Friday, September 7, 2012

Guest Post: The Grumpy Bulldog: It's Not Just About ME

With the two political conventions the last two weeks I can't resist doing a political post, despite that I promised myself not to rant about politics on this blog.  So sue me.  Anyway, it's time now for my alter-ego the Grumpy Bulldog to come out of the doghouse with some political thoughts.

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During the Republican convention, Mitt Romney and his cronies tried to draw back on that old Reagan line of "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?"  (This despite that the only similarity between Reagan and Romney is dyeing their hair.)  Then the Democrats took up that question and people took to Twitter with hash tags and stuff.

Is the Grumpy Bulldog better off than 4 years ago?  NO!  I mean besides time's continual march onward making me older, balder, and fatter, I'm not really better off than four years ago.  The company I work for is going to be out of business in about two years because the UAW program I work for got axed in the last deal with GM.  (Though really we'd probably have been out of business 3 years ago if Romney had gotten his way.)

So obviously I'm not better off than I was at this time in 2008.  That means I have to vote for Romney, right?  Um, no.  See because the problem so many people have in casting their vote is thinking it's only about ME instead of what's good for America as a whole.

Republicans especially love to prey on this selfishness.  There's a billboard on I-75 by Detroit that says, "Obama Supports Abortion and Gay Marriage, Do You?--Vote Republican."  The implication there is that if you don't like abortion or gay marriage then you have to vote Republican.  Which to me is bullshit.

OK, to be honest I don't "like" abortion.  I'm not going around screaming, "Wooo, Abortions!!!  Yeah, let's kill us some fetuses!!!"  But I understand (thanks in large part to The Cider House Rules by John Irving) that it's a complex issue.  Banning abortions for everyone just because I personally do not support them is far too simplistic for the world we live in.

As for gay marriage, why the fuck shouldn't we allow it?  What, because some book from 2000 years ago maybe says it's bad?  The same book that includes incest, rape, and murder to please an invisible entity?  The same book where that invisible entity kills a man's family and destroys his life just to win a bet with the devil?  Anyway, why should Kim Kardashian be able to marry some guy she barely knows but two guys or two girls who are in love and have known each other forever not be able to get married?  How does that make sense?  Or to use the somewhat cynical argument from my book Where You Belong, marriage can be fucked up no matter where your genitals are.

Besides that, neither of these issues really affect me personally.  I'm not going to get any women knocked up.  And I'm sure as hell not ever going to need an abortion.  I'm not going to marry any dudes either.  So really, why the hell should I vote for someone just because of those issues?

But to get back more to my point, I hate that people do let these kind of issues determine their vote.  I especially hate when people think, "I don't like abortion, so no abortions for anyone!"  Or "I don't like gays so they can't have the same rights as everyone else!"  Who the hell are you to decide that for millions of other people?  Get over yourself!

So that's what I'm saying when I talk about it's not just about ME and whether I'm better off or which candidate I think better reflects MY values.  It's about who I think is better for everyone in America as a whole.  And I think the better guy is the one who's inclusive, rather than the one who's exclusive.  Because America is about freedom and if our leaders don't believe in freedom then what the hell good are they?

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Another thing I wanted to bring up is a little historical nugget I thought of.  Back during the onset of the Depression, Herbert Hoover was president.  Hoover was a pro-business Republican, which was fine in the Roaring 20s but did shit for America when the stock market tanked and the economy collapsed.  Hoover's response to the Depression was largely to do nothing.  He touted that Americans' "rugged individualism" would pull them through.  Which it obviously didn't, so they elected FDR, who believed the government should take a more active role in the situation, which actually didn't do all that much better.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the whole Tea Party thing is really a return to Hooverism.  All this small government stuff they tout is the same "rugged individualism" Hoover championed.  That kind of thing might sound great until you lose your job, get evicted from your home, and have to dig through garbage cans for food.  Back in 1930-31 or so, people who lost their homes founded tent/shack cities they called Hoovervilles.  That's rugged individualism for you.  It didn't work in 1932 and it's not going to work in 2012 either.

