Sunday, February 12, 2017

What I Actually Believe

It's so hard to have a conversation in today's environment without the subtext of popular media themes coloring everything we say.  No matter what we assert, there always seems to be some kind of baggage that comes along with it.  So, at the risk of sounding like my position is particularly important (which it's not), I offer this comprehensive reference to the "World According to Mike."

None of this is intended to mock or deride, merely to inform.

On Our 45th President:  It is my firm belief that the man is a damaged personality.  I'm no psychiatrist, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems pretty close to the behaviors he has displayed consistently during the campaign and since taking office.  And I sincerely don't understand why that fact doesn't seem plain and alarming to people of all political persuasions.  It's also my belief that he has surrounded himself with a couple of people that are a smarter and meaner version of this template (Bannon and Flynn), who validate and amplify his worst traits.

Politically, I assess that his tendencies land somewhere between Fascism and Oligarchy.  And I sincerely don't understand why this isn't alarming to traditional Republicans, as these seem antithetical to the values they espouse, let alone Democrats.

The Russians went to considerable risk and effort to promote his election, and that concerns me deeply, though I'm not yet certain of their motives for doing so.  No matter why they did it, things that are in Putin's best interests are almost certainly not in America's.

On Other Recent Presidents:  It saddens me to say that I don't believe we have had a "great" president in a very long time.  Certainly not in my lifetime.  Although, I'm not sure the "great man" isn't just a construct of a wistful look at history.  All of them have had strong points, accomplishments, and gruesome failures.  Certainly, on the foreign policy front, things have not gotten better since the optimistic period following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

On Hillary Clinton:  She was extremely qualified for the job of President.  I voted for her.  But her arrogance and paranoia made her such an easy target for a destructive narrative that was all too easy to believe for many.

On the Republican Party:  It seems to me that Republican voters have been neatly co-opted by an incredibly effective machine with appealing messages and the promotion of a fear culture that has created a profound cognitive dissonance among the base.  They've been expertly spoon-fed by talk radio and so-called alternative media outlets to the point where the spoon has come to be seen as a benefactor and not an object of servitude.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, massive donors are quietly moving all the pieces on the board that will ensure their agendas are enacted.

On the Democratic Party:  Conversely, the democrats are in such a state of disarray that there's barely an identifiable party anymore.  They have utterly lost their way and their message.  It's really no surprise at all that they have been losing so badly.  The rise of a friendly but fringy Bernie Sanders is all the proof that you need. The democrats have their own massive donors as well, of course, but nobody seems to be listening to them at the moment, which is the silver lining in this chaotic cloud.

On the State of the Electorate:  I believe that this past election has the potential to finally reverse the trend of disengagement among the American voting population.  People have been shocked to action and are starting to question everything.  They are learning how the system works and insisting their elected representatives, who have enjoyed nearly total free rein in recent years, respect and attend to their constituents.  I don't think that this is solely a liberal phenomenon, although it is certainly more passionate there.  In short, I have hope.

Now, I expect the institutions of government to operate as designed, balancing and mitigating each other out in the most diligent fashion possible as imagined by the framers of our Constitution.  Because, we cannot go backwards from here. And we shouldn't plunge forward into the abyss either.

On the Affordable Care Act:  I'm an insurance guy.  I had problems with the concept of applying an insurance model to a total population, because that's not how they are designed to work.  I wasn't thrilled about the "shove it through" mentality with which it was passed, and "we have to pass it in order to find out what's in it" soured me on Nancy Pelosi once and for all.  But, in retrospect, and particularly in light of the Republican's failure to articulate a plan fully seven years later, I believe that forceful and imperfect change was in the country's interest in the long term.  We can't go backward anymore, and platitudes and slogans won't fix it.  We have to take the next steps.  And this time, Republicans are on the hook too.  As Ben Franklin said, "either we all hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately."

So there you have it.  All my context to allow you to read clearly into comments and posts that I make.

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