Disambiguation from the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

mid-term

Lawn Chairs and You


Ed. note: If this post describes you, this is going to hurt. If it doesn’t describe you, it still applies to a minimum of 36% – 60% of eligible voters. What will we do about that?


We were staggering in our rage and sorrow over 10 grannies, 2 teachers and 19 little kids having been murdered. For most of us it was primarily about the kids. Evolution has hard wired us to protect children, so the wanton slaughter of 9- and 10-year-olds more than rankled us.

And it rankled Christine Emba, too. She’s an opinion writer for The Washington Post and she accurately aimed her blame finger directly at those most responsible for the ongoing American massacre, this in her brilliant piece, You. This Is Your Fault.

For example,

“You, the gun-obsessed minority who lord over our politics and prevent change from being made. You, who mumble “thoughts and prayers” but balk at action.

“You, the “shooting hobbyist” or “gun enthusiast” who advocates against gun control because you think anything that makes your weekend amusement even the slightest bit more difficult to participate in is not to be borne.

“You, the performative patriot who believes that background checks, age limitations, training requirements — any reasonable regulations that could help keep people safe — are insufferable limitations on your freedom.

“You, the sophist who says “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” as if those people aren’t killing others using guns, as if it isn’t obvious that the havoc they wreak would be much reduced had they not been given easy access to weapons of mass murder.”

She goes on unsparingly and correctly, but I think there’s a missing step in her logic. You can see it clearly by recognizing that We The People want serious steps to be taken to protect us. For example, 80 – 90% of Americans want universal background checks on the sale or transfer of all firearms and it’s been in that range at least since Sandy Hook. How is it, then, that nothing has happened to deliver what we want?

Note: As this is being written a watered down gun safety bill that will accomplish very little is slow-poking its way through Congress. It is legislation that is carefully crafted not to offend gun “enthusiasts” and will protect almost nobody. Still, it’s a first step. Who knows? Maybe our school kids will live long enough to see a second step.

The answer to why We The People don’t get what we want is that we keep electing toadies who make sure that nothing happens that might upset their “base”. But that begs the question of why we elect those people, which gets to the core or our national problem.

Angry people and extremists take action – they vote. The not-so-angry people are less motivated. They vote in pathetically low numbers. Roughly 36% of eligible voters don’t vote in presidential elections and it’s often much worse than that. About 60% of voters blow off mid-term elections and very few bother with primary elections. That puts a lot of power into the hands of angry extremists who show up and vote.

They show up in big numbers relative to their overall size. They overwhelm the votes of the lazies and thereby get their way.
.
That’s how the extremist, Trump sucking candidates win elections.
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Translation: the voices of the extremists drown out the rest of us because the rest of us couldn’t be bothered to get up off our butts and vote.

So, to use Emba’s introductory words and mimic her style,

” .  .  .  someone is to blame.

“But who?

“You. It’s your fault.”

You, the self-focused, who are unwilling to look beyond yourself to the grave harm being done all around you.

You, who can’t be bothered to register to vote because it’s a nuisance and, besides, there are millions of others taking care of that voting thing.

You, for whom Roe isn’t a big deal, so you don’t make your voice heard about the outright assault on all women.

You, who think voting rights are important, but you sit mute, as tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are having their right to vote stripped from them in Republican controlled states, resulting in stolen elections.

You, who think global warming is going to be a problem for our children and grandchildren. You worry, too, about our fellow citizens today who suffer and die from monster tornadoes and from once-in-a-century hurricanes that now happen every year, and from our forest fire “season” that lasts all year. But you sit in silence on election day.

You, who hear the horrid lies mouthed by self-serving, self-justifying traitors to democracy and all you can muster is a shake of your head and a click on the TV remote.

You, who sit immobilized as Otero County in New Mexico has become first in the nation to officially overturn the will of We The People, using bogus claims, lies and fraud. And you know that more counties and states will follow the fraudulent pretense, “If we didn’t win, then somebody cheated, so we’re officially claiming victory for our side.” And still you stay home on election day.

