Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Well, here we go again.
Yes, once again we're involved in a conflict with what's left of Persia. And, once again, we have shitty reasons for going in. The terrorists who comprise the Islamic so-called State (notice that I don't say, 'so-called Islamic State') are continually trying to provoke us into overreacting, and we are, of course, trying to avoid being appeasers by giving them exactly what they want. How very logical. These terrorists want an all-out fight with the West, and we are more than willing to oblige them.
It's almost as if they've forgotten we have nukes. Even worse, it appears as though we've forgotten we have them.
No, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating we drop a nuke or two on thousands of innocent women and children just to kill millions of evil, religious assholes. But I must admit, it is tempting.
In spite of our nuclear advantage, ISIS is somehow seen as a threat to us. But why? Do they have ICBM's? No. Do they have long-range aircraft? No. Do they have any operatives working in the US or its neighbors? So far, we know of none. So how are they a threat when they're stranded on the other side of the fucking planet?
I guess they're seen as a threat because that makes for good television. It's worth dropping a nuke on them just to eliminate that nonsense. Or we could just nuke Newscorp's corporate offices. Again, I'm not serious, just tempted.
What I want to discuss, however, is not the ethical "dilemma" of whether or not to render the territory of Islamic State a radioactive wasteland. Rather, I want to discuss Our Trophy President, and what on earth he could be thinking about as he goes ahead and does precisely what Dick Cheney would do in his place.
You see, this proves (yet again) a point I've been making for years, which is that Barack Obama is a Republican in all but name. Of course Bush II would have done exactly this. So would McCain. Mitt Romney would undoubtedly be trying to garner federal funds to send Mormon missionaries off to do their two-year stint in ISIS-held territory only to have their young heads chopped off. (A thought which, in spite of my better judgement, I find rather funny.) Over and over again, Obama does exactly what Reagan would have done, and the reaction by the dittohead caucus is to brand all these conservative actions as rabid socialism. Barack should simply change his party affiliation so that Republicans can fall all over themselves converting to the Democratic party and declare that institution the new safe-haven for True Conservatism. (Another thought which, in spite of my better judgement, I find rather funny.)
The truth is deeper than this, however. True, Our Trophy President pledged that we would not get involved in this sort of warfare again. He campaigned over and over again about leaving the region for good. And yet, here we are, marching right back in to try to glue back together an area of the world which has been repeatedly broken.
It ought to be enough to make us regret breaking it in the first place.
So what is making this self-professed peacenik go back on his vows? What could turn this purported dove into such a hawk? I think I know why.
You see, Our Trophy President is a man of conscience. He really is. He honestly tries to do the right thing every day, which puts him far and away above most politicians. But this means that he must look at the situation regarding ISIS in a somewhat moralistic light. As president, he could act militarily and prevent ISIS from committing mass genocide. On the other hand, he could stick to his pledge, keep his promises, and sit by as millions of innocents are slaughtered. The former saves lives. The latter saves his political cohesiveness.
For a man of conscience, the answer is clear: He has chosen to save lives rather than preserve his stature in political history - even during a midterm election season.
Honestly, I'm so proud of the man that I'm moved to tears. It's amazing! What a magnanimous creature our president is! I was quite right to label him as Our Trophy President. He is precisely that, and more!
And I disagree emphatically with what he's doing.
Yes, I understand it. But I still disagree with it. ISIS (or ISIL, or whatever this doomed-to-be-short-lived state calls itself) is a direct consequence of our bungling the process of helping to set up a new Iraqi government. The Sunnis were shut out of the political process, and now they have come back with religiously extremist allies bearing guns and spouting Koranic scripture. Honestly, what did we expect would happen? But as much as this is true, it doesn't change the fact that Islam has a terrifying problem within its own ranks. Right-thinking and tolerant Muslims who believe in true religious freedom are in the minority, and the vast majority (ISIS-minded people, all of them) are bent upon forcing others to the Law of Allah. No, they cannot force men to their religion, as the Koran forbids that. But then again, they are not forcing people to accept their religion. All they are doing is forcing people into accepting the Laws of Allah. (See the subtle difference, there?) This is not dissimilar to the situation facing Christianity during the Dark Ages, an era which gave rise to endless religious oppression, the Spanish Inquisition, and (thanks largely to religious condemnations against cats) the Bubonic Plague and the Black Death. But the Inquisition did one beneficial thing - it paved the way for an intellectual backlash, one which we still refer to as The Enlightenment. It gave rise to Secularism, and with it, freedom of religion and democracy.
So, am I arguing that ISIS is necessary for there to be a true Arab-world Renaissance? You bet your ass I am! For liberal Islam to emerge, it is absolutely necessary for fundamentalist Islam to burn itself out. Without a Torquemada to condemn, an Enlightenment movement does not take place. Without a Hitler, no memorials go up saying, "never again." Yes, the road is hard, but it is necessary. We need the Evil Empire to rise to prominence if the Just and Righteous are to defeat it. And furthermore, we need the Evil Empire to be fully and completely Islamic, just as we need the people who defeat it to be.
