Is He Really Naked?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The words of Charles Dickens reach out to us over the centuries and still hold true. Within the US, you will find both sentiments existing simultaneously among the political tribes we are sorted into.

You find those who bought a celebratory bottle of sparkling wine after the first step was taken towards holding a former President accountable for his actions. And you will find those in sack cloth and ashes moaning about the complete collapse of the legal system in this nation if they were supporters of the former President. Taken as a whole, this nation has cognitive dissonance in how the actions of the legal system in the State of New York are viewed. But both sides are utterly convinced theirs is the correct interpretation of events. Indeed, I now see where the concept of alternative facts can appear. The facts themselves are not much in question, but how they are viewed through lenses of partisanship varies greatly.

One side sees the status of this nation torn to shreds by having the audacity of indicting a former President. The other side sees the honor of this nation upheld by a demonstration of the commitment to the rule of law, a commitment other nation-states can only dream about. What-aboutism has reared its head as one side tries to equate events in the 1990’s with interns, to the events of the last decade where the price of dalliance was made clear. It takes a bit of historical perspective to view events in their proper context.

It is apparent this nation is not where it used to be. Regardless of the personal sexual habits of politically connected individuals, there used to be a red line that could not be crossed if one wished to be taken seriously by the electorate. That red line was paying at least lip service to the concept of moral consistency with the sexual morality expressed in countless pulpits across the United States. But as the moral exemplars of the church yielded to the temptations of the secular world, be they related to money or sex, the moral authority of our political leadership also became compromised. So much so that when a candidate for President discussed his own privilege and preferences, his supporters were not bothered with his confession. He grabbed them by the pussy, just like he could grab the pussy of anyone else who caught his wandering eyes.

He could not be bought. That was his original argument. His business empire threw off so much cash he could ignore the traditional high rollers of campaign finance. But with a political environment so corrupted with money (equivalent to speech), by the time the second run for office came about, he was less picky about who supported him financially. Sure, the small donor was satisfying. After all, a few million supporters averaging $30 per capita could exceed even the mega moneys of the privileged class. There were efforts made to crack open the aura of financial success, like the reporting of the New York Times. But by the time serious investigation into his business “successes” was made public, his followers had morphed into a cult incapable of hearing any flaws in their leader’s public persona.

So one group sees the Emperor in his gaudy clothes, while the members of another group is blinded by the glare of lights upon the gilded fixtures in his palaces. Meanwhile, his true business successes remain few and far between, and without a television series adding to his mystique, slowly his true nature becomes visible to many. But what is really wild, is that he still reigns over the wreckage of the party he appropriated. Once the Republican party was a party of ideas, and those ideas were discussed and debated on the platforms of this nation’s elections. By 2020 though, the Republicans actually committed themselves to “what he says”. Never have I seen a party completely abdicate its responsibility to enunciate its principles. Not until this last election where the dedication to a cult leader became absolute. It mattered not who objected to this charade. An entire party apparatus was usurped, with the added effect that anyone who disagreed with the dear leader immediately became subject to the charge of being a RINO. Good luck at trying to convince any of his true followers of their leader’s faults and foibles. Indeed, we are now in a world where attempts to hold the man accountable for his actions has become reinforcement for the cult member’s beliefs of unjustified political persecution. It may take shooting someone on Fifth Avenue before his true believers would open their eyes to the actual nature of their leader. But given his style, he would just suggest that someone should be shot, and one of his deluded followers will take it on themselves to execute the desire of the leader. That way, he can claim he was only warning about what was to come, not that he was responsible for nudging someone into fulfilling his desires. Buckle up, because the ride is just beginning.

Thus Endeth This Cycle

 So the mid-term elections are over. We hear all of the pundits now either crowing about their prescience on their absolute knowledge of the coming lack of a red wave, or bemoaning the fact that the electorate did not wish to continue the trek towards authoritarianism represented by the MAGA wing of the Republican party.

Some trends continued. In North Carolina, which voted 50% Republican to 49% Democrat in the 2020 election for state legislators, but had a 69-51 margin in legislative seats, continued their trend of unrepresentative selections. Republicans won 71 seats in the North Carolina house in this election, although the actual votes for the two parties is not yet available. In my state of West Virginia, almost a complete wipeout of Democratic legislators occurred. 16 of the 17 Senate seats in this state went to Republicans.

But for those of us who like to live in a democratic republic, the national election results did provide some hope. We saw what happened when a drop of Trumpism was placed in a peach tree dish, causing the Republicans in the dish to flee. All Secretary of State candidates who pledged to overturn election results if they were not to their liking, ended up on the scrap heap of electoral losers. We shall see if the Democratic lead holds up for Arizona, where Katie Hobbs is holding on to a razor-thin margin over everyone’s favorite Trump toady, Kari Lake.

In the US House, Kevin McCarthy (or whoever takes the speakership) will find out how difficult it is to herd cats. The House under Democratic control was a messy place, but the Progressive Caucus at least found it possible to hold their noses and vote for policies which they disagreed with. Somehow, the Freedom Caucus does not seem inclined to follow the lead of the Progressives, and have pledged always and every time to put ideology over governing. Good luck on holding a majority together. Expect to see one or two changes in party over the next several months as it becomes evident how difficult it is to govern the rowdy crowd of Republican legislators.

It was in the US Senate where the most interesting results were recorded. Not only did the Republicans fail to take over control, they actually have the potential to lose one seat due to the “quality” of their candidates. It certainly appears that the only ability Herschel Walker possesses is his ability to hit the hole. We will find out in early December whether the Republican denunciation of intellect and ability will overcome the erudition of Rafael Warnock. I’ve had just about enough of the Republican’s overt campaign against people on the right hand of the intelligence bell curve. Republicans do believe in affirmative action. They gather as many as possible who lack mental capabilities. Witness Ron Johnson, Tommy Tuberville, Marjorie Taylor Green, and Matt Gaetz as poster children for needing affirmative action. It is only due to fortune that they will not have to share the stage with Louie Gohmert, and Madison Cawthorn.

So we will end up with nearly the status quo on the national level. Yes, the Republicans will likely have the ability to stuff the House agenda full of nonsense legislation and pointless investigations, but the flame of Trumpism does seem like it is flickering, threatening extinguishment. Just remember. The embers will stay hot for a long while, and it is very possible for flames to reignite from the remains.