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Reflections on an un-conventionally conventional summer

Did you hear the one about the DNC apologizing to Bernie Sanders for torpedoeing his entire campaign “remarks made over email”?

It had to be a joke because they said, “These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process.”

Laugh a minute, those DNC flaks. ‘Cause you know, when your chairthing and everybody else spends months plotting the demise of one candidate and the accession of another, it’s pretty obvious your steadfast commitment … isn’t.

But what the heck. Words don’t actually have to mean anything these days. And I’m sure all the bad things happened because “mistakes were made” and everybody now sincerely regrets “giving the appearance of wrongdoing.”


It’s refreshing to see that the Dems’ convention opened in utter chaos. Keeping up with the Republicans in great style.

Do you realize how enormously, freakin’ patient we Americans are that we’re not already plotting revolution?

Watching the political establishment, left and right, totally self-destruct before our very eyeballs is a much better way to go. Or would be if we didn’t have a long, long road of self-destruction still ahead, and an uncertain outcome beyond.


During the Arab Spring in 2011, I wrote an article for S.W.A.T. called “The Trouble With Revolutions.”

I don’t think they put that one online. I might see if I can get them to make it available or give me permission to post my .doc version. It predicted a bad end for the Arab Spring based on the long history of other such hopeful populist movements.

Basically, it said, though there are plenty of complications, the people who end revolutions (peaceful or otherwise) aren’t the people who start them.

The people who start them are rarely ever capable of even attempting to govern in the aftermath, but the question is usually moot because somewhere along the line some “leader” will end up announcing that the official language of the banana republic is now Swedish. And all the related joys that go with that sort of thing.


While hardly revolutionary, both The Donald and The Hillary show inclinations to be that kind of leader. I don’t know which is more terrifying: the sly old hand who knows how to get everything done to her benefit or the megalomaniacal brat who expects to get his way on sheer force alone. He, at least, is likely to flatten himself, Wile E. Coyote style, against a wall of “the way things are done in Washington.” That’s good. Her aspirations are more modest, but she’s likely to get more of her agenda enforced.

But both of them have built up these weird followings — these crowds of glassy-eyed acolytes, these brownshirts who refuse to tolerate a hint of dissent, these True Believers who know that, despite all the evidence, their candidate is going to deliver what they expect.

Authoritarian left-winger Trump is surrounded by all these right-wing and libertarian types who’ve convinced themselves against all reality that the Manhattan private-schoolboy billionaire wants just what they want.

Corporate left-winger Hillary is surrounded by all these blacks, Hispanics, and women who believe she’s going to be their champion — when the only person she’s championing is herself.

Clinton’s acolytes are more understandable. For one, she really does play heavily to them, and for two, the have reason to view her as their only possible electoral salvation.

But Trump’s enthusiastic followers are … incomprehensible.

I mean, sure. V*te for the man if you think Hillary’s the second coming of Cruella DeVil. I’ve said it before: I don’t care. After all, some of Hillary’s v*ters are supporting her because they think Trump’s the second coming of Benito Mussolini.

But don’t delude yourself about who or what Trump is. His own words, his own contributions, his own decades of personal actions and political stances give the lie to anyone’s grand illusions about him.

Yet none of this incomprehensible enthusiasm for Trump is anything new.

This is just the way it works when masses of people get desperate. Read any history of any uprising ever and at some point you’ll find people throwing their lives and hopes behind someone who manifestly will betray them.

Throughout history, mobs create the person they want to fulfill their hopes. Then they drape that illusion over whatever real-live wannabe leader is standing there. Later … they pay.


Never comes to a good end, that. Never.

But until (and alas, unless) some large minority is willing not only to be self-governors but to understand the why of self-governing, history is going to rhyme as interminably as an epic poem written by a subcommittee of bureaucrats appointed by a committee made up of Robespierre, Alexander Hamilton, Lenin, the Ayatollah Komeini, Oliver Cromwell, and Gen. Emilio Molina Vargas.


