Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A rant on why so many of us feel so lousy these days

It's hard to have an IQ over 80 and anything resembling a sense of decency, and not feel that there is a dark cloud hanging over this state and this country these days. The election of Trump showed just how many weak-minded, uncaring Wisconsinites we have, and that independent facts don't seem to matter to a large number of people. And the steamroller of fascism and the selling out of the American people that the Republicans are gearing up to unleash is far beyond the "typical change of power" attitude that I see all over the media. There's an MSNBC promo that sums up the arrogance and cluelessness of the Acela corridor media, which treats this as some kind of reality TV show, and "let's figure this out."

NO, MSNBC, NO! Tens of millions of people are going to see their rights and abilities to choose their own destiny to go away, and that is not what the vast majority of Americans voted for. Paul Ryan's plans to privatize Social Security and Trump appointing people to break government agencies and make them dysfunctional is not what people voted for. And then it trickles down to the state level, where our pathetic governor is now shooting his mouth off about a new Constitutional convention, an idea WHICH VIRTUALLY NO ONE IN WISCONSIN VOTED FOR THIS NOVEMBER. Oh, and lifetime politician and deficit-grower Scott Walker calling for a balanced budget amendment and term limits? That's a nice extra touch.

This garbage is unchallenged by "legitimate" Wisconsin media and gets catapulted by the paid liars on AM radio and the Internet who allow this Bubble of Bullshit among 25% of the population to grow higher and higher. The tributes that have been sent from Governor Dropout and Paul Ryan and other right-wingers to Charlie Sykes adds to my despair, because it reveals how intertwined the WisGOP machine and right-wing media is in Wisconsin- who knows where one ends and the other begins?- and how one-sided the flow of political information has become in this state. It is telling that right-wing hack Brian Fraley wrote a column today on "Wisconsin Talk Radio After Sykes" that floats the typical right-wing lie that "the marketplace" has determined right-wing talk should dominate the AM dials (Call me when Packer/Brewer flagship WTMJ or Clear Channel's WISN ever puts a left-wing show on to test that hypothesis), but also shows just how important AM radio GOP-perganda is to Wisconsin Republicans' agenda, both in floating new ideas without having their politicians be the ones talking about it, and in tricking the weak-minded fuckheads who listen to that crap.
What makes conservative talk work, and why is it so impactful in Wisconsin? It starts with provocative and insightful hosts who can speak their GOP-provided talking points with conviction do their homework and are willing to engage the audience. Lawmakers and opinion leaders help boost these shows by appearing on them and providing the hosts with news leaks and their own insight, because they recognize the importance of their audiences (especially their gullibility and racist leanings) . Finally, audience engagement is key. Amen corner shows are boring and only serve to feed the ego of a host. When callers can bring their own perspective and engage the host in an honest-to-goodness dialogue and debate, these shows are at their entertaining and informative best (if you live in a Bubble of Bullshit or are a racist moron). The intimacy of radio provides a great opportunity to establish a relationship with the suckers audience.
By the way, Charlie-tan's vomit-inducing act where he says "I don't get why right-wingers live in an alt-reality" is another reason for my disgust. Why are right-wingers like Sykes and Walker never held accountable for their constant lies and cynicism, and why aren't they made to own the wreck of today's Wisconsin that they have caused?

The lack of forceful pushback from most Democrats adds to this, from President Obama's "cut it out" act when it comes to Putin's interference in our elections, down to ineffectual state Dem "leaders" like Peter Barca, who seems to think a few words and policy statements will grab the average person's attention. I can't believe these guys don't seem to understand that THESE ARE NOT NORMAL TIMES, and Republicans have not and will not played by the rules of fairness and law. So why are we pretending that "the system will work itself out" and using convention methods? THAT IS NOT SUCCEEDING THESE DAYS. Sometimes you need to understand that the circumstances and rules have changed, and sometimes you need to get your hands dirty and say and do some not-so-pretty things if you're ever going to get things back to lawfulness and respectability. And you need to invade the Bubble of Bullshit that exists in most of lower-info/right-wing Wisconsin- press releases aren't something they're going to see or pay attention to.

