Sneaky Russian Cyber-Warriors stole my laundry list!
The other day, I was leaving the dry cleaners* and I dropped my laundry list. It read, "three shirts, extra starch, two pants, one suit". Before I could bend down to pick it up, it blew away. A Slavic-looking fellow who had been following me snatched it up as it blew into the street and he ran off before I could catch him.
Well, you know how the rest of it goes. The next day, in the New York Times, excerpts from my laundry list were being quoted in an "in-depth article" with promises of more "leaks" to come! I was in a panic. What to do?
Before long, other media outlets were chiming in. Fox News was dubbing it "Laundry-Gate" and set their "News Alert" beacon to "extra paranoid". Pundits weighed in on whether this would be the end of my short-lived career in the blogosphere. Edward Snowden was interviewed on CNN on the fallout from Laundrygate. I was being hounded for interviews by reporters camped out on my lawn. I had to put my hand over the camera lens and say, "no comment!"
I thought the story would die down, but the media kept flogging it. Every day there were carefully timed new revelations from Wikileaks - designed to keep the story in the "news cycle". "Extra starch!" the New York Post exclaimed -"is this the kind of person we want representing the United States in the blogosphere?"
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That just about sums up the "hacking" of the election. The media loves to talk about "Cyber-warriors" who are "hacking" into servers and altering the outcome of the election. The reality is somewhat otherwise:
1. No one "hacked" into any voting machine or any device that actually determined the outcome of the election.2. No one "hacked" any e-mails, rather, idiots like John Podesta responded to stupid phishing e-mails saying, "Comrade! We are from Yahoo! You need to change your password! CLICK HERE!" These are not "Cyber-warriors" any more than the idiot sending you the SPAM e-mail saying you've won the Nigerian lottery is a "Cyber-warrior". The news media loves "Cyber-" this and "Robo-" that, or anything with an i- or e- prepended to it.3. The contents of these e-mails was anything but startling. People in the Democratic party were actually against someone who was not a Democrat being nominated for President. Rather than running away from this in fear and having people "resign in disgrace" they should have just owned it. People are allowed to have opinions, even Democratic officials. Bernie Sanders was and is a bad idea.4. The reaction of the Democrats to this "hacking" was more the problem than the actual hacking itself. They acted as if they were Senator Larry Craig caught in a restroom with his pants down. Actually, that's a bad analogy, and Craig tried to "stonewall it" (bad pun) rather than run away. When you act like you did something bad, people tend to believe you did. Where there's smoke there's fire.5. The news media - particularly on the Left of all places - stoked the fires of this "scandal" by hyping it to sell newspapers and get clicks. There was no "there" there, but they all acted like Fox News in reporting the "scandal" dutifully.
Now today, we are told that the Russians were "trying to sway the election" or actually swayed it and need to be "punished" for their actions. But what the Russians did was comically primitive and crude - much as their motorcycles are.
The reality is, the Democrats lost the election. How?
1. Again, as I noted before, they let the Bernie Sanders Show run for far too many episodes, and instead of cancelling it outright, they are now running it in syndication.2. President Obama, trying to appear impartial, did not endorse Hillary early enough and hard enough. He did not rally the black vote at all. Trump held mega-rallies to stir up his supporters. Where was Obama's mega-rally for Clinton in Milwaukee or Detroit or Philadelphia?3. Hubris - The Democrats and the media thought Hillary couldn't lose, because Donald Trump was (and is) such a buffoon. This only served to enrage the Trump supporters more. What should have been a walk-away election turned into a close call and eventually a pummeling.
Now, after the fact, they want to blame Russia rather than themselves. This is externalizing of the worst sort. Russia did not cast or alter a single vote in the election. What the Democrats are mad about is that Russia put out information that might have changed the minds of some voters or cause a depressed turnout among the party faithful or lame-ass Bernie supporters (the Trump disinformation team did a good job of creating and nurturing the "I was for Bernie, but now I'm for Trump" meme).
The Democrats lost the election fair and square. And now they want to blame others for their malfeasance. Note that I said the Democrats lost not Donald Trump won. There is a difference. It is like in court when you are found not guilty - it does not mean you were found innocent.
Well, you know how I feel about externalizing. It doesn't matter if you are on the Right and blaming all your personal problems on "big government", "immigrants", or "welfare queens" or if you are on the Left and blaming your personal problems on "big banks", "Wall Street", and "The 1%'ers" - it is always a loser's argument. And the Democratic party is acting like losers for engaging in it as well. "It couldn't have been anything WE did, right? It was all Putin's fault!"
Externalizing, on a personal level or a national one, never fixes problems - it merely creates them. On a national level, it starts wars.
And you'd think the Democrats would see this - after all, their opponent is going to be the Externalizer-In-Chief in about three weeks. He wants to blame "Gina" and Mexico for all our woes, and start a war - perhaps merely a trade war - to settle our alleged grievances.
Externalization sells - up to a point. And I think one reason a lot of people voted for Trump, or voted Republican is that once in a while, the Republican Party sells the message of personal responsibility for your actions. Republicans don't hate welfare because they hate black people (well, maybe some do). Rather, they see welfare as a form of externalization and failure to take action in your own life to accept personal responsibility for your own malfeasance.
The mythology of welfare is that generations of people are just accepting it and not even trying to improve their lot. Whenever they need something in life, they look to the government for the solution. You could argue all day long whether this perception is true or not (I think the truth lies somewhere in-between, myself) the issue is, the perception of personal responsibility is what counts.
And yes, a lot of these Trumpeters and Tea Partiers have their snouts in the government trough, slurping up their own forms of government slop. They don't see the irony of course. But in their minds, they are responsible for their own actions, and they don't appreciate a President telling them "you didn't build that" (even if the President was misquoted).
The Democrats need to embrace self-actualization and responsibility, starting at home with the Democratic Party. And then they need to sell this message to the voters - as they will find a willing audience across the political spectrum.
Because deep down, we all know that self-discipline is something we all should have more of.