Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Have We All #Lost Our #Damn #Minds?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I generally try to keep this blog positive.  But, today, I'm going to talk about something that I think is pretty important, even though it's not entirely a happy subject.  It's certainly not non-controversial, anyway.  Hopefully, you'll all forgive me, but today I'm going to talk about...duh dun dun!!!.. Politics.

Any of you who live in the United States are, at this point, painfully aware of the presidential election that will happen in November of this year and the preliminaries that are going on now.  I know that even some you who don't live in the US are aware of the three-ring circus we have going on here right now because I've had some friends who don't live here ask me what the flying fuck is going on!

Good question!  For those of you who don't know, we (the US) have one of the most outrageous and ridiculous political campaigns in our history happening right now.  A short explanation of American politics for those who don't live here:  In the US there are two main political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

There are other parties, and there are no laws preventing even more parties from forming, and it's entirely possible for a candidate to run as an Independent, unaffiliated with any party.  But for practical purposes, if a candidate doesn't run as a Democratic candidate or a Republican candidate they don't really have much chance of winning any election at the national level.  And, of course, the election for the office of President of the United States is a national election.  Other party and non-party candidates can run in national elections, and some have run in the past, but they don't have a realistic chance of winning.  The best they can hope for, generally speaking, is to split the vote for one of the major parties, which hands the election to the opposition party.

So, who are the parties?  Well, basically, the Democrats are, in recent history, the progressive, liberal party.  Though, in my lifetime they've been more center right than left leaning, for the most part.  I know that a lot of people think that President Obama has been a breath of fresh air, especially after the Bush years, but he's really a pro-corporate moderate right-winger.  The Republicans are the conservative party and, in recent years, they really have lost their minds and gone way the hell out in right field to the point that they've completely lost touch with the majority of Americans.

Now are these my opinions?  Of course they are, and the rest of this post will also be my opinion.  We're talking politics, after all. ;-)  Also, I'm not a political guru of any kind, these are just my own observations based on 30+ years of watching politics in the US.

So, those are the parties, who are the candidates?  Well, there were more of them earlier in the race, but now there are mainly four, two in each party.  The way presidential elections in the US work is that first each party runs a series of elections to choose their candidate and then the two candidates, one from each party, run against each other to be elected as President.  Right now, we're at the point where the parties are trying to choose their candidates, and this is where it gets interesting.

On the Republican side, the main candidates at this point are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.  Now anyone who knows anything about American politics will be well aware of who Trump is, and also know that he's the main reason the rest of the world is questioning the sanity of the American people.  Cruz, unfortunately, might be even worse.  It's hard to tell because Trump changes his story so often it's impossible to know what his real thoughts or intentions are, but Cruz is an ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian who views women and racial minorities as second-class citizens undeserving of basic human rights and the LGBT+ community as non-human.

However, as far as the Republican candidates go, Donald Trump is almost guaranteed to win at this point, unless the Republican party does something rather dirty and underhanded at their convention.  But that goes further into the nitty gritty of American politics than I'm going to get into here.  If you want to know more about that, email me and I'll send you links to some political commentators who I think do a fairly good job of speculating on the possibilities.

But Donald Trump has, so far, gotten more of the popular vote than any other one Republican candidate...as the rest of the world has looked on in horror.  He now has a real chance of becoming the next President of the United States, which any rational person knows is a terrifying proposition.  So how the hell did he go from a sick joke to a serious candidate?

Well, that's kind of both a simple and a complicated question. The short answer is he represents the bigots in the US who want change for themselves, but still want everyone else to be kept down.  The longer answer is that there is a huge, huge, huge wage disparity in the US (largely due to the fact that we haven't, in my lifetime, had a truly progressive president who wasn't bought and paid for by the corporate lobby) with the vast majority of people kept just on the edge of survival. The only comfort many of these people have is that, while they may be bad off, at least they aren't X, Y, or Z. Which has led to a perpetuation of widespread and profound racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia.

To justify their prejudice, people like to hide behind religion. But that's really just an excuse, in my opinion, as religion has been a convenient shield for all kinds of atrocities throughout history. But humans are never so deceived as when we deceive ourselves, so many of these people sincerely believe that their religion teaches that other people are inferior to them. Which works out nicely for them because that's what they wanted to believe to begin with.

