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The Permanent Crisis

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Conservative writer Erick Erickson: [4]

This is not sustainable. Something is going to have to give. I do not know what, but something will give. The nation cannot sustain this constant state of chaos and crisis drift for three and a half more years. We will either see external or internal forces applied that will hurt the nation.

This is not sustainable and if the President cannot figure out how to operate, he needs to step aside. Instead, he thrives on the chaos, the punch back, and media yes men telling him nothing is wrong and his poop does not stink. But while the President thrives, every day a piece of our national unity dies. And I don’t care whether you blame the left for refusing to acknowledge the President’s presidency or you blame the President for refusing to behave as you think a President should — this situation is not sustainable regardless of where blame lies.

And:

The white supremacists are actually small in number and hated by everyone (except possibly the President and Steve Bannon). But Antifa is as violent and loved by the left, or at least tolerated. The President and Antifa both on the national stage is a toxic combination and as neither will be departing any time soon, the nation itself will atrophy in prestige and ability.

Personally, I’m thinking of expanding my garden, filling my freezer, and stockpiling ammo. Something wicked this way comes and it is almost here.

When I started writing The Benedict Option [5], I did so expecting a Hillary Clinton victory. As my longtime readers know, I’ve been writing about the Benedict Option for over a decade, starting in the George W. Bush presidency. Like just about everybody else, I anticipated that our next president would be Mrs. Clinton, and that the rollback of religious liberty would continue.

Well, you know what happened next. I had to do some quick rewriting. In the book, I said that orthodox Christians should not assume that because Donald Trump won, everything would be fine. For one thing, he is very far from thinking and behaving like a Christian. But more importantly, even if Trump were a saint, he could not hold back the forces that have been building for a long time, and that are fast unraveling our culture and civilization. At best, a Trump presidency gives us a few more years to prepare for the inevitable.

There’s some dark chaos in the air. Trump is accelerating it, for sure, but he is by no means the only one. Read John Michael Greer’s short essay on how “hate is the new sex,” [6] and you’ll see what I mean.

Matthew Continetti has a good piece about the dynamics tearing the country apart politically. [7]He begins by talking about how Trump is dividing is own party, as well as factions within the nation at large. And:

Making things more complicated is the fact that there are more than these two parties. Drutman also found divisions within the Democrats. “To the extent that the Democratic Party is divided, these divisions are more about faith in the political system and general disaffection than they are about issue positions.” The Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton is satisfied with the status quo, and uses identity politics as a veneer for economic policies that benefit Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and multinational corporations. What we might call the party of Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is both more radical on questions of political correctness and identity and hostile to the established order. The party of Sanders wants radical change. Beginning with Medicare for all.

Recent events have brought to light the distinction between the party of Trump and the GOP. But it would be foolish for Democrats to believe that they are out of the woods, that America has settled, for the moment, on a three-party system. What we have are four parties: The mainstream Republicans, the party of Trump, the mainstream Democrats, and the party of Sanders. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s bizarre call to the editor of the liberal American Prospect magazine can be seen as a clumsy attempt to forge a new majority by rejecting the mainstream Republicans and aligning with the party of Sanders on trade, entitlements, and infrastructure spending. But the effort is doomed to fail. In twenty-first century America culture and identity take precedence over economics, and it is in regards to culture and identity that the true break between left and right is found.

President Trump’s isolation from the party whose nomination he wrested from insiders and scions is just part of a larger trend in American society and politics. The widening divisions within and between parties are symptoms of our fractured republic [8], of the unbundling, disaggregation, and dissociation [9] of our communal lives. Mounting political violence, too, is a consequence of the polarization that estranges Americans from one another and turns every disagreement into an apocalyptic battle royal. Trump, McConnell, Pelosi, and Sanders are pulling the mystic cords of memory in four different directions. And they won’t quit doing so. Until the cords snap.

It is striking how so many people are eager to exacerbate our divisions for political gain. As Continetti indicates, Steve Bannon has a theory that if he can get culture-war Democrats distracted by race, he can forge a new coalition. He told the liberal editor Robert Kuttner that it makes him happy to see all the fighting over statues, because in theory, it makes it possible for him to get done what he wants to get done. The best spin you can put on that is that it’s breathtakingly cynical. But now we have this from the other side:

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You do know, I trust, that in all the years that Nancy Pelosi was House speaker, she never said a peep about those abominable Confederate statues. But now she can energize her base with it, so here we are.

