Monday, November 14, 2016

A sad end to an historic campaign.

A sad end to an historic campaign.

The night started out in such hope.  The Jersey City Ramada Inn had been booked for weeks; every room filled with hundreds of loyal and hopeful supporters of the Ancient One.  In the Magnolia Ballroom C, preparations for the huge victory celebration for the election of Cthulhu had gone on for weeks.  James Carville, campaign manager, said no expense had been spared for what all knew would be the party of all parties once his candidate was elected.  Every expert agreed, and all predicted this victory celebration would be the most blood splattered, orgiastic and profane celebration since the great Prague infant slaughter of 1132.  Smiles, at least at 6:00 PM, were wide on every face.

High above the ballroom floor, thousands of gore filled balloons, carefully harvested from the corpses of unbaptized youths, dangled from the gold coffered ceiling.  They stood in anticipation for the fateful moment Wolf Blitzer was sure to announce the Ancient One had reached the coveted 270 electoral college votes and then be released in a sanguine shower on the writhing naked masses below.  All were sure it was just a matter of time for the blessed event to occur. 

Coven 32 from Elm City, North Carolina were already stripping down and covering themselves in sacrificial goat blood.  Their high priestess busily finished drawing the cemetery ash pentagram on the shiny faux-marble floor required for the ritual planned once they were over the top.  Amidst the celebratory cries of “No Lives Matter”, “We are going to make America Awful Again!” and, “I’m with the Ancient One, who none dare speak his name,” cocktails were imbibed, canap├ęs consumed and a wonderful time was had by all.  And then…., it all started to go wrong.

By 9:00 PM, and Florida was still too close to call, nervousness started to fill the hall, and the anxiety level of partygoers could be felt rising like a cold, clammy fog wafting in from an icy sea.  Things had taken a turn for the ugly.

“I just don’t get it,” Sharon Simmons, High Priestess of the Oregon chapter of Satanic Sisters for the vile one, said.  “We had all of the right messaging for this election.  The people claimed they were choosing between evils this time.  Well…, who is more evil than us?  Hillary wanted to allow abortion ONLY up to birth!  HA!  Amateurs…, Cthulhu had a platform that was Pro-Choice up to the age of 22!”

At 10:30, when North Carolina was called for Donald Trump, the light murmurs of worry from earlier in the evening broke into a steady roar of panic. 

Arnold Fishbein, serial killer and arsonist, as well as campaign finance chair, put on a brave face, but, it was obvious something was wrong. 

“Look…, Cthulhu still has a path!  If we can lock up those Midwest states, it is sure to be a sweep,” he said.  “Voters really connected to the Ancient One’s message of complete and total destruction of all life, manmade structures and beauty.  We need to get America working again, right?  What better jobs program could there be than wholesale slaughter and rampant carpet bombing and unrestrained looting and arson?” 

By 11:30 PM, the grim mood in the room had dissolved into an ocean of tragic weeping.   Gerard Depuncle, Communications director, just sat in the corner of the ballroom shaking his head. 

“I just don’t understand,” he said.  “Voters were obviously attracted to a campaign of negativity this cycle, all of the polls showed it.  How could our last minute, 24 hour, live feed of Kitten Vivisections not have reached its target audience?  What could be more negative than that?”

Fredrick Ambossa, chief domestic advisor to Cthulhu, was equally troubled by the turn of events.  “We really needed to up our messaging on our immigration policy.  I just don’t know why we didn’t connect.  Trump wanted a wall, ha!  Our plan for a two-thousand mile moat of boiling virgin blood, ringed by a whirling steel barbed wire fence of flame surely should have caught on!  For God’s sake, we had plans to not only deport, but to murder every man woman and child in the country!  How more hardcore can you get than that?”

At 2:30 AM, the ballroom erupted into applause and hooting when the Ancient One emerged onto the stage.  Despite the clapping, tears streamed down the faces of the loyal supporters still in attendance.  Cthulhu had conceded.  It was over. 

Cthulhu tried to be upbeat, but, defeat saturated his body like a stew of boiled rotting donkey carcasses.  His normally flailing and animated tentacles now hung loose from his fanged jaws, like overcooked spaghetti.  His message was uplifting to the crowd, but, once he slithered offstage and ascended the escalator to the mezzanine, the stunned and shocked supporters started to leave.  It was a sad end to such a noble campaign.

