Political Civility isn’t just about the Tone of Rhetoric

twentytwentynews, political, civility

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As the nation mourns the loss of a hero and public servant, Sen. John McCain, there are many who have lauded his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner and his civility in public discourse. His passing in the age of Trump certainly highlights the importance of civility in political rhetoric, especially due to Trump’s prior disrespectful and boorish remarks about McCain’s time as a prisoner of war. In fact, Trump is not even welcome to attend McCain’s funeral and that speaks volumes about the despicable character of our current President.

America has seen tremendous change in the political landscape since McCain first ventured into politics in the 1980’s. It seems that in these last few decades, that our politics have become meaner, dirtier, more corrupt, more cynical, and dangerously personal. Since the media tends to focus on that trend, we’ve accepted it and we’re increasingly numb to it even when confronted with an ill-mannered, crass, ignoramus like Trump.

The focus always seems to be on the growing incivility of the rhetoric, but it’s the increasing incivility of conservative and Republican policies that should really concern Americans regardless of party affiliation.

Go ahead and pick an issue. Whether it’s trade or healthcare or civil rights or the environment or education, the new message of conservative Republicans is that you’re on your own and that unless you’re making some significant coin, you better get used to working a lot harder for less. Hell, they’re ready to turn space into a battleground so that they can exploit the natural resources of other planets simply to make more money. They are systematically rolling back civil rights and consumer protections and defunding public education. Their policies are atrocious, and some are downright evil.

Republicans used to have some positive core values and their policies, although arguably myopic, were somewhat digestible. Now, they are rotten with cruelty, racism, entitlement, and unquenchable greed at the deliberate expense of the unfortunate. Their brand of social Darwinism, Machiavellian ideology, and willingness to cheat, has polarized the country. They have proliferated a dangerous virus of propaganda that has infected their followers to the point that they don’t believe basic truths or understand what is happening right before their eyes. It is cultish and powerful. It is terrifying and absurd in our high-tech culture.

McCain seemed to be the last Republican that owned a moral compass or a backbone. That’s why he voted against the travesty that his colleagues attempted to pass off as a health care bill. It’s why he fought for campaign finance reform. It’s why he was not a party to those who bigots would disrespect Obama. McCain saw what the corruption was doing to his party and, sadly, he saw the culmination of its effects when Trump was elected. McCain realized that vitriolic rhetoric was only symptomatic of a far greater problem. The problem was that the Republican party platform and its leadership had been taken over by self-serving extremists. Folks who cared more about their own selfish enrichment than in the ideals that formed our country and kept it strong. Trump simply emboldened and empowered them.

Yes, the rhetoric is disgusting, but it’s Republican policies that seek to ensure that poor children have no healthcare. True, the rhetoric is vulgar, but it’s conservatism that would deny gay marriage and allow legal, institutional discrimination. Sure, the rhetoric is inexcusable, but it’s their policies that are sodomizing the American Dream.

Someone recently described the political polarization in America as a “cold civil war” and that’s fairly accurate if you can ignore the actual casualties caused by Republican policies. It’s not their unhinged rhetoric that should scare you anymore, it’s what they are doing and accomplishing.

As they continue to embrace Trump, they really should be forced to change their name. It does great disservice to men of character like Sen. John McCain when they call themselves Republicans. They all truly have become Republicans in name only.

The incivility of their language wounds us deeply, but it’s their policies that may kill the American Dream.

Eau de Swamp: The Fragrant Stench of Corruption

twentytwentynews, eau de swamp

Franklin, Contributor

If someone was inclined to make a scent that embodied today’s Republican party under Trump, then it would definitely be called eau de Swamp. It would smell like cocaine-laced crumpled dollars that had been smuggled across Eastern European borders deep in the nether regions of someone’s underwear, yet, mixed with the distilled sweat of punch drunk investment bankers and the heady stench of spittle flying from the mouths of enraged white guys yelling hate speech epithets. It could be sold in the gaudy unused bottles that were made for Trump’s failed line of vodka. Oh, what a pungent bouquet.

This odiferous parfum concoction wafts off Manafort and Cohen and Stone and Trump Jr. and the, oh so lovely, Ivanka, the sweatshop goddess. It permeates gerrymandered statehouses and Governor’s mansions and even lowly boards of education. It seems that everywhere there is a gathering of Republicans these days, there’s that unmistakable smell of burnt American dreams and festering corruption. It burns your eyes the same way that perfume does in houses of ill-repute. Sickly sweet and artificial.

