical things) it was all over and war was inevitable.

    Once you get past the "good government is no longer desirable, partisan actions are the only acceptable ones" point in governing, you're screwed. Things like Chris Christie torpedoing the new tunnels needed and screwing up traffic because, hey, screw Democrats. Or the current Kansas experiment in right-wingery.

    I think the U.S. is at the "major internal strife is inevitable, but the timing is uncertain" stage of things. Something will happen, along the lines of Trump being elected, or not being elected, and that will be a tipping point. The shooting will start, response from the paralyzed government will not be forthcoming, and the shooting will spread. It's not just about race but race will be the most visible factor. White people who are angry about poor economic opportunity will take it out on black people and Democrats. How many Tea Party/Trumpist whackjobs do the southern states have in their state governments now? Probably measuring that number is as good as any other to figure out how close America is to the precipice.

  28. TakomaMark Says:

    This has been the ugliest election in a looong time. Possibly since the George Wallace campaigns. I can't decide whether that's a horribly bad thing or kind of good. I mean, these people are out there, and they've been out there. Best to know they're out there rather than pretend they're not. I've always known there were white supremacists out there who fondly referred to Adolph Hitler as "uncle Adolph" but I really didn't know how many of there there were. The fact that they're supporting such a self serving joke of a candidate in droves despite all evidence that he's a self serving joke is pretty concerning.

    One possibly good outcome is that it's proving that what drives a large chunk of the GOP is not the small government Ayn Randian free marketism that the policy wonks, or what passes for policy wonks in the post-policy GOP, are always pushing. A large chunk of the GOP wants New Deal government largesse served up with a side of racism. Where do the Paul Ryans of the party go when nobody wants their ideology? That's where Trump is tearing the party in two.

    The most depressing aspect to me is that the political press is not up to the task of handling a guy like Trump. I mean, they focus on Clinton's minor missteps ad nauseum and equate them to Trump's giant flaws. There is just no equivalence. I admit Clinton does have flaws, but compared to a unstable know nothing, narcissistic personality disordered, two bit racist conman, she's a paragon of virtue and competence. Instead all we get is unsubstantiated innuendo about the Clinton Foundation and "both candidates are historically unlikeable" horse race crapola. I can see why a white supremacist would support another white supremacist, but I really can't see how anyone could support Trump. The guy is just a joke. I mean, his administration would make W's administration look like a paragon of competence and honesty. It will be absolutely awful if it happens.

  29. other bill Says:

    We shouldn't worry about all this too much, considering we are 1.5 – 2 generations of time away from the point where we won't be able to save the planet from runaway global climate catastrophe. Find something to smile about now.

  30. Nunya Says:

    This election has succeeded in dividing the population more effectively than I have witnessed in my lifetime. The recruitment arena is ripe because nearly everyone in this country feels a palpable sense of a loss of power and agency.

    Regardless of race or gender, the vast majority of us feel disposable and undervalued. Some of us can look at the decline in labor unions, the ascendency of neo-liberal trade deals and the meteoric rise of corporate power as the correct source of this imbalance but since we’re mostly powerless to change these things, we circle the wagons with our ideological tribes and blame the rest of the lumpen proletariat because they might have a few more shekels than we do.

    Donald Trump is clearly the least qualified candidate we’ve had for public office in living memory. His success has been made by feeding on ignorance and tribal hatred of brown people and those that fear a demographic shift.

    Meanwhile, the left has gone full-tilt insane on identity politics in which absolutely everything is racist and sexist and the evil white man is solely responsible for it all.

    We’re all now left with essentially a choice to choose another 8 years of stagnation simply because to vote otherwise is sheer madness.

    Perhaps when the zealots destroy their own movements through infighting and more and more ridiculous demands, the reasonable, rational adults can get on with the business of actually governing.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  31. mojrim Says:

    @Emerson: Addicts have to hit bottom before they can recover.

    @TakomaMark: If you can get them to be open they will tell you that it's out of desperation. Neoliberalism is reducing them to serfdom and Clinton 2.0 promises more of the same. At this point they're willing to try anything, no matter how crazy, because they've got nothing left to lose.

  32. Major Kong Says:

    @pabrocb

    Beautiful place, Victoria. Been there a couple times and loved it. Hope it works out for you.

  33. Jestbill Says:

    GWB hit 25% but averaged around 30% popularity towards the end.