Again, if that’s not you, that’s great. But our problem is the passivity of at least 36% of eligible voters in some presidential elections and about 10% more than that in most. That skews outcomes in a self-destructive direction. Roughly 60% don’t show up for mid-term elections and it’s worse for primaries. These people remain idle as our rights and our very way of life are being stolen from all of us. It’s like sitting meekly on a lawn chair watching burglars empty your house and load your stuff into a moving van.

Those voices calling you to register, to vote, to contribute, to rally and more are telling you to take action now, because if you don’t, the angry extremists will not only empty your house of all you hold dear; they will take your entire house and your lawn chair, too.

We are in this terrible fix, where millions believe huge volumes of stupid stuff, including “1776 Returns,” where violence is declared to be okay in pursuit of what they individually and delusionally want, this at the expense of all the rest of us. The angry extremists are doing to our country the kinds of cruelties and injustices that King George III did and against which our Founders rebelled. Worse, our criminal faux-patriot wannabees are going to have their way, taking all your stuff and your house, unless you get off that damn lawn chair.

Thomas Paine spoke to his contemporaries, imploring them to patriotism for their birthing nation. His words live on today, but be clear that they are not for the January 6 criminals or their millions of sympathizers, who try to usurp them. Paine’s words are for you and me.

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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution: Fire the bastards!.

The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
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  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
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JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Serendipity


The word “serendipity” stems from the ancient Persian tale, Serendipity and The Three Princes. It’s sometimes called The Three Princes of Serendip.* It was translated in 1557 into Italian as The Peregrinaggio. It is a tale of “the gift for discovery by accident and sagacity of things  .  .  .  not in quest of [it].” It’s commonly thought of as finding something of value while looking for something else.

I just had one of those moments when I came upon one of my long forgotten essays from shortly before the 2018 mid-term election. This isn’t about being self-congratulatory. Because of our current circumstances, I think it’s worth revisiting.

By 2018 we had endured a year and a half of Trump’s general election outrageousness and cruelty, then two years of him in office. That he was greatly popular with a substantial swath of Americans led to a search to understand his voters. The search was more than to satisfy our need to understand why otherwise sensible people voted for this brutish thug. If we were to stop his worst, those who would stand up to his behavior had to be voted into office. Quickly.

I did some research and posted an essay to help in the search, taking care to understand, rather than to persuade. The video is embedded below and I encourage you to have a look at it with fresh eyes, because we are still fighting to stop authoritarian rule.

Here’s that video:

Originally posted October 28, 2018, just before the mid-term election

Every bit of what was going on two and a half years ago is still going on. Indeed, some is far worse now. Republicans will not stop it. They have become a cult of anger, hatred, cowardice, violence and subservience. That means that we have to elect Democrats to stop the authoritarian stampede and to keep our democracy.

Click me for the Bamboo Ballot idiocy story

Expect the illicit Arizona election recount  of Maricopa County – the non-audit done by partisan ignorants and QAnon conspiracy believers, as they violate election ballot integrity – to report massive voting fraud that neither they nor anyone else can substantiate. After watching the video above, consider how our angry citizenry will react to the deceitful reports from Arizona that confirm their biases.

The 2022 mid-term election is of the same critical nature as that in 2018. It’s just 506 days away, with Republicans working every day to cheat their way to long term minority rule by gerrymandering, purging voter roles, requiring oppressive voter identification, closing polling stations, intimidating professional voting administrators and more.

We have two key jobs. The first is to fight voter suppression. We’re attacking that in the courts and, because there are potentially hundreds of repressive anti-voting laws, that will be a massive challenge.

We’re also attacking that in Congress. There are two bills – the For The People Act and The John Lewis Voting Rights Act – that we need to get through the McConnell-strangled Senate. The key obstructionist this time is, of course, Joe Manchin. We need a magic wake-up pill for him. It seems that those holding that pill are West Virginia voters. That’s why phone banks to those folks are so important right now.

The second job is to figure out a way to appeal to our voting citizens who feel blown off by the establishment. They aren’t all crazy. They are all angry. Please jot your ideas of how to appeal to them in the Comments section below.

Meanwhile, we best not count on serendipity to aid us in this mission. It’s time to be intentional. If we find something else of great value along the way, then lucky us.

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* Serendip is the classical Persian name for Sri Lanka.

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Said John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” So, add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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