November 22, 2017

Dear John Letter to the G.O.P.

lost-loveSo, Republican party, I think we need to talk.

We’ve been together for a long time; over 35 years now. That’s amazing.

I still remember that joy of first love, way back in 1980. I was only 18, but took part in the Iowa Caucuses, got to ask a question during the GOP debate, and hit the streets to knock on doors with your promo material.

I loved Reagan. I loved how he spoke compassionately about illegal immigration and how we should avoid putting up fences and instead seek to open the borders more. I appreciated his self-deprecating humor and geniality. I loved his optimism and imagery: the city on a hill, morning in America. Yes, some of it sounds hokey now, but at least it was a coherent and consistent idea: that there is greatness in humanity (so we should unfetter it) and there is also evil in humanity (so don’t trust either our enemies or overly idealistic programs).

It was not without reason that in 1980 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the iconic Democratic senator declared, “Of a sudden, the G.O.P. has become a party of ideas.”

My commitment to you only increased when we learned that Bill Clinton had sex with a young employee in the Oval Office, (where Reagan would not even remove his suit-coat), and then defended his affair by quibbling over the definition of “is”. But something about you began to change in the 90’s. Your hatred grew. You seemed to let yourself be defined by your animus toward the Clintons. I began to wonder if you were more controlled by love of country and its citizens and highest ideals, or by hatred and anger and fear. I still admired you, but the cracks were showing.

Bush the second came along with a message of “compassionate conservatism.” I loved the idea behind that phrase, but it’s execution was uneven, and I was appalled by the senseless war in Iraq. My devotion to you seemed more like a tradition, and not a joyful choice.

This only increased during the past seven years or so. I recall when a Republican would be admired for saying his opposite number was “my opponent, not my enemy”. No more. It seems demonization and fear-mongering are the order of the day. Obama, in your eyes, is not just wrong but evil, pernicious, vile.

Here’s the problem, sweetheart: you began to listen to the haters. The professional haters. Professional both in the sense that they are so practiced at it, and in the sense that they made their money and fame through it. You would watch them on tv every night, seeming to forget everyone else.

Hatred and fear always blind us to reality, and cloud our thinking. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, here. How else can I ever explain the fact that you have now chosen a man neither compassionate nor conservative, a man who panders to your worst, basest instincts, instead of ennobling your best?

You who have long preached personal morality and family values (and attacked Bill Clinton so severely for his sexual affairs); can you now embrace a thrice-married serial adulterer who made part of his money on casinos and strip joints? A man who says things like, “It doesn’t matter what they say about you as long as you have a young and beautiful piece of ass”?

You who once spoke compassionately and humanely about the plight of immigrants; can you now run to someone who calls them murderers and rapists? Can the same party who gave us Reagan demanding, “Mr. Gorbechev, tear down that wall!” now give us a man demanding we build one stretching for a thousand miles?

You who once remembered that steadfast adherence to the rule of law was a prerequisite to a stable society, and the last bulwark against tyranny; can you now adhere to a man who blithely speaks of ordering our soldiers to commit illegal acts, and to kill the children of terrorists?

Dear, I have to be frank. I’ve seen this coming for a while. But I’ve stuck with you because you at least cared deeply about the unborn. Or you said you did. But now you have embraced a man who seems to only care about them when courting your affections, and speaks in a different way to others. You can’t be so naïve; by temperament and history he is a pro-choice man, and will make pro-choice judicial appointments.

Most of all, dear, I remember when, though you were never perfect, you actually were animated by ideas. You spoke of limited government, because that would promote freedom. You spoke of upholding personal morality and rewarding virtue. You spoke of a compassionate conservatism, that would seek to honor the greatest principle of true conservative thought: that people are more important than governments, movements or ideologies, and they must be treasured and helped, especially those too weak to help themselves.

Have the optimism and hope really been replaced by fear and loathing? Have you really traded in your ideas and ideals for an upraised middle finger?

I guess I really don’t know you anymore. The hater-mongers have your ear. And your heart, it seems. I don’t want to leave you. Where will I go? But the fact is, you have left me. You are the one who walked out, and I’ve played the fool. But not anymore.

It seems all we have left, dear, is a suitable break-up song:

     Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone.
     Susanne, the plans they made put an end to you.
     I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song.
     I just can’t remember who to send it to.

Daniel

Comments

  1. Daniel, all true, and I share your sense of rejection. But it isn’t just Republicans who have devolved to baser instincts, the Democrats have also succumbed to their own version of irrelevance.

    Witness Bernie and Hillary proclaiming “Free, free, free!!!” to adoring crowds. Listen to them making promises to the fragmented society which they say need their protection from evil forces of conservatism. And survey the recurring untruths and denials that Hillary continues to issue. No, the Dems are no better. Ideas? Harry Reid had one 7 years ago when he proclaimed that the reason Republicans didn’t agree to the president’s proposals was because he is BLACK! Such base, unprovable charges that only stain and do nothing to bring people to the table of compromise.

    So where does that leave us, the people? Our government is no longer about us, it is about THEM scrabbling and clawing to retain power. And once attaining it they pull out all of the stops in trying to retain it. And we, like sheep, do their bidding by voting for the unlikable, the despicable and the amoral.

    We get exactly what we deserve.

    • By the way, I am not voting for president this time around. I’ll exercise my vote for local issues only.

      • Don’t blame anyone else for the pres-elect, then…

        • Clay Crouch says:

          I’m not sure what you mean about blaming anyone else. I hope you aren’t you saying that if my conscience will not allow me to cast a vote for either candidate I have surrendered my right to speak out for or against the president’s policies for the next four years. There are a lot of Oscars out there. I am one of them, too. I hold my vote too dear to cast it for “the lesser of two evils”.

          • Stephen says:

            There’s no moral high ground on the sidelines. It’s just as flat as the rest of the playing field.

          • Rick Ro. says:

            I’m not sure anyone is saying there’s moral high ground on the sidelines. If I don’t like a candidate, I’m not going to cast a vote in support of them. If I don’t like EITHER or ANY candidate, I’m not going to cast a vote in support of either of them or any of them.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          –> “Don’t blame anyone else for the pres-elect, then…”

          The system has already propped up two people who are horrible. I won’t be blaming anyone but the broken two-party system and the brokenness within both camps.

      • Marcus Johnson says:

        I used to complain that people who opted out of voting in presidential elections were, in effect, voting for the winner. I don’t think I’m that guy anymore. I’m starting to see why people would choose to be actively political without participating in the presidential elections. When your choices are this unpalatable, I can understand why people would stay away.

        • Marcus, thank God the people of Louisiana actually went out to vote so that David Duke didn’t get into office. The opposing candidate, Edwin Edwards, was truly awful, extremely corrupt, a longtime state embarrassment. But better the devil you know than the KKK.

          Sometimes there are no truly decent choices. I can see why that alienates people, but throwing away ne’s vote is foolish. If we end up with a dictatorship, people will be kicking themselves.

          • Rick Ro. says:

            I still disagree. A vote for someone is a vote FOR someone. You are saying, “I support this person.” When you cast a vote for Edwin Edwards, you’re saying, “I’m FOR this guy. Hurray for his corruption and awfulness.”

            I simply will not allow my vote to be in support of someone I dislike no matter how much more I dislike the alternative. I will not SUPPORT people or positions that I don’t agree with.

            I will also now vehemently challenge anyone who tries to SHAME me by saying, “Not voting is like a voting for so-and-so.” No, it’s not. And don’t dare make me feel bad when I decide I can’t vote for any of the lousy options.

          • Marcus Johnson says:

            Still not convinced. First, especially in the US, I see more change at the local and state level than I do at the federal level, which is basically gridlocked. Second, a lot of former politicians who moved into the private sector said they got a lot more done as a private citizen than they ever did in public office (for better or for worse, granted, as some formed super PACs and others revitalized communities).

            If the people who want me to vote can only present two indecent choices, then I’ll probably vote, but I don’t see why we have to berate the folks who would rather not stand in line on a November morning to vote for the best of the worst choices.

          • David L says:

            There is a big difference in not voting at all and showing up and not voting for an office were the two choices seem nearly equally bad.

          • What David L said.

            Apathy and disaffection at a time when both could be deadly… this upcoming presidential election. Our country is in real danger, i think – of a dictatorship. Please don’t let that hsppen, guys.

