Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Yesterday, Clinton baited the Trump campaign by describing half their supporters as a "basket of deplorables."  Deplorable is such a wonderful Victorian phrase, I'm sure it just adds salt to the burn.  I'm sure we will get some hand-wringing by the fainting couch brigade about Clinton's language, without noting that she was talking about racists, sexists and other sundry bigots.

Trump has clearly appealed to these groups and given them voice, as Clinton notes.  She goes on to note that the other "half" of his supporters are people who feel left behind and see their communities crumbling.  They have turned to this charlatan because they have nowhere else to turn.

But there is another group that exists between the Alt-Right crowd of overt racists and the struggling blue collar communities: assholes.

All this rhetoric about "political correctness" is at least in part about the fact that we don't really tolerate people being assholes anymore.  For a lot of white men, being an asshole was a real source of pride and power.  Dubya's nicknaming of people around him was a subtle power-play.  I get to name you, not you.  Taken to another level without the same deft (did I use that word) that Bush showed, you get people - again, mostly men - being assholes.  In fact, being assholes to one another is part of how men interact.  I would add it's not healthy.  I never really liked the "What's up dickwad?" mode of discourse of my formative years, and I know my son hates it.

The "alpha male" Biff Tannen type of man makes life miserable for those around him, so we are trying to curb that sort of behavior.

The railing about political correctness is only partly about safe zones and speech codes.  I don't like those either.  Much of it is because "I can't tell dick jokes at work anymore."

Enter this post.  Here, you have the perfect distillation of asshole behavior in 2016.  Coal rolling is such an obviously huge asshole move that it scarcely can be comprehended.  People will spend money to make their cars pollute.  They already spent whatever the added costs a vehicle incurs when the factory makes it compliant.  They then spend on top of that in order to signal to the entire world that they are a huge flaming asshole.

What Trump is showing the GOP mandarins like Paul Ryan is that no one really likes your "small government, Ayn Randian vision of makers and takers."  They just don't want to be told not to be an asshole.  They don't want to be reminded that other people - particularly those vagina-having, brown-skin-having, pointy-headed-intellectuals - have a legitimate voice in running this country.

Make Americans Assholes Again.  That's what should be on the hat.

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