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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Latter Days Of A Better Nation, Part III

"GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!"

You know, it's one thing watching the great Bill Paxton in the movie Aliens.

Paxton as Pvt Hudson, face all screwed up in fear and horror, spittle flying from his mouth:

“That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

That’s acting.

That’s entertainment.

That’s why Paxton is a star. That’s why people remember his every performance.

But it's another thing entirely when it's your political philosophy.

“Presidential elections are won by a few million votes. If Hillary wins, we’re going to be overwhelmed with refugees, with immigrants. That’s it. It’s lights out America.”

It's lights out America.

LIGHTS OUT, AMERICA! LIGHTS OUT! WE’RE IN SOME REAL PRETTY SHIT NOW, AREN’T WE! WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?!

That was Ann Coulter this morning. Once again predicting the fall of America and the End of the World.

With these people it's always lights out, America.

Always.

GAME OVER, MAN! GAME OVER!

Everything is a worst case scenario. Fear. Terror. Panic. Fire and flood, invasion, war, plague and famine, chaos in the life support system. And if that's not enough, their mean spoiled little shithead of a God is always about to send in a hurricane or an earthquake or a flood or a Wall Street crash because he's pissed off and throwing a tantrum about some goddamned thing. Ebola. Iran. Vladimir Putin. Gay marriage. Transgenders in the bathrooms. The shambling 50-years-dead ghost of Saul Alinsky. United Nations troops marching on Texas. Black people in the streets. Islam in the schools. They're coming for our daughters, they're coming for our healthcare, they're coming for our Jesus, Oh My GOD they're coming for our guns! They hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our exceptionalism, they hate us because they anus.

It's always some goddamned thing with these people.

They crow about how great America is – this mythological magical exceptional America where everybody is either a straight white protestant who lives in a little house with a white picket fence and a giant H-1 Hummer SUV out front and farms the land from horseback with an American Flag and a Bible in one hand and an AR-15 Super Jesus Peacemaker in the other while the woman folk pop out little white Christian babies like Pez dispensers and God showers down Viagra from the sky in a rain of freedom and liberty Hallelujah and Amen or they're the fucking help and they know their place.

These people, they harp endlessly about the greatness of this nation, how their God has chosen us – us – over all others, our military might, our fabled Constitution ... while at the same time crying endlessly like Chicken Little about how it's all so fragile that if you don't do exactly as they say, why, it'll all come tumbling down. Lights out, America. GAME OVER, MAN, GAME OVER!

 

This is a symptom of a people who have no challenges. No goals. Other than keeping what they have.

 

This is a symptom of a people who live inside a castle surrounded by a moat and barbed wire, terrified every single day that the peasants are going to rise up out of the mud and the shit and their slavery and show up waving torches and pitchforks and demand the good life too.

This is a symptom of a diseased greedy religion, a religion of selfishness and intolerance, one where salvation is the promise of eternal happiness and smug satisfaction for you and yours while every single other person who has ever lived or will live burns forever in endless torment.

This is a symptom of a political process that intends to make a nation of immigrants "Great Again" by banning immigrants and building walls to keep refugees fleeing war and horror and starvation and small mean gods from getting in.

This is a symptom of a people who don't want to make the world a better place for everybody. And in point of fact, their satisfaction is utterly dependent on everybody else being worse off. They have to have the biggest house, the biggest gaudiest church, the biggest truck, the biggest flag, the biggest army, the mightiest ships, the most food, the best medicine, the most TV channels, the biggest gun. They see freedom, liberty, justice, as zero sums and if others get more then they are diminished. Lesser. Ashamed. Just like their religion, heaven isn't heaven if everybody gets to go. America is only great if everybody else isn't. America is the shining city on the hill, the one with the moat and the wall, and everybody else lives in the mud below.

They get to live in the Plantation house and everybody else gets to pick the cotton all the live long day.

This is a symptom of a bankrupt intolerant exclusionary morality.

This is the end result of a political ideology that values mammon over people just exactly as their own prophet warned them of.

This is a political party who has now spent four days spewing hate and fear and pissing its collective pants in terror, LIGHTS OUT, AMERICA! LIGHTS OUT! wallowing in small fears like a child crying in the dark.

This is a political party who has now spent four days telling each other who is NOT an American, who doesn't belong, but has not once – not one single time in four days – actually offered a single solution to any of the problems we face as a people.

 

I passed a sign yesterday. In front of a small rural Southern Baptist Church. The sign said, “Only prayer can save America now.”

 

Only prayer can save America now.

This sums up modern conservativism in six simple words.

Here’s a small church in the middle of nowhere, safe, protected, unburned, free to worship as they please, free to yell at the rest of us without consequence, protected by law in fact and in practice … and yet they feel persecuted. Under assault. Endangered. Doomed. The end is nigh and it’s game over, lights out, America. Oh woe, woe! Save us, Jesus!

And they feel that way solely because they have to live in a world with other people.

They feel like that because they are afraid every single goddamned day of their lives.

This horrible religion didn’t create that fear, their fear created it.

I have watched the messages that appear on that sign for years, decades now.

There’s never, not one time, been a message of peace or hope or tolerance or optimism.

It’s always about impending doom, any minute now.

And if America doesn’t end, they’ll take credit for it – even though they’ve done exactly nothing but shit their pants and hate their neighbors. They’ll give credit to their God instead of the people out there right now laboring every single day to hold civilization together. They’ll pat themselves on their own backs in smug righteousness. Wew, dodged another one. Good job, Everybody, but it’s not over because now God’s mad about this other thing over here. And there’s the ebola. And the gays. And the immigrants. And…

… and it just never ends with these people.

Just another group of angry bitter selfish assholes peering fearfully at the sky.

 

That’s what we’ve become, a nation of angry bitter selfish people. Pessimists. Staring out from the walls, worried somebody is going to come take it all away.

As I’ve said to you before, pessimists don’t build starships. Pessimists don’t build the future. People like Ann Coulter never inspired anybody to anything but fear and hate and pessimism.