            No shaming intended.

          • Marcus, i still don’t understand how/why anything you’re saying = reasons for not voting in a presidential election.

            Or why you’re setting aside the very real possibility that a KKK leader *coukd* have been elected to high office in LA. If more people had stayed away from the polls, it actually could have happened.

            Wuth the Klan having endorsed Trump, what do you think will (possibly) happen if he is elected? He is *the* rallying point for a lot of white supremacists, and I’d think that alone would spur you to vote.

            I’m almost 60. There has never been anything close to this level of crazy/dangerous in a presidential election during my lifetime. But the few people still alive who can recall the rise of a certain German dictator will see clear similarities.

          • David L says:

            Our country is in real danger, i think – of a dictatorship. Please don’t let that hsppen, guys.

            Many of us feel the two big party likely candidates are opposite sides of the same coin. Voting for either yields mostly the same results. Different toppings on the same ice cream.

            But a big non vote compared to turnout might start a few people thinking. And make a joke of any mandate claims.

          • David, i greatly dislike HC. By the standards of the 70s, she would be viewed as a slightly rightward-tilting R. Her intense hawkishness is alarming, imo. But she actually has some knowledge and experience at governing. Trump has neither.

          • Rick Ro. says:

            Here’s a question in case anyone comes back to this (numo, David L)…

            Would you prefer I not cast a vote, or cast a vote against the person you’re voting for? Because what I’m hearing is you’d prefer a person cast a vote regardless of who that vote is for.

          • David L says:

            Rick Ro

            My philosophy of voting is that the result of your vote should be that in 5 or 10 years things are better than if you had voted another way. (Define better as you wish.)

            This means I may vote for someone I fully disagree with personally if I think the result of their election is that things work out better in the long run. Basically I vote strategically, not tactically. Am I always right? No. But neither are those who vote tactically.

            As to who you should vote for, that’s totally up to you.

            Personally I’d like to see the HC/DT election be won by a 31/30 vote split (either way) and it be obvious that around 40% of the VOTERS chose to vote for neither. THAT would send a message.

          • Rick, i think David makes a good point.

            i’m not stumping for votes, and wish we had viable alternatives per other parties.

          • if there was a mass movement against voting for the 2 presumptive nominees, though…. one that challenged the machinery of both parties, it would make lots more sense to me.

    • Robert F says:

      I have no great love of the Democratic Party, and I dislike and distrust Hilary Clinton intensely: she’s an appalling model of Machiavellianism. I don’t trust the tendency of Democrats to overreach federal powers in the name of establishing a more just society (though I’m all in favor of establishing a more just society); our current President has set a dangerous precedent by legitimizing, extending and using executive privilege to an extent unknown among recent Presidents. Sometimes he not only expressed impatience with the slow democratic process of our government, but found new, creative and probably illegitimate ways to do an end-run around it, claiming the right to do so on the basis of executive privilege. He has set a precedent for the strong man who may be about to take over the reins, one which he will happily take advantage of, if given the opportunity.

      But the monster that the Republican Party has grown in its midst is uniquely its own. To equate the more-of-the-same, plus some, of the Democrats, with the hijacking of the Republican Party by its own Frankenstein monster is to close ones eyes and willingly walk into a very dangerous place. There is no moral equivalent here. I have nothing but admiration for the few Republicans I’ve heard over the last few days who’ve said they will vote for Hilary to defeat Trump; I hope there are many more. And I loathe those Republicans who are ready now to play ball with a nominee they know will drag the country down into an abyss, even though they were excoriating him just a few days, weeks, months ago. They love their party and their power more than their country; they’ve become a caricature of what they once claimed to be.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        “…our current President has set a dangerous precedent by legitimizing, extending and using executive privilege to an extent unknown among recent Presidents.”

        Or so we are constantly told. You might, however, find this chart of interest:

        http://www.msnbc.com/sites/msnbc/files/styles/embedded_image/public/1.29.14.2.jpg?itok=a7PYzM7O

        Or, if you want to go back to the beginning, this version:

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/every-presidents-executive-actions-in-one-chart/

      • StuartB says:

        our current President has set a dangerous precedent by legitimizing, extending and using executive privilege to an extent unknown among recent Presidents.

        Honest, sincere question, but what proof is there of this? I’ve heard this repeated way too often the last 8 years. It seems to be assumed not proven. Tho the Presidential track record of Nixon, Reagan, and others doing the same has been proven.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          The salient fact to remember is that in his first term, Obama gave a speech encouraging kids to stay in school. The right wing was outraged. I have assumed since that similar right wing outrage is just background noise. This does not logically imply that Obama has done nothing worthy of outrage, but without firm evidence, it is just more noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

        • I don’t think there is any proof, but the number of undeclared wars we’ve engaged in over the past 40+ years is a serious problem. That’s supposed to be done by Congressional vote, but…

          • Although I think Obama will be known by history as one of our better presidents, his expansion of drone warfare and remote-control execution is disturbing. I don’t know how history will judge this, but I would be surprised if it is not considered unethical.

          • Dr. F. – yes on drone warfare. I am very surprised and dismayed by how blasé people have been about it. I do like Obama generally, but *not* that policy. At all. (I think such “warfare” is evil.)

    • Robert F says:

      If I had to sum up my problem with the Democratic Party in one sentence, it would be this: They have an overarching political philosophy that would like the entire country to be subject to eminent domain. Btw, this is something they share in common with the current presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee.

      My problem with the Republican Party is that they don’t really inhabit the values that they proclaim. Their political philosophy is actually so empty that it can be, and has been, occupied by the kind of ugly, low, divisive, hateful, resentment-filled, vengeful popular energies that have too often made themselves felt in the long, sad history of the human race. The pogrom is about to become their model for how to govern a country.

      • “hey have an overarching political philosophy that would like the entire country to be subject to eminent domain.”

        No, that’s conservatism as practiced by Republican police departments. “Law enforcement” as auxiliary tax collection, debt imprisonment, trial-free civil forfeiture, etc. When voters have tried to end these practices, republican legislatures have reinstated them, as for instance in Utah.

        You are no different.

        • Clay Crouch says:

          Yeah, NYC, Chicago and L.A. are bastions of The Republican Empire. Hey, sport, you’re really off your game today. Maybe you should sit this one out?

        • Clay Crouch says:

          All I’m saying is that you’re not helping the team.

        • Look at those places that practice this despicable tactic and ask yourself WHO passed the laws that allow it. But reflexively blaming ONE side for the sins of others does NOT advance the discussion.

          • Republicans did. It is not an opinion; it is a FACT.

            Stealing big things from white people? Bad and wrong. Stealing many, many small things from black and Latin people? Fine and good.

        • Robert F says:

          If I were no different, I would have participated in the political machinations you describe, or ones like them; but I haven’t, nor do I intend to. But I can see that makes no difference to you; you are only at peace with those who’ve joined the revolution, and perhaps not with those, either.

      • StuartB says:

        My problem with the Republican Party is that they don’t really inhabit the values that they proclaim.

        Exactly. That was my first step out of the door as well. Same with the pro-life position, the anti-drug position, the anti-porn position, and so many others. Liars.

      • Headless Unicorn Guys says:

        The pogrom is about to become their model for how to govern a country.

        To the wild cheering of “Now it’s OUR Turn! PAYBACK TIME! WITH INTEREST!”

        Better to be the ones running the camps than the ones being sent up the chimneys.

        “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!”
        Network

    • “Witness Bernie and Hillary proclaiming “Free, free, free!!!” to adoring crowds. ”

      It’s not possible to witness something that didn’t actually happen.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        Gee, I thought Bernie Sanders, agree with him or not, has been stumping the country with his call for free universal healthcare and tuittion-free public university/community college/trade school. It must have been someone else that looks like and has the same name.

        That’s a shame. I sure liked that other Bernie’s ideas but, with our national debt close to $20,000,000,000 and Washington’s propensity to eschew fiscal responsibility, I’m not sure how we are going to afford it.

        • The national debt is close to 20 trillion (with 12 zeroes), not 20 billion (with 9 zeroes). The British call our trillion a thousand billion, and we call their trillion a quadrillion. Very confusing to one and all.

