Friday, March 4, 2016

FTT Off-Topic: Why So Mad?

I'm going to try, and in all likelihood fail, to not talk about politics very much during this election year. It's not that I don't hold such views or have opinions about these things, it's just that (a) I can't imagine you care that much, and (b) I also can't imagine that I'm going to change anyone's mind about, well, anything.

That's one of the wonderful things about our age of disruption and social media. Everyone's not only entitled to their opinion, it's almost as if they are required to have one, and the less informed, the better. I'm the first person in my family to go to college, and I hold a political science degree from one of the best schools in the country for such things. At no time, in the 25+ years since I achieved that diploma, has anyone that I am related to deferred to my more qualified viewpoint. All while praising to the skies my accomplishment and alma mater. It is what it is.

But having said all of that, let me take the broom out of the closet and go push the ocean for a few words. To wit, this:

To my friends and relatives who are very much against the Obama Administration, and convinced that things are so bad that we should get enthused about a self-promoting serial failure of a businessman who would be the least qualified major party candidate in this country's history, um...

What, exactly, is going so badly in the country to justify your electoral equivalent of grenade addiction?

I fueled up my car today for $12. (No, seriously.) I did so in a country where the unemployment rate is approaching historically low levels, with the rate of unemployed people dropping every month. When I drove to work, I did so on a road that included cars from American companies that were saved from bankruptcy, and paid back all assistance, by the Administration that you oppose.

My home is worth about 90% of what I paid for it... coming up on ten years ago. The reason why that valuation dropped though the floorboards was stuff that happened due to the actions of the second Bush Administration, which pretty much threatened the economy of the entire world. When the value fell to 65%, this Administration worked to make sure that I could refi my home anyway, and save thousands every year on interest rates.

Last year, my job went away, and for a time, I needed health insurance. This Administration's signature program allowed me to save a few thousand more over what COBRA would have cost, when I really needed it. This let me start a consulting business without having to cash in my 401K or kill my kid's college fund. It also let my wife and kids go to the doctor despite my troubles. Last year really stunk, but without this President, it would have been much worse.

There are people in this country, who were born with a condition that they did not chose, who get to marry each other, raise kids and have a relatively normal life now. They only get to do this because of this President, and none of that cost me, or you, a dime. In all likelihood, it made us both money, since all of those folks started spending on such things. Fewer of our countrymen are at war now than before this President. The national debt, which is a bullspit concept that only seems to matter when a Democrat is in office, is down, and the percentage of federal spending is also historically low. We've probably *hurt* our economy because we're not *more* in debt, given the amount of easy and necessary infrastructure projects that have gone waiting, but it's not as if this Congress was going to approve deficit spending anyway. Despite, well, two majority voting wins.

Want more? There really hasn't been a defining scandal of the age. Obama hasn't presided over a Katrina disaster, committed infidelities in office, reneged on a tax promise, traded weapons in a blatantly illegal scheme, and so on. You also really can't claim that the media has hushed up anything that might come out, given the fact that your side has media channels, and such things get noticed.
Let me back this up with a few points. I'm really not in love with the guy, honest. I grant that he might play golf too much, irritate with a professorial attitude, and pander to his base. None of that's what really bothers me, though. I'm much more concerned by the drone strikes (cheap warfare, terrorists will have them within a decade), the wiretapping and Guantanamo Bay's continued existence. I worry that we haven't done enough on global warming, ocean acidification, and that fracking is going to cause massive tectonic problems later... but you aren't, and in the grand scheme of things, in seven years, that's relatively light. By nearly all statistical and quantifiable levels, he's been one of the best Presidents in the history of the nation, and in my lifetime, maybe the best. (Yes, I understand your side's love for Reagan, but you don't get to cry national debt only when it suits you, and Reagan went nuts on that.)

Now, I get why people wouldn't want to vote for the person I'm going to vote for. I'd much rather have a third Obama term, and a Congress that wasn't historically obstructionist, then what we're likely to get. Clinton's decision making on Iraq, willingness to play the big donor game, and constant triangulation to a mythical middle is the reason why Bernie Sanders has gotten so much oxygen. Bernie's not electable, because he'd get wiped out by strong public scrutiny, and I'm too old for noble causes, anyway. (That progressive ship sailed with Dennis Kucinich in 2004, actually.)

But what I don't get is why you are all so convinced that the world's ending, that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, and that any time your guy isn't in office, the person that is in office is a strong candidate for Antichrist status. (When your guy is in office, I usually just think Thief, or maybe War Criminal, and by the way, Trump would just be the former. It's not that equivalent.) That your 19% viewpoint that abortion is never acceptable, unless its your kid and kept very quiet, is in any way defensible. That your gun hobby is more important than any other public safety concern, despite how the rest of the world does it. That there's nothing that can be learned from how the rest of the world handles health, or law, or education, or, well, anything.

Honestly. My side isn't competent enough to vote in midterm elections, let alone run a death panel, conspire to give the world away to the UN, enforce Sharia law, turn your kids gay, make Hollywood re-make "Ghostbusters" for no good reason, and so on, and so on.

So can you maybe take down the anger and hate a notch or twelve, and maybe stop beating the crap out of people who disagree with you, or threatening them with your guns?

Because no matter who wins the train wreck that we're in right now, and the train wreck to come, we all have to live near each other, if not quite get along.

At least, until y'all secede, and we get to see how committed you are to building walls...

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