Identity Politics vs Power Politics

How We Liberals Fritter Away Our Access to Political Power

I am no longer a Democrat because I saw that the party’s emphasis on identity politics was leading it into a quagmire from which it might never return. No longer am I emboldened by gigantic protest marches—irrespective of the issues involved—nor do I care that somebody gets beaten up on Twitter or other social media. Have Liberals all become whiny little bitches who would rather be right than holding the reins of political power?

Evidently.

Hillary Clinton, Tom Perez, even Nancy Pelosi—all have been guilty of surrendering political power while pursuing some vague identity politics rewards points, which have a monetary value of $Zilch.

We are all victims of one sort or another. Instead of trading bubble-gum cards, let’s all get together, make deals with one another, and get rid of the clowns who have turned our country into a Tea Party Trash Bin. If you must insist on whining about your victimhood, lock yourself in your closet and do it in the dark, alone.

 

Enroute to Infamy

Mr. Fish Cartoon of a Narcissistic Trump Taking a Selfie

I couldn’t resist sharing this cartoon with you of our narcissistic Presidentissimo. As his enemies close in on him, he becomes ever more objectionable. Does he think his base will protect him? I don’t think his base is growing at all.

 

It Could Have Been Worse

The Results Aren’t All In Yet, But It Looks As If All Is Not Lost

Elections are mixed events. Never have I been entirely happy with the results. And sometimes, when I seemed happier than other times, I was hurt by what I felt was betrayal for the people I supported. The situation is worse in California, largely because of the stupid propositions that are usually supported by out-of-state corporate interests and give us the chance to hoist ourselves on our own petards. We are still suffering from the notorious Proposition 13 of 1978, which was a boon to homeowners but a bane for renters.

The good news is that Trump will have a more difficult time converting the U.S. into a Thousand Year Reich. The bad news? Where are all these angry white males coming from? and why do they want to destroy this country? I have already declared myself to be an Independent; and I have even resigned from the white race (considering myself to be Finno-Ugric, from the Asian side of the Ural Mountains); but I have no intention of resigning from the masculine gender.

Probably the worst night of my life was election day in 2016. I was in Quito, Ecuador watching the results come in on CNN at the Viejo Cuba Hotel. When I saw that Trump was winning, I almost considered not returning to the U.S. In the end, I gritted my teeth for the circus that was sure to come, and in fact did come. That so many Americans are still committed to this circus is a mystery to me. I guess I just don’t understand (let alone tolerate) these voters.

 

Don’t Forget to Vote!

Fill Those Booths Tomorrow! No Excuses!

If you fail to vote tomorrow, I hope it’s because you are a Trump supporter. For anyone else—and that includes the majority of Americans—the man and his minions are a stench in the nostrils. If you fail to vote because you were (a) hung over, (b) busy playing computer games, (c) studying for an exam, or (d) turned off by politics … then you have no cause … ever again … for complaint. You have failed in your primary duty as a citizen. Your very right to vote is in question, as witness the Republican anti-democratic voter suppression in Kansas and Georgia.

I know you have heard a lot about this election, and you’ve probably been turned off by everything you’ve heard. So what! I’m the guy who ends calls from political volunteers with a few choice swear words and hangs up. I do not care to discuss my political choices with what might turn out to be corporate shills hired by the Koch brothers or other disruptive forces.

This “Prickly City” Cartoon by Scott Stantis Appeared in Today’s L.A. Times

Although I suspect he might be a Republican, I feel that cartoonist Scott Stantis is a Republican of the non-#$&!!@# variety. I have seen his thought evolve over the years to the extent that I cannot pass a day without reading his cartoons. Even if the characters in the above cartoon are right, and I suspect they are, there is too much of a danger of electing the Wrong nincompoops, like those Tea Party jerks who have caused so much damage to the country that I still love for all its wrong turns.

Vote. Be in charge. Stay in charge. And make the effort to stay in charge!

 

How Dare You Interfere With My Manly Pleasures?

That’s a Heavy-Duty Snarl, Brett!

I think both sides have covered all the substantive issues, according to their various points of view. One thing I have not seen is how Brett Kavanaugh seems to have screwed the pooch as far as his nomination to the Supremes is concerned. (That won’t matter to Mitch McConnell, who at this point would gladly accept in nomination Jack the Ripper, Benedict Arnold, or even Judge John Hathorne of the Salem witch trials.)

Admittedly, the Democrats are enraged that are being requested to swallow the bolus of Kavaugh’s sexual and other moral misdeeds and his lies under oath. Somehow, I think he would still have gotten by if only he were nicer. That snarl, though, is such a clear sign of villainy that he is rapidly losing adherents. I mean, who wants to be associated with a guy whose main legal qualifications are his love of beer and pussy.

 

 

Optimates and Populares

The Roman Senate with Cicero Accusing Catiline (Seated by Himself at Right)

Over the last couple of days, I have been reading Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. We think of the Roman Republic in very decorous terms, with all those dignified men in togas. We don’t see many representations of Roman plebeians, who were not permitted to wear the toga—let alone the thousands of slaves living in the city.

It was actually a far from decorous time, with over a hundred years of violent conflict between the optimates (wealthy upper classes) and the populares (common people). This century included the Brothers Gracchi, who were murdered; the brutal dictator Sulla; the victorious general Marius; and ended with the war between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. In many ways, it was reminiscent of our own times—a time when we are envisioning the end of our own Republic from the repeated assaults of the Dictator Trump.

Among the optimates, there were the senate, the consuls, the priesthood, all the Republican offices (Quaestor, Praetor, Aedile, etc.), as well as the class of equites, or knights. For most of its existence, these are the people who ruled the Republic. The populares, or plebeians, were everyone else (always excepting the slaves, who had no one to speak for them). The optimates did everything in their power to aggrandize their power at the expense of the populares. In fact, one of the reasons Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate in 44 BC was his policy of sharing power with the populares. The men who stabbed him were all Senators.

I am tempted to equate the optimates with Republicans, and the populares with Democrats. In fact, the situation was complicated by the inhabitants of the various provinces of the Republic—and these provinces began right outside the Rome city limits.

 

 

Serendipity: Remind You of Someone?

Grove of Apollo

I read the following at one of my favorite websites, Laudator Temporis Acti for September 7, 2018, where it reminded me of a certain denizen of the White House. The speaker is Libanius in his Orations 1.255.

The successor of this ungodly fellow was another unbeliever himself. He took up his office and began to run to fat through his self-indulgence, as being a man of property, but his property was the fruit of his wickedness. He was more stupid than the other in that, upon my telling him to do no damage to Daphne and to lay no axe to its cypresses, he became my foe….

Further on, at 1.262, he writes:

The rule of our pot-bellied governor was a harsh one, for his wrath had been kindled by a piece of deceit. He had decided to lay the axe to the cypresses in Daphne, and I, realizing that such a course would bring no good to any who chopped them down, advised one of his boon companions that he should not incur the anger of Apollo because of the trees, especially since his temple had already been afflicted by similar misdeeds. I told him that I would invite the emperor to show concern for Daphne, or rather to emphasize the concern he felt already, for he was not without it, as it was.

Now imagine the cypresses in the Grove of Apollo were one of our recent National Monuments.

Libanius was a resident of Antioch in the fourth century A.D. He was a Greek teacher of rhetoric of the sophist school. Through the rise of Christianity, he remainded faithful to the old pagan state religion of Rome.