          • Clay Crouch says:

            Your are absolutely right. I plead no coffee. Thanks for the correction.

        • You could try taxing investment income like income earned by actual work.

          • StuartB says:

            HEAR HEAR!!

          • Klasie Kraalogies says:

            Amen, brother! Although it is already taxed in pension funds when you withdraw your pension – but that only hits the Middle and Lower Classes. The pattern repeats.

      • StuartB says:

        Agreed. That’s distasteful lying. Could also add that to the list in the OP, choosing to lie and believe the worst of your enemy opponent.

        Here’s the fruit. Graciousness need not apply to “Satanic Baby Killers”.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Or to any of The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy(TM).

          Mass movements always need an Other to oppose.

          The “Tortured for Christ” guy (whose name I can’t remember) said that “Communists always denounce their opponents as Fascists.”

          To which I thought “and Fascists denounce their opponents as Communists.”

          One-True-Way Mass Movements rallying against The Other.

    • Burro [Mule] says:

      This year was supposed to be a face-off between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, oh, excuse me, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, over the proper way to brandish the all-powerful Rattle. If nothing else, the diversion of the Sanders insurgency, which almost worked, and the Trump insurgency, which did, has sent notice to the Pullers of the Levers that their Word Magic isn’t working on the masses like it used to.

      The Clinton-Trump race will be far more about gender than about anything substantive. Hillary Clinton is basically the platitude-spouting faux-feminist in the HR department on steroids who demonizes decent men but goes weak in the knees for a philandering scoundrel and defends him against all comers, where as Trump is a perfect foil for her; a crass, blatantly lookist, overaged frat-bro who never gets called on his crap. His women [wife, exes, and daughters] are all lookers, too, and I expect that to add a lot of vitriol to the campaign but no one will ever, ever admit it.

      I’m buying the popcorn now.

      • If nothing else, it will be entertaining to see how Hillary handles Trumps sliming tactics. He’ll bait her like he did Cruz, but will she bite?

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          She will laugh in his face, and it will be awesome. It’s not like she is inexperienced with dealing with slime being thrown at her. This is why I think she is the better candidate than Sanders. I have far more confidence in her than in Sanders for this sort of thing.

          • That Other Jean says:

            This^^^^^^. Hillary has dealt with worse than Trump and left them in the dust.

          • Robert F says:

            She’ll laugh in his, and it will be awesome; then she’ll laugh in his face again, exactly the same way but in front of a different audience, and it will seem rehearsed; then she’ll laugh at him again, in front of yet another audience, and it will seem forced. She’s did this with her initial deft handling of the Woman Card thing, which she then went to recount before another audience; no doubt she will repeat this ad nauseam, until she ends up sounding like the old uncle at the family gathering who keeps telling the same story over and over again as if for the first time. A little embarrassing. She’s that way.

          • Meh. I prefer Hillary because as upright as Sanders is as a man, I don’t think he would get a gosh-darned thing done in Washington. Once an activist, always an activist.

      • Dana Ames says:

        Hillary is indeed a feminist pf the “bra-burning” generation. But that in itself is not going to carry weight with younger women, and get their vote simply because she is a woman. Younger women (and other women) don’t like her because 1) she didn’t show Bill the door at the beginning of his philandering and 2) she is a Hawk – among other reasons.

        Dana

        • Bra burning never actually happened. Everyone talks about it but it did not, in actuality, ever occur. Just another conservative LIE.

          • are you making a joke, J? Because I remember photos of protests where a few women did indeed burn their bras, or someone’s bras, when I was a kid in the 70s.

            Not saying I’m pro or con, but it did indeed happen. Got blown out of proportion by news outlets at the time, but it’s not “a lie.”

          • Robert F says:

            J, You don’t know what you’re talking about, or you’re lying, just like Trump when he said he saw thousands of Muslims rejoicing in the streets of NJ after 9/11. The bra burning happened, just as the Muslim celebrations didn’t. You sound like a reflection of Trump, only inverted and on a much smaller scale.

          • Patrick Kyle says:

            Robert F,

            I did not see the video of rejoicing in NJ, but I did see (twice) the video of the celebrations in the Gaza Strip, that strangely only appeared in the news loop a couple of times, early on, before disappearing. I thought it was odd. I remember very clearly being outraged when I saw it and even called a couple friends to tell them to watch for it.

          • Robert F says:

            Patrick Kyle, Yeah, at time the news video of the Gaza Strip celebrations was quickly said by troublemakers to have occurred in NJ; I believe the video was pulled early because a lot of people, including the media that had originally televised it, were afraid, with good reason, that it would fuel violence against Muslims in the US, committed by people enraged at the mistaken notion that the celebrations had occurred in NJ. I saw the video myself, and heard about the erroneous interpretation, in a news report.

            But Trump would quickly have found this out after doing a little research (which I’m sure he did), and could have backed away from his original incorrect statement; instead he dug in, and made a foundation out of a lie. That’s the kind of man he is, and president he would be.

          • Numo: Link to one of the photos.

            Women at the 1976 Miss America contest burned cosmetics and Playboy magazines, but that’s as close as anyone can find.

    • StuartB says:

      Maybe we’ll never get back to the economic golden period of the 50s, but to say bernie and hillary are just shouting free free free to the adoring masses is de facto lying. You can do better.

      Bernie still appeals to me. He wants us to return to greatness. Maybe we need a new, modern New Deal.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Bernie has some good points in his campaign. For instance, his take on Rich & Poor is actually more in tune with the Prophets of old and early Christianity than anything you hear from Christianese Culture Warriors and God’s Only Party. Remember one of the prophets stated in so many words that the Sin of Sodom was how it treated its poor, not Sexual Orientation.

        (Though the more famous story of Lot and the attempted gang rape — in direct conflict with the Laws of Hospitality of the time — could be fallout from an attitude of entitlement by the Rich and Powerful of the city — “I Can Do Anything I Want! Anything!”)

        And Bernie’s DIRECT; you don’t get the feeling that every word out of his mouth has first been run past lawyers, spinmeisters, and focus groups. Direct — the same as one of Trump’s main appeals to his supporters.

      • How about the golden period of the 1990s? I was actually alive for that. 3% unemployment, budget surpluses, no hopeless wars. Republicans have never accomplished anything like it. Never once.

        • Eeyore says:

          Depends on your POV. *I* remember Yugoslavia/Kosovo, Somalia, and the constant sniping over the Iraqi no-fly zones. I remember the bipartisan concurrence on NAFTA and the deregulation of the financial sectors, which helped set the stage for the economic turmoil we enjoy today. And I remember the massive “outsourcing” that papered over the “reduction” in government.

          There are never any innocents or “golden ages” when it comes to politics.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          You mean The Clintons’ Perfect Paradise?

        • Clay Crouch says:

          Really bud, sit this one out. Your memory is a bit foggy.

          • No, I’m pretty sure I’m right on this and you’re wrong. Conservatives haven’t produced balanced budgets or full employment for 75 years. Not once. Not even close.

  2. Christiane says:

    Without the supporting stability of a healthy two-party system, I wonder about the direction of the country. We had damn well better grow up fast and start taking responsibility for those we support for elected office, and stop giving vent to our prejudices and fears and, yes, hatreds. We stand to lose a very great deal as a country unless we stop the ‘crazy’ and the ‘extremism’. The ‘division’ promoted by so many shock-jocks has done its work. And for what?

    I won’t quietly let ‘authorities’ harm the Muslim family in our neighborhood. I will speak for them and stand with them. That is something I CAN do. It doesn’t matter anymore if there is no more support ‘out there’ for what is right. I have to personally do what I think is right and face the consequences. The alternative is too grim to be imagined. If Americans can no longer stand together for what is right, then we must stand alone. We can’t let our own people be injured because they have a different way of praying, no.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > If Americans can no longer stand together for what is right,

      But they can, and do. The Party is not America, and The President is certainly not America; the powers which most directly impact your neighbor lie much closer. Should the need arise you will likely find ready assistance from a city commissioner or state senator or representative. Show up during their office hours and odds are they will be delighted somebody bothered to stop by, “it gives me something to do other than crosswords” [actual quote]. And most of them are ‘just people’, but you might be impressed at how far they can reach when they apply the muscle of that lowly and generally ignored position.

      Have Hope.

