Welcome to Politics
It sucks here
Though Politics is one of my many obsessions, it is also the only one that I repeatedly have to turn away from; too much darkness, surety, grief, and frustration. It is not nearly as hard as anyone makes it out to be to understand the morally decent political opinion, or the humane and life giving understanding at a basic level, but it can be hard to find these things in the media wilds, or to see someone speak to them with clarity, presence, passion, and composure.
This particular piece from Double Down New, by the regularly excellent George Monbiot, is all these things. And while so much of what I read, and learn, and understand in politics, can be painful to the point of becoming self-destructive, sometimes, done right, what I find, and learn, can be satisfying and even inspiring.
I hope that you can have a similar experience with this urgent and clear-eyed piece.
note: The imagery is not upsetting or violent despite what the initial picture might suggest
8/12/21: Weird experiment day!
Today I am going through every page I have in Life is a Fountain and adding something hopefully relevant to it from the annals of Clerkmanifesto. It’s my desperate attempt to freshen up everything after being away for a couple weeks. So here you go:
The subject of race will be making an appearance in this blog post. You might have suspected as much from my title: All my black co-workers are leaving. But I just want to let you all know, right from the very beginning, that I am completely color-blind.
I see everything in black and white.
Ha ha ha ha. That’s just a little bit of race humor to break the ice.
No, right, I absolutely agree, there is nothing funny about race in America. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.
So let’s get to it:
After a four year total library system focus on diversity, multiculturalism, and race and the history of racism in America, after multiple mandatory viewings of the (excellent) PBS Documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion, after diverse hirings (well, at the lower pay levels), expensive countywide initiatives on employee retention, countless break-out sessions, in service days, and required continuing education classes on race and diversity, it just so happens that all of my black co-workers are now leaving and moving onto other opportunities.
At this point, if this were one of my normal blog posts about, say, anything other than race, I would caustically and wittily sum it all up, illuminating the issue and solving the problem pithily.
But it’s about race.
I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.
I had a brainstorm.
I was reading about Marijuana Legalization and saw some important Minister in some country, maybe Germany, referred to. Someone asked him why, if the very dangerous drug alcohol is legal, Marijuana isn’t.
The Minister replied “Just because alcohol is dangerous doesn’t mean Marijuana is broccoli.”
As I do sometimes, almost invariably to my own detriment, I started fantasizing angrily about what pointed thing could be said to such an evasive and idiotic political statement. Usually I catch myself and think “What am I doing?” And then I take a deep breath and admire a tree or something.
But this time, oddly, I came up with something, a useful thing for every reporter to use. If only they would.
When a politician says something obviously evasive, stupid, cruel, or misleading, they should simply be quoted as saying “I am a magnificently important person and so insist on being quoted accurately!”
It would look like this:
Senator Sinema of Arizona was asked why, after supporting a greatly increased minimum wage in the past, she is unwilling to do anything to support it now.
The Senator replied “I am a fantastically important person and insist on being quoted accurately!”
Donald Trump’s entire presidency would have consisted of this singular quote.
To be honest so would much of Biden’s, but boy, when his real words appeared, think how excited the whole White House would get! A real triumph.
And of course if a politician were to complain, as they might, that they absolutely did not say “I am a magnificently important person and so insist on being quoted accurately!” The New York Times, or whoever, could blithely respond: “If you did not insist on being quoted accurately then I hardly see what your problem could be.”
I’m going to go admire a tree now.
Here is a video essay from Innuendo Studios. This is one of my favorite YouTube channels and they invariably do an excellent, lively, judicious and entertaining job of examining and breaking down the Left-Right dynamic in the USA.
on global warming
Like many people I like to pretend to keep my finger on the pulse of the global warming disaster. This is a brilliant disaster because it is happening in a slow motion fashion. The trick to being an effective global disaster, the kind where you can cause epic levels of devastation, the kind that can aspire to destroying half the life on earth and not look silly about its ambitions, is you must happen slowly, you’ve got to take your time. If a disaster gives people ample time to deal with something, even a dire emergency, especially a dire emergency, they won’t. Sure, they might pretend to, but while people are readily fooled by pretending, global disasters aren’t so much usually. However, if a global disaster makes any sudden moves we tend to spring into real action. If, for instance, there is a zombie apocalypse, then the zombies massing together in a tidal wave of their numbers is a recipe for the failure of that zombie uprising. Human kind is resourceful, crafty, able to bond into effective units to fight seemingly insurmountable threats. But a zombie invasion playing the long game, going slow, that’s the one that will succeed. Let us get used to them gradually, a zombie here, a zombie there.
“I don’t like these zombies.” We might say “But they’re so ridiculously slow and stupid. They can’t even open a door!” And so, imperceptibly the zombie population will grow.
“The zombies got Joe out by his garage.” We might say “But Joe was a very old man, crippled with arthritis, and he had horrible glaucoma. It’s probably a relief for him to be a zombie.”
“I saw a few zombies shambling through the neighborhood, honey. Make sure you keep the doors closed.” How hard is it to close a door? You don’t even have to lock it. They’re zombies, all they can manage is a bit of light pushing, and, of course, a little teething. Anyone can keep a door closed. I mean, until they don’t.
“Harold, I think the zombies got the Jacobsens.”
“I never liked the Jacobsens.” Mutters Harold under his breath. “Jesus!” He says “What does it take to close your damn doors at night!”
“Well” Louise, Harold’s wife, replies “The Jacobsens always were fools.”
And so it goes. Housing gets cheaper, resources more plentiful, jobs easy to find. Plus it’s fun to run over zombies on the way to work, albeit in a sick sort of a way. Yes, there are zombies absolutely everywhere, but they’re as slow and ridiculous as ever.
And then, one day, it’s all zombies. A sea of zombies. But only so long as they took 80 years not 80 weeks, or even 80 months. Nice and slow.
“Wow” You might think “I never thought it would be all zombies everywhere. They were so slow!” Except that you won’t think that, because you’ll be a zombie too, and zombies don’t think. If they could think they could open doors, and if they were that much more of a threat then by god we would have had them! We’d have sprung into action.
Of course, global warming is nothing like this inch by inch zombie apocalypse. Sure it’s slow and dangerous, theoretically, but we should all be okay if we get to high ground. How hard is it to get to high ground?