Fear, hate, intolerance, guns and pessimism, those things don’t make nations great. Those things don’t make for a great people or even a good person.

Hope, tolerance, inclusion, inspiration, initiative, shared purpose, spirit, justice, liberty, optimism, those are the traits of a truly great nation, a great people, a great religion.

If you want a better nation, a better future, then you have to be better citizens.

And it starts by rejecting this philosophy of doom and selfishness.

You can choose, you know.

In the end, Hudson faced his fear, found his courage, and stood steadfast in the face of horror and gave his life so that others might live.

You can choose to be that Hudson.

But better yet, you can choose to be Ellen Ripley, who said memorably:

“Get away from her, you bitch!”

 


Previous editions in this series can be found here:
The Latter Days of a Better Nation, Part I
The Latter Days of a Better Nation, Part II

169 comments:

  1. Blunt, eloquent, and accurate as always!

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  2. I wish I could say that you are wrong. But I can't.

    Oh, and welcome back!
    (Side note: "This is the end result of a political ideology that values mannon over people just exactly as their own prophet warned them of." Perhaps you meant "Mammon" instead of "mannon"? Just wondering.)

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    1. No. I meant mammon (money, greed, etc). But either I typed it wrong or I was trolled once again by autocorrect. Either way, it's fixed.

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    2. this is prose-poetry to me, jim (and i'm an imagist). it's masterfully written with acerbic passion. and guess what? I agree with you.

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    3. "they hate us because they anus"
      Just wondering has autocorrect struck again ? Did you mean "aren't us"

      A bigger problem is that it is not just the U.S. infected with this virus, we have the same problem down under. Perhaps not quite as extreme yet, but sliding down that same slippery slope.

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    4. Lindsay Stafford. No, the line is correct. It's a nod towards a movie scene. I'll let you figure out which one and why I referenced it.

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    5. "Haters gonna hate, and ainters gonna aint" - ain't it?

      Delete
  3. I think the fact that I don't feel like I can safely put a sign or sticker for my candidate on any personal property, for fear of vandalization, says a lot about the tone of this election.
    Living in the midst of a very Trumpy area..

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    1. Ugh. Ditto.
      I'm surrounded by Trump lovers. Sigh.

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    2. As am I. I don't say much on Facebook either for similar reasons.

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    3. No kidding. I live in a giant region of Trumpiness. Those of us who think der Drumpf is a giant piece of pond scum have to be very undercover about it or suffer the wrath. A great number of my facbook friends who are friends in real life ( and nice people, or so I thought) are posting Drumpf everywhere. It's like the Twilight Zone of orange. I've had to unfollow a growing list of people because I can't stand it and they would attack me online for disagreeing. It's getting way too scary.

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    4. Same here. Also quite a few of my family are angry at me - they'll either get over it or they won't. Have to be careful on Facebook because I don't want to hurt the businesses, etc.

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    5. Thank god all my relatives are pretty much just like Jim. Except this one cousin. We can talk to her, but the minute you get her out on the edge with nowhere to go with your argument that the repuplicans are racist, make no sense, etc, she doesn't want to know. OMG, can't talk, now, have to get my head back in the sand so I don't have to think about all this contradictory stuff, because you know, God will save us if Republicans are in office.

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    6. Trumpeteers do not seem to have the capacity to be reasonable, I am wondering if we should have a shot developed...like rabies?

      Sing it with me.... D O N ... A L D .... T R U M P! He's better than the Mouse you know...just ask him!

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  4. I'd say preach, or testify, but well...those would have negative connotations, so we'll just go with "Hell yeah.".

    Glad to hear you're safe & sound in the American version of hell, also known as Florida.

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  5. Thank you Jim for saying it all so well. Somewhere in us all there is a reason for hope, it hasn't been easy, and it won't be easy, to rally against the forces of evil, the ones that refer to themselves as the forces that will "Make America Great Again", they can't, they don't want to, and they won't.

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  6. I am still waiting for that hyperinflation they have been promising my for 40 years.Freaking went out and got my Interceptor to rule the Wasteland. Finally went out and traded it in on a Prius.

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    1. Yah. I've been hearing about the coming UN takeover of the US and black helicopters in Louisiana since the late '70's. Every few years Chicken Little conservatives think they're the first people who've discovered it and I hear a new wave of blathering hysteria.

      These people do not respond to logic. They don't know history. They only respond to those who feed their fears. If the US goes down the tubes, it'll be because of the hysterical overreaction of the terrified butt-ignorant.

      Right on the mark, Jim, as usual.

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    2. Anonymous, the hyperinflation is coming! Remember, these right wingers know economics! Just ask 'em, they'll tell ya

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  7. Alien and Aliens scared the crap out of me. 30 years later I still get the creeps thinking about it... But I LOVED that line!

    And now that I think on the premise of the movies - what a great analogy on today's political atmosphere. And what you are alluding to here... The men are all, for the most part helpless, clueless or enablers. Meanwhile the woman, who was marginalized, ends up the one with the courage and the conviction to get the job done in the face of insurmountable odds.

    I'm looking forward to 8 years of Hillary Clinton as President - and I never thought I'd say that!

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    1. Hey! Are you bagging on Hicks? Dude did his job, respected Ripley as a compatriot and got a faceful of acid for his trouble! ;)

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  8. Excellent essay; pointed and motivational.
    Keep writing

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  9. The foundation of the party is fear. There are two states of being, either one of fear or of love. Of scarcity, or of abundance. Republicans have chosen fear and scarcity. It has the potential to become a self fulfilling prophecy if left unchecked.

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  10. "...that values mannon over people ..."

    mammon? Maybe? I'd blame the camp chair.

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    1. Yeah, I don't know what the hell that was. It's fixed.

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    2. Heh. First thing I thought:
      http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0242995/

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  11. I plan to vote Blue, no matter who, because every R I've seen so far (there may be good ones out there, but I haven't seen them in MY political ads yet) embodies what you're describing here. That's my way of saying exactly that--

    “Get away from her, you bitch!”

    with "her" in this case being the whole country.

