Leftist or right wing nutjob?

If anyone meandered through the ether of the internet and somehow found themselves flushed down the pipes to land at this blog, they might wonder about my allegiance to either the left or right wing of politics.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t believe I am either, and I do try to look at issues with some degree of impartiality. Also, because I think that reductive labels do nothing to discourse, and serves only to pigeonhole people into two separate trays of “Who I should like” and “Who I should dislike”.

The follow up to this determining of my position is to wonder what it is that I hope to achieve here. If I support neither side, then what am I trying to impart to the reader of this hovel?

I don’t seek to convert people to any one ideology. Seeking converts is for religion and cults, and I don’t need people aligning with me by virtue of wearing the correct colours.

After being told over the past decade that right-wing people are deluded imbeciles with no attachment to reality, I did consider myself leaning toward the left. The moment of detachment from this was in 2013 when Wendy Davis filibustered a piece of legislation that would have consequences for abortion clinics in Texas.

It’s not that I agreed or disagreed with her stance, or her filibustering, but this part of the proceedings (from the story):

At about 11.45pm, Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who had arrived from her father’s funeral, felt she was being ignored by the presiding officer, the Republican Lt Gov David Dewhurst. She asked him: “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognised over her male colleagues?”

That sparked boisterous chanting from the public gallery which lasted until after midnight and threw proceedings into turmoil. Amid the din, no one was sure if a vote had taken place in time. Democrats claimed it happened a minute or two after the deadline, while Republicans said the vote should stand.

That a rukus caused by people can impact the democratic process did not clang well with me. I would detest it if these tactics were used for a piece of legislation I agreed with, and I could not celebrate the win for the filibuster using such means. It set a very dangerous precedent, and these tactics could be employed against the very people who cheered them from the gallery.

As I’ve said before, the tactics you employ are the tactics you endorse and allow to be used against you. Being an upstart might win you today, but tomorrow could bring a louder upstart from the other side.

In conclusion, I am not writing these things to convince people that one side of the debate is better than another. Rather, I am writing these things to hopefully have people realise that their own side is just as likely to do horrible things. Even moreso if they have had the reins of power for too long.

Blind support of a team makes you blind to their evils. Today, like any day, we must be able to recognise potential for evil within our team and within ourselves.

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When does a celebrity dive in?

The world of being a Creator must be a crazy one. Having never held any success with my attempts to create, I can only assume that the world beyond my zeroed hit counter is incredibly enlightening. Given how many people seem to assume that audience size is tantamount to truthfulness, I can only assume that the moment someone’s numbers explode, a beam of light descends from the clouds, and people are given the enlightenment that many buddhists suffer and meditate for a lifetime to achieve.

Because successful people seem to be given a lot of airtime for their, frankly, stupid views.

It’s easy to pick a target and fire at them with criticism, but frankly it’s pointless. For one, they won’t listen. For two, Youtube exists and has a large number of visible people flailing their arms about with righteous indignation. WordPress is not the best place for such rampant delusions of relevance.

But I were to cast my mind into the faint possibility that I could be somehow notorious for something. At what point do I stop revelling in my own self-congratulations, look out upon a crowd of people and think to myself, “I know better than these people and they should listen to me”?

Let’s bypass the irony of me typing these words on a blog where I seemingly profess to know all, and position myself into the shoes of an actor or singer. I know nothing much about the world, but I am decent at pretending to be other people, or pitching my voice at a resonance that is not ear-savaging. I can perform. I can please a room of people.

But why would I think my opinions on sensitive subjects such as politics and religion are warranted, insightful, or even correct? Moreover, why would I expect anyone to give more weight to my words over, say, Jill the Plumber from Arizona? I have just as much exposure to politics as Jill does, yet I feel I should include my voice to the exclusion of others. Why would I think that?

When Katy Perry demands for love (or “resistance“), or Leonardo DiCaprio preaches for climate change (not that I oppose their opinions on the subjects), why should we nod along with them and pledge money to their cause celebre? Why wouldn’t we listen to actual scientists, or psychologists instead? Is it because they aren’t as pretty as Katy or Leo?

Part of me can understand these celebrities, though. I mean, what would I do if I had nothing to worry about? What would drive me if I reached the top of my industry, had enough wealth to ensure my family’s well-being for generations, and enough food in the fridge for the most sacrilicious orgies that would make Caligula blush?

I’d worry about immortality, or legacy. What better way to ensure that – at least in these mortal bodies – than by enshrining our place in history as “That Person Who Stopped Bad Thing”.

Of course, most prominent historical figures stood up in the face of great danger, engaged their bravery gland, and stood tall. However, in the instance of Katy and Leo, they stand up in the face of popular consensus, have engaged their preaching gland and deliver the most milquetoast of opinions that challenge precisely no one.

Feelings trump the news

In the wake of the testifying of former FBI Director James Comey, I’ve noticed a fairly significant rhythm and rhyme in the way that the media has been reporting on the event.

