The American Voter’s Big Damn Choice: Principles vs. Power

Confess it now, I am registered as a Democratic voter in America. And if you’ve ever loved a sports team that consistently chokes in the playoffs, then you understand what it is like to support a party that struggles with its conscience so acutely. For every apology and resignation, for every political bean that wobbles on policies to meet poll-tested expectations, the party grows more and more flaccid.

However, disappointing as Democratic candidates and officials may be, they are not solely to blame for the party’s crushing losses. The voters are perhaps the most complicit. Yes, you. You with the protest votes. You with the disgruntled Facebook posts.

You, the voter, are the worst.

And this is probably because you have not yet recognized the empirical truth that there is a binary choice in American elections that never changes–no matter the politicians, the party, the year, or the economy:

You can vote for power, or you can let your principles vote against power.

I shouted this during Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. Yeah, she never figured out an inspiring message and she sounded like a robot most of the time. Sure, she wanted it so badly that there was froth caked on the edges of her mouth for the better part of a year. That was gross.

But I sat back in horror, absolutely agog that so many of my friends and cohorts were willing to give away their power in favor of their principles by staying home on Election Day. Or voting for Jill Stein. Or writing in Bernie or Tyrion Lannister.

They bemoaned, Bernie “should have” won (except that he lost). Hillary isn’t progressive enough. The DNC played foul with the primaries. Hillary has dirt under her fingernails (as if most voters could actually describe the dirt in detail). She hasn’t spoken out on [fill in the blank] issue recently enough. She’s going to win anyway…

Yes, you and your principles did the nation dirty.

Your heart couldn’t help it. You were swayed by some kind of notion of honor or rebellion or fantasy. And so you commandeered a luxury you had no right to–the luxury of voting for your principles with no regard for the cold, hard reality of power. And, really, how dare you?

It’s good to have principles. They are fine and good for journals and diaries. They are moving at dinner parties.  It is a worthy fight to assert your heart’s courageous burnings when encouraging candidates to run, shoring up votes, raising funds, or (more importantly) advocating legislative electoral changes between election cycles.

But once the ballots are finalized, the time for principles has come and gone. If you want power, you choose between the Democratic nominee or the Republican. One of those two will win. One of those two will nominate judges. One of those two will impact climate change. One of those two will alter your health care choices.

If your principles ache in denial of reality, then I feel for you. Nothing about politics is fair. Damn straight, there should be a viable multi-party system. Damn straight, Iowa shouldn’t get to caucus first. Damn straight, the Electoral College shouldn’t supersede the popular vote. Damn straight, you liked that other primary candidate better.

It isn’t fair! It isn’t fair! It isn’t fair!

I know.

But now that we’ve gotten that whingeing out of our systems, we can touch back down to earth and accept the bleak truth that if you want power, you have to vote in the election that is real. Not the one in your fantasies.

Let’s put it this way: Suppose you sit down at a table with a Monopoly game laid out and begin shouting “But I want to play Scrabble!” You kick your feet and line up letter tiles along the edge of the board. The problem, of course, is that you’re going to lose. Because the game is Monopoly.

Play the game. Win the game. Take the power, as imperfect and compromised as it may be.

I truly hope that your principles may always intersect with the sober choice of handing someone power. But if they don’t, suck it up, stash your letter tiles away for another night, and start mortgaging your red properties before Aunt Griselda gets her sweaty racist mitts on both Park Place and Boardwalk.

Democrats, don’t you let me down again. Your principles aren’t high-minded and sexy when health, safety, and equality are on the line. Play the game in front of you. Play it for power.

 

Bah, Humbug! Ebenezer Scrooge, American Politics, and the Republican Party

Or “The Political Dichotomy of Ebenezer Scrooge as Depicted by SJW Charles Dickens”

Welcome to the holly jolly time of year when we all smile a little brighter, we all drink a little more eggnog, and we all (oh so briefly) smile at the sight of snowflakes. And while we drape our tinsel and wrap our gifts, most of us will watch some form of the Charles Dickens masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. My personal favorite being the Married With Children television episode entitled “It’s a Bundyful Life” which featured guest-star Sam Kinison as a screaming angel. Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, is also at the top of the list.

What you may not have ever considered is that Dickens offers us a curiously apt allegory for modern American political views. Actually, they were designed quite deliberately as a moral tale for the mid-19th century, when Dickens experienced and witnessed terrible poverty and suffering. It is no secret that he was a social activist who advocated education reform, labor changes, and support for women and children.