    To be fair, though, I've been through fire AND flood with my family, and while it led to a whole lot of work, and some things were never quite the same, it wasn't quite the disaster some people insist is will be. Granted, ours didn't cause loss of life, so in that way, they were "minor" in the grand scheme. As a nation, we need work for people to do, we just need to agree on what is worthy to be done, and paid for. Time and past time to get that done.

    Gretchen in KS

    P.S.: If you haven't fixed it before this posts, last word in paragraph 15 just lands oddly. You're the writer, but seems like there's a word or words missing? And later down, isn't it mammon, instead of mannon?

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    1. Often wonder what happened to "Better Dead than Red" - seems so applicable now don't you think?

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  12. Nailed it! It has to be exhausting to carry that much hate, fear, intolerance, and anger every day. They have no answers, but despise anyone that tries to improve things. The last 8 years have caused me great disillusionment because I have found out that I am pretty much alone amongst family and friends that believe their lies. Keep calling them on it! Thanks!

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  13. The fear has steadily built for years, starting before Pres. Obama's election and just gotten worse. I want to be Ellen Ripley.

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  14. Great article! I love your work and hope to become a minion someday. Thank you!

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  15. Mannon? S'posed to be mammon?

    I'm thinking this whole convention has been performance art based on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

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    1. Yep. No idea if I did that or autocorrect did. It's fixed.

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  16. After "chaos in the life support system", I was kinda looking for "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria"

    Or maybe I just need to go and see the new Ghostbusters movie. :-)

    In some ways, it's literally living up to their name... most definitions of "Conservative" refer to keeping things the way they are, as opposed to change. Unfortunately, we live in a world of change, more to the point, one in which the change is coming more-and-more rapidly. Of course they are going to be afraid.

    But. That just means that those of us who understand the world need to be stronger in our "faith"... science, knowledge, rational & critical thinking.

    So, I think of the "her" in the Ellen Ripley line as the Real World and government. "Get away from her," and let the people who are trying to make a better future for EVERYONE... do it.

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    1. "Mass hysteria!" I present: "Dammit, Ray!!" http://imgur.com/gallery/d6zuq

      Not mine, just passing it along, because Dog know we can all use a few laughs.

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  17. "Maybe we could build a campfire...sing a couple of songs." Gorman, Aliens (1986)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Excellent as usual Jim. Just wanted to point out a possible typo. Shouldn't it be 'mammon' and not 'mannon'?

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  19. I think that is a pretty astute observation. America itself is hardly exceptional. I think we've been fortunate to have benefited from a lot of exceptional people who, by working together, managed to forge a nation that, step by step, little by little, tried mightily to become the nation enshrined in the myth. But there has always existed among us those people who think freedom becomes less valuable if it is made available to too many people. They've always been among us and right now, they are really loud, angry, venal, and not in the least bit exceptional. Such is the the modern Republican Party, perhaps one of the greatest threats to liberty currently in existence.

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  20. this absolutely ROCKS, you are nailing the rightwing attitudes. thank you for speaking out

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  21. they hate us because they anus.


    Haha, I always thought it was "ain't us" but I'm loving your version better. Welcome back, and great post, as usual!
    bd

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  22. I disagree with this: "This is a political party who has now spent four days..." - by my reckoning it has been much closer to eight years.

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  23. Fantastic entry, as usual. Did you mean mammon, not mannon?

    Some states seem to be crazier than others. I live in Oregon, you can't really tell the guys from the gals while everyone is wearing the state uniform of goretex, denim and woolly hats. We're relatively sane here, so far. I can't imagine having some of crazier reps representing me. Good luck adjusting to Florida.

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  24. I loved this article--welcome back! (I love the movie "Aliens," too. Loved the refs you gave!)

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  25. That has been my take-away from this convention as well. We have had 3 days of full blown.... "This is what we are against" followed by ...."be afraid, be VERY afraid" I expect tonight will be more of the same, except this time, the words will roll off the lips of "Donald the Maleficent".



    We have yet to learn what Republicans are for, well there is that yuuuuuge wall Mexico is supposed to pay for.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers has Identified $20 Trillion dollars of backlogged infrastructure repairs and improvements that need to be done in order for our economy to stay competitive. The two areas that most urgently need to be addressed in this nation is in just two areas, roads and dams.

    But since Republican's prefer free stuff like tax cuts, Nero/Republicans, fiddle while Rome/our infrastructure, crumbles around their ankles.

    This November we can exercise the ultimate version of term limits, vote them out.

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  26. Ellen Ripley, on a comparison between the aliens and the corporation wanting to exploit them for weaponry: "You don't see *them* fucking each other over for a percentage!"

    Sooooo many classic lines in that movie.

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  27. Nailed it! Fear is the mind killer.

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  28. Patricia PhillipsJuly 21, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    As always, perfectly stated.

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  29. Oh these people! I try not to live in fear, but I truly fear a Donald Trump presidency. I watched , in my own home, Tuesday night, just how much his hatred disease has infected people I love and respect. I listened to my husband yelling "let the niggers kill each other" and watched as my adult daughter walked out the front door crying and saying " I fucking hate Donald Trump". Needless to say, my own home has become a battleground.

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    1. Oh. My. Word, Nancy! Has your husband always been like this? Time for marriage counseling? I can't imagine being married to such a racist.

      Freckles

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    2. I'm so sorry for you. Understand, tho that DT does not have the power to create. He has, however, the ability to tear into a person and open a vein of bigotry and hatred that has been suppressed and hidden behind political correctness. As difficult as it is to watch, Trump is outing all the closeted bigots in this country. At least we can see who they are now.

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    3. Nancy, I'm going through some of the same. If my husband wasn't working out of town, I don't think our marriage would survive this election cycle. Even so, I'm not sure.
      We met when Bill was president, made it through W and (almost) Obama, and that motherf***** Trump is going to kill it? I hope not.

      Delete
  30. So very weary of being offered the fear pill and being told I must take it. Not swallowing the bullshit and hoping that before November I can convince others to do the same. Thanks for the great analysis, and am glad your office is functional, if a bit spartan at the moment.

