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Donald Trump & George Carlin: The Public Sucks
I don't typically talk all that much about my political views mostly because I don't consider myself easily fit into either party. I don't subscribe to a patented platform and consider myself mostly a Classical Liberal with some Libertarian leanings when it comes to personal freedoms.
I figured I'd depart from my usual format to rant for a bit about the coming 2016 Presidential election (unless you are reading this in the future). The main focus here is on the amazing fact that Donald Trump is still in the race as of April 2016 and is doing well in primaries having just won a landslide victory in New York.
There will be bad language ahead folks, stay calm and read at your own risk.
Some people on the Left, and even some on the Right, are amazed at how well Donald Trump is doing. My reaction, sometimes, feels like mute terror, but recently I have been more inclined to sit back and watch the freak show and just enjoy.
I've always been a political misfit and always subscribed to the George Carlin school of politics, which says that the system is mostly rigged, America is mostly an oligarchy, and your vote means absolutely dick. In the end the corporations banks and big lobbies are the entities that puppeteer and possess the politicians and the people are an afterthought.
Trump is billed as a populist figure. When he speaks he comes off like an angry third grader, he calls people stupid and loser, gets into childish tiffs, and puts his foot in his mouth on a regular basis. It's probably impossible to keep up with the jaw-droppingly stupid shit he says every single day. But it hasn't really hurt him all that badly. Nothing. Not the pseudoracist things he's said. Not telling a crowd he could shoot someone in cold blood and still get elected. Not referring to the September 11th terrorist attacks as 7-11.
Nothing stops the man, he's a wrecking ball, an absolute force of nature. His waffling, prattling, word salad in interviews is matched only by his stupidity, political incorrectness and childishness. So how has he gotten this far?
Well there can be only one answer and it brings me back to dear old George Carlin, boy do we miss you George, boy oh boy could we use your sweet brain droppings now. George Carlin used to do this bit about where American politicians come from - they come from America, they are raised in American homes, grow up on American soil and they are voted into office by Americans.
Trump is winning because people support him, that means a segment of the Republican voter base supports Trump. As George Carlin famously put two and two together, if your politicians suck look at your populace - MAYBE, just MAYBE, THE PUBLIC SUCK.
If you have dumb, ill-informed citizens who know fuck all who do you think they're going to elect??? The best man for the job? FUCK NO.
He Says What America Thinks
Trump is so popular because he says the slightly racist off-color things that other people think in their heads but are afraid to say in public. This is what's happening in America. There are a ton of slightly, but not overtly, racist or prejudiced folks. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. We all have that one Uncle or Grandparent who is kinda racist against certain groups of people but is polite to them in public all the same. We all know someone, or are someone, who harbor some slight prejudice.
Trump is not bound by the same corporate strings as a lot of his opponents. Oh sure Trump's a moron who doesn't know his head from a hole in the ground and I'm sure if he gets elected we're all fucked, but he's not what they call an "establishment candidate". He isn't bought and paid for by the big money interests that make it so hard to get any real work done in Washington and who fleece the American worker to help the 1%. The lack of strings, and the ability to say politically incorrect shit that just wafts into his brain at any moment has actually, strangely, endeared Trump to a lot of voters.
Even people who absolutely hate him sort of have some respect for the balls it takes to just stand there and spout off the crazy shit he says.
Trump is, in a sense, a snapshot of the average American. He thinks he's incredibly intelligent (see: Dunning-Kruger effect) and skilled but really he's a loser who can't even stay out of debt. He says the things that Americans are thinking that they can't say in public and he, like most Americans, knows just enough talking points about foreign policy and the news to sneak his way through an interview.
A Misanthropic Humanist?
There are many people who think Trump doesn't stand a chance against Hillary Clinton (as much as I'd like to see Bernie win the Democratic nomination it's unlikely at this point) but I tend to disagree. As I said Trump doesn't have the same strings that someone like Hillary has, Trump can follow the wind and flipflop all he wants and no one will bat an eye. It makes me genuinely scared about what will happen in the election.
Scared, for a moment, until I remember what George used to say. Everyone alive has a ticket to the freak show, he used to say and Americans get a front row seat! Life was a show for Carlin, and he clearly loved watching it, analyzing it, picking at life's little scabby bits until they would bleed. He wasn't invested in the rat race of American politics - he was an observer and not someone interested in swaying policy or even voting.
There was a scathing disappointment at how the American experiment has played out in the way George talked about it and a distance that he created between himself and the "Diseased" masses. When I first discovered Carlin I was still a teenager and while I found his anger amusing and his take down of religion particularly brilliant (I myself was still finding my way out of organized religion at the time) the older I get the more I "GET" George Carlin. I'm not even 30 yet and already I feel the crotchety frustration of an idealist and a dreamer driven to cynicism by an increasingly cynical and just plain FUCKED world.
And yet somehow despite this growing sense of misanthropy - of seeing the teeming masses of consuming humans devouring our planet's resources while we can't even get over the fact that borders and races and nations are all imaginary horseshit but the fact that oil and water and food could run out are very real inevitabilities - I am hopeful, optimistic and a humanist.
Is it possible to be a humanist who sees the real and AMAZING progress that humanity has made in the last few centuries and is hopeful about the future and also be a misanthrope who is annoyed at the inability of his fellow humans to get their heads out of their asses?
We have made so much progress. Slavery was once commonplace around the world, today in all but a few remote places slavery is illegal. Fights have been fought and won for women's rights, for the rights of racial minorities, for the rights of homosexuals and while there are plenty of places in the world where those fights must be continued here in the West we have made leaps and bounds in such a short amount of time it's astonishing!
I am amazed, looking at history, at how quickly the advent of science, medicine, mass education and reason have changed our world for the better. There are diseases that once wiped out millions that can no longer touch us. We used to stone gays and hang/burn witches and lynch African Americans and these executions were often public events where people would picnic and bring the kids - and now Americans are more and more against the death penalty, turning away from the barbarism, prejudice, intolerance and violent retribution of our past.
So all at once I am with George Carlin - THE PEOPLE SUCK and that is why the politicians suck. The world sometimes feels like it is falling apart faster than we can unroll the duct tape to patch it back together. Especially when considering how absolutely FUBAR our political system is, with how deep in the pocket of big money interests our politicians are and a Supreme Court that thinks corporations are just people like any of us.
But on the big picture things are so much better than they might otherwise be and our world is moving forward even if it doesn't always feel that way. One thing to consider is that now, more than ever, we are in the information age, and so we are in the privileged position of learning of bad news from around the world from every facet of every issue. Two centuries ago such an interconnected world would have been the stuff of science fiction, now with 24 hour news channels and online news we learn of every disaster and misspent tax dollar instantly.
Many of these issues are the epitome of First World problems.
Ticket to the Freakshow
So I am both a humanist and a misanthrope. Both a crotchety old man and a youthful optimist. Part libertarian, part liberal, part socialist & part wide-eyed idealist wishing humanity would set it self up for a future several centuries in advance instead of dicking around worrying about only the here and now. Part cynic and part dreamer.
We've all got a ticket to the freak show folks, so whether you vote or not and regardless of who you plan to vote for I do hope you take some time to enjoy the show.
And at the end of the day the planet Earth will be fine. Oh sure the human race may be doomed, but the Earth will survive us. As George Carlin wisely put it, the planet is fine - The PEOPLE are fucked.
Thanks for reading!