Category Archives: Politics

Some days, I can’t even….

I’ve probably taken half a dozen runs toward this post, kind of a post-mortem of the past couple of months. Part of the reason it’s been hard is that I’m not really fond of conflict or controversy–at least in certain areas–and the thoughts and feelings I’ve been dealing with are kind of loaded with that stuff.

What I’m saying is, there’s a lot of negative stuff out there right now, and I’m not really thrilled with the idea of attracting any of it to me. May be a bit cowardly, but… well… *sigh*

Trump was elected.

The last few weeks have been filled with a lot of shock, anger, frustration, fear, second-guessing… not only my own, but also from a lot of friends and acquaintances. The Republican party, with the position it is in, has the power to affect the lives of a lot of people, and probably not for the better.

I’m a middle-aged, white, hetero (well, mostly), guy. I also live in a mostly white, rural state. I’m not likely to be in danger of any kind of systemic oppression or discrimination. But I know a lot of people who don’t have that luxury. As a friend, that’s troubling and upsetting to me. I can only imagine how it might be in their shoes.

On the one hand, I can kind of understand the attitude of those who are frustrated with the way things are. Things are pretty messed up in this country. There is a lot of uncertainty, and that leads to fear. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate…. the way to the dark side.

The world is not as they have expected — as they have been told it was. And those whose fault it is? Have lied and conned and manipulated. It’s the immigrants. It’s the muslims. It’s the blacks. It’s the OTHER.

wish they could be right. That, somehow, the upcoming administration and Republican ascension will result in — somehow — America becoming “great” again.

And, you know what? It will be. For Trump and the hateful sycophants he surrounds himself with.

But not for you.

Unless you are one of the very few with wealth and power, Trump and his ilk do not give a shit about you. They only care how you can be used to stifle dissent. How you can be used to maintain and exacerbate the differences that have been imposed. How you can fuel the engine of their enrichment and aggrandizement.

How you can be used.

There will, no doubt, be the occasional sop. The token gestures. But as the system is dismantled, our society taken apart piece by piece… people will suffer. And die. Any anger that manages to bubble up will be put down, or directed at the bogeymen they have created. The muslim. The black. The gay. The other.

There is no other.

There is only us. We have been divided. Misdirected. Pointed at each other so that we can have our pockets picked, our future sold off to enrich a select few in the present.

It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. It’s maddening. It’s infuriating.

I don’t have an answer. I don’t know if we (as a nation) are going to get through it, or what we (as a nation) will look like afterward.

I am afraid.

I want my kids to have a future… and right now that future is looking pretty dark.

I need to do something. I’ve been privileged enough to be able to sit on the sidelines the past four decades. But I can’t in good conscience do that any longer.

I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do. What I can do.

I’m one voice, but there are a lot of us out there. Time to speak out.

Making the sausage… one step at a time.

I’ve been kind of quiet this cycle with regard to politics. At least online.

Not because I don’t have opinions, because Lord knows I have those.

It’s mostly because the process this time around has been so gods-damned tiring. And disheartening. Like, “occasionally hating on the entire human collective” disheartening.

The United States is a nation of over 300 million people, covering some three and a half million square miles. Which is to say, it’s massive, complex, and requires a lot of infrastructure to maintain. When you factor in our relationship to the other 190-odd nations and 7 billion or so people on the planet…

Let’s just say I think we need smart, dedicated people running things.

like smart people. I like smart people that are passionate about things, like studying those things, and wonder how to make those things better. I love talking (and listening) to these kinds of people, because I learn stuff.

It usually doesn’t matter what the subject is — math, literature, physics, film, sociology, video games… I typically find myself enriched. Knowledge and understanding are awesome.

As a tabletop game developer, I appreciate passion for systems. Understanding how a tweak in one place can have repercussions in another. Being able to follow the thread of cause and effect. Looking at numbers and testing outcomes to steer towards the most desirable outcome. (Not perfect because… well… strive for perfection, but don’t make it the enemy of the good.)

Humans are… messy creatures. As a result, politics and governance are messy and only get messier the larger the group of humans involved. But it’s how we live together, maintain the support required for the society we’ve developed, and solve the challenges we face as a species.

I understand and sympathize with the many, many people who are frustrated with the way things are. I’m there with you. I wish it was easy to change the world.

But it’s not.

With so many people, and so many competing interests, changing — improving — the world is a slow process. Strive for ideals, know where you’re aiming, but fight one battle at a time. Make deals and work out realistic compromise. Accept three steps forward when you can’t get five.

Work towards a better world, but understand that it is work, and is sometimes (often) a dirty, unsatisfying, thing.

But in the end? Worth it.

As recently stated in the excellent Luke Cage series on Netflix, “Always forward.”

(You may notice I didn’t talk about any particular candidate. That’s on purpose. I’m laying out my general political philosophy — after a fashion — and not interested at this point in diving into the morass of spin und drang that dominates current political and social media.)

A few things to muse on today.

First of all, the Red Sox won the World Series in four games. It seemed somehow anti-climactic, to be honest. After that amazing series with the Yankees… I somehow expected more drama. The Sox were so dominant, though (at least in games 2, 3, and 4)…

I called my dad during the fifth inning of game 4… and we watched the end of the game together. Okay, he watched the game and I watched the play-by-play update on (we don’t have Fox through Dish Network). Still, it was a nice “together moment.”

I will be really happy when the election is over with. This year, especially, the rhetoric and whatnot is disappointing and upsetting. There is so much anger out there… emotions are running high, and there is an even greater lack of rational thought…

Frankly, I hate it. This election — any election, really — should be approached with care and thought. This election, on the other hand, seems really driven by a desire to “punish” President Bush — it doesn’t matter who we put in, so long as we put him out.

That’s just wrong.

As I’ve said before, I’m not convinced that re-electing Bush is the best course of action. But senselessly voting aginst him because of a feeling that he stole the 2000 election (which he didn’t), is to disrespect the process.

Indecision 2004

I saw the second presidential debate the other night, and it really solidified a few things in my mind. First of all, I really feel cut off from the political process — I don’t feel that either major party represents my interests at all.

Traditionally, I’ve voted Republican. Despite my agreement with some of the socially progressive ideas of the Democratic party, I feel that the fiscal responsibility traditionally championed by the Republicans was more important. I don’t care how good an idea is, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. I also tend to favor the “smaller government” idea — I think that people are capable of running their own lives, and the government should stay out of that as much as possible.

However, the current administration has showcased the worst excesses of the Republican party (at least, in my opinion), and I don’t feel comfortable voting for them again. Kerry, on the other hand, I am familair with as a long-time Massachusetts resident (18 years). I don’t trust him, and I don’t trust his politics. Despite all the talk that’s been going around the last couple of weeks, I have yet to hear any real plan that will effect the changes he’s talking about.

So, for the first time ever in my political career, I am adrift. A man without a party (though, based on what I’ve heard from other people, hardly the only one). I’ll try and watch the last debate (this coming Wednesday), but I’m really expecting more of the same.

I’m not sure yet, but I’m pretty sure that I will vote for a third party candidate (to increase the percentage of the vote they receive — in Maine it helps ensure they’re on the ballot next time around).

There really needs to be some kind of change in the political dynamic in this country. It seems a shame that my generation seems to not care enough to get involved.

Well, a little under a month and it will be over (for this cycle, anyhow). I don’t care who you vote for, but I urge you to get out and vote. Get involved in the process, learn what you can about the candidates (locally and nationally), and make a choice.