 

Trump will say or do something outrageous today that will ratchet up the tension. And then his enemies will respond in kind. It’s all starting to bring to mind this passage from the contemporary German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, describing the Weimar Republic:

Theatricality appeared to be the common denominator of all manifestations of life – from Expressionism to Marlene Dietrich’s spectacular legs in Blue Angel; from the bloody comedy of Hitler’s 1923 putsch to Brecht’s Threepenny Opera; from the impressive funeral of Rathenau to the calculated banditry of the Reichstag fire of 1933. The permanent crisis proved to be an excellent metteur en scene, one who knew how to direct quite a few memorable effects.

Another Sloterdijk passage, which to me suggests Trump and what he stands for:

Fatally, the term “barbarian” is the password that opens up the archives of the twentieth century. It refers to the despiser of achievement, the vandal, the status denier, the iconoclast, who refuses to acknowledge any ranking rules or hierarchy. Whoever wishes to understand the twentieth century must always keep the barbaric factor in view. Precisely in more recent modernity, it was and still is typical to allow an alliance between barbarism and success before a large audience, initially more in the form of insensitive imperialism, and today in the costumes of that invasive vulgarity which advances into virtually all areas through the vehicle of popular culture. That the barbaric position in twentieth-century Europe was even considered the way forward among the purveyors of high culture for a time, extending to a messianism of uneducatedness, indeed the utopia of a new beginning on the clean slate of ignorance, illustrates the extent of the civilizatory crisis this continent has gone through in the last century and a half – including the cultural revolution downwards, which runs through the twentieth century in our climes and casts its shadow ahead onto the twenty-first.

We have not yet seen a left-wing Trump, but we will. That’s because Trump is far less a producer of this decadent culture than a product of the decadent culture. That’s why I write in The Benedict Option that he is no cure for the disease, but rather a symptom of it.

For quite some time now we have had the performative malice of right-wing talk radio hosts, manipulating the emotions of their listeners for the sake of ratings and political success. (John Derbyshire wrote well about this a few years ago, for TAC. [14]) Today we have Milo’s campus cabaret. On the Left, we have had for years to deal with the operatic rituals of political correctness, which entered into a new, more hysterical stage in 2015. People on both sides are enjoying this hate. With shared standards abandoned, people are reverting to tribalism, one aspect of which is finding unity and purpose in rallying against a common enemy.

I suppose this is to be expected in a culture of emotivism, in which people come to think of truth as what feels good to them. We didn’t become emotivists the day before yesterday. This has been building in our culture for decades, and it is a natural extension of a core quality of the American character: individualism. On both the Left and the Right, we exalt the individual and his preferences. We do this in our different ways, with emphases on different aspects of the individual. But we all do it. Identity politics is what you get when people cease to try to get outside of their heads, and strive to live by ideals of the common good, and instead limit their politics solely to what’s good for them and their tribe. It is perfectly ordinary politics to contend for one’s own interests, but what makes identity politics so toxic is that it distorts political reality by decontextualizing the individual. That is to say, we stop thinking about how we, and our kind, relate to the whole, and focus entirely on ourselves and our desires.

In fact, we have come to think of our desires as defining our own identities. The Left pushes this farthest, of course, as we can see with its dogmatic insistence that if someone claims to be a woman or a man, then they are, despite biology. We see this in the Left’s obsession with race, sex, and gender categories. Sometimes it seems that the only people in this country as obsessed with whiteness as white nationalists is the campus Left.

But I think the identity politics curse affects all of us. To be an identitarian is to start statements with formulations like, “Speaking as a Latinx lesbian…,” and to believe that assertion is the same thing as argument. To dispute them, they believe, is to deny their personhood. If that is true, then democracy is impossible.

I have never heard people on the Right talk in precisely those terms, but I have heard the same manner of thinking — or rather, not thinking, emotion — manifested often on the Right. It’s as if we (whoever constitutes “we”) are the only real people, and everybody else is an abstraction that keeps us from getting what we want. And make no mistake: for identitarians of the Left and the Right, what we want is what we deserve.

