04 July 2017

Feuerwerken (Rhetorical and Otherwise)

The US celebrates this date every year as a day for family and friends gathering, probably overcooking some meat on the barbecue and overindulging in watered-down "beer," and watching some "fireworks" either in person or badly broadcast from high-interest public places (usually hosted by fools). Politically, our current officeholders make it look like we got started on the DUIs and maimed hands months early.

The President-Who-Thinks-He's-King-George-II (and that's not just another bad H'wood sequel) doesn't really give a rat's ass about policies, except insofar as the dog-whistling he uses in support of what passes for an "agenda" can enhance the personal power of himself and his close friends. He's got plenty of time to watch cable news and then attack a woman for purportedly doing her purported job after alleged surgery of a nature significant only to misogynistic asshats. He does not, however, have enough time to offer any explanation of why his bigoted immigration executive orders actually have any more basis in legitimate national security issues than "trust me, it's about national security and not my unconstitutional animus against Muslims and those who might have Muslim family members."

Illinois is about to flirt ever more closely with (and perhaps actually sleep with!) junk-bond status, thanks to a history of nepotism in government that would have shamed the UK Parliament of two-and-a-half centuries ago. And that goes for both parties (even if the Jackasses are more nationally known and identifiable as such). Contrary to the bullshit showing up in some news sources, this isn't about "excessive union contracts" or about "pensions"; the structural problems with Illinois government have resulted from those parts of its "employment" practices that were not unionized and do not contribute significantly to the pension-fund deficit. This is, instead, more illusory subregional city-versus-commercial-agriculture bullshit that partially masks a disturbing racist legacy and regressive tax base. Note that the chief obstructionist is not a "career politician," but a purported "businessman" whose background is not really in business (actually producing or providing a single damned thing), but in the (Maxwell's) Demonology of so-called venture capitalism (which, in practice, too often descends into class-based private banking… particularly at the firms he was associated with). That should sound all too familiar regarding the first example above…

Then there's the Sherriff of NottinghamMaricopa, who is actually far more expert at dog-whistle politics than either of the two preceding examples (both of whom are in their respective first-ever-at-any-level terms in office). I'd propose requiring him to wear pink underwear and/or overalls, but I still subscribe to the laws of war and their prohibition on humiliating prisoners. I think I'll just settle for pointing out that he's a child of immigrants himself… from a region renowned at that time for immigration fraud; he's sort of a Dreamer, although his variety of dream is a nightmare for almost everyone else.

We've become a nation united — so to speak — under the rule of men. Particularly odious men, who are in power in large part because what passes for "opposition" and "alternatives" has the same damned flaws in the candidates it puts forth (the chief self-aggrandizing obstructionist in Illinois certainly isn't the only self-aggrandizing obstructionist in Illinois). Gender is an issue here, but certainly not the only one; take a look at just how few veterans, or non-Northwest-European-Caucasians, or individuals who've exceeded lower-class parental status, there are in actual positions of power, both absolutely and proportionally. Largely — but not always — the Jackasses one finds on the ballot just didn't inherit as much wealth or other sources of power as did the Heffalumps. Intense discussions of policy and nuance do not occur in soundbites except when paralleling — or parodying — Godwin's Law, whether intentionally or otherwise.

The contrast with this nation's tradition of celebrating giving the finger to the king — that is, declaring as "victory" the declaration itself instead of the hard-earned, still-evolving result — is a bit much for me every year, but especially this one. It might be just the calendar, as mid-September is historically harvest time in much of the nation (presuming that continued reification of eighteenth-century-model seasonal agriculture continues to make any sense). But if we actually gave a damn about the Rule of Law instead of the Rule of Men, none of the examples listed above would be more than outliers, horrible and exceptional examples of Murphy's Law in action. Lord Acton was wrong: It's not power that corrupts, or absolute power that corrupts absolutely; it's the striving for power from a sense of entitlement that corrupts. Of course, that first name ("Lord") is a big bloody hint of why he couldn't see his error: He was born to power. It took a century (and somewhat less inherited privilege) for another Englishman — using a fictional character as a mouthpiece — to come closer: The object of power is power. And that is not at all consistent with any part of the Declaration of Independence.