      Politics is not broken, neither is ‘the system’.. A large part of the problem in all of this is that Americans have forgotten that you have to DO politics, not watch it or read about it. If you do not do it then it will be done to you; there is no third option. This has always been true and will always be true.

      I am frequently disgusted. Frequently frustrated. But remain optimistic, with good reason. There are so many genuinely intentioned people, with deep understanding of the issues and a vision of a better sustainable future, toiling away down in the engine room. A fool for a Captain is an terrible thing, but he can often be ignored, and smart people can find ways to work around him [or even trick him into working for them – Esther may be the patron of good 21st century American politics].

      Evangelicalism is hard to find represented down in the engine room. Their insistence on seeing all the world through a lens of great moral arcs is debilitating; most are rendered incapable of participation by that cognitive disease. Personally, I am so very happy to finally be free of it. The world is dark, and troubling, but beautiful; the same is true of its inhabitants, when we can see they as they are, as more than mere pawns in a morality play.

      • “The people” are congenitally lazy. Expect no good from “the masses”.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Illustrating my point. Everything, all discussion, every issue, is viewed within a moral frame.

          This is why Evangelicals struggle to fit within modern civil society and why they are self-excluded from participation.

        • I agree; all you people want is arms factories, free money for Israel and state money for your stupid football stadiums.

          • Rick Ro. says:

            Gosh, you’re loaded with broad-brush, one-line rhetoric today, aren’t you?

          • Clay Crouch says:

            J, please eat a Snickers Bar. Your sounding like a shrill political hack. It boring and lazy.

        • H. Lee says:

          Sounds like Winston Smith of “1984” fame. “There is no hope from the proles.”

          Is there any hope from the cynics?

      • Danielle says:

        “If Americans can no longer stand together for what is right, then we must stand alone.”

        Now is an excellent time to demonstrate that we are capable of standing together. Or clusters of us anyway.

        “Politics is not broken, neither is ‘the system’…”

        No doubt we can get out a big board and make a list of depressing problems. However, work gets done, every day, and the system mostly runs. And it is not immune to pressure. Thing is, you can’t accomplish much by spouting purist ideology or by making broad generalizations: it requires mundane activities, like updating the fine points of actual policy and procedure.

        “The world is dark, and troubling, but beautiful; the same is true of its inhabitants, when we can see they as they are, as more than mere pawns in a morality play.”

        YES.

    • StuartB says:

      I won’t quietly let ‘authorities’ harm the Muslim family in our neighborhood. I will speak for them and stand with them.

      “AND WHITE, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves all the little children in the world.”

    • Without the supporting stability of a healthy two-party system, I wonder about the direction of the country.

      That may or may not be true, but you can’t have a healthy two-party system when neither party is healthy.

      • Christiane says:

        Bingo ! (but right now, the R Party takes the prize)

        • To me the major difference between the parties is that the Democratic party is a corrupt political machine that cheats and scams to retain power and promote their favored candidates, while most of the voting democratic populous is much more reasoned. The Republican party, on the other hand, while supporting some really genuinely insane positions (particularly in economics), is actually more centrist and balanced than its voting members. I suspect there are as many “nones” and “dones” in politics as there are in church these days.

  3. Robert F says:

    Hey, Daniel, here’s a sunnier-sounding song from yesteryear to express how you feel about the Republican Party now:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50-gOeBilc

  4. Eeyore says:

    RE: family values and life issues… the implosion of Cruz and the shift of many evangelicals to Trump should demonstrate two things…

    1) evangelicals as a solid voting block are a myth, and in any event are not big enough to deliver an election all on their own.

    2) a great number of evangelicals now seem prepared to vote for a candidate who is, all pandering aside, clearly not an evangelical, or perhaps even Christian, in any meaningful sense. Ostensibly, this might not be a bad thing, given the false presumption that Christians should only vote for Christians which many evangelicals have followed up to this point. However, in choosing Trump, they have also apparently set their perceived economic and social grievances above any other considerations. They have made the leap from ideologues to demagogues in one fell swoop.

    Makes me wonder what the iMonk would have thought about all this…

    • Robert F says:

      Evangelicals as a group are showing that what drives them is not actually religious zeal, but perceived economic and social self-interest, and the desire to keep or regain social and political power for themselves.

      • Eeyore says:

        Well, I *was* trying to be polite… 😉

      • Suzanne says:

        I’m not what you’d call evangelical but have really been appalled at the evangelical behavior in this election. Clearly, many only vote for the godly candidate if they think they’ll get something out of it for themselves. Power. Money. More power. I believe this will prove to be yet another nail in the coffin of the church in America. The jig is up; they’ve been found to be PAC as opposed to Christ’s hands and feet on earth. Maybe it was time the truth came out…

      • Correct, Robert F, but I don’t believe that’s a bad thing. In fact, I think most people vote this way. What is bad is pretending that the impetus is something else.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      “a great number of evangelicals now seem prepared to vote for a candidate who is, all pandering aside, clearly not an evangelical, or perhaps even Christian, in any meaningful sense.”

      “Now”? They voted for the previous guy while declaring that, at least temporarily and for purposes of that election, Mormonism is close enough. I’m not interested in the “Are Mormons Christian” argument for its own sake, but rather for the situational flexibility displayed.

      Then there was the guy before that: a cultural Episcopalian from the days when the Episcopal Church was the Republican Party at Prayer; who claimed that he thought he might be–indeed probably was!–a Baptist, but was unsure about the details. Say what you will about Baptists, they are entirely clear on their back stories.

      Reagan seems to have been essentially non-religious. This, like nearly everything else about him and his administration, has been vigorously retconned.

      There are only two Presidents from within living memory who can plausibly be described as genuine Evangelicals: G. W. Bush, and Carter. Carter, of course, is from back before Evangelicals realized that they opposed abortion, and he has instead spent his post-presidency on stuff like housing poor people, and so naturally is disavowed.

      The Clintons, by the way, routinely attended Foundry United Methodist Church during his administration.

      • StuartB says:

        I admire Carter a great deal. The more I learn about him, the more admirable he is. Carter seems to be that rare one in a million who walks and talks it all. He’s genuine.

        Course this is cool too – http://pagesix.com/2016/05/04/gala-honors-bono-and-jimmy-carter/

        I wish I could know the Clintons apart from the lies I’ve been told them over the years (and this email scandal too).

        • Rick Ro. says:

          Carter excelled outside the presidency. As a president, he was pretty weak, mainly because his staff was atrocious.

          • Rick – yes, though I think he would be remembered with much more fondness if his mission to rescue the hostages at the embassy in Tehran had succeeded.

      • But at least most of those men could play a non-wince-inducing pander to evangelical language and tropes when called upon to do it. Trump can’t even do THAT (remember the Bible verse incident?) and he’s drawing more support from evangelicals than Cruz did…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Even to the point that Jerry Falwell Jr makes pilgrimage to The Trump to deliver the Anointing, whereas past GOP hopefuls had to make pilgrimage to BJU.

          “WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? WHO CAN STAND BEFORE HIM?”

      • David L says:

        There are only two Presidents from within living memory who can plausibly be described as genuine Evangelicals: G. W. Bush, and Carter.

        I read an article a decade or so ago where someone went back and researched ALL of them. He would only add Woodrow Wilson to the group.

        Not exactly a rousing list for the evangelical cheering squad.

        And no Ronny doesn’t make the list. He religious views (at the detail level) would bare him from membership in most all evangelical churches. Now and when he was president.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Now”? They voted for the previous guy while declaring that, at least temporarily and for purposes of that election, Mormonism is close enough. I’m not interested in the “Are Mormons Christian” argument for its own sake, but rather for the situational flexibility displayed.

        The part that got me about the 2012 GOP primaries was God’s Anointed Next POTUS of the Week after God’s Anointed Next POTUS of the Week popping up just before crashing and burning while Romney steadily piled up primary delegates to a baby-dinosaur chorus of “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!”

        Then when Romney cinched the nomination, suddenly Mormons were Born Again Evangelical Christians instead of “CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT!” (Especially since the “CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT!” was what torpedoed Romney with the Christianese bloc in 2008, even though he was most in line with their “Family Values(TM)”. As well as being the only 2008 GOP contender with only one wife.)

