Whattup, America?

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The Cid
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by The Cid » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:01 pm

You might find that funny. To me, it's heartbreaking.

Now that voters are the enemies of other voters it's hard to have any optimism for the future at all. It seems impossible to move forward in a country where about half of the people are flipping off the other half at all times.

Like I said the blame is omnidirectional here. This is a direct result of decisions both sides have been making for decades. This is where polarization leads. The only way to prevent it from being just how politics are moving forward is to stop the damn polarization.
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Hirschof wrote:I'm waiting for day you people start thinking with portals.

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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by NorthernComfort » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:07 pm

And that's why I am hopeless in the face of a bleak and cruel future for our country.

No punch line.
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by The Cid » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:12 pm

Rest assured the majority has emphatically been making these decisions for a long time.

We wanted our politics to get this way. Certainly nobody stopped it. Biased cable news on both sides paving the way for extreme-slant websites that encourage people to only read news filtered through a lens that fits their worldview.

Growing stereotypes about parts of the country that make it really easy for people outside of them to decide they hate those people. The emerging politics of spite. Bills heralded as "wins" but never for the country, only for a party.

This is a logical result of that kind of attitude. And it's only the beginning. But rest assured, it's what we signed off on. Repeatedly.
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by Rorschach » Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:16 am

So it seems to me that Trump is having a hard time of it and people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with him.
But then it occurred to me that really I get my news almost exclusively from commie lefty sites and for all I know America in general are well-pleased with how things are going.

What's the general wave of opinion at the moment pliss thank-you?
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by Deacon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:07 pm

I think that's at least somewhat accurate. There's still a disappointingly large pool of supporters for which he can do no wrong. But treating his twitter account like it was a Breitbart feed, continual amateur blunders, real-world consequences starting to peek through here and there...I've been noticing some staunch supporters among my Facebook friends saying things like if the wiretapping thing turns out to be fake it may be the last straw, etc.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by The Cid » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:16 pm

Rorschach wrote:
Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:16 am
So it seems to me that Trump is having a hard time of it and people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with him.
Yes and no. As Deacon said, Trump has his true believers. They're inclined to believe his assertions that all the negative press is entirely made-up (despite evidence to the contrary), that it's all the machinations of people out to get him (in particular former President Obama), that anyone who tells you different is an enemy (not just yours, America's, and at one point he suggested all journalists are in this group), and that his actions are done with the most ideal intent.

Those Republicans who were not already in his camp, which is a sizable chunk of people, are starting to take a more critical look at the president, though how critical depends mostly on their feelings about the Democrats. There are still people out there who would rather their party win, as opposed to the outcome that would be best for the country as a whole.

I live in a very "blue" state, filled with people who opposed Trump from the get-go. What I'm noticing is that people are more inclined to take to the streets and make their displeasure widely known. The days of America's "apathetic voters" might be coming to an end, though time will tell if that's a positive, negative, or neutral change.

One point of concern: There is an exhaustion setting in. Trump has dominated the news in a way no president during my lifetime ever has. Every day it seems there's something new, and highly controversial, about this administration. The Russia ties are alarming and sound an awful lot like treason to me. The executive orders drawing a line in the sand almost seem directed attacks against people who didn't vote for Donald Trump. His cabinet is filled with the loathsome. It's constant, and I worry that eventually we'll just "get used to it" and roll our eyes and just say things like that's Trump for you. If that happens, it'll increase the power his office wields tremendously.

Politically it's hard to tell what people are doing, because everyone in DC is so entrenched into their camps these days that even an abhorrent Republican president is hard to turn on for a moderate Republican. One wonders if a breaking point in that regard is approaching.
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by Deacon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:50 pm

I have the same concern as you do, regarding normalization of insanity and a Jerry Springer approach to politics. The notion of, "Hey, at least it's not Hillary!" will either wither and die or only get stronger. We must hope for the former.

I think overall in addition to trench warfare, a major contributor is the push for blind worship of ideals, heroes, and demagogues. which has been getting deeper and deeper on both sides, and it's poisonous. There was a lot of denial by Republicans when it came to Dubya, sure. And quite a bit of blind hero worship when it came to Obama. And now with Trump it's even more pronounced among his supporters. But when cops are either infallible angels or malevolent thugs, when some kid signs up for free college and drives a forklift in a warehouse in Germany for a few years is held up as a national hero to be fawned over, when someone wearing a pink hat and holding a sign must be inherently better than you, when Dubyobamtrump is the single greatest source of evil or light this world has ever seen, then all we're doing is digging the trenches deeper and asking to swap munitions for mustard gas.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by The Cid » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:13 pm

Exactly.
Deacon wrote:
Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:50 pm
I think overall in addition to trench warfare, a major contributor is the push for blind worship of ideals, heroes, and demagogues. which has been getting deeper and deeper on both sides, and it's poisonous.
Don't forget arrogance. I think we all fall into the trap occasionally of assuming that our beliefs about politics or issues around politics are correct. We often lose sight of how limited we all are.