Although Trump and his sycophants seemed to have an irresistible hypnotic effect on one third of our country, at least two thirds recognize his putrid odor and the obnoxious decay emanating from his cohorts. Those malodorous machinations to destroy American democracy in favor of a rigged bureaucracy for the wealthiest have seeped into the nostrils of those who mistake the rot for greatness. It defies explanation, but there are people out there who still like sniffing gasoline or spray paint for a buzz…

That Trumpublican smell can be explained. It’s what happens when core values are sold cheaply for power. It’s what happens when winning becomes more important than standing up for what’s honorably right. It’s what happens when you run instinctively from challenge and only listen to those who confirm your deeply held prejudices and assumptions. The secret ingredients are fear, ignorance, and a healthy spoonful of divine entitlement and superiority. A splash of gerrymander, perhaps. Eau de Swamp has been around awhile, but it’s never been so concentrated, nor marketed so brazenly. Or, sold so cheaply.

The vile permeation of it has choked civil discourse and strangled statesmanship. Its fester corrodes our common sense and its elixir lays waste to our sense of common good. Those who enjoy it, enjoy it as a reeking repellent so they may have the freedom to pursue their own selfish interests and craven pleasures and they laugh as others gag on its stench. Eau de Swamp isn’t for just anyone even though everyone can certainly smell it.

It’s the funk of pay-for-play politics and rotten quid pro quo secret deal-making.

In Alabama we’ve seen it at all levels of conservative government and, more recently, with the Oliver Robinson scandal it seems to have also involved some Republican state legislators and congressman in their delusional quest to neuter the EPA. As they talk of family values, they ensure the environment is a landfill for big businesses and they guarantee that quality, affordable healthcare is only a pipe dream for their constituents.

Trump has told us not to trust what we see or hear, but surely people can still smell the lies and corruption. Surely, Americans will come up for fresh air after breathing in these noxious fumes. Right now, the Republicans are intoxicated by it and it’s made them giddy. They have no idea how much harm they have created for themselves and others by bathing in that acidic cologne. It’s scents for the incensed and it won’t be very long until it causes a rash.

They may want to consider going au natural for a bit. Eau de Swamp stinks to high heaven.

So, my son can download a 3-d printable gun?

3D Printed Gun, Twentytwentynews

Clete Wetli, Contributor

Look, my son can barely be trusted operating a toaster and now I hear that it’s legal for folks to download guns that can be made from a 3-d printer? Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, aside from questionable household appliance operation, this kid can run circles around me when it comes to cyber-technology.  Hell, about the time I finally learned to successfully program a VCR and figure out dial-up, he was hacking through network security at his elementary school; so he could play Minecraft- whatever the hell that is.

It’s not ok to be able to download printable guns that kill people. It will never be ok.

Yeah, the Trump administration lifted the ban on this madness because they’ve turned it into a “free speech” issue. Yep, we need untraceable guns in America like a starving dog needs two assholes…

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you ought to…

Anyway, this whole concept of being able to download a plastic gun that can be assembled without any traceable serial number ought to be horrifyingly disturbing to most Americans.

As I’m writing this, a judge has temporarily suspended the insanity, but it seems like only a brief stopgap measure before Hell’s gates swing wide open.  C’mon, is there anyone with two brain cells to rub together that thought this was a good idea?

First, there are a few practical issues. Primarily, plastic isn’t exactly all that safe for firearm construction and it’s very likely that the first few dipshits who fire their printed weapons may find them exploding in their tiny orange hands. Second, plastic tends to have somewhat adverse reactions to heat, so their newly acquired phallic symbols may turn flaccid after shooting a few rounds- however, that may be something they’re used to already.

I mean, mankind has had some seriously dumb ideas, but this one is even more stupid than the K-cup or the rhythm method or edible toilet paper. Yeah, I know there are big-time geniuses ready to point out that these new-fangled printers cost thousands of dollars and blah, blah, blah. Look, cell phones weighed twenty pounds not too long ago, too.  But, try to buy a semi full of fertilizer and you may be probed in places you never thought possible.

Whether you are a big time 2A person or a tree-hugging peace activist, there’s no one who could possibly think that downloading a printable firearm is a sane, sound idea. Although we are focused on the constant media parade of mass shootings, so many people are dying in domestic violence situations or suicide. Do we really need more firearms out there that can’t be traced or controlled?

There’s already enough stuff on the internet that’s falling into the hands of the wrong people, insane people, murderous people, and there are no easy answers to a lot of these questions. Yet, some of these questions are very simple have pretty damned obvious answers, like- 3d printable guns is a very fucking stupid idea because no good ever will come from it! Yeah, just like that. The dumb fuck promoting this stupidity had about the same marketing forethought as, say, the Tide pods morons or Elon Musk’s affordable flamethrower.

Seriously, it’s time that we get control of the proliferation of guns in our society. It’s time we start thinking proactively to prevent nonsense like 3d printable guns from ever being a real and accessible thing in in the first place.

It’s not enough to bitch and protest every time there is a televised massacre or a heart-wrenching suicide story. It’s time to vote and it’s time to stand up against this kind of insanity. In your heart, you know that printing 3d guns is a horrible idea and it should be stopped right now.

Nothing good will ever come of this and you know it.