Wednesday, December 9, 2015

i was wrong

A few years ago, I made the prediction that by 2020 the Presidential Race would be decided by a reality television show.

I was wrong.  It's the 2016 Race that will be decided this way.

Being that I'm pretty much "in the middle", politically, it's always been difficult for me to see how either side of US politics can offer anything that will resonate with me.  Every 4 years I face the conundrum of who to vote for and why- and I have voted in every single Presidential election since 1984 - and for the record, I voted for Walter Mondale. (I had registered as a Republican, too!!)  I voted for Mondale because at the time, I saw Reagan as having flashed out in the previous 4 years, and even though I actually thought that Reagan had turned out to be a good POTUS, I just wanted someone new.  Mondale lost, of course- and Reagan had 4 more years and it turned out ok.

The thing that escapes me is why people put so much emphasis on the candidates stances on various things that really don't matter.  Now, I grew up the kid of a very good US Civics teacher, and even though he and I disagreed on a lot of things politically, I heard what he had to say and he heard me, too.  Discussion of things political were commonplace in my home, and sometimes became pretty impassioned.  My stepmother was (and still is) pretty conservative; my dad is a raging liberal (I call him a 'commie' for fun).  On the other side of my family, my mom and stepdad were ragingly conservative, and discussing politics with them would almost always end in an argument, so I stuck with my dad and stepmom- and my paternal grandparents (who were extremely liberal)  All sides were well represented, but my dad was the one I listened to the most.

I've been fascinated with history as long as I can remember.  If it's a historical document, I've probably read it.  I used to read historical narratives like some people gorge themselves at Thanksgiving, and US Government was part of that history that absolutely fascinated me.  Having someone in my home who could pretty much rattle off the entire US Constitution from memory was just icing on the cake- but he provided a lot more than that.  He provided context, and that context is missing from people's minds today.

The US Government was a very, very different setup from all other forms of government when it was first started.  Our founding fathers had all experienced various types of totalitarian governments- they were, in fact, geographically and financially located in a part of the world due to some of the more tyrannical aspects of those governments- and they were not too keen on repeating the mistakes of the past.  So, they created the idea of "checks and balances" within a governmental body, and it was a truly remarkable thing, too.  If you paid attention in Civics class, you know about this- the 3 branches of government- executive, judicial and legislative branches.  Neither of them is more powerful than the other, and each has their part to play- and, btw, this hasn't changed in 239 years.  There's a chain of command with the President at the top and others who can assume power along the way- blah, blah, blah.   While none of them really have any more power than the others, the President is actually the weakest of the 3 branches because he is an individual and can nothing without the votes or rulings from the other 2.  He balances that weakness with being able to veto things and say "no".  All of the sudden though, we seemed to have forgotten all of this.

So, now we have an actual reality television star running for office.  He has said some pretty crazy things, and people are reacting as though he can actually do the things that he talks about.  It's even gotten to the point where outside agencies are allowing what he says - as an unelected "official" to dictate policy.  People now label him a "fascist" (it's difficult to argue with that assessment) and believe that he will institute all manner of weirdness if he's elected.

BIG emphasis on the "if".

If that guy somehow manages to get elected, he still has to contend with the legislative branch who clearly doesn't share his views (despite what you may be hearing in the media, the GOP is not a fan of his) as well as the Left who have considerable and formidable power in the House and Senate. He'll also have to deal with judicial branch that will overturn things wholesale because it cannot stand on legal merits.  He cannot reduce the other parts of the government either, because to do that would require military involvement and the legislative branch controls their money- so that's a dead end.  (Not to mention that the US Military has no desire, training or tactical way to be a domestic police force.)  The very first time he tries to do something stupid (which would take probably 9 seconds for him to accomplish) it would result in the 3rd and fastest impeachment in US History.  (And, unlike the other impeachments, this one would stick.)

So- as one of my good friends likes to say- when it comes to Donald Trump, "calm your tits."

The upshot of all of this is that the populace of this country, in their haste to forget absolutely everything they learned in school about US Government, is doing nothing more than making this into a bigger and bigger circus than it already is.  Every time this fool opens his mouth, people feel the need to give it attention with the thought of "he's truly dangerous" when in fact, if elected, he will not have the power or clout to do any of the things he's been talking about.  While this goes on, the circus calliope that is US Politics just gets louder and louder and more and more clowns keep jumping out of cars.  The rest of the world laughs at us because of this, folks- not just at the fool politicians, but at the populace, too.  Outsiders to this country know more about the inner workings of our Federal government than we do, it seems- and we look like idiots because we pay attention to it.

It is we- the American people who have done this to ourselves.  In our race to find microwave answers to seriously difficult questions, we have basically paved the way for this kind of rampant stupidity.  We have no one to blame but ourselves- after all, these people are reality television stars, and the people are clammoring for reality television star behavior, so that's what they do.  They give us that.  And we eat it up like a dog eating it's own vomit.

What's really frightening here is that we are, in my (not so) humble opinion, right on the brink of a tremendous war on the Middle East, and most of us don't even realize it.  Right now, the biggest powers in the EU - UK, France and Germany - and Russia - are engaged in actual combat with ISIL/ISIS/Daesh (or whatever they're called this week) and we are committed there as well.  With the attacks on Paris and now on US soil, all it's gonna take is another one of those ass-hats to do something really awful and it's gonna be an all out war.  The last time(s) there was an all-out-war between the West and the Middle East, it didn't go so well- well, let's just say that the objectives were not held for long - and I'm pretty sure that's what's gonna happen again.  Hey- if we can't remember history, we are doomed to repeat it.  (Thank you, George Santyana)

So, I was wrong.  We've got a reality TV show for an election in 2016, not 2020.  And, I just know that we're all gonna play along.  I just wonder who's gonna be on which team- I can see Hilary Clinton on Team Gwen and Bernie Sanders on Team Blake, but I'm not sure where everyone else will fall.  The idea of Donald Trump with Pharrel Williams is pretty damned funny.......

I'm not done making predictions, by the way:

  1. Hilary Clinton is going to be our next President.
  2. There will be another terrorist attack bigger than San Bernardino by April.  I'm betting it will be something germ/chemical and will happen on the west coast.  Oh, God I hope I'm wrong about this one.
  3. We will be at war by summer.
Will I be wrong?  Maybe.  I honestly hope I am (especially #2) but I'm sure that with everyone all caught up in Trump's latest faux pas, no one will see it coming.

Then again- I've been wrong before.