    Trump will get no less no matter what.

    The yelling and screaming are just the end of an era. Of course, life moves so slowly that this era of religionism, racism and class warfare will not be fully gone for some time.
    Eventually we'll have different religions to fight over and a different class division. Oh yeah–racism will never end.

  34. Coises Says:

    When a couple people break the law to game the system, you can say there’s something wrong with them. When thousands of Wells Fargo employees create a couple million fake accounts, there’s a systemic problem. You can still blame them, I suppose, but it misses the point.

    What Trumpism has shown us—if we somehow didn’t already know—is that we have deep, systemic failings in our society. These failings aren’t just making people’s lives a little harder or a little less secure than they could be if things were working optimally. They’re making people crazy. They’re leading people to grasp at straws to explain why, when they’ve done everything they believed was right, they still feel frightened, unfulfilled, powerless and hopeless. Sometimes good people grab hold of some very cold and evil straws. That is the nature of crazy.

    I can’t say that anything I’ve seen in this campaign cycle comes as more than a minor surprise. We’ve been creating madmen and monsters for decades now. We had to come within spitting distance of critical mass sometime.

    The only thing that will truly shock me is if we manage to learn anything worthwhile from all of this.

  35. mothra Says:

    Well, I am with everyone else–this racism is nothing new–Trump has just given it platform. Which I think is good and bad. It's good because it's about the time everyone realized "that nice Mrs. Wellbottom down the street" is a raving racist. Or "that friendly Mr. Bobolink" is a vituperative misogynist. Then you know exactly what you are dealing with. It's bad because it is further dividing us into tribes. As we can see from many other places in the world, tribal politics are some very hard politics indeed.

  36. c u n d gulag Says:

    No, there's no "going back."

    What I call "The Cold Civil War," is heating back up again.

    'There will be blood…'
    A lot of it.

    You can't "fix 'stupid' – or bigoted!"

    So the only alternative is to beat it into the ground, salt the ground, and deal with the result(s)".

  37. quixote Says:

    Well, blacks and women and hispanics and all the rest of the non-white male crew have either seen all the crap their whole lives, or had to work horribly hard to fool themselves.

    So the only thing that's really changed is it's harder to pretend.

    I'm not sure that'll cause any big changes. It hasn't in the rest of the world.

    Maybe what you mean is that the US will lose hope that they could have been different.

    But there's no need for that either. There's still the same potential to get fired up about the Bill of Rights that there always was. Who to follow is a revocable decision, not a genetic trait like the shape of your nose.

  38. Lit3Bolt Says:

    Part of it is the Internet, which basically a school of narcissistic piranha swimming in a sea of their own ejaculate.

    Part of it is the Last Days of the White Man. It's a bull bellowing as it's led to slaughter.

    With the amount of guns floating around in this country, it should be obvious white guys are not running around and shooting them, because there's no motorcycles or Xboxes in prison. The thought of being in prison surrounded by the darkies his society helped put there makes the toughest neo-Nazi roll over and piddle his belly.

    What's not important is religion, skin color, gender, or language. What is important is Enlightenment values, and the commitment to them. The only metric people should be judged by is whether or not they realize the intrinsic dignity and value of other human beings.

  39. schmitt trigger Says:

    It may take 25 years later, but we might see again an USSR-like implosion.

    The difference there is that Russia was so much larger and powerful than the rest of the Republics, that it could keep the nuclear stockpile mostly safe and to themselves.

  40. mago Says:

    So much fodder for comment here but will just respond to RosiesDad to say don't do it.
    I skipped Bush senior years in the late 80's early 90's in rural Spain. That was all right, but I was younger then and what we had was was percolation in the now erupting swamp along with the first Iraq Yemen foray shit. And I could deal with over-under-sideways-down better then.

    Been back in the States for 3 years from 5 years in Costa Rica during 2 election cycles and economic meltdown. Wasn't running away from the politics, it just happened.

    Now, not exactly glad to be back, but if you've got anything going on at all stick with it. There's no safe haven, and the food and water's pretty good here.
    Also, it's no fun always being the foreigner, even if you speak the language.
    Also, harder to adjust after 50.
    Pretty much fucked everywhere you go is the thrust.

  41. JTC Says:

    "Someone will bring up the Civil War and remind me that time heals all wounds."

    150 years of festering is a kind of healing, I guess.