        I don’t know if Mormons went back to being a “CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT! CULT!” after Election Day.

    • StuartB says:

      Could almost make the connection that Evangelicals are not Christians. Or at least don’t vote by Christian values, whatever those are.

      • I believe “love for neighbor” is the only “Christian voting value.”

        “….and who is my neighbor?”

        • Mostly wealthy white people.

          No, seriously. I live in Edina. There are some wealthy not-people, but not many. And there are NO poor. I mean, the poorest person in a square mile from my place is wealthier than 98% of the world’s population.

          And I share that to point out that we all live in some kind of bubble (although the information age has changed that to the point where millennials have significantly different voting values than their predecessors). I think a major part of Jesus’ parable was intended to shrink the sphere of utlanning. As the internet continues to eliminate these barriers, the call to love your neighbor becomes an egalitarian wrecking ball that almost renders Christian ethics impossible.

    • Seems to me that when it comes to the Republican party, evangelicals have been choosing to overlook inconvenient realities for a long time. It didn’t start just now. Remember the Southern strategy, the needless and destructive wars, the deregulation and trickle-down economics that never quite did, Sarah Palin, the Mormon big businessman presidential candidate? The trying to dismantle the ACA dozens and dozens of times with nothing to replace it? Evangelicals have been pretty much silent and supportive because they thought the party was on their side on certain social issues, including what one of my friend accurately describes as “the pelvic issues.” The Evangelical focus was narrow, and the discernment equally narrow and constrained.

      The haters didn’t show up just this year. The Republican elite were happy to stay quiet about them but still get their votes by focusing mostly on the aforementioned social and pelvic issues and occasionally throwing the haters a bone (e.g. Willie Horton). They thought they could contain the monster while they used it to bolster their own power. They were wrong. With Trump’s overt rhetoric and bluster the haters have now come out of the shadows and realized they’ve been played.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And It’s Payback Time.

        “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!”
        Network

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I think the shift in the Republican Party was mirrored by what happened to Focus on the Family. When FotF became more focused on politics than in supporting Christian families, they went off the rails. Of course, some LOVE that they’ve become so political, but their mission has totally changed.

      • Oh, don’t get me started on Focus on the Family.

        They Idolize the family. They turn the Nuclear Family into into a deity. So everyone and anyone who isn’t married with children is overlooked, pushed aside, or made to feel as though they don’t measure up.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          So everyone and anyone who isn’t married with children is overlooked, pushed aside, or made to feel as though they don’t measure up.

          Even if you’re straight.

          “Remember James Dobson? Did some good things before fear of Homosexuals drove him over a cliff with his constituency in the car.”
          — Chaplain Mike(?)

          And the move to the Christianese Redoubt Echo Chamber in Colo Spgs didn’t help.

      • Suzanne says:

        Oh my, Focus on the Fam! The local radio station is on all day at my workplace. It’s mostly local news, classic rock with a few country songs & an occasional Michael W Smith. But every day they play Focus on the Fam for half an hour. I’ve had to change the station more than once it was so…ridiculous. Last week featured an interview with Billy Graham’s daughter filled with dire warnings about the terrible things that await the US if it doesn’t turn back to God & elect godly leaders. The founding fathers knelt in prayer before founding this country dontchaknow and He has held us in a special place ever since. But our place as God’s favored nation is in jeopardy if we don’t straighten up & fly right.
        Once again, station muted.j

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Last week featured an interview with Billy Graham’s daughter filled with dire warnings about the terrible things that await the US if it doesn’t turn back to God & elect godly leaders. The founding fathers knelt in prayer before founding this country dontchaknow and He has held us in a special place ever since. But our place as God’s favored nation is in jeopardy if we don’t straighten up & fly right.

          Somebody’s been eating the Barton History cake and digested it…

          “DO AS *I* SAY OR GOD! WILL! PUNISH! YOU!”
          Been there, done that, got the T-shirt (and the scars).
          Only back then God’s Punishment sat ready and waiting in the Nuclear Missile Silos of the Soviet Union.

          Question, Massmind: Does God have any reason for existence other than to PUNISH! PUNISH! PUNISH! ?

  5. Burro [Mule] says:

    Strange. It was always my thinking that Reagan, for whom I never cared, made Trump or someone like him inevitable. My thinking this electoral season is that Providence has given us a wake up call loud enough for even the deafest to hear. When a train is heading into the side of a mountain at 55 MPH, the smart thing to do if you can’t get off is to proceed to the rear as quickly as possible, as unobtrusively as possible, so that your exit doesn’t become a blind panic. In my mind, both parties have succumbed to hate. They both had the opportunity to elect honorable people – well, I’ll let the Archdruid say it better than I ever could:

    The hard fact that most people in this country are trying not to remember is this: in the years right after Reagan’s election, a vast number of Americans enthusiastically turned their backs on the promising steps toward sustainability that had been taken in the previous decade, abandoned the ideals they’d been praising to the skies up to that time, and cashed in their grandchildrens’ future so that they didn’t have to give up the extravagance and waste that defined their familiar and comfortable lifestyles. As a direct result, the nonrenewable resources that might have supported the transition to a sustainable future went instead to fuel one last orgy of wretched excess. Now, though, the party is over, the bill is due, and the consequences of that disastrous decision have become a massive though almost wholly unmentionable factor in our nation’s culture and collective psychology.

    • Eeyore says:

      Yep, the Archdruid has been on a roll lately with his election and cultural analyses…

    • Stephen says:

      The so-called “Reagan Revolution” was a disaster for this country. Mainly because it made popular a mindset that our government is imposed on the people rather than derived from the people. It made the citizenry fear and distrust the very folks who should be working for them and protecting their interests. Making the people ripe for the picking.

      It’s hilarious to hear Republicans fretting about how Trump has hijacked the party. The Republicans have been pandering to these folks since Nixon’s southern strategy. Surprise, surprise! They were too simple to realize they were just supposed to just vote for the Republicans and not interfere with policy. Well to use another old cliche, the inmates have taken over the asylum and now who can tell the doctors from the patients?

      I will give Trump credit for one thing that just a year ago I would have considered impossible. I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton. If given a choice between moderate corruption and gross demagoguery I’ll take moderate corruption anytime. But in the end we can’t blame the politicians. They only get away with what they’re allowed to get away with. The problem remains the people – OUR simplemindedness and gullibility.

    • My steady movement leftward as a whtie male Evangelical (mebbe they wouldn’t recognize me as Evangelical any more) is rooted in what Ronald Reagan’s presidency did to this country. I live in inner city Chicago and watched as entire families ended up on the streets due to his deconstruction of welfare. I watch as he rolled up the largest national debt then on record, all that “small government” talk turning out to be a bald-faced lie. I found myself more and more engaging with feminist critiques, African-American critiques, Native American critiques of our social fabric. And I must say I’m *excited* this year to be voting for Hillary Clinton. A woman… hated by white Evangelicals and embraced by black Evangelicals. Isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that instructive? What is *wrong* with the Church in this country?!

    • I agree. Things like the (should have been criminal) practices of the BLM during the Reagan administration destroyed the foundation of sustainability that was being built in the 60s and 70s. We would not be as wealthy as we are now, but there would be significantly less volatility and a smaller gap between wealthy and poor. We sold our birthright for a mess of pottage.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Anyone remember the urban legend about James Watt, Reagan’s first Secretary of the Interior?

        “Christ is Coming Soon and It’s All Gonna Burn anyway”?

    • Robert F says:

      Okay, I’m no fan of Reagan, or the so-called conservative movement, so I’ll go along with this deconstructing narrative as it pertains to the US.

      Now explain to me why Europe is taking a hard right turn, finding its own demagogues, and growing popular reactionary movements like so many organic mushrooms…

  6. If you don’t like the party, it’s time to leave and go find another party.

    There is one pro-life candidate left in this election – Libertarian Austin Peterson. We may not be grown up enough as a country to fully consider a third party. But I can’t bring myself to vote for the clowns the major parties have succumbed to.

    • StuartB says:

      I’d argue pro-choice people are just as pro-life as their opponents. But that’s not what is really being said, is it.

    • I’m definitely voting third party. Strongly leaning libertarian, but at this point, still open to other options.