But a lot of that is rightfully swept aside when we watch A Christmas Carol, or Scrooged, or Mickey’s Christmas Carol, or The Muppets Christmas Carol, or even Ebbie. Instead all of us, no matter our political stripe, focus on the sweet and sad story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation and yuletide magic. 

This is a jolly reminder, though, that the story is about more than Carol Kane hitting Bill Murray with a toaster, and is also very fun to use for taunting my Conservative friends with on social media every single December. May the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future help you ponder your political stance this holiday season.

Are You the “Before-Scrooge”?

Ask yourself that question in a very thoughtful way. What about the leaders you vote for? Which are they? Quite notably and deliberately, the priorities and values of Ebenezer Scrooge, our crusty miser, at the beginning of each tale mirror the views of many right-wing Conservatives:

  • Money and business are the highest priorities, and holiday cheer is manufactured for profit. As long as the economy is strong, then all is right in the world.
  • Charities do not deserve donations, for the poor should better themselves and stop mooching off of successful businessmen, such as Scrooge.
  • There is always someone with hands held out wanting a free lunch, and Scrooge isn’t buying.
  • Love and care are distractions from the bottom line. Think of Scrooge’s Belle as our planet and its wildlife, trees, oceans, and rolling hills. Just like Belle, the planet is just done with us, because we prioritize profit and treat her like crap.
  • Ebenezer’s protege, Bob Cratchit, doesn’t deserve more coal or pay because he does not have a desirable skill set to have an inherently higher value in the workforce.
  • Tiny Tim’s health care is hardly Scrooge’s problem, and the idea of others contributing toward the little lad’s well-being is  another way for the poor to mooch off of greater society.

It takes a hardened heart who sees dollar signs in the face of suffering.

Or the “After-Scrooge”?

After the three ghosts scare the bejeezus out of Ebenezer, he starts to adopt a new outlook on priorities and helping others. The Cratchit family gets a big Christmas goose, though they have done nothing in particular to deserve one (and for all Scrooge knows, they might end up selling some of the leftovers for god knows what). The charity fellows get a sizable donation, and Tiny Tim is promised top-notch healthcare that his family can afford. Ma Cratchit might even go get some birth control pills. 

Truly though, Scrooge’s transformation seems to appeal universally to people around the world. I know of none of my Conservative pals who watch the Dickensian tale and cry out that Scrooge lost his way by the end.

Yet, when the tinsel is packed away and the leftovers are all gone, they go back to their lives and their social media posts and their political stances like they wish they could elect “Before-Scrooge” to lead them. Nothing is free; you have to work hard and earn it. If you had value, you’d be winning. Tax breaks. Banks will save us. If it’s worthy, capitalism will fix it. The party of misers. The party of Jacob Marley.

We can’t hope for three ghosts to visit each Conservative household and reveal glimpses of our racial and misogynistic past, people starving and going without healthcare in the present, and a burning planet in the future. So our only hope is that the little child in our hearts who loves Christmas and always quietly cheered, “God bless us, everyone” will keep the spirit alive all year long. We can all be the “After-Scrooge” if we keep the Christmas flame burning.

Merry Christmas to all.

muppet_xmas_carol.jpg

It’s the Fabulous 2020 Democratic Debates BINGO-ish Drinking Game!

Welcome to the November-December, 2019 edition of our favorite BINGO-ish drinking game sport! Let’s get excited for the upcoming Democratic Primary Debates!

The rules are simple: Assign one card to each person. Each card has a list of debate participants and things that (s)he might say or do. There is overlap between some cards, but no two cards are identical. Every time an item on your list occurs during the debate, take a drink!

Sips might be best, because it is going to be a loooong night. Keep those cards out in the open for all to see. And play it cool–you only need sip the first time a word/phrase is mentioned during any one answer or exchange. So if Elizabeth Warren calls Trump 6 different names in a row, just take the one sip.

No need to mark anything off, this is a game of survival. Unless you want to. These cards are BINGO-compatible, or you can just drink for anything on your list, and feel free to yell BINGO! just for fun whenever you like.

There are no winners here, just like the debate. There is only shame, intoxication, mockery, and Biden giving everyone a back rub.

Warning: Alcoholic drinking games are dangerous and stupid, and can lead to harm to person, property body, and soul. If you choose to imbibe, do so responsibly, look out for you and your friends’ well-being, and never drive while under the influence. In fact, you should probably just play this with iced tea and get a lovely night’s rest. Play with booze, and you do so at your own peril.