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Something else while I'm venting all this stuff is I went on vacation in July up to Petoskey, Michigan.  (It's near the top of the mitten.)  Driving around I kept seeing these bumper stickers and billboards saying, "Defend Freedom, Vote Against Obama!"  To me this is just like the Birther crap, the "Obama 2016" mockumentary, and all these other conspiracy theories floating around.  And I think to myself, "What has this man actually DONE to warrant that much hate?"

I mean when you say "Defend Freedom" what freedoms have been infringed in the last 3+ years?  Your freedom to go bankrupt should you need a costly operation because you don't have medical insurance?  I get so tired of all this paranoid "Manchurian Candidate" crap.  He's a Kenyan Muslim!  He's a secret Communist!  He's an alien parasite from the planet Xenu!  Sorry, but there's no actual, factual evidence to support any of that shit.  I don't care if you're rich like Donald Trump, you still come off sounding like the paranoid guy wearing a tinfoil hat so the government can't read his thoughts.  It's sad then to think these people's vote counts just as much as mine.

Strangely though all these tinfoil hat wearers don't seem to have any problem electing a guy who's a leader in a religion that believes the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, there were white Native Americans before the real Native Americans, God lives on another planet, and all the other crazy hoodoo the Mormons believe.  You don't even need a tinfoil hat for that; it's a fact!  (Or facts I learned from "South Park" and "Religulous" at least.)  Ironically if I went about screaming about that stuff all those tinfoil hat wearers would call me a bigot.  Just like if I say they're racist dolts they'd say I'm racist against white people.  (That seriously happened in 2008.)

Anyway, I guess the overall point is I wish we lived in a country where people could think rationally and look at the big picture instead of coloring everything with their own prejudices.

Tuesday is still a Two-Fer, not that you care...

9 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Problem is, there is a dire shortage of people who possess a functioning brain they can use to THINK FOR THEMSELVES. And common sense has become more rare than Unicorn tusk, too. And you're spot on when you talk about people who say, "I've got mine. I don't care about you." That's just palin WRONG!

    As you know I'm a cynic. I listen to what both parties say, but filter it multiple times before I ingest any of it. In short, I don't trust 'em.

    S

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  2. I long for the days when politics and religion didn't cross wires.

    Religion in my opinion is extremely problematic. It should stay separate completely from matters of politics, but our government is increasingly under attack by those who believe wrongly that religious values are the proper values by which we should both govern and raise our children. It is at the crux of the gay marriage debate. It is at the crux of the abortion debate. It is at the root of gender roles in business. It is at the root of the debate on natural resources. It is at the root of the debate on climate change. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    In the United States, we have politicians who start with a simple enough premise. They argue theoretically in favor of an ageless being outside of normal space/time who pressed "start" on the universe, guides the fates of every living organism that was or ever will be, and/or who is capable of receiving and responding to telepathic messages sent by those who truly believe in Him.

    Okay fine. I can listen to this argument. But then it begins to go further.

    They argue that there is a separate and intangible state of existence outside of the one we can see and hear where our consciousnesses get transferred to once our physical bodies cease functioning, i.e. "heaven." And there are all kinds of rules one has to obey in order to get to this place. And if you don't, well then you are headed to the other place. And as you expect it would, this is where a sour taste begins to form in my mouth.

    Then comes the religious diatribe (looking at the likes of Rick Santorum and yes, Mitt Romney) and there's not one shred of scientifically verifiable evidence to prove either of them true. However, there's also no way to specifically prove them false either, because such data by its very definition would have to exist outside of our ability to measure. As a man that loves science, I can admit that it cannot disprove god, much to my chagrin.

    But then, these politicians go one more step, and this one is the one that makes me angry. They attack "evolution". But evolution is a whole other ballgame.

    Like gravity, it is only a theory, but it's a theory for which every single piece of evidence we've amassed in 200+ years of research into biology, paleontology, geology, genetics, astrophysics, and countless other fields all unanimously say "FUCK YES", this is what is happening.

    If one scientifically measurable piece of evidence arose which said "Hey, look. I've eliminated all the other known forces and this thing keeps falling up" or "hey, here's a modern upright hominid skeleton discovered in the exact same strata as this ankylosaurus, and by the way, did you hear about that study at MIT disproving radiocarbon dating, and the team at Berkley who spontaneously generated a cow?" the theories would have to be dutifully reevaluated, or thrown out completely.