That's not to say "everyone's wrong," but we all come from our walks of life, with our experiences, biases, and expertise. Neither of us are economists, so while we've done our reading and formed very valid opinions, it'd be blind luck if our economic opinions turned out to all be correct. But it's so easy, especially when faced with a differing opinion, to go into "I'm right and you're wrong" mode, which is a dangerous combination of arrogant and dismissive.

I feel very strongly about the things I believe, but I'm positive in the back of my mind that something I believe politically is probably wrong. In fact, that's likely true of multiple things. The closer it gets to a field I'm more familiar with, like small businesses or teaching or the occasional political issue that touches on sports, the more confident I am, but even then I might not have all the information. How could anyone? There is, after all, such a thing as information overload.
Deacon wrote:
Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:50 pm
...all we're doing is digging the trenches deeper and asking to swap munitions for mustard gas.
Living in a politically charged and polarized area, I have discussions with friends sometimes where I end up feeling a need to point out that half of America aren't backward rednecks out to get you, that such a mentality is undoubtedly part of what got this president elected (nobody, even the desperate, appreciate being talked down toward). Likewise in conversations with conservative friends I have to point out that my friends and neighbors aren't whiny ivory tower eggheads who want to keep America down by focusing on our points of shame and not our points of pride.

It's insane on both sides, this belief that we're enemies now. From Trump supporters to Bernie Sanders' ill-fated movement last year, we are all on the same team, and it is crushing to me every time we fight against that reality as a country, every time we stereotype and dismiss one another based on the absolute worst of us.

Whatever we want as a country moving forward, we'll only get it when we start to bridge that gap. And that will not be easy and it will take a very long time, but it is necessary in a way it hasn't been for well over a century.
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Re: Whattup, America?

Post by Deacon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:41 pm

It's an interesting point. The crazy thing about Trump is he's a seemingly random embodiment of EVERYTHING. He's simultaneously for and against pretty much any given stance, not in the traditional slimy politician way but because he's put so little thought into any of it that he doesn't understand you can't be both a champion of the secret surveillance state AND opposed to FISA wiretapping, even if it (almost certainly) didn't happen, as a simple and recent example. He acknowledges that the US has employed or empowered some very bad men to do some very bad things, but not as a level-headed acknowledgement that we've never been perfect but rather in support of a Russian dictator-in-waiting!

And I lost my original point. But you encapsulated that trench warfare concept, I think. Not every Democrat is an America-hating feminazi seeking to impose a "privilege tax" on white people to make reparations to underachieving black people. Some are, sadly. And not every Republican is a homophobic and racist religious extremist incapable of perspective or rational thought. Some are, sadly.

But the Total War escalation of our trench warfare tendencies has become unbearable. If you give an inch, if you even allow yourself to consider things from another perspective, then you have not just lost but essentially surrendered your life to the mongol hordes. This is more of an presumptive guess than an actual educated thesis, I think maybe it really started with Vietnam. People forced by their government at gunpoint to fight a losing battle against oppressive governments came home with PTSD and missing limbs to be spit on and called baby killers and such. That caused others to react with unconditional support, which is never a good thing, while they completely missed the irony of the oppressive government situation. And that kind of thing escalated all over in many ways. Whether television evangelists being revealed as the frauds they are and causing both increasing condemnation and heightened defenses, or cops killing and being killed and the escalation of positions regarding that, or politicians being held up as the very spawn of Satan except for the ones who are on our side and can do no wrong, or the very notion of pregnancy prevention or termination being not up for debate by some and pushed to extremes by others, to the escalation of climate change to where it's either all humanity's fault and is going to kill us all within a decade ago or that it's not even happening at all much less being open to discussing how much of a role we have to play in it.

Alinsky and other master manipulators like him on both sides of the aisle simply took existing Machiavellian tactics and applied them to American politics in the modern world. And it worked. And it achieved their goal of turning everyday life into a heightened battle to the death.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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