Aside from the non-revelation that a billionaire would dare to be outrageous with the truth for the sake of personal benefit, I am surprised a little that the headlines seem to focus upon Comey’s assessment of Trump’s character, rather than the actual news stories I took from the testimony. Those being:

  • Then Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, asked Comey to call the investigation into Clinton a “matter” – effectively removing any kind of insidious tone to the process – to which Comey actually complied.
  • Comey was the leaker of information, albeit indirectly (not a crime in this instance, but certainly questionable for a public servant).
  • The New York Times was “almost entirely wrong” about the alleged contact between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It is no great surprise that media outlets are very biased in their coverage, and their glossing over these particular points does make me understand why trust in them is at an all-time low.

However, many would distill this down to being a left-right issue, when I think it crosses party lines and starts treading into “establishment elite” versus their outgroup. Ever since the US election in November 2016, there has been zero let-up in the attacks on the person who the people voted for. These attacks have come from Democrats, the media (both left and right), the majority of social media sites, and even Republicans.

I don’t care for Trump, personally. However, I was happy to let him see out his first term and watch him make an ass out of himself, letting the system oust him over time. However, it appears that the powers-that-be are not content with this timeframe and are wanting to hurry things along. This concerted effort, I am sure, has not gone unnoticed with those moderate people who were on the fence with Trump, and are now seeing rich elite entities poo-pooing the peoples’ choice and trying to have it removed.

I am aware that when it comes to conspiracy theories, that if you are unable to name a “they”, then the theory is just paranoid delusion. I’ll deal with this later, I think.

Polls are (still) dead

I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Polls are dead.

The UK just had their election. I understand that the early call of the election was done on the back of huge polling support numbers in favour of the Tories. The thinking was that they have an early election while they’re still popular, and then solidify the number of representatives in the House of Commons.

Well, that all went to shit pretty quickly, and those who support the left are delighted.

If anything, apart from the fact that politicians shouldn’t take the constituency for fools, and that they shouldn’t rest on their laurels, they should know that polls are not the silver bullet for reading the mood of the people. Of course, there are myriad reasons for why the election resulted the way that it did, but I would direct my attention more for what the result implies.

People are sick of it all. We are beyond an apathetic voter now, and rather than them simply voting for the least hate-able option, they are livid. They are tired of polished politicians giving them the typical polished speak, and smiling promises that fail to materialise into anything apart from half-washed bullshit.

The message is clear. Be better representatives. Stop telling people how to think, and start listening to them. Yes, even the ignorant ones. Even the smart ones. Even the smart ones who pretend to be morally superior. Just fucking listen.

This isn’t about left and right anymore. It’s about who can actually offer something apart from platitudes and promises, and maybe even solutions that seem to work. For instance, clamping down on the Internet as a means to stifle terrorist events is a paper-thin idiot’s offering for a situation that people find very scary. Asking the people to make personal concessions for a problem of not their doing is a fool’s errand, and when it proposes changes that have literally nothing to do with the problem at hand, then everyone knows that you’re – to use the British expression – taking the piss.

And especially so when making society change in the face of terrorism is tantamount to capitulating to it.

Be better representatives. Come with effective solutions and not “electable” ones. Think beyond the term and look to the future beyond polling days.

Because polls are dead. Stop using them and bring actual vision.

The Griffin Head joke

I hate that I need to reiterate a point I’ve already made, but the week’s story that everyone seems to be talking about – for reasons I do not fathom – is the one where comedian Kathy Griffin holds aloft the severed head of the President of the United States.

TJ Kirk’s video effectively sums up my thoughts on the scenario.

I loathe getting into left-right labelling, because it immediately paints people into categories of “them and us”. People will squeal, “Oh the lefties do this” or “those right-wing nutjobs are at it again” trying to convince whoever is within earshot that there is a good “us” side and a nasty “them” side.

When the truth is we’re all the same kind of dumb animals.

Kathy Griffin’s photo in this instance is grotesque and not to my taste. Like TJ Kirk, I think it boring, pedestrian, and unchallenging. Ooooh, you hate Trump? Great. Join the millions of others on the pile. Fucking yawn.

However, I do not feel it a good idea that I be some kind of arbiter as to what kind of speech is palatable for the masses. God knows I hate a great number of comedians, artists, musicians, and would love to have them never perform a single piece ever again, but I am not that kind of person. Not because I am of high moral fibre, or because I am smart.

But because I possess an “off” button on my technology. I can choose to not listen or watch or taste.

Griffin has since lamented the apparent loss of her career, and many have bayed for her dismissal from any kind of public role. As I said in my previous post, I do not think that instances like these warrant attacks on peoples’ livelihoods. If not because that effectively stifles free speech, then because it reduces all discussion into milquetoast inoffensive words that dare not push any boundaries – even if (and especially if) boundaries need to be pushed. Sometimes we need to be confronted with views.

I don’t mean to say that Griffin’s photo was a necessity, either. As I said, it was boring. There are far more interesting and important debates to be had than “I hate Trump”. But if our reaction to an actual debate is to attack the livelihood of those who engage in it, then this is a path to destruction.

“But the other side does it” is a fucking lazy excuse, too. Do better than your supposed “other side”, and maybe then some moderates might come around to actually listening to you.

As I’ve said: the behaviour you exhibit is the behaviour you endorse – even with your opposition. Especially with your opposition.