When party leadership rejects its member’s views is it really a “party”? Recently I’m not sure “party” is appropriate. “Gang”, “bullies bossing stooges”, or “oligarchs and useful idiots” all seem more descriptive. I’m not worried. The nation doesn’t need parties anyway; certainly not these two.
Rushbo, the living embodiment of AM howlers, was in full apoplexy. He gets paid to freak out and he’s good at it. My truck’s speakers were awash in his blathering about Colorado. I had no context. It could be anything. Colorado tends to go ape fairly regularly. Last summer the EPA nuked a mountain river and they shit themselves over gun magazines. Before that it was legalized pot and the housing bust. Invariably there’s the continuing process of becoming an undocumented northern province of Mexico. It was probably something silly. Maybe an undocumented transexual Islamic terrorist demanding safe places to bake gay cakes in a church while shooting heroin?
My “go to” Colorado contact is a life long conservative. We debate politics and his opinions are reasoned and sincere. Often he changes my mind. He’d know.
I texted in all caps: “WHAT THE HELL IS LIMBAUGH BITCHING ABOUT? HAS COLORADO BEEN WEIRD AGAIN?”
The response came quickly: “After 38 years, I’ve quit the Republican party. I went to the courthouse today.”
Holy shit! This guy simply bled GOP. If he didn’t have a shrine to Reagan he at least considered it. (Editors note: My friend wants to point out he doesn’t have a shrine but he does have a coffee mug.) If he severed ties with the Stupid party what’s next; a Buddhist Pope? Me buying a Prius? Dogs and cats living together?
The ensuing conversation was both inspiring and depressing. It gave me hope that anyone can break free of the Stupid/Evil dichotomy. However this guy’s faith was dependable like gravity and I hated to see it go.
Me: “What happened? Did they gut a kitten on live TV?”
Him: “There was a primary. Actually it was a caucus. But it turned out like a straw poll. I think the word is a preference poll.”
Me: “Preference poll? Sounds like pansy shit but whatever. Did the people go for Senior Hair or the Sad Sack? Wait! I know, everyone got stoned on legal pot and went for Kasich!”
Him: “Well 34 non-binding delegates pledged their votes to Cruze. I think they’re non-binding. I’m not sure.”
Me: “So folks in Colorado totally dig Cruze?”
Him: “I think maybe Cruze would have won the state but the activity that looked like voting was just for show anyway.”
This gave me pause. A party is a private entity. It can select candidates any way it chooses. It could take careful readings of it’s party members and act accordingly. Or it could examine goat entrails in a secret rite. Which leads, immediately, to me wondering; if you’re going to make a selection based on goat entrails why drag your followers through the mud? Who invites people to an event that’ll prove how much you don’t care? Suppose I called up my neighbor and personally informed him I was going to let my dog shit on the public street in front of his house? Perhaps I have the legal option to do so but what good can come of it? Generally when you’re going to ignore someone you don’t ask them to take a day off work to be ignored.
Me: “So there was an event that had the appearance of voting but the real answer is ‘thanks for coming today but you can go fuck yourself’?.”
Him: “Pretty much.”
Me: “And the ballots or whatever you call them were irrelevant? Did they at least provide cookies? Maybe snacks?”
Him: “I didn’t go. It just doesn’t matter.”
Me: “Was, at any time, a goat sacrificed?”
Him: “This isn’t funny. Fuck those guys!”
Me: “Legally they’re entitled to ignore their members.”
Him: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”
Me: “It does seem like a kick in the balls.”
Him: “I just didn’t matter. So I didn’t go. It’s long past time to leave.”
Me: “You were a rock. I didn’t see it coming.”
Him: “I’ve been inching this way for a while. They haven’t done Jack Shit. They never accomplish Jack and now my opinion means Jack. They’re not interested in doing the people’s will. They’re only interested in holding power. They haven’t made good on their promises on Obamacare even after they controlled both houses. So why should I be glad they control both houses? They only want to continue problems so they can bitch about them to get re-elected. There’s no real interest in solving anything.”
Me: “Am I missing something? Was this a straw poll? A caucus? What did you call it; a preference whatchamajigger?”
Him: “I’m unclear on the details, all I can tell with certainty is that it didn’t involve votes from people like me.”
Me: “Well you’ve been bent over by politics. Join the club. How’s it feel to be an Independent?”
Him: “If I registered Independent both parties would consider me a likely voter for them. I registered Libertarian. I want them to know they’ve lost my support.”
Me: “Sorry about that. Libertarian isn’t mainstream and you’re the last guy on earth I’d call ‘fringe’.”
Him: “I know! But my opinion (or vote if you want to call it that) just didn’t matter. I couldn’t stand knowing they’ll surely do it again next time. It’s a relief it’s over.”
Me: “God speed. If you learn the secret Ayn Rand handshake tell me all about it.”
Him: “Ugh, don’t make jokes about tinfoil hats either. I miss the Republican party.”
Him: “I didn’t leave the Republican party, the Republican party left me.”
Me: “I can see that.”
Him: “Reagan said the same thing about the Democrat party.”
Me: “No shit.”
Him: “Yes shit. Read your history redneck!”
Me: “Ha ha ha.” (Like all men, I appreciate a conversation that ends with an insult.)
After our conversation I wondered how many citizens rebelled long before my rock solid friend and how many are still working up to disengaging by November. I’ve been going vaguely, independently, and quietly Galt forever but nothing I do is ever trendsetting. Regardless nobody honestly likes their party. It’s a party’s job to listen to American citizens and not the other way around. Didn’t they cover this in civics class?
Meanwhile parties reap what they sow. Jeb Bush couldn’t clear the opening lap and Hillary is the worst product since New Coke. Her struggle against Sanders is like watching Robocop bravely hold its own against a slinky. Hillary and Jeb; three hundred million Americans and those two dipsticks were the best “the establishment” could find? Groupthink is powerfully stupid.
Luckily change is afoot (even if comes in the form of two rich obnoxious New Yorkers who began with nepotism and persist through populism). Don’t weep when stagnating parties have to be put down. In the end it’s for the best. Put another way; a brokered convention that screws Trump will definitely be a screaming shitfest but maybe America needs a screaming shitfest. Perhaps it’ll finally kill off the Stupid party and free up headspace for an effective opposition party? Lest the Dems overdose on schadenfreude, remember their convention required tear gas in ’68 and when Obama needed a black woman for the $20 bill he picked a vigilante who clung to guns and religion.
P.S. Sorry about the politics. In my next post I’ll write about bananas.