But that doesn't mean those people don't want their lives to improve. For decades, they've been supporting the Republican party, which goes against their own interests, because the Republican party promotes the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia they cling to.  The Republicans pay lip-service to Christianity (in spite of the fact that the US was founded as a secular nation with a separation between religion and government explicitly written into our Constitution) while they work against every ideal promoted by the Biblical Jesus.  But they talk a good game and play to people's fears and prejudices.   How else could a party that works so hard to ensure the vast majority of the population remains in poverty continue to thrive in a society where leaders have to be elected every few years? It's the bone they throw the masses.

Add to this that education is almost impossible to get in the US unless you have money, and a "sour grapes" effect has taken hold in the form of an anti-intellectual attitude among many people. So a number of Americans are not only ignorant, they're proud of their ignorance. Starting to sound familiar?  All this gives us a large pool of mostly uneducated bigots who still want their lives to improve, but don't want anyone else's lives to improve. And now we have two candidates running to be President of the United States who are bucking the status quo, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is one of the two main Democratic candidates, with Hilliary Clinton being the other one.  Clinton is another pro-corporate, center right candidate, who wants to keep things more or less how they are.  She's certainly a better choice than either of the Republican candidates, but not by much.  At the moment, she's espousing lots of progressive ideals in order to have a chance of competing with Sanders, but her political record gives the lie to her current claims.

Now, Sanders promises real change, insofar as the POTUS is capable of effecting change on his own, and he has a decades-long history in politics that supports his claims.  He's a true progressive liberal, a democratic socialist, and he's been consistent on every major political issue throughout his entire political career.  Sanders' main challenge is that he's not what the powers-that-be want.  He has refused corporate money and so represents the interests of the electorate, not corporate interests.  And he wants real, meaningful change.  Can you tell who I'm supporting? ;-)

 BUT Sanders wants to improve everyone's lives and give equal rights to racial minorities, women, and the LGBT+ community.  Well, that would mean that the people who have been comforting themselves with the thought that at least they aren't X, Y, or Z all these years won't be able to do that anymore. And that's something they're just not willing to let go of, never mind that, if they weren't in such desperate straights themselves, they wouldn't need that emotional salve anymore.

Then you have Trump, who supports the status quo as far as racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia, but promises to help out his fellow WASP men. His appeal to blame all woes on immigrants have resonated particularly well among a certain segment of the population. Never mind that he contradicts himself constantly, makes absurd promises with no meaningful plans on how to achieve them, would be working against his own interests as a member of the 1% if he did follow through on his promises (which makes it unlikely that he has any intention of doing so), and is wholly and unutterably unqualified for the position. He's different, he's loud, and he's saying the things they want to hear, complete with racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homophobia.

Add to this the fact that the media in the US is almost entirely owned by corporations, who don't necessarily want Trump but really don't want Sanders. So while the media makes sure Trump stays in the headlines constantly, Sanders is buried. This is evidenced by the facts that the preliminary elections aren't even half over yet, that Sanders has done quite well in some states so far (even some that the polls said he wouldn't do well in), and that the states that have yet to vote have populations who are far more likely to support Sanders than the states that have already voted, and yet the mainstream media is calling for Sanders to withdraw from the race.  Unfortunately, news outlets in the US aren't held to any standards that would require them to present their stories in a way that is consistent with actual facts.  Nor are they required to cover the news that matters instead of sensational trivia.

Also, absurdly, corporations are granted equal rights with actual human beings under US law and so are able to buy elections.  And they're doing their damnedest to buy this one.  So we have a perfect storm for Idiocracy to move from the comedy column to a documentary.

So, have Americans lost our damn minds?  Well, yes and no.  Some of us have, but I really see this election as a testament to the fact that the vast majority of people in the US are deeply, deeply frustrated with politics as usual.  People are angry and a desire for change in America is almost universal; it's just what the change should be and how it should be enacted that's up for debate.  Unfortunately, while Trump may be a fantastic con-man, Sanders is the only real hope for improving the lives of regular Americans.

But the corporate lobby and establishment politicians will continue doing their damnedest to convince us all to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  How?  By doing what works.  Panem et circenses, my friends.  Let's send them all a message and show them that we're smarter than that.  #FeelTheBern!


  1. I blogged about this subject a few weeks ago. I didn't go into the fabulous detail you did. Nor did I mention names, but I did say many of our political gene pools had turds in them. Great post, hon.

    1. Thank you!! And excellent metaphor. ;-)