Monday, July 31, 2017

Mixed Meters Attempts Political Optimism

Progressives could use some good news. It’s pretty bleak out there right now for the far left.  Hard it is to write something even minimally positive.

The best news we might get in the near term - the next three years or so - is that some of the front and center political stories, the ones we can’t escape daily, the ones that scream headlines at us from every media pore, might somehow resolve themselves without turning into utter catastrophes. There’s an awful lot of assuming the worst at the moment.  Doom and gloom is par for the course.

Assuming the worst is not an unrealistic standpoint, it’s just depressing.   And, if we're lucky, maybe the bullets will only graze us, not score direct hits.  Trusting to luck may be the best we can do.

For example, maybe the Republican scrooges won’t be able to replace our bad but functional healthcare bill, the ACA (aka Obamacare).  They got within one vote of pushing exactly that agenda last week.  They failed.  That's lucky.  (Don't be fooled.  They'll be back.)

Politicians are well known for promising things they can’t deliver, but in the case of health care the Republicans have set a whole new standard.  They've promised repeal and replace so many times that even they felt the need to give the impression of having told the truth, to make good on their promise any which way, by hook or by crook.  Their parliamentary antics would be pretty funny to watch, like in a movie, if real-world consequences weren’t so serious.

Try to think of Congress as a Keystone Cops movie.  Just remember, they're trying to do bad things and, as a country, we're better off when they screw up at their jobs.

Another example — it might be that the Russia/Trump campaign story won't amount to anything.   And maybe the United States won’t be racked by another impeachment.  Once the dust settles it’s possible that there’ll be no smoking gun.  This might teach us to go into future elections on high alert to any outside influence, maybe even with a tiny bit of contrition over past U.S. attempts to influence elections in other countries.  (Who am I kidding?  Contrition?)

And we can hope that Russiagate, when it’s finally unwound to the very end, might teach all Americans that someone who brings only his shady business ethics to the office of President is not qualified for that job.  And maybe he'll bumble through his entire term without being removed from office, without giving the other Republicans a do over.

Here's another one - maybe our environment is not completely doomed.  Yes, Trump’s minions are toiling unnoticed underground at the EPA and the Energy Department to unlock extra huge profits for environment-plundering mega-corporations.  Meanwhile, maybe America’s free market system, so touted by Koch-brother-funded think tanks, will allow state governments and enlightened businesses and concerned individuals to protect bits of the environment on their own as best they can.

Like the famous Hebrew National hot dog commercial, Americans can start answering to an authority higher than the government, in this case Mother Earth herself, except the issue is how to dispose of our shit rather than silly rules about what we eat to produce it in the first place.

One thing's for sure, whatever happens on any of these stories (and there are many more equally important topics each with similarly small bits of hidden optimism which can only be revealed by double talk and self delusion), our brazen liar president will find a way to declare himself victorious on all of them.  He’s our own Indiana Jones-ish political anti-hero: he cuts a dashing figure, spins every story to look like a winner, gets help on the hard stuff from shady stunt men and then takes all the credit and all the close-ups.

We left-wingers can only watch as the political right and the radical political right duke it out for control of the ruling Republican party with one hand while attempting to run the country at the same time with the other.  So far mostly they've ended up slugging themselves in the face.  This has resulted in lots of failure - so much failure you're probably getting tired of failure, to paraphrase I forget who.  That failure is pure manure for left-wing optimism.

So - with dumb luck and with the help of Trump-family administration incompetence plus Republican congressional disfunction and then with even more even dumber luck, we as a nation might muddle through.  There'll be one hell of a lot of crap to clean up afterwards.  Piles and piles of it.  The many self-inflicted bruises will take a long time to heal.  And if something big happens on Donald's watch - a North Korean bomb or a stock market crash or a terrorist attack or merely a generic, garden variety national crisis - all optimism will be summarily cancelled.

There you have it.  That's my "positive" message.  Aren't you glad I'm trying to think on the bright side?

Meanwhile - here's the scariest article I read this month: Meet the Group of Right-Wing Christians Who Believe President Trump Was Chosen by God

Here's a quote:
Seven Mountains’ strategic goal is for Christians to seize control of all aspects of civil and political society by whatever means necessary. This includes the media, arts, education, government, religion, business, and family. Once these believers secure all of these “seven mountains,” Christ will return. And for POTUS Shield, Donald Trump is the guy to do it.

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