This caught a lot of people by surprise. Everyone knows I'm a political wonk. And they loved my pieces, even when they disagreed with me. Usually, people read political pieces with people they already agree with -- they are looking for reaffirmation of their present ideas, not to explore new ones. But between my odd point of view and my tendency to change my mind as new ideas and events happen, I had a very dedicated readership despite that I would go off script. Why? I think it's because I wasn't an asshole. Unlike other columnists who preach the superiority of their perception and how anyone who doesn't agree with them is an idiot who deserves abuse, I tried to understand other opinions and conclusions, and even when I disagreed with them, I let people make up their own minds.
The above actually ties in with my point, which I will get to anon.
So my readership has noticed an odd hole in my writing. I will discuss all sort of things. Current events. Animation history. Whatever. But when it comes to politics, I clam up. And for the most part, I have stayed that way since that fateful day. If anything, I started writing even less about social issues.
But I don't think I ever fully explained WHY.
And it's because the WHY has only gotten more pronounced, gotten worse, convinced me that, right now, political discourse is a fool's game. That there is no humanity, just people with a desire to win.
And please note, this goes for BOTH sides. D's are just as guilty as R's. Liberals are just as guilty as conservatives. The world has become a Springer episode, and everyone is wallowing in it while bleating about how this is so beneath them.
There's a question that a lot of people are asking right now -- how are things still being debated? Why are people still making excuses for bad behavior? Usually, it's an Illinois thing with our corrupt political culture -- yeah, he's a crook, but he's OUR crook. People here complain about the corruption and taxes and such unless it's someone they can benefit from, such as bringing some sort of civic pride or pork barrel projects or whatever. Then, all those considerations get shunted aside. The difference is it is now being seen on a national scale.
And it isn't just politicians doing it. Even social activism is doing it. In the days after Trump won the White House, the Safety Pin Movement started. I was initially looking to be a part of it as my own little protest. Then I was told by certain members of the Safety Pin Movement that I shouldn't participate because I was a white Christian non-binary male. I was everything people were afraid of, so I shouldn't be there.
This actually illustrates my reasoning why I'm not bothering. People think it's just hypocrisy. But it's not that. People aren't being hypocrites.
They are actively seeking to ruin those who don't think like them.
One of the facts about humanity is we have a self-image. We like BEING something and/or someone. We don't just create because we enjoy it, we share our art with the world for validation and so people can say we are good at something. We don't just do things, we want others to know our accomplishments, even if it's something as inconsequential as winning a trophy at a bowling tournament. We don't just live our lives, we constantly consider our reps, how the world reacts and relates to us. And we will do things, sometimes just for a public reaction that reaffirms that we can do something no one else can, even if it's not that big a deal. We've already seen a software company that increased the pay of EVERYONE there to a living wage. Coders started quitting the company because they were being paid as much as a secretary there. They weren't going, "Hey, great! You're doing okay, too!" They were going, "My position is more important and I won't work someplace where I don't have that affirmation that I'm better than a lowly secretary."
The result of this is we live in a world where EVERYBODY thinks they have it figured out. Whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, everyone thinks the system they operate under and champion works. Take the Parkland, Florida massacre. We don't need gun control. We need more gun control. The whole point of a democracy is a set of mutually agreed upon laws so that people can do what they want without interference. But the debate isn't about mutually agreeing on laws. It's between two groups of people in charge, those elected versus those doing the electing. Each side wants their agenda met, and they are willing to mischaracterize and humiliate the other side to do so.
Underneath it all, the superiority of our perception carries a heavy price -- we start thinking that people DESERVE the horrors of the world they face. Tragedies aren't something to prevent. They are poetic justice dished out to the clueless, and if they would just quit fighting the social order that they know to be true, this wouldn't be happening. "This is how it is. Quit trying to change it."
In order to maintain this, people will try to deny others the tools they need to fight. During the Marriage Equality debate, gays and their supporters tried all sorts of civil disobedience such as sit-ins and boycotts. And racial equality groups started complaining that those were THEIR tactics for achieving social change, find your own ways of protesting. Doesn't matter that it worked, what matters is it was theirs and no one had the right to it without their approval.
If you need any proof that people are more interesting in fighting than in helping each other, just look at Flint, Michigan. There was a time just before the election when reports of the horrible water were everywhere. You couldn't turn on the news without seeing reports on it, people organizing to bring fresh water there, how horrible Establishment politicians are for not fixing it. Now? Flint is still in trouble. But no one cares. No one has tried to fix the system. No one is electing new people to represent them. Everyone gets to bask in the glow of how wonderful they are while the people who have to live with the situation continue to suffer.
Because people don't ultimately care about other people.
They care about things that affirm their worldview.
It's up to THEM to fix their mess. After all, it doesn't immediately affect US.
The Florida politicians have been doing this with Parkland. Blaming video games. Saying mass shooters are Democrats. It's not just so they don't have to do anything, it's so they can make the people they disagree with look pathetic. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. People don't care about the truth. If they did, you wouldn't have fake stories and shit like InfoWars all over the Internet (I have a friend who actually believes the things Alex Jones says. I talk to her a lot less now). The truth is incidental to keeping the social order the way they approve.
I have long said that the debate in the world is not Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal, Republican and Democrat. I have long said that it is Up and Down, the Rulers and the Ruled, the Management Class and the Working Class. Modern activism has found ways to empower people and put them in a position of power against those already indoctrinated into the System. But in doing so, it has created another Collective, one that functions virtually identically to the one it was formed to fight against. The tactics are the same. The ruthlessness is the same. The only difference is what end goals each side seeks. Look at the Antifa -- they are just as extremist and violent as the white supremacists they fight, just as "end justifies the means" as their enemy, just as likely to attack those who don't join their ranks. The only difference is their stance on hot button issues. Their ideas define them, not what they do.
And until people get past the automatic assumption that they have it figured out and actually want to work together, my political pen will stay sealed.
And I have a suspicion it's going to stay sealed for a long long time....