“Man is by nature a political animal” – Aristotle
Human beings are competitive. We compete for power and wealth, for position, for lovers and reputations, and a myriad of other selfish desires. If Aristotle is right (and he is); he’s right because Man is by nature a competitive animal and politics is the arena within which men and collectives compete for supremacy.
There are more factions (let’s call them minorities) than we can count. Individuals obsess over specific instruments of power or principles of policy, willing to sacrifice everything, to scorch the earth, to ensure that their priorities are prominent and whatever else happens may be chalked up to the necessary, sufficient, or irrelevant.
Asimov complained that “there is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
What is he talking about? In my mind, much of our ignorance is neatly packaged and marketed in the prepossessing parlance of idealism. The ideal is an idol. It does not require knowledge to understand or to have faith in. It is enough to say, “America First” or “Pragmatism Always.” It is enough to say, “I believe in freedom, equality, justice, honor, God, or equity”, without the restraints of definitions, relations, or erudition.
The truth is, that the art of public policy and public administration is beyond the expertise and education of 95% of the citizenry. In truth, the masses know that they don’t know anything of the big picture. What they do know is what they experience, what they desire, and what they need. What they do know is what frightens them, what angers them, and what frustrates them. Our politicians and our political parties poll on these questions constantly, looking for the right rhetoric and the perfect temperament to meet the public where they actually live.
In truth, political parties rarely talk about public policy and they, more often than not, are more interested in maintaining the status quo manufacturing the dilemmas annoying their constituents than they are in solving them. Politicians know that the appreciation of the public is as fickle as their understanding of meta-government is lacking. They campaign on the same issues year in and year out, regardless who’s in power or in charge. When there is failure, both sides blame the other, because we’ve been allowed to believe that there really are only two sides. We have to pick one. We know this is ridiculous, but we engage because there is no other conceivable course of action. If those opposing what we want are engaged in the fraudulent fruit of our politics, then how can we not be? Surrender is surrender.
The sheer number of political bloggers in Virginia who make their living off of politics and political campaigns is utterly astounding. If I could say one beautiful thing about Tom White and Sandy Sanders over at Virginia Right and the time I spent writing there, it is this: there was never a second where anyone there was banking off of the words we printed.
I hate nationalism and populism. Me writing there would be like Derek Jeter playing shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.
Here at the Bull Elephant, we get to see everything. We get a taste of the religious right, the TEA Party, the Libertarian, the Conservative Base, and the Political Insider. It’s why this is the best website for Republican Politics in Virginia. Sure – there’s something to offend all comers. But there’s content to warrant your adoration and interest.
Let’s Be Honest About Donald Trump
Donald Trump didn’t win based on his conservative credentials. He didn’t win on the basis of his libertarian swag or constitutionalist erudition. He didn’t win because he appealed to the base or because he appealed to the establishment. He won because he appealed to the American People who couldn’t care less what a single blogger, politician, or philosopher thinks, believes, or knows.
He was elected by non-voters, by independents, by frustrated housewives addicted to Fox News. He was elected by union members disenchanted with the Democrat Party. He was elected by ex-conservatives who were simply fed-up with the losing battle against a better funded establishment. He was elected by people that have never been to a Republican Party event, who couldn’t tell you the difference between the 7th, 14th, and 21st amendments. He was elected by people who know more about popular porn stars and reality TV shows than they do about local, state, or federal government.
Throughout the entire primary we all knew Trump was going to lose. The man was a freaking idiot. How could he win? Was there a single thing he said that made sense philosophically, morally, or intellectually? Of course not. But America isn’t populated with philosophers, theologians, and intellectuals. We’re populated with Steel Workers, Coal Miners, and Cashiers at Walmart.
The Democrat Party has created a nation of selfish, attention-deficit-disorder suffering sufferers looking for Messiahs on the horizon. They created Donald Trump and we elected him.
So while Virginia Right adores him as the second coming and while Bearing Drift attacks him as the Morning Star, what are we to do with the situation?
I’m honestly asking.
This is a man who has embraced the labor unions and attacked free-markets.
This is a man who cut taxes.
This is a man who made enemies of allies.
This is a man who ended socialist regulations.
This is a man who made America Tough Again.
This is a man that made America dumber than we already were.
This is a man who destroyed the Republican Party…. and probably the Democrat Party.
What Of It?
People like me are going to fawn all over the Denver Riggleman’s, Nick Freitas’, and Jon Russell’s of the world. They are the rational, intellectual, and philosophical backbones of the Republican Party. Yet, people like me don’t win elections. I believe more in human history and experience than any ideal I’ve ever heard of or read about. I care more about the course of history than I do the fate of my own ideals. I’m not surprised that people love Donald Trump.
He offends just about everyone the average American loathes. The more the media talks about how Donald Trump upsets the elites, the more the 99% who aren’t elites are going to love this President.
I get it. There isn’t a single Bull Elephant Reader that wants to know what I think, unless it makes them feel better about what they’ve already felt. There isn’t a single Bull Elephant Reader, or a Bearing Drift reader, or a Virginia Right reader, or a Blue Virginia Reader that cares about my analysis, lest it magnify their biases and inflame their egos.
I know that I’m weird. I endorsed Dave Brat and Rob Wittman and Tom Garrett. I supported Glenn Davis and Frank Wagner. I love the House Freedom Caucus and I think that Paul Ryan might just be the right man for the job.
I’ve fought battles with the establishment and with the populists and I’ve insulted the nationalists. What makes me insane, is that so many of you think I’ve done this for a political or personal reason. I haven’t.
I want to be free.
Maybe I should call Bo Brown.
Maybe I should spend more credits on audible.
Who knows. But I feel your pain better than Bill Clinton ever did. I can say that with the bark of truth stuck in my teeth. You should believe that.