Thursday, November 10, 2016

Did the Far Left Lose the Election for Hillary?

Americans are fairly liberal in their social values.  However, there is a limit as to how far to the Left they will go.

As I noted in another posting, it seemed that Bernie Sanders set out to destroy the Democratic Party and perhaps even America.  If you think this is a fantastic claim, think again.  There are those on the far-Left who think that in order to achieve a Socialist Paradise here in the USA, we first need to destroy the existing social order, perhaps by electing someone as odious as Donald Trump.   Only when things go to hell in a handbasket will people vote Socialist.

And maybe there is a nugget of truth to this.   The Great Depression and market crash of 1929 paved the way for Roosevelt and the "New Deal" and gave us things like Social Security.   The market crash of 2008 paved the way for Barack Obama and gave us things like Obamacare.   Neither would have been possible if the economy was doing OK.

And American socialists are not alone in this theory.   All over the world, minority political parties hope for the day when things go to shit, so they can advance their wacky ideas as feasible alternatives.   The fascists regimes of the 1930's came into power only when the economies of their countries were in dire straits.  And the new fascists of today have used the same tactic.

Of course, in America, where unemployment is under 5% and the stock market is climbing and incomes are up, it is harder to sell extreme political views.   So the next best thing is to get people to believe that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, which is what the Breitbarts of the world have been doing over the last eight years

They have used exaggeration and outright lies to sell the idea that America is teetering over a cliff and ready to fall at any given moment.   The lies and exaggeration are, of course, shameful.   But sadly, the far-Left has given the Brietbarts of the world a lot of ammunition with policies and ideas that sound like fake news stories but sadly are true.

1.  Black Lives Matter:  The core of this movement had a good idea - to point out that black folks are being shot by Police in situations where deadly force was unwarranted.   The problem is, the movement chose some unfortunate poster-childs to use as examples of Police brutality.   Many of the "victims" of deadly force by the Police were in fact themselves attempting to use deadly force, as was the case in Ferguson, which started the whole deal.   Even President Obama went on television to say that yes, that dude wasn't a nice guy and he was trying to wrestle a gun away from a Police Officer.

Their tactics also tended to piss people off and make folks less sympathetic to their cause.   Blocking off streets and highways and bridges to "protest" is a bad idea.   People trapped in traffic jams are not going to rally to your cause.  Ask former Governor Chis Christie how blocking off bridges works with your public perception.

Most people were sympathetic to the original idea of BLM.  The actions of the protesters and their wild claims and poor choice of examples left a lot of folks who might otherwise been sympathetic to scratch their heads in wonderment instead.

2.  Transgender Bathroom Nonsense:  I noted years ago in this blog that I was against the gay marriage thing.  Most (but not all) benefits of marriage can be achieved via contract, joint tenancy, or by designating beneficiaries.   While it would be nice to make the world "Even Steven" not everything in life is fair or even, and that's fine.   But the main thing is, I realized that the US was not really ready for this and pushing it too far, too fast, would piss a lot of people off at a time when there were far more important issues on the table.

Well, some social Liberals think that you have to push a society in the right direction.  Maybe they are right.  And maybe the country could have swallowed the gay marriage thing (except perhaps in Idaho).   But then they started going way off the rails with transgender bathroom equality issues and whatnot.

Now, I am not against transgender people.   If you want to wear a dress and pretend to be a girl, that's fine with me.   Whether or not you should do this while teaching Kindergarten, well, I can see where people might have issues with this.   And sorry, I don't buy into the idea that slicing up your genitals will actually change your gender, but then again, if you want to do that, it's a free country.

But expecting other people to pay for such expensive and unnecessary surgery?   That might be pushing the envelope too far.

And then President Obama issues an Executive Order forcing schools nationwide to accommodate transgender children in bathrooms.  This upsets a lot of people and leaves a lot of us scratching our heads.   Do children really know what they are doing if they say they are transgender in elementary school?   Can't this sort of stuff wait until you are an adult?

Is it really important enough to lose elections over? 

Laws are passed, people get angry.  Men run into restrooms to drag out Lesbians who they think are drag queens or something (talk about being clueless!).   It is, of course, a tempest in a teapot.   If you met a transgender person, chances are you would not realize they were transgender, at least if they were doing it right.   Ask my late Father -he went on an on about "what a nice young lady" my Brother was dating.   I had a lot of fun letting him know, in the middle of his golf swing, that the nice young lady was a chick-with-a-dick.   All's fair in love and golf!

Again, as with the gay marriage thing, it was a well-intentioned idea, but far too far ahead of where the rest of the country was at.   And the "injustice" involved wasn't really all that great - bathrooms and all.   After all, we are still at a point in our history where racial issues still dominate our national discourse.   Maybe they might be more important?   Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Fixing Obamacare?  You know, stuff like that.

3.  The War on Crime:

It seems over the last few years that we are taking the sides of criminals more and more.  It is an American thing, to laud criminals as heroes - hence the popularity of Mafia movies and The Sopranos.  Sheriff Arpiao was finally voted out of office, ending an era in law enforcement.  His "get tough on crime" stance was lauded in the past, but is ostracized today.

We lock up a lot of people in this country, and some of them are actually criminals.   Seriously though, crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last 20-30 years, and a lot of this does have to do with more aggressive law enforcement, and yes, even drug laws.