The center cannot hold, I fear. The forces tearing us apart are greater than the forces holding us together. Both Left and Right are going to snap the cords.

And now Steve Bannon is gone. Don’t think for a moment that is going to make any difference.

I’m with Erick Erickson. One reason I promote the Benedict Option concept is so faithful Christians can keep their heads in what we’re living through now, and in what’s to come.

73 Comments (Open | Close)

73 Comments To "The Permanent Crisis"

#1 Comment By Greg On August 19, 2017 @ 9:11 am

Erickson, in his article, believes Russia covets Eastern Europe and asserts Iran is in hot pursuit of nukes. If he actually believes these things, both of which are untrue, why would his judgement on what is happening here be likely to be any more related to reality?

#2 Comment By Mel Profit On August 19, 2017 @ 10:05 am

Mr Cosimano has a point. Every time I leave the confines of American reality as filtered by media, I am struck by how normal and placid things and people seem. Flying somewhere, for example, you witness huge groups of people undergoing enormous frustration–from crowding, delays, or just the imperious incompetence of the airlines. And yet, the incidence of violence, or even speaking out, is remarkably rare. The same for peoples’ behavior on subways, in traffic jams, at most public events. The occasional freakouts get all the attention, but if you spend enough time in crowded cities or other environments where humans are exposed to near-torturous incitement, the really amazing thing is not how much violence and lunacy there is, but given the circumstances how little.

Without doubt, this is Weimar Republic, and it probably cannot hold given the extreme deformations of the American elite, which as always defines the Zeitgeist through ownership of media, entertainment, and political propaganda. But the vast majority of Americans, in my experience, while dejected, disoriented and increasingly angry, are not appreciably different from the Americans of the 1950s. To a shocking degree, in day to day American life, normalcy still reigns.

As seems to be true of much history, the present West is both a very dark dark age and in other ways the most dazzling of golden ages.

#3 Comment By Patrick On August 19, 2017 @ 10:21 am

Eric Erickson is a public supporter of torture to gather intelligence. Now you may agree with that or not agree, but his moral preening (and most of the warmongering GOP) vis-a-vis Trump is nauseating to anyone who remembers the Bush years.

Hey, guys: y’all supported a war that killed thousands and screwed up all sorts of lives. I know it isn’t rude Tweets or something, but please realize that Trump’s supporters find you obnoxious hypocrites rather than merely obnoxious.

#4 Comment By JonF On August 19, 2017 @ 11:14 am

RE: It’s difficult to imagine a person thinking its moving to the right. However, most liberals seem to genuinely believe it is.

Well, follow the money. Who has most benefited from the last forty years of so of government policy? It sure hasn’t been the poor, the working people or the middle class.

#5 Comment By JonF On August 19, 2017 @ 11:19 am

Re: ….the Turkish Menace was crushed,

Which was largely a project of the Catholic powers, with a late assist from Orthodox Russia.

#6 Comment By Eliavy On August 19, 2017 @ 11:21 am

Lllurker says (August 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm):

[…] I would challenge that this way: how much do you really know about the center? The people in the center? Because that’s what we’re really talking about here, millions and millions of moderate and decent American people. Hundreds of millions actually. And they haven’t gone anywhere. But what has happened to them is that they’ve been shellshocked by this Trump mess. In fact most are probably still in denial that this has happened to this great country.

What this Trump scare likely portends for the future is a frustratingly long run of moderate voting, eventually begetting lots and lots of moderate politicians. The pendulum always swings back.

——————————

How are you defining “people in the center?”

My husband is likely a good example of a right-leaning moderate. He doesn’t follow the news (other than little snippets on the radio between songs), doesn’t vote, likes President Trump better than President Obama (because Trump thus far hasn’t affected his life personally, doesn’t criticize the country as much as Obama did, and seems more inclined to defend the country through people like Mattis), and assumes the government will cause him more harm than good regardless of what he does. He mostly wants to be left alone to live his life, protect his friends and family, and make enough money that he can pay his bills and help his friends when they need it.

