In recent weeks, I haven't been blogging as much as I once did. Blame it on current events.
Politics was always a sideshow. Snake handlers, fire-breathers, knife throwers, rubber-limbed contortionists, 500-pound marvels and the occasional dog-faced boy: take a gander at Congress and the White House and see the amazing, unusual people! It was entertaining and, give or take the odd war and domestic spying, almost harmless as central governments go. The Legislative branch would debate themselves to a standstill on everything but the most essential work while the Executive faffed around and the High Court mostly doddered along. It had everything except the bearded lady and trained dogs, and they were working on that. It has become something far uglier -- and so has the electorate.
As such, it's not as easy to mock. There is no political party that "just wants to leave people alone" any more. There's one that will mostly hector you (for a given value of "you") but pushes the occasional bad law with nary a blink, and one that mostly pushes bad laws but is more than happy to hector you, too (again, for given values of "you") and both sides have their more-or-less affiliated cheerleaders and mobs. (Indeed, one of the more appealing things about centrist Democrats is that there are enough of them that the violent Left puts in effort to disparage them, while on the Right, the gap between the majority of office-holders and their direct-action loonies appears to be shrinking.)
I could spend a lot of time pointing out the worst excesses of this mess in wide-eyed horror, but that's tiresome and, as it happens, neither side welcomes it. The Libertarian Party, once pretty much in the middle and, as a whole, pretty wacky, seems to have gone clean off the rails and not in a good way -- again, tiresome to deal with and not useful.
So mostly I just watch and think about which direction to jump. If the nastier outcomes begin to loom -- religious or ancestry-based nationalism, reactionary socialism, chaos or "Great Divorce,"* then I'll learn to speak Canadian in a hurry. Living in a blue(ish) county in a red state, if one or the other goes especially dangerous, I've got a chance to dodge, and there are bluer and redder states adjacent or not too far away. This is tolerable; it's a big country and harder to break than many people believe. But the situation doesn't fuel poking good-natured fun at politicians and institutions, not worth a darn.
And I'm not going to stoke the culture-war fires. Screw that noise. There are blogs in my sidebar that have come to glory in it, with a commentariat that daily encourages one another to become more and more extreme, the host blogger and his or her fans alike apparently unaware of the ugly rat hole they're chasing themselves down. I'd like to say, "How could you...?" but the answer is "Easily!" and they're loving every minute of it. Those chickens eventually come home to roost and they're well-rotted when they do, but people who are high on the moment rarely notice until it is too late.
I've got better things to do than yell at the tides, starting with keeping my own personal toes as dry as possible.
* Here's the thing: divorces are never "great." Some are tolerable, others aren't, but there's no balm whatsoever in that Gilead and a pair of Mexico-sized countries (or a couple of 4x Canadas) are not the same as one superpower. Don't think for a moment that China or Russia will ignore it.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
3 years ago