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  31. Jim can I use these words
    This is a political party who has now spent four days spewing hate and fear and pissing its collective pants in terror, LIGHTS OUT, AMERICA! LIGHTS OUT! wallowing in small fears like a child crying in the dark.

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  32. Welcome home Chief.

    I haven't watched any of the gloom and doom from Ohio.

    I read you.... enjoy pics of cats, and try to keep my sanity.
    I'm still old..... but......so far..... still hangin'.

    Thanks as always..... for truth. Seems to be in short supply these days.

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    1. Good for you Elderlady. It was one of those things that you see and immediately wish you had some bleach to blind yourself with. Unfortunately, it seems I may need to find a copy of Mein Kampf and brush up on what to expect if Herr Donald is elected.

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  33. This is great! It's eloquent, but stated so simply that even the "poorly educated could understand, if they would only READ it!

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  34. One person does not a nation make. A nation is made from many, one. This is what made our nation great. Many people coming together with many different ways to get things done Iand with many different ideas on how to make it happen. I love my country but despise its political rhetoric. I appreciate almost every aspect of this great nation, so full of opportunity and reward. I do not appreciate that a select few believe that this opportunity and reward is only for them.

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  35. I know you've lived in the lower 48 before, but, welcome back to the land of fools and bigots. I think it gets worse the further south you go although this area I'm in is pretty bad. I don't give my address out because of that.

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  36. Every week, I learn that another family member, or used-to-be friend, has gone over to the "Trump side" and is actively advertising the fact on Facebook. In the red state I live in, they're the norm, I'm the crazy one. Come November 8th, I plan to Ripley their asses and vote for HRC! I'm hoping for the elation I experienced following the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012! Please!

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  37. What I find interesting among all the God appointed republican Presidential nominees, Trump is the one they nominate.

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    1. That's because they really don't want Christian values. They want white supremecist values. But most of them aren't bold enough to say it out loud. Most of them.

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  38. Thank you. Shared on FB. You really nailed it.

    Fear and loathing--and no decency. That's the GOP.

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  39. Welcome to Florida, Jim. This Florida preacher can only offer a hearty "AMEN" to this. And I know you don't get too many of those from the likes of me. But you can expect more.

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  40. Hey Jim? "And if America doesn’t end, they’ll take credit for it – even through they’ve done exactly nothing but shit their pants and hate their neighbors." Probably meant 'though' rather than 'through'?
    Otherwise, Nailed it, as usual.

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    1. Got it. Fixed. Thanks for the assist! // Jim

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  41. Jim, "You're not only wrong, you're wrong at the top of voice".

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    1. Possible "you're wrong at the top of your voice"?

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    2. Mr. B. Hawk is quoting Spencer Tracy in the movie 'Bad Day at Black Rock' (1955) from the scene when he shuts down Ernest Borgnine in the cafe. However, Mr. Hawk is completely off-kilter using it here (saying it to Jim Wright in regards to this essay) because in 'Black Rock' Ernest Borgnine is a raging, loud-mouthed racist (exactly like you-know-who.) This has been covered in Writing 101: If you're going to try and be cute and nail somebody with a single movie quote, at least have enough smarts to use it in the proper context. Hopefully, Mr. Hawk will not repeat his mistake in the future. PS - If anyone here has not seen 'Bad Day At Black Rock,' I can highly recommend it, for it's a helluva good film. It's a lean, mean, eighty-minute feature, and in addition to Borgnine, you also get Robert Ryan and Lee Marvin boosting the thug quotient.

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  42. Keep in mind that these doomsday types are not intellectually nimble enough to imagine that life will go on without them, or that it existed for millions of years before them. They and their time (the present) are all that matter..and they are so important that were chosen by their (man-ufactured) version of God to inhabit the earth and this country during the Final Days. They are mental midgets who feel threatened at the mere thought of evolving, learning, growing and (may God forbid) *tolerating* anything new.

    Other than that, they are, of course, very nice, decent people. God told them so.

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  43. At the risk of going too near the Bottomless Pit of Both Sides Do It, there's a certain amount of this on the Dem side, too. But it's about 20 decibels lower, and mostly doesn't come from the Dem leadership and their proxies.

    Also, the worries are mostly more reality-based.

    Still, I'm bored with the seemingly constant drumbeat of "Trump will have us killed and our children made into stew for White House dinners!" from a subset of Hillary supporters.

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    1. I'm not too worried about what Trump might do, except for two things:

      1 - SCOTUS appointments
      2 - he puts Pence in charge so he can "delegate" and primp

      Those two are terrifying enough, and Congress can't do much to stop him on those.

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    2. While I believe my children are (probably) safe from the stew pot, they are women and I am convinced that they are not safe from the laws that will be pushed onto their bodies by a Trump presidency and Trump-chosen SCOTUS. THAT is not hyperbole.

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    3. I'm scared of keeping a GOP majority in Congress without a brain or any sort of morals in the White House to keep them in check. 1 and 2 are scary, and Trump in the White House with a GOP Congress is the road to hell for the US.

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    4. It's also worth noting that Trump is very likely the Russian equivalent of the Manchurian Candidate. His closest advisor has a long relationship with Putin. Trump himself makes no secret of his admiration for dictators in general and Putin particular. Recently he stated publicly that he might not honor NATO troop commitments if Putin invades neighboring NATO countries. Any intel he gets is probably going straight to the Kremlin.

      And that's on top of all the rest of his negatives, mind you.

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    5. I found his interview with the New York Times to be pretty frightening, though. He told the world, and Putin especially, that if our NATO allies are invaded, we might or might no respond, depending on whether or not they'd paid enough protection money. Trump is like a Magic 8 Ball. Pick him up, turn him over, and every time you get a different answer. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing, and he doesn't care.

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  44. Superb. Just freakin' superb. Winston Churchill would be appalled at the cottage industry the GOP has made of fear.

