The Challenge to “Reaching Across the Aisle” Is Finding the Aisle

My son once remarked rather glibly that he’d like to run for public office some day.  I asked him over Thanksgiving if he had retained that ambition… and, after pulling a long face, he answered that he might seek office only if he could do so without raising the banner of either major political party.  Of course, this makes office-seeking a practical impossibility; but his response contained a sentiment that I have found very common in his generation.  They may speak of wanting to “cross the aisle” or wanting to “get something done”, a position which I have chided in them more than once; for why cross the aisle if error sits on the other side, and why get something done if activity leaves the world worse at dusk than it was at dawn?

But, yes, as little sympathy as I tend to have with one side, the other inspires in me no warmth of affection.  Both have lately passed a farm bill (another farm bill—the word “pork” acquires new meaning under that a rubber stamp, year after year) which subsidizes mega-farming conglomerates and helps to drive small farms out of business.  Neither side is currently talking about securing the power grid against an Electro-Magnetic Pulse that could leave 90 percent of us dead in a year: both are too busy drawing lines in the sand over the Wall.  For the sake of full disclosure, I will say openly that I believe the endgame envisioned by Democrat master-puppeteers (an elite group which fully excludes useful idiots like Alexandria Octavio-Cortez) is to flood our system with public dependency until shortages produce riots in the streets—at which point martial law will be declared, elections suspended, and a dictatorial oligarchy settled into place.  I believe that certain Republicans share that vision, though their way of reaching it may take a detour.  (How about, for instance, inviting civil chaos by not securing the power grid against an inevitable EMP?)

A particular commentator whom I have followed on Twitter and whose personal journey in life has led her through the kind of misery and travail that I always respect posted last week a comment about reaching across the aisle only to wring “one of them” by the neck.  I get it.  At the same time, though, I’ve blundered into studying a series of cases where justice has grossly miscarried: the Steven Avery case in Wisconsin, the four young men originally imprisoned for the Carter and Haraway murders in Ada (Oklahoma), and Officer Daniel Holtzclaw’s outrageous 263-year sentence for sexual assaults never committed (also in Oklahoma).  Now, my friends on the Right appear to be generally comfortable with the assembly-line manner in our justice system shuttles cases from the “active” to the “closed” file.  As long as someone ends up in the jug, they’re happy—and the judges for whom they vote seem fully aware of this predilection.  Of course, when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller usurps unconstitutional powers and extorts Mike Flynn into an unlawful confession by bullying his son, the same justice-hawks suddenly develop a taste for fairness and due process—while the other side, on cue, is looking for a tree that will bear Flynn’s full weight.

Now, this past week, I see a flurry of “tweeting” (what an unconsciously apt verb for people who chatter away like starlings descended upon a field!) from the Right about what a bad boy Vladimir Putin is and how the cause of human decency and eternal truth compels us to stay in Syria and oppose evil actors everywhere.  Beyond the logistical impossibility of waging a worldwide war forever (for la paz empieza nunca, in the words of one Cold Warrior), how would we escape bombing ourselves at some point for our own malfeasance, if our crusade were sincere?  (Example: President Obama gave the order to “drone” perhaps as many as a thousand children located in close proximity to desirable targets.)  In our very imperfect world, should we not consider that the PRC’s objectives encompass the globe and include actually reading thoughts by means of cameras and interpretive software (a bit of intrusion already being practiced on Chinese citizens), whereas Putin is interested only in returning Russia to a world-power status as NATO annexes real estate all around him?  In short, shouldn’t we be cutting a deal with the lesser villain in order to hold the greater one in check?

All of this “aisle” stuff… if I am to reach across and strangle everyone who is promoting a ridiculous or ruinous position, I’ll need to combine the talents of the most implacable serial killer ever with those of the liveliest kangaroo.

So, my son… I do understand your perplexity—and I wish you and your generation much luck in trying to sort it all out.  Perhaps this explains the appeal of Octavio-Cortez: just go crazy and set the intellectual needle back to “zero”.  That failing, I can see no better place to begin than self-sufficiency.  Be radically skeptical, and be as stingy as Scrooge in the matter of handing control of your life over to Big Brother.  Make a circle around yourself of things you can handle on your own, and try to broaden the circle every month, every year.  Learn how to purify water.  Grow something to eat, even if it’s a few gojis on your window sill.  Take a self-defense course if you don’t want to pack a gun.  Put a little cash away in a safe place, and buy a little gold.

Could this be the platform of a new party, or of a transformed old party?  (The Anti-Slavery Party, perhaps?)  I don’t know.  I’m too old for such questions—or perhaps these are the questions that immediately make me feel very old.  I only know that everything seems to be headed in the reverse direction: dependency, and always more dependency.  As I receive the yearly bombarding of emails giddily wishing me happiness and good cheer—without any logical connection to real-world events or practical likelihood—I simply hit “delete, delete, delete”.  I will extend to you all, rather, the wish I have for my son: greater self-sufficiency.  Independence.  In my parlance, that translates as happiness and good cheer.

Author: nilnoviblog

I hold a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (Latin/Greek) but have not navigated academe very successfully for the past thirty years. This is owed partly to my non-PC place of origin (Texas), but probably more to my conviction--along with the ancients--that human nature is immutable, and my further conviction--along with Stoics and true Christians-- that we have a natural calling to surmount our nature. Or maybe I just don't play office politics well. I'm much looking forward to impending retirement, when I can tend to my orchards and perhaps market the secrets of Dead Ball hitting that I've excavated. No, there's nothing new (nil novi) under the sun... but what a huge amount has been forgotten, in baseball and elsewhere!

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