Stop Making Assumptions About My Politics

There is a lot that annoys me but what annoys me most of recent are people so bereft of logic, they immediately assume since I speak out frequently against Trump, I must be for Clinton. It’s just as bad as those who can’t comprehend you can be against war and still support out troops. I realize that many people are unable to think outside the box and divorce themselves from the dogma and ideology of the two party system our government shoves down our throats (or that any situation can have more than two answers / opinions  / outcomes / etc). And as such, you can’t view the political views of others without confining it to the narrow definition of government you maintain. Just STOP IT! Honestly, stop it. It’s a narrow minded and grossly incorrect viewpoint that does not apply to a great many of us.

And let me be clear, I am not Pro-Clinton. Let me say it another way. I’m not for Trump AND I’m not for Clinton. My overall feeling is that she is as fake as they come, she is a conservative wolf in sheep’s clothing, and while she pushes for a lot of liberal social issues that I am for, she only does so to cover and mitigate other conservative agendas. I have nothing against the President being a woman. There are women who I would like to see President. Just not Clinton.

So now you are thinking, “Oh, he’s gonna waste his vote for on a third party”. The truth is I will likely be voting for a third party candidate of some kind. However, it’s not a waste. YOU only think it’s a waste because a vote for a third party may jeopardize your candidate winning. The reality is, if you and your beloved two party system would actually produce decent candidates instead of the dreck we have, you wouldn’t have to worry about a third party vote raining on your parade. You and your two party system are to blame for people wanting to vote outside of them. It’s time to be accountable and own up to it.

Honestly, I don’t think trying to introduce a third party by way of voting in a third party President every four years is a sound plan. Actually, it’s a rather bad plan. Even if elected, that President would have to battle against both parties in Congress. It would be a much more sound plan to build from the ground up. To get third party politicians elected to state assemblies, state governors, and then Congress so that if a third party president is elected, they would then have allies in Congress. Unfortunately, until then, the presidential elections are one of the few avenues we have to voice our displeasure and dissent of the two parties. Sadly, it seems that third parties don’t even have the ability to merge with and/or affect the dominate two. Which is not how it should be.

While I can’t speak with any proof, I would wager that most of the public view the Democratic and Republican parties as linear parties that have existed since the dawn of our country with little evolution of their values. That has certainly been true in recent years but that is not what our government is meant to be. Our government was meant to grow and evolve with time not become a static process of two unchanging parties or to evolve to a certain point and stop. Even with a cursory look at the below graph, one can see a dramatic difference prior to 1900.political_parties_posterParties formed and unformed, politicians more frequently went from one party to another, and other parties formed and absorbed into others, thereby affecting some change. You see far less of it after 1900. What is truly sad is that the two parties we have today have become exclusive groups of a sort, barely acknowledging third parties as legitimate competitors (i.e. not letting them debate) and building up a defense against third parties affecting change upon them. Bernie Sanders and his followers may be an exception, but only time will tell.

So why am I so much harder on Trump than Clinton? First, I expect it from Clinton. She is a career politician that is part of the problem. It’s no surprise to me. I take no issue with the attacks lobbied against her and I take no issue with those who oppose her. While I don’t attack her as much as Trump, I also don’t defend her. Second, Trump and those that support him invite it on themselves. Again, it’s your own fault. As much as Trump amazes me his supporters, their defense of him, and their flawed arguments for him amaze me even more. The two most common arguments for him are “He can’t be bought” and “He speaks his mind”.

The “He can’t be bought” reasoning is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve pointed this out prior so I apologize if you are reading it again. The reason he can’t be bought is because he is usually the buyer. If you elect him, all you are doing is cutting out the middle man. Instead of electing the bought politician, you are electing the man who would have bought the politician. The wealthy and politicians have been in bed together since the beginning scratching each others backs. To think Trump has become some altruistic friend of the poor and middle class who will push for legislation to benefit us is ignorant and laughable. Trump is only looking out for Trump and his fellow wealthy upper class cronies.

As for speaking his mind, I understand the yearning for a politician who speaks their mind and gives honest answers. In a time when politicians do nothing but answer around questions, avoid questions, lie, and insult their opponents, I agree it would be a nice change. However, speaking one’s mind is not always good. Let’s take a look at just some examples of Trump speaking his mind.

  • “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”- I truly don’t understand how conservatives, especially those in the military defend this statement. It is a complete slap in the face to our soldiers and POW’s.
  • “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!”- When speaking out reveals your own ignorance that Scotland voted to stay in the EU. Do you really want a president with such a poor understanding of the world outside of the U.S.
  • “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next President?”- Trump on Carly Fiorina. So what does her looks have to do with politics? How about some actual facts as to why she should not be elected instead of just insulting her? Classic non-answer.
  • Lets not forget him mocking a handicapped person. Very classy, so presidential. Tell me again how you excuse that?
  • “I know words, I have the best words,”- I rest my case.

Here’s the thing, I don’t disagree he is speaking his mind without a filter. It’s just not worth anyone’s admiration. I’m pretty sure most of you Trump supporters would correct and/or punish your children to some degree if they mocked a handicapped person or if they made fun of how someone looked. If you wouldn’t, then you have a problem and probably shouldn’t have kids. If you would but for some reason you think it’s OK for a grown man to do so and be President, you still have a problem.

At the end of the day, Trump’s version of speaking his mind is no different than other politicians practicing politics as usual. He still talks around questions rather than answering them, he still lies, he still insults opponents like every other politician. He just does it louder, with more vitriol, and with more ignorance than other politicians. He is more concerned with how powerful he looks, not wanted to show any weakness or admit being wrong, just like every other politician. The argument that he speaks his mind is a farce. It is an unsupported argument.