If the pendulum swings toward him and a stiff percentage of the 40% of the country that doesn’t vote, I don’t think the result will be more voting or more moderate politicians. I think it will look more like people doing whatever they can to protect their own and the government be damned.

His response when asked what he’ll do if/when everything falls apart: “Why else do you think I’m going to buy more bullets?” He laughs at the idea of getting politically involved.

#7 Comment By Erdrick On August 19, 2017 @ 1:15 pm

redbrick says:
August 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm

What will snap and what has snapped for people like me is that old warm patriotic feeling in the heart for this Nation.

I don’t feel it loves me or has any interest in protecting my history or future. I and millions like me wont ever resort to political violence but we will secede in our hearts. No longer willing to die for this ruling class.

I feel the same way, redbrick. My patriotism has gradually dried up over the past 15 or so years. At this point, the US is the place where I live, nothing more. It’s an administrative unit, not a nation. I love it in the same way I love the DMV or a utility service.

The left has been arguing for my entire life that new arrivals and illegals are more American than those of us who have been here for generations. They’ve convinced me. So now the new arrivals and illegals can take of things. There’s no way I’d want my children to join the military, and I’m hard pressed to think of something that would inspire me to risk my life for the country. In any event, why would the country want some white-privileged, patriarchal, heteronormative, cis-gendered bigot like me defending it?

And on a different topic, I don’t believe the people in these comments who claim they had never heard of Antifa until last weekend. Anyone who has paid any attention to European news at all in the past few decades has to have heard of them. They’ve been prominent for a long time. Either all of these commentators have been living under various rocks, or they’re being dishonest.

#8 Comment By Anne On August 19, 2017 @ 1:35 pm

Unfortunately, Pence can’t stay away from culture war divisiveness, because he’s built his reputation on it, as have so many of his fellow Republicans who might otherwise be able to “heal the wounds” after the impeachment and/or resignation we all know is coming. The problem is, some 30+ years ago, Republicans bound themselves to issues that, by nature, don’t yield to compromise, which means they’ve effectively ruled out any political resolution. Instead of “the art of the possible” or just Trump’s art of the deal, politics has become an ongoing war, which some Republicans fully acknowledge yet most Democrats keep hoping will disappear once the Religious Right finally fades away as leftwing pundits predict it is doing after every presidential election cycle, including 2016. Trump’s been called a lot of things, but “religious” was never one of them.

The problem is, once Republicans claimed God’s will, Democrats had to claim something at least approaching that sort of high moral commitment, which became, in the case of abortion and related matters, a Woman’s Right to Control Her Own Body, and some other equally non-negotiable values when the issue was something else. Since nobody compromises on absolutes, and yet compromise is what politics is all about, American politics has reached stalemate. Literally, metaphorically, we’re not moving. The President might as well become an autocrat signing executive orders as Trump sees the role, because as a democratic leader he’ll just be stymied and obstructed at every turn (witness Obama’s experience from 2010 on).

No wonder no one’s jumping to impeach Trump even with the many obstruction of justice possibilities he’s provided. I don’t think many believe it’s safe to leave an undisciplined amateur loose around the nuclear codes, but taking the lead on Trump means cleaning up after, which requires politics as usual, and those people haven’t done that in a looong time, and I don’t think Republican pols even trust their uncompromising “base” to let them.

America has gone through crises far harder to manage than this, from Civil War and its aftermath to world wars and a global economic depression, not to mention the “cultural” upheavals of the 1960s and 70s that in many ways led to the self-inflicted wounds our political parties are going through right now. God himself has guided his people through religious conflicts far worse. The main problem facing America right now is a little different from all the great issues swirling through the world at large. Ours is a specifically political problem, an essential misunderstanding of what exactly democratic politics can or should do, which Americans being far more religious than we’ve ever given ourselves credit for being, tend to conflate with the Christian’s vocation on earth, which is something else again. Ironically, if all we really expected of a President or our representatives in Washington was something as limited and parochial as Trump’s so-called “art of the deal,” we might at least be able to dial down some of this existential angst and doomsday talk about the end of civilization as we know it. Problem is these fears have allowed some of the more religious among us to elect an irreligious “pharoah” whose personal dealings have likely put him on the wrong side of the law. To deal with the real crisis this is bringing about, our politicians really need to get back to politics as usual, and the best thing religious people might do to facilitate that process would be to back off and stop conflating Caesar’s business with God’s.