I admit I am part of this problem. I have a nice job and a nice existence, and I have a hard time trying to figure out a proper response to all the madness. Should I ditch work and march to the Capitol and maybe break the law to make GOPs feel real pain for the damage they are doing (and maybe that pain has to be literal, if that's what it takes to get through to those psychopaths)? Doesn't seem like that would accomplish much, and the vermin infecting the Capitol aren't really worth throwing my life away for. In addition, blowing up my frustration by screaming at right-wing trolls on this forum or other sites just gives those dead-end losers the attention they need (though I admit it can be fun to make them a laughingstock in front of the other readers).

But I also believe in the Edmund Burke statement of "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." To stand by as my state and this country are FUBARed and thrown down the drain isn't something I can accept either. The GOPs want us to be demoralized and shocked and to throw our hands up and let them get away with their plunder. And I'll be damned if I give those scumbags the reaction they want.

I do have a sort of idealism where I believe that there can be a serious reversal where the average dope realizes that corporate slime and GOP-puppet politicians are the ones who have been wrecking this state and this country, and there is a mass uprising that tosses all of them out and into the dustbin of history. However, 6 years of waiting for that moment has grown me past the point of patience, especially with the backstop of the Federal Government going away with Orange Mussolini and his Band of Vandals.

I've been trying to be wise with my spending and only giving to eateries and businesses that are socially worthy of my money, which clears my conscience some, but it doesn't seem to stop the greed of the John Menard types, and far too many people are willing to nod their heads and go on with things as long as they aren't touched by the destruction. I don't want to be preachy and want to enjoy life, so I'm not inclined to get too heavy into convincing others to change their ways and sacrifice for the common good. But I'm also not enjoying a lot of what I see outside of my own personal situation, and the moral emptiness, limited vision, and greed that far too many of my fellow white men have chosen to impose on the rest of America makes me ill.

I really don't know what the proper response to all of this is, and I imagine many of you feel the same. I think a lot of the pit in my stomach that exists today is because I fear that the legal, proper ways of appealing to reason and common decency don't go far enough in 2016-17, and that some really bad things are going to have to be done- either by the good guys or the bad guys (or both). But we need to figure it out fast, because as we've seen in Wisconsin, the GOPs don't really care about doing things the right way- they just want to grab power and be seen as "active reformers", regardless of how anti-democratic, reckless and damaging those acts may be. And we need to be out ahead of it and continually sending the message to bystanders that THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE, AND WE WILL NOT BE A PART OF IT.

Thanks for letting me rant. I guess this outpouring clears some of the gloom that clouds me, at least in the short term. But there's a lot of sunlight that needs to come out to make me feel warmer and calmer.


  1. Thanks, Jake. I feel exactly the same way.

  2. Some very strong words, Jake, and I agree 100%. Democrats need to accept that we have lost. Not just lost one election, but we have lost completely and totally. Going about like this is "business as usual" and just waiting for our turn again does not cut it. I see so many Democrats just going, "Golly gee, we tried hard...let's gear up for 2018!", as if things are magically going to change on their own. It's never going to be "our turn" again, unless radical changes happen to the way Democrats operate in the new system of politics.

    I really think this guide could be the way forward. It's written by former Congressional staffers and lays out how the left can adopt Tea Party tactics (which, you know, actually worked) to take back this country: https://www.indivisibleguide.com

  3. Replies
    1. Bad advice, unless you're strictly talking about local office (school boards, city councils, etc). A lot of hard working candidates ran good campaigns this Fall, and got absolutely slaughtered at the polls. We don't need more sacrificial lambs running as token candidates until things fundamentally change with how the Democratic Party gets its message out. The other option is the Democratic Party dying off, and allowing another party to rise in its place...one with a fresh message and fresh energy.

      As for right now, unless you're in a "safe" Democratic leaning district, running for state assembly or state senate is a fool's errand. This November proved that.

    2. Penny- I'm not sure what I would run for. I live on the west side of Madison, and we have a flip problem of what "guy from wi" describes above- many of my positions are blocked by fellow progressives.