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  45. Jim, "You're not only wrong, you're wrong at the top of your voice". Remember your motto>> "by Hook or Crook" stick with that. I have respect for you, and for your opinions. You enlighten me. Kind of. I describe myself as a "washed in the blood, born again believer"., interrupt that as you wish.And remember, "Jesus is half horse and half alligator, mess with Him and He will kick a lung gotta' you".

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    1. "Jesus is half horse and half alligator" And which book of the Bible is that in again? I seem to have missed it.

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    2. 'Half-horse, half-alligator..' Another line from 'Bad Day At Black Rock'? Mr. Hawk, I like that movie, too. But really..COME ON.

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  46. I grew up in South Africa, in the midst of institutional fearmongering. There's a song one of our bands made that concisely captures everything the republicans have been saying, and it's inevitable conclusion. Search youtube for "Weeping" by Bright Blue. It's not a perfect match, but it's close enough to be chilling. The NP in South Africa used similar tactics to establish and maintain Apartheid as what the Donald and his acolytes are doing.

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    1. So you approve of the the systematic murder of White South African farmers? Absolutely disgusting.

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    2. What? I see why you stayed anonymous, with a sweeping, incorrect statement like that. I have family and friends who are farmers in South Africa. Shame on you, you anonymous coward, to insinuate that I would ever approve of murder, in any form.

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    3. Look up Jim Croce's Which way are you going" for a present look at our times today. Remember Jim died in 1974.

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  47. Complain or change. That is the real choice.

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  48. Always on target.

    Now I'll just go wait in line for my turn to become a minion. Three of my friends made it. . .surely my turn is coming up! *grin*

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  49. I'd like to take the part about the small church sign, stencil it to a piece of plywood and hit every GOP member over the head with it. I never thought I could agree with anything Ted Cruz said until he told the GOP convention to vote it's conscience

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    1. I'm not sure a lot of them HAVE consciences.

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  50. My favorite Ripley line from Aliens: "Did IQ's suddenly drop while I was away?". Some mornings I watch the news and think just that. Then I put on my big girl panties and open up my shop making and donating quilts for the hospitalized, civilian and military. And I look around at all the wonderful people working with me and know that life is good.

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  51. Continuing the theme, I have a much simpler solution for the Republican problem (and the Tiny Fingered Vulgarian in particular): "I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

    I kid, I kid. Well, maybe. Possibly. Oh, who knows at this point.

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    1. Please don't advocate nuking Cleveland , I live in the fallout zone.

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  52. I live in Cleveland. I work downtown. The vitriol that is being spouted is both ridiculous and terrifying.

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  53. I love this movie. I love this nation. I love this blog. (Is that enough of the warm fuzzies and feels for you?) Thank you!

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  54. Well, as usual, Jim had hit the nail squarely on the head.

    The puzzle for me for the last 30 years has been, how do I prevent those morally insane miscreants from infecting my brother and sister Americans with their peculiarly virulent strain of despair? Because giving in to despair is sinful, IMPO. Tempting, often, but sinful.

    We are all Americans, right, left and center, and perhaps the most pernicious and destructive thing we've allowed ourselves to do to each other is that we've allowed ourselves to be divided against each other.

    This must stop.

    We are Americans. When we stick together and when we put our heads together, we are smarter than any problem, we are up for any challenge, and, most importantly, we are braver than any peril.

    We have always been. We will always be. When we stick together and put our heads together.

    We have the wealth of all of problem solving tools and coping mechanisms of all the cultures of mankind to draw from, if we look at out cultural inheritances, as Americans, as a common savings and investment account, and treat it that way. It's the family tool chest/Community Chest we can go to to solve problems, meet challenges and bravely stand up to perils by selecting the tools and mechanism which give the functionalities we need, combining them in ways that have never been seen before, and innovating solutions that have never been done before.

    This is what being Tomorrow People is all about and this is how it's done.

    And despair is poison to all of that. Allowing ourselves to be divided and conquered from within is poison to all of that.

    It must stop.

    Now.

    Our Ancestors and our Progeny are depending on us.

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    1. "We have the wealth of all of problem solving tools and coping mechanisms of all the cultures of mankind to draw from, if we look at out cultural inheritances, as Americans, as a common savings and investment account, and treat it that way."

      On my more optimistic days, I would like this notion very much. The truth is, though, that we collectively still downplay a whole lot of our collective inheritance. It's a sad, sad thing.

      I'm an unbeliever, so I don't buy into a concept of sin... but despair (an old personal enemy) isn't ***helpful***. It solves nothing. It creates nothing. It achieves nothing. It contributes nothing to society or to our survival and thriving as a species. Optimism is essential, even if we have to dig so far down inside ourselves for it that we're pulling it from our toes.

      My ancestors have gone back, or are in the process of going back, into the natural cycle of life. They don't care. I have no progeny. Yet, I figure the most important thing I can do during my time here is to help make things just a little bit better for my species and my planet. There are too many brilliant ideas that haven't been thought of yet, too many wonderful scientific discoveries that haven't been made, perhaps even a utopia or two or three that might be achieved. There is the profound and awe-inspiring notion that every human being might someday achieve their full potential in an environment that accepts all the good in everyone, tolerates all the quirks, and celebrates individuality. I want to do my part to make that happen, even if I'll never see it.

      If you dream, dream big. :)

      Meanwhile, in the short term, we have a narcissistic semi-human leading a band of amazingly odious co-conspirators (Pence, I'm looking at you) and followers toward the most powerful office on the planet. It's one thing to be optimistic, but some pragmatism is in order. GET OUT THE BLUE VOTE!!!

      Delete
  55. Thank you for this-I needed a ray of hope after the shitfest at the RNC. I know I shouldn't watch it, but I have an almost fascination watching the "Grand Old Party" flushing itself down the toilet. It gets downright depressing to watch these narrow little fools puff themselves up and bring back an era of history that I never believed could happen again, and certainly never thought I'd live through.
    It scares me to think what these people will do when they lose. And they have to lose. The alternative is unthinkable.