    But in a complete surprise to no one, THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED, and based on the generally stable and predictable nature of the universe, should continue not happening for the foreseeable future.

    So people (politicians included)who deny evolution and insist that the Earth is merely 6000 years old (without producing any proof beyond their circular statement that "it is because I believe it to be so"), should be treated with the same mixture of ridicule and fear as the folks who deny the holocaust or claim that the world is secretly run by a conspiracy of lizard people.

    And I don't know about you, but I don't want to be ruled by those who believe lizard people secretly run the world. IT's fucking insane! (continued)

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  3. The sheer mountain of readily available evidence to the contrary is so staggeringly huge, that logically, we should just be able to write them off as loonies and get on with our afternoon without paying the matter a second's thought.

    Unfortunately, we have this natural psychological predisposition to treat two opposing viewpoints as equal, simply because they are opposite. Regardless of how weighted one side may be in terms of actual supporting evidence.
    Combine that with our culture's weird taboo about holding religious beliefs sacrosanct, and somehow immune from public scrutiny and application of conventional logic, (even when the owners of those beliefs attempt to impose their religious ideas on areas outside of personal worship) and thinkers like me can understand why democrats and republicans can no longer see eye-to-eye.

    The right needs to grow some balls and get rid of the bible-thumping heavy influencers that populate the T.E.A. Party and those akin to Mike Huckabee before I can ever see critical thinking democrats compromising with their issues.

    Our country is in a sad state of affairs. Education is under attack from religious conservatives who keep trying to push Intelligent Design into textbooks and who drive up the cost of education while destroying the value of public education. I'm worried. I vote democrat because I believe they hold closest to the values that I appreciate. If Mitt Romney wins this election, it will prove only one thing. That a religious organization can truly buy the presidency. Make no mistake, he and the Mormon church are bed partners.

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  4. I think it boils down to, really, one thing:

    After the various speeches at the 2 conventions, the fact checkers (neutral guys who are just verifying things against data) came to 2 conclusions:
    1. The Republicans LIED all over the place. Blatantly! And, then, when confronted with their lies, shrugged them off. Not only that, but their followers did to. Like it's not a big deal that they freaking MADE STUFF UP.

    2. The Democrats did not lie. They presented actually facts and truths and did NOT make stuff up.

    With those 2 options, why would anyone with half a brain vote for Romney? Oh, wait...

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    1. The funniest thing too was with Paul Ryan's speech a Fox "News" editor came out and blasted most of it as blatant lies. I mean when you're a Republican and the Republican propaganda network comes out and calls you a liar that's really saying something.

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    2. The whole Republican thing really sort of made me sick. I got stuck listening to some of it, and the whole thing from the governor of NM going on about how Romney is the only one that can restore the "American Dream" just turned my stomach. Which dream was that? The one where we make non-Caucasians and women into slaves and rape the environment? Because, yeah, that's the dream he wants for America.

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  5. Interesting post. I am a little better off than I was 4 years ago, but if you go back further...I'm still a lot worse off. But I agree, it's not all about me. I see some progress since Obama came into office. I think he saved the auto industry and reduced unemployment a little. This was some progress, but the Republicans act like there was none.

    Also one thing that irritates me is that the Republicans blamed Obama for the economy day 1 of when he took office. It was suddenly his economy? They really shouldn't say things like that if they want to win anyone over to their side. O.o (among all the other stupid stuff they say).

    As far as gay marriage, I don't think religion is the main thing holding it back. I think it's more a mix of things because I believe a true christian (or a spiritual person) means being understanding and wanting equal rights for all people. It's just that there are many who live in bubbles and are close minded about it. Isn't it Dick Chaney that has a gay daughter. As I recall, he is for gay marriage even though he is a republican. When it's someone close to you, then you understand. You want equal rights for your friends, brother, sister, etc..but again a lot of people live in bubbles.

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  6. Interesting post; I had to read it twice. I can't find anything here to disagree with. One of my favorite parts of the convention came in Joe Biden's rambling speech when he said,"Ask Bin Ladin if he's better off than he was four years ago."

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  7. Well, I know I'm not better off now than I was four years ago.

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