Sometimes I feel my relationship with the Democratic Party is the Supremes’ classic “Where Did Our Love Go”. In a time where the status quo is up for grabs, the Party offers a greatest hits of past ideas that people like until they hear the details. I’m bewildered. Trump’s election was caused by many things but a key aspect I’ve come to accept was he offered new alternatives. Greenland, the space force, funding high tech manufacturing in America for national security reasons are all good ideas. It is the beginning of an actual vision of the future.
There will be a tomorrow and a next day whether we live to see it or not. The current “dark green” moment is unfounded. Climate change is real and no good but we do have tools to fight it without resorting to death cults. We can harness nuclear energy more and despite the idea of danger (thanks to Big Oil propaganda) it isn’t going to destroy the world as we know it like fossil fuels will. When France and Vermont shut down nuclear power plants for renewable alternatives, they increased their reliance on fossil fuels.
Why are we stuck in this nostalgia crusade? Why in a time when individual actors have more capabilities than the largest bureaucracies of history dems only offer more centralization? Didn’t the election of Trump show us the limits of the presidency and the administrative state?
Biden’s self defenestration is mind boggling. I nominally viewed him as a viable candidate based on his shoot from the hip style as VP. Yet his campaign continually shoots itself in the foot over legitimate past choices. Most recently over Trump’s lynching comments in relation to his impeachment inquiry. Based on the scandal, one could assume we are a nation of grammar nazis not one where 70% never picks up a book post schooling.
Its hard to see any of the democratic candidates defeating Trump in 2020. If primary continues to be about regaining the voters who deflected to the Green party in 2016 rather than the ones who deflected to Trump. Clinton amd Obama’s grand coalitions will have been a blimps in history.
Politics is the art of the possible. It requires imagination. There is one Democrat whose possesses that quality: Andrew Yang. Many decry his lack of government experience but no one on the democrat stage possesses any achievements in government outside Biden who distances himself from much of what he accomplished. Unless we now consider showing up to collect a paycheck, a legislative achievement. Yang actually lives in 2019 America. The Freedom Dividend (UBI) is hos flagship proposal. It is the only policy being proposed that will meaningfully benefit most Americans. But Medicare for all you will say. By all recent budget breakdowns, the cost of medicare for all will require a federal budget increase of 75%. You will pay the same for your care now and more covering the cost of others in taxes. Same with most of Warren or Sanders soak the rich for gov programs ideas. Unlike the oil that funds the nordic dream, the rich aren’t a natural resource. They are quite the opposite. It’s hard to see companies and their leaders remaining in America at a cost to their bottom line. Much as Russian and Chinese elite now buy American and European real estate that can’t be seized by their home countries. The American elite would explore wealth alternatives.
That isn’t to say wealth inequality isn’t an issue but it is. I don’t think taxes will save us alone. Because it isn’t just some have so much and others have so little but your wealth decides most factors in our lives. Once the boss and you went to church together and your spouses and kids were friends. We were integrated beyond the workday. In our fragmented society today, we lost that community. I doubt that we can go back. I doubt that I would want to go back. The America we live in today where people are more free to be themselves socially than ever isn’t a bad place. Sometimes, I feel we are superficial in our tolerance as shown by our building of echo chambers. We have to reach and let ourselves be reached out to across group barriers. There might not be much or anything in common at all to begin with but simply spending time together is a commonality. We can’t just pay the government to do this work for us.
JFK didn’t say he alone or even the government alone could solve the challenges the country faced. “What you can do for your country”. That’s a message missing from the debate stage. It’s certainly not a question Trump has ever asked himself. Maybe it’s time we sold the elite a future.
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”
– T.S. Elliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Founding Fathers had a refounding with the ratification of the Constitution after the Articles of Confederation. The Radical Centrists may not be creating the greatest governing document ever written but sliced bread can only be invented once. While I am Catholic and believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We like all Americans love a second act.
The Radical Centrists was founded on the day of Trump’s election. Its purpose was to get our heterodox hot takes on the to the minute national conversation. A transmission into space, the saga of time carved into the rock of our collective tomb. Just as Rome once stood there was The United States America and it was beautiful.
Then the world didn’t end. We are a species capable of infinite outrage except us we burnt out some resignations and indictments ago. But isn’t that digital life? All the knowledge, all the beauty, and all the well: things. Yet we can’t forget there is always more: to scroll, tap, and reply. The conversations on sugar, porn, tv, video games, and drugs are all the same. When we remade ourselves in our own image the society we formed granted us unfettered access to get off in all the ways we wanted and we have. Sometimes it feels like we are building our own Truman Show.
We aim to make this a more productive space. We wish to focus wider. There was once more to our lives than politics and we believe that is the way forward. There will be discussions of cinema and literature. Meditations on the raindrop on our office window pane. Debates on office break room leftover ethics. We still support Mueller’s investigation without a doubt. Even if the conclusion was no collusion. Our expansion is an advance not a retreat.
At Easter Mass this year, the homily was on resurrections. It has stayed with me recently as I look back at where I was at the election and where I am today. In my opening salvo, I stated there was no such thing as a guilty pleasure. It was a statement I stand by though I said it hypocritically. The posts that followed were a guilty pleasure. In that my goal was to be right. The age of rebellion has past and an age of building must begin. In the new Radical Centrists, we aim to build. Each day will be a new brick.
Today’s rant is brought to you by the letter “C” for craven and the number 5.
As mass media institutions struggle to remain in the digital world, we are bombarded with “think pieces” on how each institution is more important than ever. Yet between these articles, they promote snake oil like the current trend of celebrity master classes.
One of the current beloved Hucksters is Robert Kiyosaki who wrote “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. One of his big supporters is Trump himself. Kiyosaki’s claim that laziness and self-doubt are the cause of all failure is ridiculous. Especially in our world of princelings. I bring up Kiyosaki because my grandfather became enamored with the drivel in his retirement. He bought everything and would lose everything in the recession. My grandfather was never lazy. His first act created marvelous engineering designs. My mother chose Boston for college when visiting him as he upgraded Boston’s subways. If you rode on the orange line this morning, its thanks to him. Many of the planes, jets, and copters the troops trust to deliver them to and from their work bringing freedom to this day came from his mind as well. The hard truth no one wants to print is no one sells wealth. There are lessons to be learned but knowledge is the only certain result. There are and never have been gurus.
By publishing pieces like this one in Variety today, the media bows down to more than market forces. Any valuable information in these 8 hour seminars/courses have been published and published again. One can get it for free in the library. It won’t take you over the rainbow but it’ll give you the frame work to build a rocket as much as any course can. Yet rather than assist the reader and their audience in avoiding the traps of the world, the media aides the hucksters. Imagine if Trump had no coverage in ’15. He was a fringe candidate who said anything for coverage and got covered like his words were meant for anything other than attention. Now he lives in the White House.
This outcome shows the futility of media institutions trying to maintain the same level of power over society. The game has changed. One of the strangest staples of modern journalism is the Twitter roundup. Some staffer finds 10-20 celebrity tweets within 20 minutes of a trending news story and posts it as what people are saying. Anyone who wanted those celebs’ thoughts could and would have seen them. Cher and Patton Oswalt make every list regardless of subject matter. If knowing where to find authentic info is the challenge of our age the media does the audience a disservice by only showing them what they want. Even when limited to industry experts, a list of tweets is at best a repost. Instead of instant reaction, the goal should be informed responses and debate. Why not interview those who tweeted best and expand the audience’s understanding? I suspect these institutions are too far gone to recover. Vultures cannot chose after all.