      This is something that Scot Ross in particular has frequently complained about- Fred Risser has been my area's State Senator for 58 years, and my State Rep is Lisa Subeck- nowhere for me to go there. And running for alder or School Board is a lot of work for not a lot of money, and those groups are quite progressive as it is (I'd actually be moderate and/or fiscally conservative compared to most of those people). Not that I wouldn't consider it, but when you got bills to pay and a job to go to, it's asking a lot.

      I disagree that running for office in other parts of the state is a "fool's errand"- I think a lot of these 55-45 GOP seats are ripe for flpping in 2 years if Dems run on an "enough of this failed Republican BS" message. But the Dem Party needs to be actively going out into those areas, instead of calculating money and "winnability" 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

  4. Jake, I empathize right to the marrow. Like you, I find myself dispirited by people's unwillingness to care beyond "my side! my side! Me me me!" I share many of your fears, having read "The Banality of Evil" and knowing that a lot of people held up as "respectable" today, or simply having a "point of view," would slip right easily into a late 1930s uniform (see: Mr. Ryan). Of course, it doesn't help that the left, in being thoughtful, undermines itself, but your main point, the lack of any real media teeth, is essential. Just track it in microcosm, say, by following the reporting on the UW--what do you see? Surprise! An "objective" take on the destruction of an essential resource. Jesus, I could go on.

    1. I'm sure you could go on, Chuck. But like me, digging into the picture and the motivations of these people just make things look bleaker and darker. It becomes too much for a sane person to stand after a while.

  5. In my view-and I've said this many times on Twitter-WI, OH, MI, and PA are dying. They aren't growing very much, they aren't really getting more diverse demographically and they seem obstinately opposed to diversifying their economies.

    These states are getting redder for the opposite reason states like CO, NV, and NC are getting bluer. (NC's Assembly's terrible actions aside).

    I've lived in WI my entire life and I've always LIKED living here and was proud to be a Wisconsinite. I know it will sound defeatist and lazy, but I no longer LIKE living here and it's hard to be proud to be live here.

    I want out. But I'm deeply torn: Not because I want to stay and "fight", but because I have a good job that I like. I'm 40 and I've been with my employer 11 1/2 years. It's hard to walk away and "start over". Plus, my siblings and my nieces and nephew, who I all love deeply, live here.

    But I want to move to CA. I want to live in a state where education is respected and they're not afraid to tell the rich "you're paying for it, period". Where they respect a woman's right to choose, the rights of the LGBTQ community to live equally and safely. Where climate change is viewed and treated as an imminent threat. Where the environment, generally, is something to be protected and a billionaire can't abuse with a big donation.

    There is literally so much wrong in WI and it's getting ingrained deeper, so it will be so much harder to fix, that I don't find it worth the energy to fix.

    Wisconsinites asked for this, they can live with it.

    1. I get this sentiment completely, especially the part about how I used to brag about being from Wisconsin, and now I'm embarrassed by us.

      But I also think the ALEC crew wants to make it so disgusting that people like us leave, so it becomes easier for them to keep on wrecking things. And I don't want to let them get the satisfaction.

      But it's very hard to justify going through that trouble, and eventually reaching the "fuck it, not worth the hassle to care" point. Especially when you have a job, life, wife, and all of the other responsibilities of the 21st Century world.

      Makes me wish I could be as sick and soulless as the GOPs sometimes.

  6. "I disagree that running for office in other parts of the state is a "fool's errand"- I think a lot of these 55-45 GOP seats are ripe for flpping in 2 years if Dems run on an "enough of this failed Republican BS" message. But the Dem Party needs to be actively going out into those areas, instead of calculating money and "winnability" 1st, 2nd, and 3rd."

    I wish I could share your enthusiasm. From what I've seen, there were many GOP incumbents that did virtually no campaigning, but were still easily re-elected.

    The DPW has to change...and it has to be radical, mission redefining change, not just hiring a few token support personnel. Right now the party seems to be good at fundraising, and not much else. Who even knows what the DPW really stands for anymore?