  1. LarryA
    LarryA July 26, 2016 2:40 am

    Throughout history, mobs create the person they want to fulfill their hopes. Then they drape that illusion over whatever real-live wannabe leader is standing there.
    Never comes to a good end, that. Never.

    The U.S. revolution is the exception that proves the rule. The offer was made before the Continental Army mustered out. We were just incredibly lucky that our General On A White Horse said, “No thanks,” and even after he was elected backed it up by limiting himself to two terms.

    Neither of these candidates have any inclination to follow Washington’s example.

  2. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson July 26, 2016 4:12 am

    Larry, your comment reminds me of the story of Napoleon who, upon hearing that G. Washington voluntarily gave up power, said “we are in the presence of greatness’.

    Given the corruption of power that has permeated our political landscape, it is more important than ever to remember and revere the Founders, not because they did nothing wrong, but because they got so much right.

  3. Pat
    Pat July 26, 2016 4:28 am

    Politicians! Bah… humbug!

    Sanders speaks of making a revolution as blithely as he speaks of making a sandwich.

    He spent his entire campaign firing up his followers against Clinton, then has to plead with them to vote for her, and doesn’t understand they can’t make the transition as easily as he can. Their “cause” is not the cause of the Party, but of a principle, whatever they perceive that principle to be.

    The same is true for the Republicans and their ilk.

    I _was_ surprised that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump; I give him credit for that. The media – especially the conservative media – want to believe his career is over, but I suspect he did himself a favor by not endorsing Trump, whether from principle or vindictiveness. He now has time to re-evaluate his position. Trump was an anomaly – he threw everyone off course by his blustering style, and no one had a chance to breathe normally (not even We the People), they could only react.

    The truth is, both parties have lost this election, no matter how it turns out. The people have seen the Emperor without his clothes, and it’s not a pretty sight. And I suspect they have started to see “democracy” for what it is as well, and are less and less impressed. They may stick with it a while longer because they know no alternative, but politics and -isms are changing fast – both the Republican and Democratic parties no longer stand for anything in particular, and it’s becoming more obvious.

    The King is dying – let his successor beware!

  4. RustyGunner
    RustyGunner July 26, 2016 5:44 am

    @Pat, The idea of seeing the Empress without her clothes makes me want to click over to Wirecutter’s blog for about six months of Milfy Monday posts as a palate cleanser.

  5. Fred
    Fred July 26, 2016 11:02 am

    I thought that bernie understood his supporters. Guess not. Our “leaders” think that they will go to some safe bunker when this thing goes sideways, and it will, but some of the masses will not vote for something “less than”. Hey bernie, they will rip the eyes out of the non-compliant pal, including you, that’s what socialists do. Of course, bernie doesn’t want to die suddenly and mysteriously. So, eyes ripped out or what’s behind the clinton machine of curtain number 2? Expediency says endorse the hag now, back peddle later.

    Socialists are just more patient camp builders than commies but, they all build the camps, and the “conservatives” will say; “Well honey, we should just get on the railroad cars, the police said it’s good, you know, so the kids will be safe”.

    I ain’t going to any camp.

  6. RickB
    RickB July 26, 2016 3:02 pm

    Decisions, decisions.

    Should I vote for the career psychopath who has the connections to place herself above the law…
    Or the dealmaker/entertainer who tells his audience whatever they want to hear and “pays his debts” by declaring bankruptcy?

    Should I stick a paperclip in the left slot of the wall outlet or the right?

    The answer, I think, is obvious.

  7. LarryA
    LarryA July 27, 2016 2:30 pm

    I _was_ surprised that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump; I give him credit for that. The media – especially the conservative media – want to believe his career is over, but I suspect he did himself a favor by not endorsing Trump, whether from principle or vindictiveness. He now has time to re-evaluate his position.

    1. Trump self-destructs during the campaign and gets buried under a Clinton landslide,
    2. Trump wins the election and turns out to be the worst U.S. CEO since George III,
    Cruz is first in line to say, “See? I told you so.”

  8. Karen
    Karen July 28, 2016 3:20 pm

    NONE OF THE ABOVE would win by a landslide if allowed on the ballot, I suspect.

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