Clinton or Trump? Meh.

Power in the United States Government lies with Congress. Meaningful change (positive or negative) can only happen with Congress’ consent. While it would be great to see neither of these extremely flawed candidates be President, it is significantly more important that the makeup of Congress be changed. At the end of the day, the occupant of the White House only matters if they also have a majority in the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate OR if they are wildly popular OR if the House and Senate decide they matter. None of those is the case with either of the nominees.
They just don’t matter
Then what does? What matters if the Presidency doesn’t? The Congress. That group of 535 power mad individuals that actually run the country from their leather upholstered seats in the Capitol. They’ve created rules to allow them to remain in power indefinitely, to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people, and to give their own personal prejudices and bigotries the power of law. They take bribes and call them contributions. They control the money in a capitalist society where the biggest teat to feed at is supplied by the American people via the government.
In our society, our CAPITALIST society, the power of the purse is the ultimate power. A Republican majority is the most dangerous thing to our country there is. The President is becoming more and more a figurehead with limited power and authority. If you still believe that the President’s office is the real gamechanger here, just count how many Supreme Court justices we now have. The President nominated and the Congress told him to pound sand. He made some “I’m upset” noises. Congress ignored him and moved on. Meanwhile, Scalia’s seat sits empty until the Legislature decides it doesn’t.
As Congress decreed
Thousands of innocent Americas are slaughtered in the street but the NRA pays the legislature to let that happen. So it does. Let that sink in. The NRA pays Congress to look the other way while American voters (Congress’ constituency) are killed. And they do. Without shame and, more tellingly, without concern for their job.
Over 85 percent of Americans wanted to action taken after kindergartners were massacred at Sandy Hook. Bullets tore their little bodies apart. Blasted their brains against the walls that held their Hello Kitty backpacks and their dreams to just grow up. 85 percent of Americans just asked Congress for a law to check and see if the person getting a gun was likely to kill another group of children. President Obama was one of those 85 percent. He spoke. The NRA paid Congress to say “no”. He cried. The NRA paid Congress to say “no”.  He implored.The NRA paid Congress to say “no”. He demanded. The NRA paid Congress to say “no”.  He begged.The NRA paid Congress to say “no”. And, nothing happened.
As Congress decreed
Keep falling for the Trump head fake. On November 8th, Trump will be soundly defeated, Clinton will be President, and the Republicans will remain in power. Democrats will rejoice at winning the Presidency. Republicans will rejoice at winning America. Again. We will continue to unravel but, hey, as long as Clinton realizes her lifelong megalomania, who are we to complain about a little thing like losing the American dream.
Meanwhile, we’ll watch the Republicans continue to push their causes of racism, sexism, classism, misogyny, xenophobia, religious bigotry and homophobia. Those causes will advance because the Republicans decide who is on the judiciary. The Republicans decide how funds are spent. The Republicans decide what issues are addressed.
Four years of Clinton’s feckless and (most likely) scandal-ridden Presidency will lead to the election of Marco Rubio and a Republican majority in the House and Senate. The Senate’s refusal to act on the two Supreme Court openings during the Clinton Administration will give President Rubio the chance to place two ultra-Right justices on SCOTUS. A chance he will gladly take.
They will pass on a party line vote
Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Civil liberties will be rolled back. Civil rights will be a second thought (if a thought at all). Voting will be a privilege that fewer and fewer Americans will be afforded as more and more restrictions designed to suppress voting by minorities, and anyone else who isn’t a “real American”, will be enacted.
Environmental protection legislation will be reversed. America’s forests, wetlands, coasts and parks will be opened to indiscriminate energy exploration and production. Climate change will continue its inexorable march as it is declared a “hoax” at the direction of the Chamber of Commerce. More species will go extinct. Our oceans will accelerate their decline.
Clinton will still be President
All because Clinton and the Democratic Establishment has convinced you that Trump is scarier than the Republicans. He isn’t.
The enemy is the entire political establishment. That includes both the major parties and the second tier Green and Libertarian Parties.
Clinton or Trump or Johnson or Stein. None of them matter. Paul Ryan figured this out. Why do you think he didn’t run for President in a year that any Republican other than Trump or Cruz would beat Clinton? Because running the Legislature is running the country. Managing the Administration is just managing the Administration.
Ryan wants to run the country and Clinton wants an entry on her LinkedIn profile
And, only one of those is subject to term limitations. The other could rule over the United States for quite a while.

The Republican Party

It’s as if the entire Republican Party has the hormones of a 13 year old boy. Testosterone is rushing hither and yon in his body. Everything is either uncontrollable giggles, an urge to punch something in the face while screaming like a banshee or funny feelings in his nether regions whenever Mrs. Cleaver puts on her apron.

Every day is an adventure in trying to keep from reacting to those feelings. Sometimes, though, the feelings win. And, off he goes. Meat cleaver in hand. Elmer Fudd hunting hat firmly pulled down around the ears.

Get the rabbit

Get the rabbit

Other days, the feelings just make him want to be with folks like him. Others that smell of sweat and armpits and anxiety and fear. Others waiting for someone to tell him what his place in the world is. He doesn’t know.