You know what would be a politician speaking their mind in a true and admirable way. A politician who actually answers a question with facts or at least opinions based on stated facts instead of some vague response or insult. A politician who has the strength to say, “I was wrong” and not be concerned about appearing as some infallible leader. You know they are human, I know they are human, how about they actually act like it.

Clinton does none of these things. Trump does none of these things however he goes over the top with his rhetoric, insults, and non-answers. I go after Trump way more than Clinton because he provides far more fodder to show his ignorance and ineptitude. If you can’t see it or understand that, I’m sorry for your blindness to it. Regardless, stop making the sad, tunnel visioned, binary, incorrect assumption that those of us against Trump are also for Clinton.

 

A Double Edged Sword

Let me preface all of this by saying I love the fact that I’m Polish. I’m proud of it. I enjoy acknowledging the many achievements of famous Polish people such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Marie Curie (born Maria Salome Skłodowska), and Frédéric Chopin (born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin) much to the chagrin of those who actually believe the numerous insults hurled at Polish intellect. However, I would also argue that it is this same pride in one’s nationality that causes just as many, if not more at times, problems and strife in the world.

While everyone has a right and should carry a measure of pride in their heritage, we all know those that take it too far. We all know that person who consistently regards themselves as better than other purely based on their nationality for no other reason than they are that nationality. Rarely do they base this belief on any accepted fact because frankly there is no accepted fact that makes one nationality or culture inherently or generally better than another. Yet people and even whole families do this. There is a huge difference between carrying yourself with pride and being too prideful. Many people take themselves and their heritage too seriously and it creates problems. Eventually a person, a family, a group starts to believe their own hype to a degree that they encroach upon someone else’s life / lives.

The examples of this are numerous with the two that come to mind quickly, the Alsace-Lorraine border and the Polish-German border. Borders change due to many social, economic, and political reasons which can at times also lead to war. However, at the root of all that is the simple notion that one group thinks they are better and/or more deserving than the other for no justifiable reason. The social, economic, political, and military clashes between groups (with rare exception such as Hitler’s megalomania) are really just giant pissing contests on a grand and sometimes destructive scale. In the end, nothing is really accomplished. To take the Alsace-Lorraine and Polish-German borders as examples again, both of those areas have undergone centuries of political and/or military fighting with numerous border changes back an forth. Each country gaining and and losing land over the years. And what is the end result? Today both of those regions are inhabited by people who are basically half French, half German or half Polish and half German living side by side in relative, comparative peace. I’m sure there are still some that hold grudges but we no longer have the border wars of years past in those regions. The people living there on each side of the border are more alike than they are different. And it only took centuries of fighting to achieve that. Imagine all the lives and money that could have been saved if they just skipped the middle man. All that fighting and conflict did was arrive at an arbitrary, invisible, border that attempts to separate people but ultimately fails to do so. French marries German, German marries Polish, the cultures meld. The wars between, ultimately useless acts of bravado, testosterone, and pride that serve no purpose.

As I said in the previous paragraph, those people that live in these areas ultimately wind up being more similar than different. Why? Because nationalities are really false man made concepts. Some of you may be put off by that statement and it’s true none the less. While nationalities may indeed have different customs, languages, etc, those customs are usually borrowed from a neighboring culture or nationality and evolve into something slightly or drastically different. Languages evolved by taking vocabulary and syntax from others. Unless you come from a culture that existed in total isolation from others, your customs, language, art, pretty much everything is not unique. Biologically we are all the same. There is no difference between you and the person who lives across the street, the person who lives in a bordering country, or the person who lives half way around the world from you. You are exactly the same species.

To put it another way, nationalities are just as fake and made up as dog breeds with the exception that 1) we are not inbred (well, with the exception of some Royal families and pockets within certain nations) and 2) dogs don’t seem to dislike or feel superior to other dogs soley because they are a different breed. You may not like that analogy and too bad, it fits. Breeds are fake. There is nothing “pure” about them unless you consider inbreeding a form of pureness. And just as a Gold Retriever can successfully mate with a Poodle, someone from North America can reproduce with someone from the Middle East, A Jewish person can have children with someone from Japan, a Scandinavian can have children with someone from Africa.

There is also a high degree of hypocrisy in people who are overly prideful of their nationality. There is an immunity many feel of their nationality. It is most evident in of all things, jokes. My aim is not to debate whether ethnic jokes are acceptable. That is an topic in and of itself that would fill pages. The point I’m making is something I’ve seen time and time again. A person of certain nationality, say Italian, will sit and tell all sorts of ethnic jokes but the moment someone tries to tell them an Italian joke, it’s off limits. Somehow, they feel they can make fun of any culture or nationality but no one can make fun of their own. And I’m not picking on Italians. I’ve seen Polish, Irish, etc all do the same. They carry a level of superiority that is both hypocritical and undeserved. But they never see it and they get angry when challenged about it. For the record, I enjoy a good Polish joke. The key word being “good”.

At the end of the day we are all the same. We are all Homo sapiens sapiens. Unfortunately, most people become blind to that. Most see the external, superficial differences that have evolved over the centuries and use that as a means to act superior to one another.

So while I champion your right to be proud of your heritage and the positive accomplishments of your culture, I also ask everyone to stop being assholes and taking yourselves too seriously. Stop being overly prideful and extolling your superiority just because you belong to a certain country or have a certain heritage. It’s ugly, it’s counter productive, and you only contribute to the ills of the world.

Southern France June 2016

Coming in at under 10 minutes, I’ll concede this is a longer montage than I usually post and it has also been my favorite thus far. Perhaps it was my travel partner in crime, the destination, the people, the food, the wine, getting to try something new in iMovie, or all of the above. Whatever the reason, I ask that you take the time to watch. If you like France, Van Gogh, Doctor Who, or just travel in general, I think you will enjoy.