  7. Trump has said twice that women who have abortions should be imprisoned. So no, not pro-choice at all.

    • Eeyore says:

      But what has he said *lately*? Trump takes the “art” of flip-flopping and dials it up to ’11’…

      • Daniel Jepsen says:

        http://www.redstate.com/leon_h_wolf/2016/04/03/donald-trump-isnt-just-pro-choice-hes-also-sociopath/

        “After a week of horribly damaging and completely inconsistent statements on abortion, Donald Trump finally settled on the position that the abortion laws in this country shouldn’t be changed from what they are now. Many people have pointed out that this is a functionally openly pro-choice position, because the current abortion laws in this country are just about the most extremely pro-abortion laws on earth.

        That’s a completely fair characterization of Trump’s current position. There is no world in which a person who believes that abortion ought to be legal up to and including the point of delivery can consider themselves to be “pro-life,” as Trump has been calling himself throughout the campaign season.”

        • You are forgetting Canada Daniel.
          There is no abortion law in Canada. Technically it is legal at any time

      • ChrisS says:

        (Lifelong Republican) I hear many Republicans saying they fear for our country’s future and agree with Trump that it must be taken back. I always think sounds like a hollow slogan but now I am beginning to fear. It’s them that I am fearing. That shallow sloganeering, stemming from uncritical thinking begins to sound Nazi-ish. I never thought this country with its governmental system could be susceptible to that sort of takeover but now I see some slivers of darkness peering through cracks in the wall and am realizing it’s possible. The dumbing down of America and the ridiculous right have made me join in the chorus. I’m beginning to fear. I’m voting for Clinton, the much lesser of the two evils.

        • Very relevant article on this subject posted today at the Atlantic…

          http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/05/trump-president-illiberal-democracy/481494/

        • Rick Ro. says:

          I actually had this conversation with a Trump supporter yesterday. Paraphrasing:

          Me: Trump is too much like a bully. He’s like Putin.
          Trump-guy: Russia LOVES Putin.
          Me: But the rest of the world doesn’t.
          Trump-guy: But Russia LOVES Putin.
          Me: And Germany LOVED Hitler, too.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Noticed and lesson learned during the Late Cold War,:
            The more brutal the Soviet Union acted, the more cruel, the more vicious, the more bloodthirsty, the more everyone sucked up to them and sang their praises while screaming “DEATH TO AMERICA!” after taking American money.

            We wanted the world to like us.
            The USSR wanted the world to FEAR them.
            Who got sucked up to and their praises sang?
            PHOBOS KEDROS DOXA —
            FEAR BREEDS RESPECT.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      “Trump has said twice that women who have abortions should be imprisoned.”

      This is because he came late to the party, and doesn’t know the approved patter. If you believe that abortion is murder, then of course women who have abortions should be punished. This is blatantly obvious. Yet this is a minority position among the pro-life faction. Why is this? It is an open secret that nice girls from good families have abortions, even if they don’t talk about it. Many abortion providers have stories about the vocal pro-lifer who sneaked in the back door with his daughter, got the procedure, and went back to denouncing abortions. To actually treat these people as if they had solicited a murder would hit far too close to home for too many people. Trump, being an outsider to pro-life culture, did not know the drill, and made the mistake of taking the pro-life claims at face value.

  8. ChrisS says:

    Call this whole thing the Rush Limbaugh/ Jerry Springer effect. The culture of zealotry and idiocy and out pops Trump.

    • Clay Crouch says:

      Or call it the end product of scripted, reality television culture. The Clintons and the Trumps scandal soaked personal lives have been on our tv screens for 20+ years and Americans have lapped it up.

      “Hooray for our side!”

      • You people don’t get to talk about the Clintons after Mark Sanford. You have spent that penny.

    • Randy Thompson says:

      Very well said.
      For more on the “culture of zealotry and idiocy,” or, at least “of idiocy,” I recommend a film of a few years ago, “Idiocracy.”

      We are only a few steps away from electing presidents in bowling shirts with the logo of their corporate sponsor on the back.

      • ChrisS says:

        Scary how close we are getting but unlike the movies the reality could be dangerous to national security.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Idiocracy” is a comedic retelling of a nasty little SF short called “The Marching Morons” (C.M.Kornbluth, 1947). Same premise (that the stupid outbreed the responsible for Darwinian reproductive success, called “Marching Morons Syndrome” after the story) but played for laughs.

      • I’m just The Dude, man.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I told my Trump-supporter friend that I’d be okay if Trump had his own talk show or rant show on FoxNews (even though I’d never listen/watch), but as our PRESIDENT!?!?

  9. Or, as Garrison Keillor said, ahead of the 2004 election, “We’re not in Lake Wobegon anymore.”

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/979

  10. David Cornwell says:

    Some thoughts in random order:

    1. Single issue politics, like “pro-life,” isn’t very smart. A voter, party, platform, or candidate who makes this the bedrock of all issues is doomed to failure. There have been many single issues in the nation’s past, that taken alone, were good ones. However a single issue is not enough to build a political program or nation around.

    2. Those who claim to be “pro-life” do not really mean it. They mean being “pro-the-right-to-be-born.” Then drop them like a hot iron. Life is more than birth. It means all the things that go into making a healthy society. Only a few pro-lifers make a case against war, capital punishment, or a system of waging war that kills at least 100,000 people in Iraq. Or the wiping out of entire families attending a social gathering or wedding by dropping a bomb on them from a drone. Or bombing a clinic. I’ve heard all these things being defended by the same people who claim to value the life of the unborn.

    3. Making a lifetime dedication to a single party, be it Democrat or Republican, is to make an idol out of a very flawed human system. Turning someone like Ronald Reagan into a deity who can do no wrong is worse than silly. In my era (the era coming out of the Great Depression and going into & out of WW 2) it was Franklin Roosevelt. He was the great deliverer. I had relatives and friends, good Christians, who were like this. And some of them had good reason. But eventually the reforms of the New Deal became corrupt, just like all human systems.

    I became a Republican when Dwight Eisenhower ran for office. I was in my middle teens. His brand of politics was moderate, middle of the road, and sensible. He didn’t hate Democrats. Nor did most of them hate him. As time wore on, after the Kennedy tragedies etc, the Republican Party morphed into something much different. Or maybe it just became more truly itself. It took me many years to realize this.

    4. An expanded military-industrial-education complex are the controlling motifs of both parties at the present time.

    5. Poverty is seldom mentioned in modern political parlance. Care for the earth (environmental concerns) is hardly being mentioned in this cycle.

    6. As Christians, why are we letting politicians set the agenda when it comes to aliens? Are they not human persons? Men, women, children with hopes, dreams, needs, concerns? Have we looked into their eyes? Considered their tears?

    7. I truly believe a moral argument can be made for NOT VOTING in this election. At least in the Presidential slot. This argument needs to be fleshed out, debated, and made public. Refuse to permit someone put a guilt trip on you for this. Think it through. Read “On the Citizen’s Duty to Vote”, by Andy Zehner, The Datasaur. A link is in the side panel. Other Christians have also made this point, perhaps from a slightly different perspective. Also there are valid secular arguments to consider.

    8. Open up your mind. Turn off television news. Banish people like Rush Limbaugh. They are poison. Find intelligent analysis to read.

    9. Be thankful for forums like this one where these things can be discussed.

    10. Pray for our leaders. I’ll admit this one is very hard at times. It may get even harder!

    11. Stay out of fights. Be gentle with your adversary. Sometimes, in family gatherings, staying out of political discussions makes a lot of sense.

    • StuartB says:

      amen

    • Rick Ro. says:

      These are really good random thoughts. Especially like 1, 3, 7 and 8.

    • Pro lifers are like Star Wars fanboys: they only care about people as long as they are in their original packaging.

      • Patently untrue.
        Why don’t you do a little research before making such statements?

        You may even find some pro-life organizations involved in things like homes for unwed moms or adoption agencies.

        As for individuals – when Mother Theresa visited Canada she told us ‘if you don’t want your children give them to me, I will raise them’ and would have been willing to start a work doing so.

        She got a few people ticked off.

        • Given how the gravely ill are treated in M. Teresa’s “hospices,” I would NEVER want that order to have the charge of a single child’s life. You might want to read up a bit on that, Ken.