#9 Comment By Anne On August 19, 2017 @ 2:29 pm

“His response when asked what he’ll do if/when it all falls apart: ‘Why else do you think I’m going to buy more bullets.'”

Groovy. No really, the word fits, since this is exactly what you would have heard — and I mean word-for-word — from a long-haired rural hippie in or around 1969. The more strung-out and uninformed the more likely he’d be talking about “the war that’s coming,” which seemed to involve black people mowing down everybody in sight. Creedence Clearwater Revival put out a hit song about it, with a “black moon risin’ and so on. Great background music for the apocalypse. YouTube it. Nobody does apocalyptic music like the 60s folk/rock bands, nobody. Fortunately, no politicians took rural hippies seriously in 1969. No matter what you hear, that kind of lazy, uninformed bs was shrugged off by politicians who knew better. Even the corrupt ones knew bs when they heard it. Today, not just pols but pundits are taking seriously the opinions of folks who give all this much thought to what they say. In a word, I think that’s unwise.

#10 Comment By bbkingfish On August 19, 2017 @ 3:03 pm

How was the “mass assassination attempt” materially different than the attempts on Gabby Giffords, or Presidents Reagan, Ford, Kennedy, McKinley, Garfield, Lincoln, Roosevelt, or candidate Wallace (off the top of my head)? Seems to me that, in a nation of 500 million guns, with a gun policy that holds every man has the right to build his own arsenal, and openly carry any part of that arsenal on any trip to the local Walmart, or to his weekend white solidarity rally, that sort of stuff simply is going to happen every so often, and it has….even before Trump was President.

And can anyone tell me when was that time in our past that national politicians didn’t try to spin current events to partisan advantage? I’d really like to know that, because it had to be before my lifetime, and I’m 68.

No. I think what’s different today is the internet, where we find out instantly every travesty perpetrated by every nut in the world, and, within 15 minutes, a raftful of commentators compete to tell us what it all means, with the competition most vigorous at the outsides of the opinion continuum, where a sturm und drang sensibility grips both the left and right.

No offense meant, just my opinion.

#11 Comment By Lllurker On August 19, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

Eliavy: “His response when asked what he’ll do if/when everything falls apart …”

To some extent my point is that there will be no falling apart for your husband to worry about. Maybe a way to define “the center” is as it being the place for people who are far from either extreme, even though they happen to lean right or left. As you get more towards the middle I think you find folks who are less urgent for big changes in either direction and who become less upset when policies swing away from their preferred position for a cycle or two. Yet they are more focused on competence, on keeping the trains running on time and on successfully passing to future generations the good that we already have. I suspect the Trump crazy train is bolstering this tendency.

Time will tell but I doubt we’ll be seeing any bomb-throwers emerging from the primaries in the near future. One won’t be able to talk of things like deconstructing administrative states and win nominations”

The pollsters make a big deal out of the observation that there are fewer swing voters than there used to be. IMO this isn’t a product of our country producing some new breed of human, it’s because the sources filtering information to voters have become more fragmented and polemical, which allows politicians to cling to positions that they would have been forced to abandon in the past. Similar things have been happening overseas as well — the starkest of course being Brexit — but since that vote the trend hasn’t continued as many predicted. Brexit rattled a lot of Europeans in the same way that I think Trump has rattled a lot of folks over here.

Incidentally I don’t see us ever finding our way back to the media environment we once had but what we can begin to do is demand that our sources of information not lie to us. This current obsession with media bias has masked the widespread growth of media deceit, a far more destructive state of affairs than the bias problem ever was . IMO pushing back against that is the best way to create a strong bulwark against things ever “coming apart.”

#12 Comment By Anne On August 19, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

For what it’s worth, I didn’t mean to imply only rural hippies might be “strung out and uninformed” in the late 60s, since all versions, urban and rural, were tending toward apocalyptic and strung out, for that matter, by the late 60s and early 70s. It’s just that owning weapons and ammunition has always been more common in rural areas than in cities, where stricter gun laws often apply.

