Thursday, July 15, 2021

Mid-Year Resolutions

     I’m making some resolutions. Sure, we’re more than halfway through the year, but there’s no time like the present. Literally; the now is the only hammer we’ve got and everything is a nail.

      Not every nail should be whacked. I have resolved if anyone in my circle of acquaintances decides to get vaccinated going forward, I’m not going to chortle or crow, no matter how skeptical or reluctant they have been in the past.

     Likewise, anyone I know who plans to avoid the jab isn't going to get any nudges from me. It’s raining soup and if you don’t want a bowl, then you don’t.

     We are where we are in the pandemic. The roller coaster is long past the initial ascent and this ride will play out however it plays out.

     In politics, what I have learned is that I have no home. By gradual degrees, the notion that “libertarian” means “super-Republican” has taken over, even as the GOP has crept away from the type of conservatism it once embraced and moved towards an authoritarian (and European-style) Right. The Democrats remain nearly as chaotic as they were when Will Rogers decribed his membership as “not belonging to an organized political party,” but the center of the chaos is still a deep faith that an unlimited central government is an unlimited good, and I just don’t share it. Whatever anarchists we have left all appear to be of the bomb-throwing and/or anarchosoclialist variety, and that’s actively repugnant to me.  Socialists, communists and the alt-Right all get a hard no from me, based on my reading of history.

      So that means when it comes to politics, I’m a guest here. While I’m not going to refrain from criticizing politicians – and we sure have some doozies! – I will endeavor to not criticize the politics of private individuals. After all, no matter how crazy or awful or even wonderful their opinions, they’ve only got one vote, just like me, even if they don’t believe it got counted. (I’m not even going to argue about that. What’s the use?)

      I do think we’ve got about ten years to fix our political and cultural problems, starting with restoring faith in our institutions and getting people of every party involved at more than the rah-rah rally and protest level. I don’t know what I can do about that but I’ll look for opportunities to make a positive contribution.

      Positivity is an important factor. If you find yourself supporting policies or personalities because they infuriate the opposition, I beg you to take a step back and reconsider. For conservatives, I’ll point out that Buckley’s stiking image was standing athwart the tracks of relentless change shouting “Stop!” not hurling insults at the locomotive’s engineer. Progressives would do well to look at the post WW II history of the United States and realize that no mandate lasts more than an election cycle or two. 

     Both sides had better figure that the last two Presidential elections have gone to the candidate who was the least odious to the greatest number of voters apportioned state-by-state and no matter how shiny their own candidate may have looked to the base, the margin of victory relied on the percepton that the losing candidate was lousier. That’s not a good sign for the future. We should expect more from Presidential candidates than sucking less than the other guy, and certainly more than they send the other side into fits of rage. The office was never intended to have the kind of power than could raise the stakes that high.*
* The power to really mess things up seems to me to have been Constitutionally reserved to Congress; the Executive branch appears to have been intended to keep the chaos patched up and more-or-less running day-to-day.

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