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    Replies
    1. But are they flushing themselves down the crapper? Bob

      Delete
  56. I don't know why aren't doing a podcast somewhere or how you've been missed for TV. I can just imagine a Sam Elliot like voice, churning out these words and damning the stupidity in this country.

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  57. P.S...would love to join the ranks on Facebook as well :D

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  58. An intelligent and well crafted response to the themes of the Republican convention. Applause from robots to the hissing and fuming of angry old men. Law and Order. The old code for hatred.

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  59. Well said. Fear mongering is a very scary, and evil, tactic.

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  60. Noted "anus" might be "ain't us" or not. The "anus" has curious nuances.

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    1. "They hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our exceptionalism, they hate us because they anus."

      Yeah. I was just about to comment on that 'un, too. You beat me to it. "Ain't us" makes sense or because "they hate us because they are giant anuses (anii?) or .. okay, plain, arseholes themselves" might work here as well?

      Delete
    2. Jesus H. Christ, do ya not recognize a joke when you see one, FFS?

      Delete
    3. The line is correct. They hate us because they anus.

      It's a rather famous scene from a rather infamous movie that was in the news last year. It was intended as a subtle nod to a larger context.


      Delete
    4. Fair enough then. I didn't know that and missed the reference, sorry.

      Delete
  61. "This is a symptom of a people who have no challenges. No goals. Other than KEEPING WHAT THEY HAVE."

    And that's the perfect definition of conservatism. From the Southern slaveholders to Ayn Rand to Antonin Scalia it's all the same: If you get more then I get less.

    That line could have come from Prof. Corey Robin and his book on conservatism (Reactionary Mind).

    Conservatism is: "a reactionary movement, a DEFENSE OF POWER AND PRIVILEGE against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace." - Corey Robin.

    It’s really about who’s boss, and making sure that the man in charge stays in charge. Women and workers are put in their place, and it doesn’t matter if he covets his neighbor’s wife or demands trade wars. It's all about keeping power, whether it is at the ballot box, the authority over women, their salaries or their bodies. It's why they hate universal health care, unions, equal pay, voting rights, and more. Limited government, devotion to the free market, or a wariness of change are not the essence of conservatism but “byproducts” of one essential idea - “that some are fit, and thus ought, to rule others.” And by "some" they mean "them", and by "others" they mean you.

    "For that is what conservatism is: a meditation on – and theoretical rendition of – the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back." - Corey Robin.

    Great post!

    A.J. (McLean, Virginia)

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  62. When I was a child, I went through a period of reading folk/fairy tales from as many cultures as I could get my hands on (not "inclusiveness," though it's not a bad thing, but feeding my habit). I noticed many startling similarities, and developed the theory that people's gods (and heavens) tend to reflect them and what they think is important at the time. Being the type who starts at the beginning of a book and reads through to the end, I have yet to get through the Christian Bible - the smug hatefulness always tosses me out. So your "their mean spoiled little shithead of a God " really resonated with me. Their God really is a representation of them, or what they think is important, and I sigh. And yes, I think that Heaven, if it exists, must be for everyone. I just hope that their part is far, far, away from me. Maybe a wall.

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  63. Well said as usual. The take away is that anyone who opposes this glass is always half empty and in danger of falling to the floor mindset has got to stand up and vote for candidates that don't think this way, that do look for and offer positive solutions rather than self serving negativity...because otherwise, these clowns win. And their so called prophesies become truth.

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  64. To be fair, I'm as scared of Trump being president as they are of Hillary getting the job. I worry about his little fingers on the nuclear button, about his relationships with Russia and North Korea, about his non-existent attention span, and about his complete narcissism. If one is into "winning" in the way that Trump is, what do you try to win after you've gotten the title of POTUS? Yep, I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.

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  65. They're untrained, fanatical, scared, and armed. That won't end well. The only silver I see in that cloud is they're also mostly older. A few more election cycles and they'll have died out.

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    1. Don't bet on that...they've got a whole new generation(s) coming up behind them. My kids & grandkids and their friends are drinking the koolaid and begging for more.

      Delete
  66. Jim, I've been reading your blog for a bit now and am enjoying it very much. I wish I could write like you do because you get the point made and I get so angry trying to think of what to say that I totally lose it and just end up with angry face icons. Keep it going. Just one more thing, can you take on the crazies who don't understand that third party votes and not voting at all will get this prime idiot elected? And that him getting the nuclear codes will be the end of the world? Thanks!

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  67. Had a longer comment and lost it all. Perhaps all I was supposed to say is:

    1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

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  68. I have been carefully avoiding listening or watching any broadcasts from the RNC. Just reading about the proceedings is disturbing enough. Thank you, Jim, for being a voice of sanity about the craziness that has overtaken the GOP. I've been following you for a few years now. When there is room on your FB list of minions, I would be honored to become one. I love reading your essays and the comments by your minions. Take care, and don't let the gators get Shopkat or Stupid. Signing off from the hot, dry, Central Valley of California.

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  69. My immediate fear is that the anti-Trumps (and people in general) won't turn out to vote. Oh,and the bug-eyed fear of a Drumpf in the Oval Office because of of a low turnout. As for Skeletor Coulter, she is the WORST kind of parasitic fear-mongerer, one who makes scads of money peddling
    her bilge in pointless book after pointless book of lies and hatred while blowing off on tv at every opportunity. I absolutely cannot stand to listen to anything that spews out of her hate hole. She COUNTS on the selfishness and bitterness thriving in the sea of assholes b/c IT MAKES HER RICH. She's by no means the only one who engages in the proliferation of bullshit and misguided anger but she's a perfect example of it. I'd like my America back, too-but it's got nothing to do with the GOP agenda. Thanks a lot, Newt Gingerich, for breaking the system to begin with.

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  70. Living in a city which has welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees, I can tell you what happens: You see a few more shawarma joints. You want to know what a country with more immigrants looks like, look north.