You see, the Inquisition was not a perversion of Christianity. It was the perfect expression of it! It is logically better for someone to be tortured a little bit in this life so that they may avoid eternal torture in the hereafter. Christians themselves tore this down. But ever since this notion was defeated, Christianity has struggled to regain both its lost status and its moral certainty. Democracy had its chance to flourish only because liberal Christians held the fundamentalists in check. Islam, too, must undergo this transformation from fervent belief to milquetoast moderation. But for that to take place, the Perfect Evil version of itself must be allowed to fester. The boils must come to the surface before they can be lanced.
I know full well what I am arguing. I am arguing for the deaths of mothers and their babes in arms, of fathers who are just trying desperately to protect them, of children who are too young to understand any of it. And I know that their deaths will come by the thousands. In the eyes of our president, this is too high a price to pay, and he feels compelled to do something about it. I don't blame him. But while he sees the thousands who will be massacred today, I see the tens of hundreds of thousands who will be massacred later on if we don't stay the hell out of it. The better (but harder!) course of action is to not get involved, and it is easiest to achieve with a lame-duck president sticking to his original principles. Too bad he isn't, noble though his motives might be.
Put simply, my argument is that evil must feed upon evil until it consumes itself, like a snake eating its own tail. But it will never have time to feast if we keep dropping bombs on it with airstrikes.
And wouldn't the terrorists just love it if we get goaded into spending ourselves to death militarily just like the Soviet Union once did?
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
When it comes to midterms, liberals just don't seem to give a damn.
Part of it is because democrats only vote when they're pissed, and they're seldom pissed when there's a democrat in the White House. They also seldom get pissed in general. Unless something affects them directly, such as a huge spike in oil prices or a sudden downturn in the economy (often the same thing), they're reasonably content. Republicans also tend to vote when they're pissed, but they happen to be pissed all the time. Being a conservative often entails being old and cranky. Part of the problem is also religion. The irreligious liberal base tends to not get prodded into voting by any sort of edict from certain pulpits in violation of church/state separation. But this isn't the whole story. The primary reason, it seems, is simple logistics.
The bulk of what comprises the base in the Democratic party is well known: Poor people, minorities, young adults, and women. For all except the last one, getting out and voting means going well out of one's way, as barriers exist in transportation and scheduling. If you're poor, you are likely working all the time just to make any sort of headway. Good luck voting during the lunch break you don't really have, right? If your're young, a similar situation exists, as barriers are present in the form of school and jobs. Poor people and minorities are often dependent upon public transportation, making the process of getting to the polls that much more difficult. Groups exist to help provide transportation to and from the balloting areas, but during midterms, these resources just aren't there in the numbers they need to be.
Well, there's now a way around all that, and it just might save the Democratic party's ass this November (and the rest of us, by extension). It's such a new phenomenon that it slipped under the radar two years ago, and it may well do so again. For example, statistician Nate Silver is predicting a Republican Party victory in both the House and the Senate, and he's seldom wrong in his predictions. Yet one X-factor might have been overlooked, even by him. One thing might tip the scales to favor the Democrats - for good.
What is this wonderful thing, you ask?
I already revealed it back in 2012! It's called early voting! Instead of waiting until the first Tuesday of November, you show up in advance at your local City Hall, fill out your ballot ahead of time, and you're done! It's fast, it's easy, and it's convenient!
Best of all, you have two whole weeks to get it done before election day. Problems getting a bus there and back? Not as much of a problem. Are you dirt poor and only get off Thursdays? You get two Thursdays to vote before everybody else! Get it done! Get it done! Vote early!
Yes, there are still some issues involved with this. Especially in Milwaukee, City Hall can be a little difficult to get to. Voter ID laws have been upheld in Wisconsin, adding yet another barrier (although I've already speculated that this tactic might backfire). But hey! You can get your ID right near City Hall! There's a Milwaukee DMV on 819 N. 6th St., only two blocks away! Go get your ID, then go vote! It's easy! And you have two whole weeks to do it! Vote early! Vote early! VOTE EARLY!
Yes, liberals are often famous at procrastinating. But the usual services in place to get voters to the polls on election day can be in place for two whole weeks prior to election day as well. How about a car-pooling network for inner city voters without their own transportation to help out? How about getting black community and church leaders to organize their buses and vans for two whole weeks instead of one Tuesday? How about well-off liberal college academics and professors getting off their lazy asses and putting their vehicles to good use for once?
Remember, the best way to steal a vote is to convince someone in the opposition not to bother.
Will it work? I believe it can! It can drive up votes for Democrats by double-digit percentage points! Even if Republicans tried to mirror the tactic, they would not gain nearly as much, since they've maximized their voter turn-out already. And it's so new that it might have flown underneath even Nate Silver's radar. Imagine the shock on conservatives' faces when all the voters they were counting on to not show up suddenly have their voices roaringly heard when the absentee ballots get counted, and the victory needle suddenly swings from the Republican side to the Democratic side! What a lovely sight that would be!
So vote early! Vote early! VOTE EARLY!
And, did I mention, vote early?