“This is crap!” Samantha Fredricks screamed as her pallid, death-like countenance was streaked with black mascara from her tears.   “This country is so backward.  This was the year.  After 200 years we were finally going to elect an immortal Demon God from the black, infinite void of madness!  Now, we are just going backwards.  It was supposed to be his turn.”

“Yeah, America doesn’t deserve Cthulhu!” Brian Stilton said as he adjusted his knit hat down over his multi-pierced ears.  “Who could not be moved by the Ancient Ones call for carnage, madness and endless murder?  You heard what he said during his concession!  He could have united this country in an orgy of utter destruction and mayhem, but now…, it was all for nought.”

“So, are you going to now go out on a rampage of pillaging and looting?” I asked.

“Nah,” Brian said.  “That was what we were going to do if we win.”

Samantha interrupted, as her face dropped, “Yeah, this has screwed up my plans too.  I was already slated to be slaughtered for the great sacrifice to the desolation of abomination once Cthulhu won, but now, I guess I will have to go into work tomorrow.  My spleen will just remain in my body after all  — unchewed.”

“So, what are you going to do instead?”

“I suppose I will just go Netflix and Chill.  Perhaps binge on “Orange is the new Black”.

“A wise choice,” I said with a knowing grin. 

It was a tragic and sad ending to a noble campaign.  Once again, it has been shown, the system is rigged.   Third party candidates just cannot win. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank you, Jimmy!

Ah…, the Sunday before the election.  Football is on television, pundits are in histrionics on the tube and perhaps a steak is grilling in the back yard, wafting its delicious carnivorous siren call through the window.  The first crispy crackle of true autumn weather has arrived, with a pleasant dip in the temperature, and everyone’s Facebook’s feeds are filled with vile and increasingly hysterical hyperbolic garbage.   It’s November!

Somewhere between all of the “Lock her up” or “Orange Hitler” posts, even a casual, non-political observer must realize one thing is crystal clear.  Come Wednesday morning, nearly half of the country is going to be convinced the nation has driven off of the edge and a bleak, dystopian future awaits.  The other half will be convinced that a Golden horizon of infinite bliss beckons since the forces of evil and darkness have been beaten back into the abyss.

And…, as always, both sides will be wrong. 

Our Founding Fathers, in their infinite and often overlooked wisdom, foresaw the situation we are in today.  Contrary to the caterwauling and handwringing from the Media, this is NOT the dirtiest election in our history.  (Google the elections of 1800 or 1824 for good examples of truly DIRTY elections).  As a side note, one can only imagine what Andrew Jackson would have done with a Twitter account.  I would venture a guess, he would have made even Donald Trump blush.   Dirty campaigns are as American as apple pie, and come Tuesday night, like it or not, we are going to elect a President, just as we have every four years since our founding.    This year, as every election year, we will hear the phrase “this is the most important election of our lives!”

But, is it true?  No.  True, elections have consequences, and, who wins does matter — a little, but, the truth of the matter is, it does not matter a lot.  And we should all get down on our knees and thank God for that.  As the oldest Republic in the world, we do know how to do this well. 

If Donald Trump is elected, fascism is not going to take over the United States.  There are not going to be brown shirts rounding up Mexicans for deportation in January and Muslims are not going to be sent to concentration camps. 

If Hillary Clinton is elected, America is not going to turn into Venezuela and Che Guevara is not going to be placed on the Supreme Court as the Feds seize control of the economic levers of power. 

We have a system set up to stop stupidity.  We have a Legislative branch, with a house and a senate, designed to slow down the workings of government.  We have a court system to prevent unconstitutional acts by the other branches.  Regardless of party affiliation, institutions guard their power and prerogatives and will check the other branches.  Imagine a President Trump trying to impose a Muslim ban on people coming into the country — that will be thrown out in 2 seconds.  Imagine a President Clinton selling influence in the White House — that will be investigated by congress in another 2 seconds.  Our constitutional system, with all of its shortcomings and flaws, has been designed very well.  We survived a Civil War, 2 world wars and several depressions.  We can survive Clinton or Trump.  In fact, I am positive we will survive either one quite well.