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  71. Thank you, as always beautifully written, and to the point. A four day Coachella festival of anger, fear, and grievance. Then there's the whole "Lock her up!". Who is this mob? Do they even live in the same country? Since when do we "lock up" the opposition?
    And half my family are Trump supporters- they fit the profile so well- high school educations, never travelled anywhere, never talk to anyone who disagrees with them, hate Mexican immigrants, and Moslems, even though they've never actually met any. I refuse to talk politics with them.

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  72. That is right on.
    I have multiple family members (cousins, mostly) who live in Rural USA (Wyoming, mostly, though a couple in the empty part of upstate New York, and one or two in Michigan) who feel that Trump is going to be The Savior Of Us All and make everything right again. (Never mind the fact that he just wants the job, but apparently not the work that comes with it.)
    Meanwhile, an alarming number of those who identify as Democrats are, shall we say, less than enthused about voting for Hillary Clinton. (My mother doesn't even generally refer to her by name, just as "the liar" - that GOP propaganda machine has done its job all too well.)
    There isn't enough booze to make the months until November tolerable.

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  73. Thanks for this Jim. Some days, it helps to be reminded of just how little the minds are that reside in the heads of the fear mongers. It has been a tough couple of weeks in red TX. While I am an older white woman, I have a Latina daughter and a young Latino grandson. My daughter is stopped and harassed by the police far too often, and she frequently works nights. On the night of the shootings here, my daughter called me in tears at 1:00 am asking how she can raise her children like this. It broke my heart, and I blame those who have fanned the flames of racism. While we have lived with it from our inception, it has become particularly ugly during this campaign season.

    So once again President Obama came to TX, trying to soothe this nation. And he too is weary, asking if we as a people have the character to continue to make progress, to deal with this, and to finally address it. For anyone who has not seen his speech, it deeply moved me, and yes, once again restored me to my usual hopeful state. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icGmm2uET3I More importantly, for the first time in my lifetime I am hearing reasonable white people acknowledge we have a racism problem, and cops acknowledging that yes, they have contributed to the problem in disparate policing. Of course, that was before Cleveland. But I believe the MAJORITY of people here are good, and want what is best for this country. Perhaps the ugliness of this political season will force those of us with a different vision to speak at least as loudly as the fear mongers. And of course, VOTE!

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  74. From "Strictly Ballroom" -- "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived."
    I refuse to live in fear but fear is all I can see around me. Fear of gays, fear of blacks, fear, as you said, of "those who anus." Everything the media presents all boils down to "Be afraid, be very afraid". The only thing I'm afraid of is what this country is going to end up being. Especially if "he" wins the presidential election.

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  75. In the aftermath of this week's shit show, otherwise known as the Republican National Convention, thank you for such an inspiring post. I needed it.

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  76. The Republican party has been stoned on fear for so long they cannot remember a time without it. Since 9/11 they have been mainlining it, hard. Another election? Cook up another fix. Bang that shit.
    They know it's killing them but have no idea how to stop. "Just one more election and then we'll stop for sure."
    If only we didn't live in the same house.

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  77. Spot on, mister. As one of those mud-covered other people, I shudder at the thought that this fear gets its own president in the form of Captain Carrot.

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  78. This is exceptional with too many good lines to pick just one.

    I wish it wasn't so true; on the other hand, I refuse to believe it's infected everyone. But the people it's infected? Well, I'd rather fight zombies. Zombies actually want brains so they make more sense.

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  79. There is more than one kind of pessimist. While I agree with your point in the essay, I think it's worth noting that not all pessimists are so afraid.
    Some of us are the kind of pessimist that build space ships with back up systems, and escape pods. We are the ones who insist on the airlock design being tested one more time before someone's life depends on it. Some of us are the ones who say "I see a potential problem, let's fix it now" rather than relying on blind luck.
    Bob Ebeling was a pessimist when he said it was dangerous to try launching the Challenger when it was unusually cold.
    Some of even think building space ships is the only way we are going to survive the mess we are making of this planet.

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    Replies
    1. That's not pessimism, that's pragmatism.

      Delete
    2. Building a spaceship with backup systems and escape pods isn't pessimism. It's pure optimism. We are convinced that we can make something that works well enough, regardless of all the things that can go wrong.

      Delete
  80. I watch all the goings on from up here (Canada) and I often get a shiver down my spine about the vitriol being spewed by a certain someone with orange skin.

    The U.S. is not "not great", (yes I know what I did.) Yet every candidate seems to think *they* can be the one to make it *great again*. Do any of them think before they open their traps?
    We had an election last year where one candidate said he was going to make us great again, we were always great, even when he was at the helm.
    It's not the folks sitting in pretty offices that make a country great, it's the folks who build the country who make it great.

    I sincerely hope if the cheeto reject is elected that there are enough safeguards to ensure he can't just walk all over your country, we're your neighbours and his crap affects my country as well.

    My wish for you guys at this point is that he loses the election and is exiled to a nameless island somewhere far far away with no internet or tv.

    PS: Today's FB post was hilarious, read it to my hubby who cringed in memory of his "procedure". Extra points for making him cringe while I was dying of laughter.

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    1. PPS: When you drove through SK, you were close enough I could have made you and yours coffee and dinner, it was fun to "watch" drive through North America.

      Delete
  81. In the internet culture, with so much hate mongering, the screaming fear fear fear has become more and more like rain hitting a tin roof. It makes noise, you know it is there, but it hasn't any power left for getting things wet.

    This time, ladies and gentlemen, let us bow our heads and say a silent prayer for the children of our generation getting jaded.

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  82. A fantastic read, as always Jim--blunt, to the point, and oh so worth reading.

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  83. Oh so very happy a friend forwarded your blog to me today. I sm immensely encouraged by you abd your readers. I woke up two weeks ago and said NO MORE. NOT keeping THIS Mouth another day. Absolutely cirrect, they don't know history, or much else. Husband and I too have been afraid to lose friends, etc but no more. We will compassionately out up our signs, block the idiots on FB, encourage all young people we know, and like my young Marine Daddy did in the Frozen Chosin in Korea, live to tell about it. PS the "city on a hill" and God is punishing us because whatever can take a flying leap.