That "harmless" marijuana user living in his parent's basement is the same asshole who stole your bicycle or broke into your house.   Drugs - even marijuana - make you do weird things.

But over the years, we have become more and more critical of law enforcement and less and less critical of criminals.   We became convinced that everyone in jail was "innocent" and railroaded.

A young man tried to rob a Pizza Hut and an employee shoots him in self-defense.   Years ago this would be an open-and-shut case of self-defense.   Today, his Momma goes on TeeVee and says his son, a Mr. "Diddintdonuffin" was just innocently robbing a Pizza Hut when he was brutally shot.   No doubt some slimy lawyer will file a "wrongful death" suit against the chain.   After all, what kind of country do we have where a man can't rob a store at gunpoint in safety?

Funny thing, too.  His two accomplices who ran away could be charged with felony murder because their friend got shot.   This is an old law that goes back decades, if not Centuries.   You commit a felony, and all bets are off - and you are liable for the whole deal.   But go on Social Media and people whine about "a guy who was convicted of murder even though he never killed anybody!"

I think a lot of folks are becoming alarmed at our increasing sympathy of criminals and our increasing demonetization of the Police.

4.  Political Correctness:

Every time a protest is held at Columbia University, the folks at Brietbart know they will have a good day.   Protests on college campuses are becoming more and more bizarre in terms of the "injustices" they are fighting for.   "Safe Spaces" and "Trigger Warnings" are as ridiculous as they sound and give the rest of America the idea that college campuses are full of spoiled little brats who are the children of elitists.

Again, what started out as a good idea - not calling people racial slurs - morphed into something else.   It seems that the Left takes things too far, every time.   Like a cat we used to have, they keep pushing and pushing, all night long, until you wake up on the floor beside the bed, while a very contented cat is stretched out over a King-sized mattress.

Again, to Mr. and Mrs. Middle America, a lot of this stuff left people scratching their heads.   Adults used to dealing with real injustice and real setbacks in life view a lot of this PC-stuff as kind of silly - as much of it is.   And it paints the Left as unreasonable and out-of-touch with the common man - the exact demographic the Left claims to represent.

And that isn't anything new.   While my stinking hippie brother was protesting on behalf of labor, I was actually working in factories (and at one time, a Teamster).   I told him that if he brought that hippie shit down to the factory, the "workers of the world" would stomp his ass good.   These are, after all, the folks who voted for Nixon and Reagan.   He just didn't get it, of course, never having been a "worker" himself.

5.  Free Stuff:

The perception on the Right is that "your tax dollars" are being used to give away free stuff to undeserving people.  As I noted before, this largely isn't true, at least regard to welfare, as a Clinton in the White House signed a law limiting Welfare (now called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) to five years for your lifetimeIt should be hard to get Welfare, not easy.   Only those truly in need should get it.

But over the last eight years, the number of people on Food Stamps has risen dramatically.  Obamacare subsidies cover the staggering costs nearly 100% for people making less than $63,000 a year (combined).   We do give away a lot of money, but of course, as I noted before, these giveaways end up as wage subsidies to companies like Wal-Mart (maybe it would be more palatable to the Right if we wrote one check to Wal-Mart instead!).

Sanders ran on the platform of student loan forgiveness and free college.  Obama pushed for free community college.   The word "free" keeps popping up, and to middle-class people who paid back their student loans, or working class people who never went to college, the idea of loan forgiveness or free stuff they will never get seems kind of unfair (even if they themselves pay little taxes and take out more in social services themselves).

The "double the minimum wage" argument falls along the same lines.   A guy who works hard for $30K a year is going to find that the new hire with no skills is making the same amount.  The small businessman discovers that his wage costs (usually the highest cost of running a business) have doubled overnight.   To many people, this seems like an undeserved giveaway of money.  Modest wage increases over time are one thing, doubling wages overnight seems radical.

Again, this is all about perception more than reality.  But a nugget of reality allows perception to be magnified.   And the perception is that the Left is handing out money like mad, to a bunch of layabouts who never held a job in their lives.

* * * 

The list goes on and on, of course.  You can argue that a lot of what I have outlined above isn't actually true and you may be right about that, but are missing the point.  The point is, the perception is that these things are happening.   Throw in sensationalist news sites which exaggerate things, and a few sites which just make up the news to create stories that almost sound plausible, and you have a mood where it appears the country is swinging wildly out of control.

Some folks call this the pendulum effect.   My old boss at the Patent Office told me that the pendulum swings one way and then the other way, and eventually things swing back to center.   The problem with this model is that like in the movie The Pit and the Pendulum you don't want to be the poor bastard under the pendulum when it swings back and forth.

So now, we are poised for the pendulum to swing way back to the Right.  Waaaaay back!  A lot of social reforms and financial reforms from the last eight years will be thrown into the trash heap.   And why?   Because maybe the Left went a little too far.

I am hoping the Democrats learn from this debacle (and also learn not to take Wisconsin for granted!).  Most Americans are middle-of-the-road people and to get elected, you have to appear to be liberal, but not too liberal, conservative, but not too conservative.

Sadly, both parties let the extremists define who they are.   And that is how we ended up where we are today.