Woolworth Lunch CounterHe runs to join his tribe whenever something new or strange or different happens. His tribe is good. The other is not in his tribe. Therefore, the other is not good. The other must be stopped before they do something. Something that will lead to something new or strange or different. Something that causes change. Change is scary. Change is inevitable. Change is bad.

Blame the other. Always blame the other.

Grow up.

 

  • Eliot

Black Lives Matter – Syracuse. Hope from the North

Monday, Lisa and I went to the Black Lives Matter march in Syracuse, NY.  I was going as a photographer/blogger and she was going as a participant.  Lisa was coming straight from work and was going to walk the several blocks to the Clinton Square starting point. I had to drive in from Caughdenoy which is about 25 minutes.

So, I packed up the Excursion with a couple camera bodies, wide angle zoom and a telephoto. A few extra batteries and pocket journal with fountain pen. I figured that if there were some problem, I’d be able to use the Excursion to move anything short of a Bearcat out of the way.

I left the Beretta at home because I don’t have a permit and no use asking for trouble. No knife. Not even a multitool.

I parked about a block away from Clinton Square and climbed out of the Excursion. Paid for the parking with Whoosh! and put on my camera harness. As I walked up to the gathering point, I noticed a group of young Black folks. All wearing some variation of black. With black. Accented by black. It was like watching a bunch of kids playing at Black activist. SyracuseBLM-2-3

Mostly they were shuffling papers in a frantic search for the permit. That magical piece of paper that says the establishment recognizes your right to have rights. Hard looks were being given but it all worked out fine. I watched them through this and thought,

“I’m proud of these young people.”

They saw a problem. A problem that we’ve had since 1691. Some have occasionally tried to solve the problem but, for the most part, we all usually just live with it. They are trying to solve it.

Racist Police Officers?

Get Rid of ‘Em!

They gave impassioned speeches calling for the removal of racist police officers. I listened and cringed. I knew what they meant and what some heard were two completely different things. They are being specific in their use of the description “racist” and asking that “all police officers that are racist” be removed.SyracuseBLM-2-14

A goal that any human shares.

The Folks That Don’t Believe Black Lives Matter (FTDBBLM) claim that when BLM asks for the removal of racist police officers, they mean “ALL police officers who, by the way, are racists”. They want you to believe that the use of “racist” by BLM is as a modifier for the general group “police officers”.

Idiotic.

As evidence, during the march I watched as BLM member after BLM member stopped to shake the hands of the police officers providing traffic control for the march. The same members that called for the removal of racist police officers. Logic only supports one of the above interpretations. Prejudice supports the other.

I started wandering through the crowd and taking pictures. Trying to get a feel for what was happening and save it in the image. As I was taking pictures and moving through the crowd, one thing became very apparent:

In Syracuse, Black Lives Matter mostly to White folks.



Well, not just White folks. There were a number of Black folks there. Many of which seemed to have just come from the various methadone clinics spread throughout the city. The others being the organizers and observers of the march. But your basic Dr. & Mrs. Huxtable? Missing. And the total number of Black folks was still less than White folks.

I was glad to see some retired gang members out and working to save the next generation. Doing the hard work of modeling behavior that keeps kids alive. Putting the lie to the belief that the Black community

is indifferent to its suffering. That it does nothing. Here were hard and dangerous men that had been groomed by our mass incarceration binge into even harder and more dangerous men. They put that all aside because they want to help others avoid what they had been through.

Lots of kids with weird haircuts and Honda tires stretching their earlobes. Work boots and Converse All-Stars as far as the eye can see. Aging liberals still following the dream etched in their mind by the Summer of Love. A few anarchists. More than a few LGBT focused folks. And, I’m happy to say, representatives from the Universalist Church in the town where we get our mail. (Hey, in Upstate New York we take progress where we find it)

All outraged enough to come to town and march. To say that Black Lives Matter. Unconditionally. And that there is a problem when our systems don’t recognize that fact. A problem that leads to pain and terror and blood and death. Just another lesson those aging liberals learned from the time of the Summer of Love.

White folks embracing the fact that before All Lives Matter, Black Lives (must) Matter. And working for that. Showing that in a highly segregated, small town in a rapidly conservative part of the state, we aren’t divided when it comes to basic humanity. There was one vocal counter-protestor AND one drive-by shouter. That was it. Everyone else was, if not supportive, at least not actively hostile.

What don’t you see? No overt hostile police presence. The only officers visible were those providing traffic control. No riot gear. No lines. No military vehicles or equipment. Not visible anywhere. They were there. Unseen but there. Down most side streets, a Blue Ford Econoline 15 Passenger van sat idling. The windows were all tinted and it was difficult to see in. As I walked by one of them on the way to my car, I saw the SWAT officers. All wearing body armor and armed with assault rifles. All prepared but unseen. Public protected. Order maintained. But without provocation or penis-measuring from either side.

And, so peace.

The next time someone tells you “we are divided” OR that “most White Americans are FTDBBLM that view BLM with fear or hate,” and they will, take a look through the photos from this march. Then get out your rainbow umbrella.

And know hope.

SyracuseBLM-2-24

  • Eliot