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  84. To paraphrase Newt:

    We had be prepared for a fight, because they mostly come out at night. Mostly.

    Well said, sir. You essay was very, VERY well said.

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  85. Welcome back Jim. Hope you're happy with the move and settled in. And as always, right on with this post.

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  86. "This is a symptom of a political process that intends to make a nation of immigrants "Great Again" by banning immigrants and building walls to keep refugees fleeing war and horror and starvation and small mean gods from getting in." - Jim Wright

    Quoted for truth, spot on and, sadly, applies to a number of other lands here incl. my own one of Australia too.

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  87. Jim, Great piece, as always. One line sticks in my craw:
    "That’s what we’ve become, a nation of angry bitter selfish people. Pessimists. Staring out from the walls, worried somebody is going to come take it all away."

    Fuck that. They're loud, proud, but I refuse to believ that they represent the majority They AREN'T the nation.

    We outnumber them.
    We, the people....
    The people who love,
    The people who help,
    The people who believe that the world is inherently good, despite occasional evidence to the contrary,
    The people who bust hump to make their own world better,
    The people who dance, and sing, and just get silly, even when somebody is watching,
    The people who hug their friends,
    The people who refuse to succumb to fear,
    The people who occasionally temper their optimism with wry cynicism, but never wallow in pessimism,
    The people who thrive, not just survive,
    The people who are part of the solution,
    WE
    Outnumber
    THEM.
    And there is fucking strength in numbers.

    Let's act like it.

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  88. Thank you Jim, been following you for months because I'd go insane if not. I too live in Florida and this is Republican country. There is no discussion with these people because "if you ain't a conservative you're a libtard and everybody knows that libtards have no brains." It is like living among zombies only worse. So thank you sir, I look forward to seeing your posts pop up on Facebook, it makes me feel like I can breathe again. So happy to hear you are back up and running. Will make a small donation because I'm living on SS and can't afford more at this time. Would love to be able to place in your discussions on facebook but see there is no way to make you a friend or request a friendship.

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  89. Superb post, Jim. I don't know how long it took to write this but I read as a rant that poured from you to pen to paper then into me. Powerful!
    I read that Bill Paxton ad-libbed that Game Over Man line. It's a movie classic.
    I also played an online game with a superhero theme. One character I created was named Game Over Man.
    Good luck in Floriduh...better than Texass I guess.

    Rob from Pilly

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  90. Hello Jim. Love your writing,as always. Here is a link sent to my wife by someone we always thought reasonable and sensible. Not so certain about that now. Would be interested in your thoughts. Not necessary to post this comment. Thanks - Dennis Boyter

    https://josephbotts.com/2016/05/24/honestly-why-would-anyone-vote-for-trump/

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  91. For what it's worth (maybe nothing) --
    Reflecting on the Republican National Convention, I see a whole bunch of people living in 1932 and looking forward to 1933.

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  92. In McCarthy's "The Road" at the end, after the man has died, his son asked the veteran if he is "one of the good guys" and if he is "carrying the fire". This is the theme all through the novel that the man I stills into his son, that the are boundaries he will not cross to survive. "The fire" is a metaphor for all that is noble in man.
    When I think of The Road, and the wild gangs roaming the devastated land, doing anything to survive, I think of the chanting hordes screaming to "build the wall" and "lock her up".
    Given mob rule mentality, what would it take to go from lock her up to something more extreme? Is this mob keepers of the fire? Are they "the good guys"? Is building a wall and keeping them out an act that any sort of loving deity would approve of?
    Loved the Aliens analogy BTW.
    Keep the fire burning.

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  93. I think I'm the Ellen Ripley who said, "Let's take off and nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure."

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  94. Thank you for existing, Jim! [snark] There is a little church in Galt's New Holy Gulch that hides a power station that Tesla dreamed of, with a cross wrapped in a flag of 28 stars (because Texas and slavery is good) with a golden dollar sign finial on top. The sign of the dollar is lit, but the flag is not. [/snark]

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  95. I miss... "LOVE it, or leave it"
    Its time someone told those ingrates, to get the hell out!

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  96. Whatever happened to "We have nothing to fear but fear itself?"

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  97. Jim - I'm writing here because I'm still in line waiting to be added to your list of Facebook friends. Anyway, I'd love to know your thoughts about the meme that HRC is a bigot because she said the word "super-predators" back in the '90s. I listened to the video of that speech and she made reference to gang members, young kids with no social conscience. What I missed was the part where she said they were black kids or even used the words "inner city" or "urban". Since gangs come in all colors, why was it presumed she was referring only to blacks as predators?

    I'd also love to know your thoughts about Trump's doctor. I know it can be kind of difficult to get past his general demeanor but if you listen carefully, he said (I'm paraphrasing)"I know Hillary's doctor and he told me she's in poor health" For some reason NOBODY seems to have made the observation that he (1) either violated so many patient privacy guidelines I can't begin to count them or (2), which I think is the more likely scenario - doesn't know and has never spoken to HRC's private physician and just slandered him on national TV by suggesting that he would discuss the health issues of private patient BY NAME, much less a patient that is in the political spotlight. Doctors and nurses discuss clinical scenarios all the time with their colleagues in order to gain another point of view - in fact it's a common teaching tool, ie "diagnose Mr. A. who has the following symptoms ...." but you never, and I mean NEVER will know who Mr. A is unless Mr. A. signed a privacy release form which (sarcasm font) I'm sure HRC signed so her private physician could discuss her medical issues with her political opponent's physician. My point is (sarcasm font off), somebody needs to either lose their medical license over that one. Or at lease be sanctioned by their state's regulatory board or thrown off the hospital staff or something. I can tell you as a medical professional that guy is bad news.

    Thanks for (hopefully) at least reading this.

    JZinFL

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  98. I am more afraid of Pence than Trump. Trump is a carnival barker hawking snake oil that will never cure you, will make you very sick, but 'may' not kill you. Pence is a true zealot, sure his way is the only way and more than willing to force you to swallow his poison.

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