#13 Comment By ludo On August 19, 2017 @ 4:08 pm

Frédéric Bartholdi, sculptor of the world-famous Statue of Liberty, apparently expressed racism towards Middle Easterners in certain of his works: [15]

#14 Comment By DRK On August 19, 2017 @ 9:18 pm

M Young, both a Christopher Columbus statue and an MLK statue were vandalized Thursday night in Houston. So I guess it’s about how white supremacists feel , too?

[16]

#15 Comment By St. Vitus Dancehall On August 19, 2017 @ 11:57 pm

“And now Steve Bannon is gone. Don’t think for a moment that is going to make any difference. “

Ah, but it does make a difference. Bannon’s presence was cause for mild hope that some part of Trump’s populist agenda would be realized.

Now it’s clear that the coup / hijacking is well under way, with the usual vultures wrestling over the carcass. Meantime more immigration, more jobs for foreigners, bigger deficits, more wars, no “Wall”, no infrastructure work, etc.

#16 Comment By kitchen timer On August 20, 2017 @ 12:22 am

What did “je suis Charlie Hebdo” mean?

#17 Comment By JonF On August 20, 2017 @ 7:46 am

Re: likes President Trump better than President Obama (because Trump thus far hasn’t affected his life personally,

Question: How did Obama affect his life? Does your family purchase health insurance from the individual market?\

Re: He laughs at the idea of getting politically involved.

This is very much someone who is part of the problem, not the solution. And what I am seeing here is a classic “I got mine (screw you)” ethic. That is utterly reprehensible, and it goes a long way to explaining why we are in the situation we are.

#18 Comment By Eliavy On August 20, 2017 @ 2:43 pm

Anne says (August 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm):

Groovy. No really, the word fits, since this is exactly what you would have heard — and I mean word-for-word — from a long-haired rural hippie in or around 1969. The more strung-out and uninformed the more likely he’d be talking about “the war that’s coming,” which seemed to involve black people mowing down everybody in sight.

————————————————————

I think I might have given the wrong impression of my husband. He doesn’t think a war is coming or talk at all the way you mention hippies did. He may not pay attention to the news, but he is an astute observer of people and encounters a broad cross-section of society through his job; he can tell that people are getting more wound up and hostile in general. He simply wants to be prepared to defend his family and friends in case a spark hits the tinderbox. In no way does he talk about or desire a race war. He wants to mind his own business and wants the freedom and stability to do so.

Lllurker says (August 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm):

To some extent my point is that there will be no falling apart for your husband to worry about. Maybe a way to define “the center” is as it being the place for people who are far from either extreme, even though they happen to lean right or left. As you get more towards the middle I think you find folks who are less urgent for big changes in either direction and who become less upset when policies swing away from their preferred position for a cycle or two. Yet they are more focused on competence, on keeping the trains running on time and on successfully passing to future generations the good that we already have. I suspect the Trump crazy train is bolstering this tendency.

————————————————————

Thank you for your response. In many ways, the type of people you describe encompasses both my husband and many of his friends. They don’t want big changes, take pride in their work, keep their heads down, and sustain the infrastructure that many people don’t seem to notice, but rely upon nonetheless.

I hope that you’re correct in that there will not be a drastic falling apart.

However, if there do happen to be radical changes that filter down to the type of people who are in my husband’s circle and who barely pay attention to politics, I suspect that they will create an adjustment that may not consist of a return to the mean. They’re happy to keep to themselves as long as they are allowed to do so and can make a decent living. If the sorts of people who throw riots, pass thoughtcrime laws, or replace jobs with automation continue to ramp up social tensions to the extent that people who don’t currently care must be made to care, I wouldn’t care to guess how those quiet individuals will respond. Perhaps some of the Trump voters were further down the same path–with the exception that they had hope that working through the political system would fix what was wrong.

#19 Comment By Eliavy On August 20, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

JonF says (August 20, 2017 at 7:46 am):

Re: likes President Trump better than President Obama (because Trump thus far hasn’t affected his life personally,

Question: How did Obama affect his life? Does your family purchase health insurance from the individual market?\

Re: He laughs at the idea of getting politically involved.

