Showing posts from December, 2020

The Loyal Opposition

We don't really have a blueprint for what a "loyal opposition" looks like, do we? Take the periods from 2008-2010 and then 2016-2018. Putting the filibuster aside, that's when we had (mostly) one party rule.  During those times, there was little for the opposition party to do aside from either vote with the ruling majority party or kvetch from the sidelines about what the majority was doing. The former constituted disloyalty, the latter, weakness. Millions upon millions of people voted for representatives that were confined to minority status and (almost complete) powerlessness. Game theory - almost - dictates that such scenarios should make people vote for candidates that they didn't prefer. Better to have a candidate that you disagree with and has power that can be leveraged and positions that can be influenced than one that's utterly powerless, rendering their ideology meaningless. We need to square that circle as we shouldn't have representatives that.

They already have enough ammunition.

President Obama's comments about "defunding the police" being a mantra that "loses people"  are absolutely correct - no qualifications necessary. It's yet another one of those things in our politics in which several things can be true at the same time. First, the obvious. Something needs to be done at a national level about our police and that starts with funding. Our police forces are trigger happy and dangerous, particularly for black people as well as people with mental illness. Decades of defunding mental health and social services, as well as a failed "war on drugs" has led to an insane amount of over - policing. And the population is so awash in propaganda from "blue lives matter" up to and including "protect and serve" that it makes their budgets particularly impenetrable. But that's where it starts - redirecting funds from policing to broader public services for people who need them. We - and Obama - get that. But -

The Savvy Cassandras

We know - pretty much for a fact - that on his way out, President Trump is going to sabotage as much of the executive apparatus as he can in a fit of pique. We know - pretty much for a fact - that President - Elect Biden's overtures to bipartisanship are going to fail in the face of universal, bad - faith Republican obstruction . We know - pretty much for a fact - that even given 50 Democratic Senators that the greatest negotiator in the world couldn't get anything resembling progressive policies passed.  We know - pretty much for a fact - that our international relationships have been effectively poisoned top to bottom over the last four years and that will make repair difficult to nearly impossible. We are - probably for a long time - the country that elected and almost re - elected an incompetent fascist.  We're not to be trusted with the world's car keys. So here's what I can't puzzle out - given that we know these things as much as anyone can know thin