          • “Suffering is the kiss of Jesus,” so no pain meds (or anything else), really, for you! is literally how the critically ill and dying are handled in Calucutta and elsewhere, as well as why. It doesn’t matter, so long as they’re baptized before they die.

            I wish I was making this up, or that I could be fairly accused of misrepresenting the whole order of the Sisters of Charity, but I’m understating it, if anything.

          • Calcutta, that is…

          • Robert F says:

            Recent revelations have disillusioned me of any belief in the holiness of Mother Theresa, or the institutions she founded. Yet she is on the fast track to canonization. I wonder how many other men and women have been similarly elevated to sainthood, the facts about their lives made to disappear in a hagiographical fog.

          • Robert – more than a few. Take J. Serra, for example…

          • Numo – indeed. We all do good and not-so-good, but Mother Theresa’s actions just don’t match up with my ethics. I consider her unethical, no matter what good she may have done.

          • Robert F says:

            numo, And then I can’t help but wonder if the memory of Jesus in the New Testament is also the result of just such a hagiographical fog. That thought, that possibility, mortifies me.

        • Montgomery, Buffalo, Buffalo again, Colorado Springs.

          Yes: we remember.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        Gosh, you’re loaded with broad-brush, one-line rhetoric today, aren’t you?

        • Not taking your lies anymore, little conservative. We will not suffer to be ruled by you anymore.

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      Re: Number 6 about aliens…

      because it is easier to tarnish them all as rapists and thieves (a la Drudge Report), than to see them as actual people WHO NEED HELP.

      • I don’t think Drudge writes original content, but just provide links to other people’s reporting?

    • Someone up thread said:
      “2. Those who claim to be “pro-life” do not really mean it. They mean being “pro-the-right-to-be-born.” Then drop them like a hot iron. ”

      That’s not really fair. There are some pro-life folks who do adopt kids, donate money to charities that help pregnant teens and orphans, and the like.

  11. It’s difficult to sort things out in this game even with a program. One of the main points of confusion is not realizing that the Bushes and the Clintons are on the same team. I leave the implications of that up to you had the planned Jeb/Hillary contest panned out. Obama was the star player on the bitterly opposing team but his status lately is questionable and he may even have been suspended. What most people don’t recognize is that Trump was brought in on the same team as Obama. They also confuse the actor with the character he or she is playing. The reason most people have so much trouble recognizing these things is because they still think that everyone on one team has one team name and one uniform. Well, that was pretty much true when Eisenhower was president, but in case you hadn’t realized it, his term was up some time ago.

    I got a brochure in the mail today from Baker College saying that The Future Belongs to Those Who Prepare For It. I believe that and have been trying to practice that for fifty years, with limited success, but I have given it my best shot. I have never seen anything like what is going on today underneath the headlines and behind the scenes. I have no idea just how this is going to end up but I’m pretty sure it’s going to look a lot different half a year from now than it does today. A lot different. Mule, I would suggest supersizing that bowl of popcorn.

    • Headless Unicorn Guys says:

      I think I’ll edit this like the Masonic Temple sequence on that “Tripping Balls” (news of the weird) YouTube video last night:

      One of the main points of confusion is not realizing that the Bushes and the Clintons are on the same team.
      (Eye in a pyramid pic) ILLUMINATI…
      I leave the implications of that up to you had the planned Jeb/Hillary contest panned out.
      (Eye in a pyramid pic) ILLUMINATI…
      Obama was the star player on the bitterly opposing team but his status lately is questionable and he may even have been suspended.
      (Eye in a pyramid pic) ILLUMINATI…
      What most people don’t recognize is that Trump was brought in on the same team as Obama.
      (Eye in a pyramid pic) ILLUMINATI…

      • Never attribute to conspiracy what can just as easily be explained by inertia and incompetence.

      • Illuminati? Kind of stuck back in the 60’s and 70’s are you? Well, it still serves as a good put down. You can catch news of the weird on PBS and Fox News these days.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Actually, it was supposed to be a joke.

          A YouTube video called “Tripping Balls” mashed together a lot of CGI sims of various news items about drug-related weird behavior. One was of a sex-and-drugs party raided by the cops in the Masonic Temple, Battle Creek, Michigan. (Apparenly someone rented the hall for a party and didn’t tell the Masons what kind of party, compounded by a poor choice of words in the Masons’ official statement that made it seem as though they were in on it.)

          Anyway, that section of the video would keep cutting to a still of the eye-in-a-pyramid from the back of the one-dollar bill while a voice intoned “ILLUMINATI”. Two or three times a minute.

          P.S. Does anyone remember “Illuminati: the Card Game” from Steve Jackson Games a couple decades ago? FNORD!

          • >>Actually, it was supposed to be a joke.

            Fair enough, accepted as such. Laughter may be the only rational response to all that’s going on today. As one of the saner reporters says at the end of his daily space weather report, “”Eyes open, no fear. Be safe everyone.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And remember, Christians: Mike Warnke told us ALL the secrets of Satan’s REAL Illuminati…

  12. Yeah, but what are you going to do, vote for a third party candidate?
    “Go ahead, throw your vote away”
    https://youtu.be/4v7XXSt9XRM

    (Although the idea of Homer Simpson accidentally ejecting both party front runners into space sounds really appealing right now)

    • IT’S A TWO-PARTY SYSTEM, YOU HAVE TO VOTE FOR *ONE* OF US!!!

      • petrushka1611 says:

        That’s right! We have a choice between lymphoma and leukemia. And a vote for treatment is a vote for leukemia. Because if you don’t vote for lymphoma, other people are going to choose leukemia for you.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          –> We have a choice between lymphoma and leukemia.”

          Oh, gosh…great analogy!

        • You said,
          “That’s right! We have a choice between lymphoma and leukemia. And a vote for treatment is a vote for leukemia. Because if you don’t vote for lymphoma, other people are going to choose leukemia for you.”

          South Park had the “vote for a turd sandwich or a douche” episode.

          See a clip from that show here:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVwh8PW6r88

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        IT’S A TWO-PARTY SYSTEM, YOU HAVE TO VOTE FOR *ONE* OF US!!!

        Germany 1932:
        NATIONAL SOCIALISTS OR COMMUNISTS?

  13. That’s a funny bit! I almost believe Homer could be elected this time around on a third party campaign or as a write in. People are desperate for truth tellers, tho I think more are coming out of the woodwork these days along with the scam artists and disinfo agents.

  14. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    I would like to point out that we now know that the chief prosecutor of Bill Clinton was a pedophile (Hastert).

    • Rick Ro. says:

      What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        It means that even back then, the hypocrisy was deep right at the top of the party.

  15. Daniel, I don’t intend to defend Donald Trump. There is no defense for the man. I would say that one of your comments is really out of context. I don’t think Trump was labeling all undocumented immigrants from Mexico or elsewhere “rapists & murderers”. His comments were in response to an actual murder that took place at the hands of an illegal immigrant where a young woman was the victim, and it was in a “sanctuary city”. Of course the media seized the opportunity to blow this way out of per portion.

    Other than that. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Well, … except the part when you said, “Let me be Frank.” I like you better when you are just plain ole Daniel.

  16. I used to be a Republican but left the party some years ago. While George W. Bush may have been an evangelical, he was also fiscally reckless and presided over massive expansions of the federal government in the areas of education, health care and homeland security. While his decision to invade Iraq may have seemed correct to many at the time, the fruit of his decision has been quite bitter. The GOP has been divorced from its principles for years. And while some of the presidential candidates seemed serious about returning to basic Republican principles, none of them did that well in the party primaries and caucuses. Now the GOP is left with a presumptive nominee who is basically a “Republican in name only.”

    Yet I have no love lost for the Democrats either. I grew up in a part of the country where many Democrats were still committed segregationists when I was a child. Now they hypocritically accuse Republicans of racism. Today’s Democrats seek continued expansion of the welfare and regulation state, pursuing tax-and-spend policies at a time when this country needs to get serious about getting its fiscal house in order and dealing with the massive national debt. And Democrats who cry out concerning alleged GOP corruption conveniently look the other way at their current presidential front-runner and her husband, only the second president to be impeached in American history.

    Kyrie Eleison.

    • Headless Unicorn Guys says:

      A choice like Germany in 1932:

      The Fuehrer or Comrade Commissar.

