What The Hell?!

Life has been fairly busy lately, and I’ve devoted more attention to my blog about my current (mis)adventures in Southwestern Asia than I have to here – but I think it’s time I add some commentary here, because while I’ve been quiet, I’ve still been watching the rest of the world’s adventures.

Dear America: What the hell is going on in your country? It’s as though every time I look at American news or my Twitter feed there is more absurdity to politics than I’ve ever thought possible. It started with the debate over healthcare, and now that you’re getting into an election season, it’s become some kind of circus of Republican candidates trying to outdo each other with saying more insane or simply stupid things.

It’s not as though that’s totally a surprise though. It’s been clear to any observers that the fringes of any party in probably any jurisdiction usually are a little nuts, but in the States it seems like that fringe is all that’s mattering. Is that normal in a primary, that candidates have to try to appeal to the most insane factions of their organizations?! Throughout the primary campaign I couldn’t help wondering what awe-inspiringly stupid thing would be said next. And I wasn’t disappointed at all throughout the process, either.

I’m almost getting weary of talking politics, because it seems generally to happen in right wing echo chambers, especially Canadian politics, because of the forums I tend to look to. Or it’s dealing with the hot-headed (but slow to think their arguments through) left amongst my friends – a couple in particular who are experiencing a phenomenon I’ve never heard of before – “newly rich guilt”. I think that’s probably something that should wind up on stuffwhitepeoplelike.com – the ultimate causehead condition.

I can’t count how many people I’ve read whine about “fascism” coming to Canada because the current Prime Minister and his government, which won a majority in the last election, are doing things they don’t like. That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate things to be angry about – but screaming “fascism” is like a dog whistle – it is only heard by like-minded hotheads who don’t make intelligent arguments.

I’ve actually lost “friends” for suggesting that kids protesting in Montreal are mostly mollycoddled middle class kids who even after proposed tuition hikes will still enjoy one of the cheapest postsecondary educations that can be had in Canada. It’s true that after I made that statement it became clearer to me that they had some legitimate grievances, and that most were of course not interested in the kind of trouble that’s come of the process, but what galls me is the suggestion that destroying property and such things is some sort of basic liberty. It’s not. It never has been.

The “discussion” degenerated when one of the parties brought up military service, and I suggested that no, her family did not fight for the right of people to smash windows and set fires. They did however stand up for the right to assemble peacefully, to protest, etc. There is a line there though.

It only got worse from there. But that’s life. I can’t deal with hysterical morons, so fuck them.

When, though, did the process get so toxic that all we can do is scream at extreme positions rather than actual discuss real issues? When did we start falling for this trickery?

I’ll tell you something related. I’ve been reading Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family which I think is one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read. I’ve always understood that religion is poison but when you start to understand how much it has influenced politics in the USA, it gets very scary. The fact that a network of religious lunatics who actually believe on the bullshit that is Christianity, particularly The Family’s insidious version of it, has as much influence as they do scares the shit out of me. The book gets into what impact these nuts have had on Somalia, Uganda, Indonesia, and so on. It will sicken any reasonable person.

So, again, what they hell is going on?

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