I've been engaging the squares again on the internet. There is a triumvirate of obtuse right-wing self-declared patriots and all-around Good Americans (in the sense of Hitler's "Good Germans"), who have been sparring with me over aspects of various candidates and issues, most recently - and absurdly - over the idea that Hillary Clinton is a "socialist."
For proof, one of them offers this:
"Hilary [sic] goes to a GM plant, where she was photographed wearing what looked like a Mao Tse-tung jacket, tell all that would listen: ( according to an AP headline. Lordstown, Ohio) 'Clinton Visits GM Plant, Outlines Plan to Crack Down on Corporations.'"
I suggest that the above comment about Hillary, while trying to prove she is a socialist, actually demonstrates the opposite. And that only a republican sort of mind could be clueless enough to wear a Mao jacket in a GM plant while trying to convince the workers to vote for her because she is "anti-business." She is not only listening to bad political advice, but desperately needs a new fashion consultant.
Clinton Inc. is about as anti-business as Donald Trump and anti-corporate as Dick Cheney. The woman sat on the board of Wal-Mart and is not, ever, going to "screw" any corporations, despite her considerable time spent in bed with them.
"I did not have sex with that corporation."
This I add for humor, for what should be obvious reasons Note: tell right-wing blockheads that the only "liberal" thing about the Clintons is that Bill's sexual embarrassment was with a girl.
For reasons I cannot entirely fathom, the mid-American conservative, while becoming apoplectic over "taxes and big government," has no objection to near-unimaginable war expense. It's becoming obvious that this is not politics: it's religion. In Wisconsin, while sitting in a sports bar that had 15 TV sets all playing different games, I was informed in no uncertain terms that "football is a religion here." It would have to be, come to think of it, for 60,000 people to sit outside in sub-zero temperatures, drink cold beer and cheer for the Badgers or Packers. Religion or insanity, but we're just splitting hairs now.
These "good Americans" who place themselves at the top of some imagined moral pyramid and look down with suspicion and fear at those of us who "might want to take away their toys," BELIEVE in an American Dream concocted by carnival barkers and big-time scammers, every bit as much as evangelicals and Jehovah's Witnesses believe their physical bodies will be magically lifted off the earth to Heaven at the climax of the Apocalypse.
So, does it do any good to be aware of what we are up against? Maybe, but it's pretty frustrating, too.
One of my right-wing antagonists has been going on lately about San Francisco and northern California in general, parroting all the stock propaganda about it being the center of all evil, the home of Satan incarnate, a den of iniquity and heaven forbid, permissiveness.
I offer that the City has been, historically, a haven for outcasts, fringe dwellers (a demographic I am happy to be part of) and the like since gold rush days, and that back in the late 80's, a friend of mine was foreman of the crew that maintained the Golden Gate Bridge. A most dangerous job for what should be obvious reasons. He is a heterosexual, a "man's man" with enough "testicular fortitude" to ease the mind of the most manly men, and yet he was also a social "outcast" and so-called fringe dweller of the type that SF attracts.
And on the right-wing view in general: in 1965 I was an apolitical 19 year-old musician traveling with a rock and roll band. Our hair was not long by today's or "hippie" standards, but in Eisenhower-era terms, we did certainly need haircuts. In S. Glens Falls NY, we stopped to eat at a diner. As we entered, the place went silent, then a man said "Look what you see when you ain't got a gun." Immediately, a woman - ironically, rather overweight - chimed in with this gem: "People who are DIFFERENT should be put in jail." This was my introduction to the basic conservative, "all-American" mentality. I hadn't yet discovered Mencken and felt woefully alone.
That experience was the first of many that helped me understand how and why men like George W Bush, and so many before him and no doubt after as well, can successfully play on and pander to the irrational fears and prejudices, and selfish concerns, of ordinary people in order to put themselves in power.
That so many still operate on the general assumption that anyone outside their normal range of perception must necessarily be "bad," is a boon to what can be politely be called conservative political powers. It helps them create enemies to "necessitate" war both abroad and on the home front, right down to keeping us suspicious enough of our fellow citizens to keep buying guns and alarm systems.
Nothing that any homosexual, for instance, has ever done has ever affected my life in the slightest. Unless you count a few bad decorating jobs or clothing designs. Why on earth should I (or anyone else) care what they do? What the hell is the problem?
With all this I'm talking to a brick wall. But I am expressing myself and thereby keeping one criminal off the streets. We do what we can.