No matter who wins on Tuesday, though, there are lessons to be learned.  If Hillary wins, I hope that she and her followers rethink their compulsive urge, almost like an ocd twitch, to centralize authority and control in the Federal Government.  Any such instinct should have the following thought experiment attached — would my opinion change if it were President Trump wielding this power?  If the answer is yes, then perhaps you shouldn’t do it.  Any theory of governing that assumes the other side will never win again is flawed in the extreme.  The same goes for those idiotic Republican senators who say they will never confirm ANY Supreme Court justice is Clinton is elected.  Would they feel the same if it were President Trump? 

If Trump wins, and there is no scenario I can foresee where his win is not narrow, then I hope he and his supporters look at why it was close.  Clinton should have been easy to beat this year.  America is not a one-party state.  She is not a particularly engaging campaigner and, as we all know, she comes with significant baggage. 

History too would lean towards a Republican victory this year.  We tend to switch the party of the President, on average, every 8 years.  Every poll shows that most think the country is on the wrong track.  All things being equal, the Republicans should have waltzed into office in 2016.  It is clear that will not happen.  A Trump victory, if it happens, will only occur on a very narrow path. 

The reasons will be clear.  You cannot tell Hispanic and Latino Americans they are rapists and murderers and then be surprised when they actively vote against you.  People tend to not vote for people who do not like them.   You cannot have someone who is undisciplined and so incredibly sexist in his behavior and not expect women, (50% of the population last time I checked) react.  I know all about Bill Clinton, my conservative friends, and I agree he is a pig, but, Bill ain’t running.  Hillary is.  And, “he did it too” arguments are rarely convincing.  Republicans, going forward, are going to need to clean this up.  There is nothing about the concepts of more freedom, less regulation, reasonable taxes and pro-private sector growth policies that cannot appeal to all races, sexes or creeds.  Good ideas win.  Sadly, this has not been an election of good ideas and that is why it is close. 

I hope the media learns something too.  One thing is also very clear, no one trusts them anymore.  Whatever trust they had, has been squandered.  Shrill hand wringing and obvious bias has tainted them beyond repair.  Coupling that with a technological revolution (the internet) and their doom is assured.  No one cares about them anymore. 

In fact, elites of all ranks; business, media and political, should learn a big lesson from this election.  People are no longer following their lead.  A bubble has formed, and the elite are in it.  Trump, if he does win, will be seen as the giant pin to burst that bubble.   If he does lose, it will be because of his personal flaws and not because of his revolt against the elite. 

We as individuals should also pause.  Elections are fun, of course, and there is always a bit of excitement in the horse race.  It is always entertaining to claim that if the other side wins, Western Civilization will collapse and fire and brimstone will rain down from heaven and destroy all life as we know it.  We do not live in a subtle age, after all, and it is great riot to get swept away in the moment.  But, there is a time to stop all of that.  That time is Wednesday. 

We must resist the urge to overgeneralize and question the motives of the other sides supporters.  Everyone voting for Hillary Clinton is not a Communist or part of some bizarre Satanic conspiracy against the United States.  Everyone voting for Trump is not a reactionary racist wanting to return slavery to the country.  That is hyperbolic in the extreme, and, not only not helpful but not even close to being true.  I firmly believe that Clinton, or Trump, supporters all want the nation to succeed and for all citizens in the country to prosper.  There are just different approaches the parties take in attempting to come to the same result.   It is hard sometimes to back down from defcon 1, but we must.  People can have pure motives, but wrong ideas.   Being wrong is not the same as being evil.   

But, before the election, and either disaster or glory awaits your side, I propose that everyone pause, on this glorious autumn Sunday, and pay homage to possibly our greatest founding father, James Madison.  In that diminutive body of his was packed more brainpower than probably exists in all of our political class (democrat or republican), and we were most blessed to have had him as the father of our constitution.  He recognized the fallibility of man, and planned for bad governments, not good.  It was a good bet, as it turns out, and his pessimism about the nature of man has served or nation well.

The structure he laid out in our Constitution is the reason our system works so slowly — and well.  We may not be able to “do” anything quickly, but, that cuts both ways.  We are also not able to do anything stupid quickly either, and for that we should thank him every day. 

So, tonight, after dinner, I am going to uncork a nice bottle of claret (an appropriate beverage of choice for James Madison) and drink a glass in his memory.  Little Jimmy, you were a man of great foresight.  A grateful nation owes you much. 

Happy Election Day!