This is very much someone who is part of the problem, not the solution. And what I am seeing here is a classic “I got mine (screw you)” ethic. That is utterly reprehensible, and it goes a long way to explaining why we are in the situation we are.

————————————————————

The ACA, especially the administrative costs associated with it, increased the cost of employer-provided health insurance an average of 5.8% in 2016 (not to mention previous years) and the costs and deductibles have been getting noticeably higher. Because of the ACA, my husband also lost access to one of the medications he was taking because the insurance company could no longer afford to cover it. My husband has had to deal with other effects of President Obama’s administration, but I’d rather not get into all that here.

The “I got mine (screw you)” ethic is certainly reprehensible. Thankfully, it is not a view my husband holds. I’d thank you not to smear him with that as he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He believes his participation in politics won’t accomplish anything, but if he himself can help someone, he will certainly do so, stranger or not. He has had to live out of his car and on a family member’s couch and knows what it’s like to have next to nothing; because of that, when he sees someone in desperate straits, he helps that person, even if he can’t afford it or if it puts him at physical risk.

What level of political involvement would satisfy you? Voting once every four years?

#20 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 20, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

What did “je suis Charlie Hebdo” mean?

It meant “I’m infatuated with sex and think its the acme of social and political significance.” Which is why a lot of us declined to utter or type those words, even though we don’t support massacring people who believe that, or much of anyone else for much of any other reason.

#21 Comment By Joan On August 20, 2017 @ 9:49 pm

@Erdrick: And on a different topic, I don’t believe the people in these comments who claim they had never heard of Antifa until last weekend. Anyone who has paid any attention to European news at all in the past few decades has to have heard of them. They’ve been prominent for a long time. Either all of these commentators have been living under various rocks, or they’re being dishonest.

By this standard, probably half the American public is living under various rocks. It’s the effect of living all one’s life in a very large country. (A similar lack of interest in the outside world has been observed in the Russian heartland. There’s nothing uniquely American about it.) I’m a Massachusetts leftie who’s been to grad school, supposedly the most internationally minded of demographics, and I hardly ever look at European news. I’ve been aware of the existence of this thing called antifa for about a year.

#22 Comment By Anne On August 21, 2017 @ 11:12 am

Funny how the mind works. I was thinking about today’s coming solar eclipse, and suddenly it occurred to me,”That Creedence Clearwater song is called ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ what did I call it?” Whatever, that’s the title. All else applies. If you’re in the eclipse zone, don’t worry, this darkness will pass.:)

#23 Comment By JonF On August 22, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

Re: The ACA, especially the administrative costs associated with it, increased the cost of employer-provided health insurance an average of 5.8% in 2016

Ho-hum, the usual dubious claims. The cost of health insurance has been going up by leaps and bounds for my entire adult life. And since the ACA was passed that inflation has SLOWED. Which is maybe not due to the ACA, I will agree, but it certainly is not an indication that the ACA is causing costs to go up without measure.

Re: Thankfully, it is not a view my husband holds. I’d thank you not to smear him

OK, my apologies if I did so. However I am concerned that you and your husband blame the ACA for things that are not the faulty of the ACA and are willing to dismiss from consideration the millions who have benefited from the law. There really are people out who do not give a flying fig for anyone else but themselves and to get a cut in their taxes they would happily consign millions to perdition. Even the more honest Republicans have been known to complain in private about the Ayn Rand wing of their party.

Re: Because of the ACA, my husband also lost access to one of the medications he was taking because the insurance company could no longer afford to cover it.

And the ACA is at fault why? Sounds to me like the villain is some pharmaceutical company, raising its prices beyond what the market will bear. By the way, the same thing happened to me last year: my insurance quit classifying one of my asthma meds as a first tier preferred drug. Because the manufacturer kept increasing the price even though it’s no longer on patent (and no one has come out with a generic). They raised it by 12% (!) in 2016 alone. But it makes about as much sense to blame the ACA as it does to blame Russia or ISIS. If you want to fix problems like this quit blaming the wrong things.
And I will insist on this: S/he who willfully does not vote has no place complaining about matters of public policy.