    • David Cornwell says:

      ” her husband, only the second president to be impeached in American history.”

      Hillary Clinton could end up being the third. The FBI investigation is ongoing. If they were to uncover a prior crime after she is takes office, can she be indicted? Or can she be impeached for criminal activity she commits before she takes office? One way or the other she will probably be hounded by a Republican Congress from day one.

      Or maybe she has some kind of triangulated Grand Compromise in the works.

      • There have been 8 investigations into Clinton. None have found a thing.

      • David L says:

        Or can she be impeached for criminal activity she commits before she takes office?

        The House can impeach a president for almost anything they want. High Crimes and Misdemeanors is not defined.

  17. Randy Thompson says:

    Maybe we can secede and become part of Canada.
    And, their national anthem is easier to sing.

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Two phrases that describe the upset within the GOP (i.e. ‘GOD’s Own Party” for the past 30 years):

    “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!”
    Network

    “WHO IS JOHN GALT?????”
    Atlas Shrugged

  19. Rick Ro. says:

    Well said, Daniel. Agree with most of what you’ve written as it has mirrored most of my own experience. Beginning with the vote for W’s second term, I’ve only done write-ins for President. I can no longer support my long-time Republican party for the lame candidates they’ve put forward the last several presidential elections, nor have I been able to cast a vote in support of the lame Democratic candidates.

  20. Dana Ames says:

    As a good Evangelical, I switched parties in the ’80s and voted R for several Pres cycles, though not straight-party in state and local elections. i became more disillusioned with the lackluster record of “compassionate conservatism”, especially after hearing the late David Kuo. It was reading “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” in the first Bush2 admin that made me eschew party membership altogether, and right after I finished it I changed my voter registration to “decline to state” a party preference. (“Independent” is still the name of a particular party.)

    Both parties’ leaderships are in the pockets of corporations. A decent person who gets elected and wants to work for the good of the people is subject to many difficulties and temptations, not least of which is needing from day 1 to begin to drum up funding for the next election.

    End PACs. Establish election funding limits for all offices and make all donations transparent. Kick lobbyists out of Washington – more money is spent on lobbying than is needed to run the entire government! – and make the revolving door illegal. Support the amendment, House Joint Resolution 48, to overturn the Citizens United ruling. If we could do this, and get back to the place where gov’t corruption is viewed as something BAD and we are willing to do something about it, we might have a chance of enduring as a nation.

    Dana

  21. kerokline says:

    Its odd, I feel pretty lonely on the board today. I am too young to identify with most of what you wrote. I’m on the early end of millenial, so I don’t remember Clinton that well (I remember the sex scandal vaguely, but my parents were divorcing so I had bigger concerns). I remember the Bush years, but could not vote in them. My first vote was cast for Obama, and I tend to like how he’s done in office, so he got my second vote as well (not counting local elections / midterms, obviously).

    My dad is a lifelong democrat who is incredibly angry with Hillary’s Hawkishness and more generally the democratic party’s move to the center-right. He doesn’t mirror your story, but I think he has arrived at the same place. He doesn’t feel represented by the party anymore.

    I grew up with Andrew Sullivan as my go-to political thinker, with Colbert and John Stewart as my satire outlets. There is a certain “fiscally right-leaning, liberally left-leaning” ideology (not Libertarian) that is pretty common among my peers that feels unrepresented by either Democrats or Republican figures.

    My mother and step-dad are evangelical-block voters who are incredibly upset by Hillary (they are the, “the Clinton’s have literal skeletons in their closet” type), who think NPR’s non-political journalism is still too “left leaning” (my step-dad literally laughed and walked out of the room when I started a conversation with, “so I heard this story on “This American Life”), who think Obama should be impeached. They should be the GOP’s target audience. Honestly, I think by demographic they should be Trump’s target audience. But even they feel disillusioned with this election cycle. They are arriving at the same place you have – the GOP has stopped representing them.

    Andrew Sullivan wrote a pretty pessimistic piece a few days ago for New York Magazine, but it had one takeaway I thought was actually pretty optimistic seeming.

    Just months ago, people were worried that money had too much influence in politics. This election cycle had a self-funded populist take down a field of GOP establishment figures, and had an Independent-cum-‘Democratic Socialist’ nearly tie a head-to-head primary with the most established DNC candidate possible. It really does feel like something critical is changing, however slowly.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I think all the first-string candidates — Trump, Cruz, AND Hillary — sound like the first step in History of a Dictator. Only difference is what type of Dictator:
      Trump — Mussolini, the Bombastic Strongman
      Cruz — Ayatollah Calvini, the GOD’s Anointed Righteous Religious
      Hillary — Comrade Commissar, name any Third World People’s Democratic Republic

  22. After the Indiana primary, an old friend sent me the long-forgotten 1972 Alice Cooper song “Elected”. I can’t believe that over-the-top satire now sounds like Alice is channeling the presumptive nominee:

    I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice
    I wanna be elected
    I’m Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls Royce
    I wanna be elected
    The kids want a savior, they don’t need a fake
    I wanna be elected
    We’re all gonna rock! to the rules that I make
    I wanna be elected
    Elected, elected,
    Respected
    Elected!

    • Danielle says:

      The song does seem strangely appropriate.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Didn’t Alice Cooper say in an interview “If you vote for someone just because your favorite rock star said he was voting for him, you’re dumber than we are.”?

  23. For years out here in California, our presidential votes have been meaningless. The state votes so reliably Democrat that even Democrats ignore it, except as an ATM for campaign dollars.
    I’ve long wondered what would happen if all social conservatives switched their registration from Republican to Democrat, and started over again at the local party level. If nothing else, it would inject enough unpredictability that no one could afford to take us for granted.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      All districts in CA are gerrymandered one-party districts.

      Since the 2000 reapportionment, EVERY California election has been “ALL INCUMBENTS RE-ELECTED; NO EXCEPTIONS”. The only exceptions are when someone gets term-limited out; when this happens, his son usually inherits the Congressional/Senate/Assembly seat, just like in Game of Thrones.

      Always running around in circles screaming to VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
      Always ALL INCUMBENTS RE-ELECTED. NO EXCEPTIONS.
      May as well just hardcode it into the Ballot Results step of the elections software.
      Isn’t it Third World dictators who are very much into Mandatory Voting?

  24. Robert F says:

    Tom Waits has a word to say concerning our political turmoils at this time:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGpwgHqlfWo

    • As I clicked the link, I was half-expecting What’s He Building In There?”

  25. David L says:

    No one has mentioned it here and most will not read this late comment.

    People with experience in political campaigns say that if you have a decent favorability rating you try and swing people to vote for you. If your opponent has a poor favorability rating you try and get them to vote against your opponent.

    HC and DT have the worst favorability ratings ever for Presidential candidates. So the insiders figure this will be the greatest/worst scorched earth campaign ever. Basically a bare knuckles brawl. Sucker punches and all. Because both will be trying to get us to vote AGAINST the other.

  26. Friend,
    What a great letter. Who will read it?
    I reached the same conclusion, namely that the GOP walked out the door, after working for the Government for a couple of decades. Here is my experience —– everything the GOP said was ass backward.

    In general Republican presidents enlarged government, increased government spending, got us into wars, increased our deficit with large (for the time) budget deficits, and granted illegals amnesty. Let’s all agree, Reagan would not be nominated today.

    On the other hand, it was a Clinton that actually reduced the size of Civil Service by 17% (no one seems to remember this), it was a Clinton that signed into law Welfare Reform (I could not believe it), and it was a Clinton – and our resilient economy that actually produced a surplus to pay down our debt – (the only time in my memory.) Obama is not a socialist nor a fascist …. Seriously, no republican nowadays can whisper any of the old criticisms of Medicare or Social Security as “Socialist”. Unemployment – even “Real Unemployment ” is back down to the mid=Clinton years (unemployment, by any measure, dropped in his tenure).

    It is all backwards.
    The only constant throughout this period was: Abortion will never become illegal. It is not going away.
    The Pro-Life movement must continue to be pro child, pro-supporting of poor moms. Because abortion will never go away in the foreseeable future.

    • Under Obama, for the first time since Nixon, a minimum-wage worker can work one hour, then buy 4 gallons of gas.

      • David L says:

        That is almost entirely due to fracking and what it has done to the global oil market.