  42. Talisker Says:

    Ed is correct. Depressing, but correct. Letting the genie out of the bottle takes moments; putting it back takes years, maybe generations.

    I blame the Republican party. Say what you will about Clinton, she's calling out Trump for what he is. The so-called leaders of the GOP could have chosen to denounce Trump. Instead, they've fallen silent like the cowards they are.

    @Aero:

    Yeah, Trump is endorsed by actual white supremacists. But those damn Mexican immigrants are trying to get educated with that fancy book-larnin, so I guess both sides are equally bad.

    @Nunya:

    the left has gone full-tilt insane on identity politics in which absolutely everything is racist and sexist and the evil white man is solely responsible for it all.

    If by "the left" you mean "a handful of college kids with nothing better to do," then yes. Most of them will grow out of it.

    Out of problems facing America, excessive sensitivity to racism/sexism ranks below feral raccoons, and slightly above hangnails.

    @mago:

    Also, harder to adjust after 50.

    I'm trying to think of anywhere on the planet easier for an American to adjust to than Victoria, BC. I got nothin'. I mean, the Queen's face is on the money, official signs are in both English and French, and it rains all the damn time, but other than that, I don't see the problem. You can even drive to Seattle for the weekend and catch an NFL game. ;-)

  43. April Says:

    @mago "Now, not exactly glad to be back, but if you've got anything going on at all stick with it. There's no safe haven, and the food and water's pretty good here.
    Also, it's no fun always being the foreigner, even if you speak the language."

    Amen!

  44. JustRuss Says:

    @JTC: It's funny because it's true.

  45. MS Says:

    The Governor of Kentucky says patriots may need to shed blood to reclaim the U.S. if Clinton wins:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/295601-ky-gov-patriots-may-need-to-shed-blood-to-reclaim-us-if

    At the precipice.

  46. Aero Says:

    @Talisker: Let's not simplify here, it doesn't bother me that people want to be educated. The thrust of my argument on that account was that the timing of the push came at about the worst possible time with regards to California's ailing university system, but the best possible time to push for any pie-eyed progressive idea one could think up. Along those same lines, did you see the challenge to tenure laws that got shot down? Same thing, except that one was Silicon Valley asshats hiding behind immigrant children and a veneer of progressiveness to hide their real agenda. In the same way, I think the legislation I was referring to probably sounds good to opportunists of immigrant groups who want a bigger slice of the pie than they have (the size of which is debatable but also not that important to what I'm saying.) But what it's actually doing is pushing yet another group of poor students into a system that can't really fund them for the full length of their collegiate path, further shrinking the already shallow scholarship and grant pool. So they must get loans. And by roping however many hundreds or thousands more students into the college debt ponzi scheme, colleges can tell their shareholders — because let's be honest here, that's the model now — that they got a few more percentage points up this year in terms of profit. What that piece of legislation doesn't do, insofar as I can tell anyways, is require those students to become citizens of the US. And that means that, unlike the rest of us debt slaves who paid into the system, they can walk away with no repercussions and if they are smart, they will. You can't garnish the wages of someone who wasn't ever a permanent part of the system to begin with. So everyone involved wins, but everyone outside of those two groups is getting a little more of the shaft than they were getting before. In other words: Fuck the other guy. I got mine.

  47. mago Says:

    No one is reading this post's comments now, but just to respond to Talisker:

    Check out what the Chinese elite have done to real estate in Vancouver, BC.

  48. Talisker Says:

    @mago: I meant in cultural terms. Of course, Vancouver is expensive (Victoria slightly less so), and would be with or without the Chinese.

  49. Talisker Says:

    @Aero: Um, ok. I thought I was discussing a post on the presidential election. Obviously you feel strongly about California university policy, but I personally don't.

  50. Matt Says:

    Someone will bring up the Civil War and remind me that time heals all wounds.

    Or not, given that the heart of Trumpism is a multigenerational community descended from refugees from a 150-yr-old failed state that have never given up the values of their "old country" and insist on flying its flag at every opportunity to express their rejection of their host country's values.. ;)

  51. Tom Says:

    Standing? …by herself? Isn't that a little optimistic, Ed?

  52. Kathy Says:

    Well, I was appreciating all the well thought out responses and learning some things as well. That is, until TOM. Really, Tom that's what you got out of all this? I guess it is time to abandon all hope.