Posts tagged ‘government’

February 26, 2016

#107) Why Marilyn Manson matters to the presidential race

Mitt Romney has come out of the woodwork with some dirt about Donald Trump’s taxes and I think I speak for those of all political leanings when I say, “Yaaaaawwnn.”

The fact that taxes proved the undoing of Al Capone notwithstanding, does Romney or anyone else really think that THIS will stop Trump? Haven’t we figured out by now that Republican tongue-clucking and Democrat Hitler comparisons only fuel the Trump juggernaut?

Clutch your pearls at his latest outrageous soundbite; Trump and his supporters will laugh you all the way to the fainting couch. Lecture ‘Murca all you want; they’ll just make a drinking game out of the number of times you say the words “hateful rhetoric.” Sure, many Trump fans are incorrigible rednecks who like hearing what they themselves are afraid to say, but not all of his voter base wears the white sheet. The best way to reach those behind enemy lines is to understand exactly how they came to back The Donald. It is in that spirit that I present  Marilyn Manson.

A friend of mine who grew up in a suburban Ohio community commented that the area is so white-bread, middle-of-the-road and cookie cutter that he understood how someone like Marilyn Manson could germinate from there. As Manson himself said, his Christian education made him fall in love with “what [I] wasn’t supposed to do.” The allure of the forbidden is powerful and it doesn’t get much more forbidden than Trump, whether you are a liberal or an establishment Republican.

Just as Marilyn Manson spoke to people who felt trapped by the sterility of the Lower Midwest, many see Trump as an alternative to an out of touch political machine and a hypersensitive social climate. In an article entitled “I am a socially liberal, millennial immigrant-and here’s why Donald Trump has my vote” author Eugene Spektor writes, “[M]y interests [are] no longer represented by either party…I am part of a generation that is facing stagnant salaries, rising debts and government programs that may not sustain us. I want a president with the business acumen to rectify these issues.” As an “immigrant who legally immigrated to this country”, Spektor believes that illegal immigration “has an unfair effect on legal immigration and the pursuit of the American dream.” A.J. Delgado writes in this article for Breitbart, “We have politicians who will throw us meaningless bones, corny platitudes…[a]t the end of the day, all do…the bidding of Big Business rather than ours.” On Trump’s political incorrectness, she says, “Where you see a lack of filter, I see transparency…Do we wish to be led by a politician who waits to see how the polls emerge on a subject before issuing an opinion?”

Even those who have concerns about Trump’s qualifications can see his appeal. In this piece for the Blaze, military wife and mother of eight Kimberly Fletcher expresses doubt about voting for Trump but also writes, “I love how Donald Trump puts the media in their place….I am so fed up with the media’s holier than thou attitude, shoving their agenda down my throat and flooding the airways with useless nonsense.”

It may all be academic at this point; the Trump train has long since left the station and Romney’s tax “bombshell” won’t stop it. People had their reasons for listening to “Some children died the other day, we fed machines and then we prayed, puked up and down in morbid faith, you should’ve seen the ratings that day“; they have their reasons for supporting a candidate who declared that he could “shoot someone and not lose voters.” Who knows; in keeping with his sense of showmanship and love of shock value, Trump may even pick Manson as his running mate.

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December 13, 2013

#66) Embracing the Suck

Nancy Pelosi may be smarter than she looks.  In response to the latest federal government budget deal, the House Minority Leader encouraged her Democratic colleagues to “embrace the suck.”

What exactly does it mean to “embrace the suck?”  In this context, it’s about accepting circumstances and moving forward, acknowledging that things won’t always work out as you want.  In the political world, it could be interpreted as recognizing that while there will always be partisan bickering (and intra-partisan bickering), the job of all elected officials is to make America better. It can also refer to non-politicians who don’t see eye to eye but must work together: corporations; sports teams; musical groups; even friendships and marriages.

The use of “suck” as a noun may have its origins in the Marines; the phrase “welcome to the suck” was used frequently in the film “Jarhead.”  The suck is a situation that, well, sucks, but can also bring people together, as in the Marines.  While the suck might not be enjoyable while it’s going on, surviving it creates a bond among those who have experienced it.

The suck can definitely create positive results.  The tensions between John Lennon and Paul McCartney produced some of the Beatles’ best music.    Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant may hate each other, but they each won more rings together than separately.  The suck can also create personal growth and often those who overcome it can inspire others with their story.  If there was no suck, we wouldn’t enjoy the great moments of our lives.

Will Pelosi and her colleagues on both sides of the aisle embrace the suck?  Will the two parties start working together more efficiently and amicably in 2014?  There’s no way to know for sure, but in its own way, Pelosi’s phrase is a small step in the right direction.   Hopefully the suck will become an obstacle which both parties will work together to vanquish and not remain a response to a less than perfect situation.  All of us have to deal with the suck, regardless of our background.  Help in handling the suck can sometimes come from unlikely places.

April 2, 2012

#38) Learning From Idiots, Part 3

Talk about hating your job.

Hans Url, a 56-year old Austrian man, was told that the government disability benefits he was receiving would run out if he refused a job that had been found for him.  He responded by sawing off his own foot to remain on disability.

As bizarre as the story is, and as unsympathetic a character as Url may be compared to the countless people in the United States and elsewhere who are desperate for work, I’ve caught myself thinking about his plight since I first heard about it last week.  When I’ve found myself being less than thrilled about work, I think at least I don’t hate my job enough to cut my own foot off.  Come to think of it, I’ve never had a job–even working in a Greyhound bus station or teaching special education in South Los Angeles–that I’ve hated so much that I would consider doing something like that.

It’s safe to say, too, that Url is obviously not quite right in the head.  Like the killers profiled in Jonathan Kambouris’s Last Meals Project (see D-Theory #24),   Url is a human being, however inappropriate and dangerous his actions may have been.  No, he doesn’t get many sympathy votes when compared to people who suffer such devastating injuries through no fault of their own, but he obviously was in some sort of emotional pain and distress.  After all, nobody wakes up in the morning wanting to cut off their own foot, no matter how much they hate their job.  Whether he’s a dangerous psychopath or a victim of an inefficient government bureaucracy, Hans Url’s story stood out to me among all of the other news items I’ve consumed recently.

The irony is that, for all of his efforts, Url may have to go to work after all.  Like Cary Elwes’s character from the movie “Saw”, his efforts may be all in vain.