Here they are, four different cards for your alcoholic enjoyment:

2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - Nov2019 a2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - Nov2019 b2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - Nov2019 c2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - Nov2019 d

Brexit and the Irish Border: Let’s Explain It!

Shout out to my friends and family in America who still think that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are all one country, and part of the UK.

America has its own shitshow of problems, so it isn’t surprising that so many ‘Muricans have no idea what is going not with Ireland and Brexit. It’s okay. I’ll explain it in terms that can make this accessible to most anyone.

Let’s start with the basics:

One Island, Two Countries

Ireland is a single island, but it is comprised of two separate countries: The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Map of Ireland and Northern Ireland.jpg

The Republic of Ireland is an independent sovereign country that gained its independence from Great Britain between 1916 and 1919. It is a member of the European Union (EU), and uses the Euro as its currency.

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is Brexiting the European Union along with the rest of the UK, and uses the UK sterling currency (pounds).

How Ireland Split in Two

From 1801 to 1916, all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, and subject to the laws and rule of the British. This was not a happy time for most of Ireland. There was massive exploitation, starvation, and a myriad of abuses on the part of Britain, not to mention the Great Irish Famine. For much of its union, the English ruling class looked down on the Irish as helpless children who couldn’t manage their own affairs, and treated them with contempt and neglect. To sum it up: The Brits were huge dicks. Continue reading “Brexit and the Irish Border: Let’s Explain It!”

It’s the Fabulous 2020 Democratic Debates BINGO-ish Drinking Game!

Excited for the September 12, 2019 Democratic Primary Debates? Let’s drink!

The rules are simple: Assign one card to each person. Each card has a list of debate participants and things that (s)he might say or do. There is overlap between some cards, but no two cards are identical. Every time an item on your list occurs during the debate, take a drink!

Sips might be best, because it is going to be a loooong night. Keep those cards out in the open for all to see. And play it cool–you only need sip the first time a word/phrase is mentioned during any one answer or exchange. So if Elizabeth Warren calls Trump 6 different names in a row, just take the one sip.

No need to mark anything off, this is a game of survival. Unless you want to. These cards are BINGO-compatible, or you can just drink for anything on your list, and feel free to yell BINGO! just for fun whenever you like.

There are no winners here, just like the debate. There is only shame, intoxication, mockery, and Beto standing on a chair.

Warning: Alcoholic drinking games are dangerous and stupid, and can lead to harm to person, property body, and soul. If you choose to imbibe, do so responsibly, look out for you and your friends’ wellbeing, and never drive while under the influence. In fact, you should probably just play this with iced tea and get a lovely night’s rest. Play with booze, and you do so at your own peril.

Here they are, four different cards for your alcoholic enjoyment:

2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - CARD A.jpg

2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - CARD B

2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - CARD C.jpg

2020 Democratic Debate Drinking Game - CARD D.jpg

 

The Fake Melania Conspiracy Theory

It’s completely bonkers to even entertain the “Fake Melania” theory. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

First Lady Melania Trump has a fondness for large sun spectacles that hide a third of her face. And if I may offer some fashion commentary for which I am entirely ill qualified, she wears them more often than one might find stately in a First Lady. Hiding one’s eyes can be regarded as a sign of something else to hide, not to mention that I find it rude to greet a new person without showing your face. It’s sort of like not removing a hat when you sit down to eat or enter someone’s home.

Decorum aside, there is one more reason the First Lady may want to reconsider her constant bespectacled state: It has fueled a very odd rumor, that a body double has been occasionally been appearing in her place.

Even if it were true, it would hardly be the craziest scandal. Melania was dragged into her role as international hostess with little warning. When she vowed to honor and cherish Donny Blimpo, she could hardly have imagined what awaited her. Her future was supposed to be a life of quiet splendor from atop Manhattan. The responsibility and scrutiny heaped on her has cast a harsh light on her behavior, grammar, fashion choices, Donny Blimpo’s porn star proclivities, and every other crack and crevice in her life.

So not only would I hardly be surprised if she did explore the option of a body double, I wouldn’t blame her. What is all that money good for if you can’t hire a model to slip on your shoes and hold hands with your beef-wreaking marital partner?

That doesn’t mean it’s true, though, no matter what the interwebs say. Let’s explore how the rumors started and what’s really behind those giant dark glasses.

Origins of the Fake Melania Theory: October, 2017

It was autumn, 2017, and the Trumps were heading out on a trip to visit a Secret Service training facility in Maryland. They paused on the White House lawn to address reporters. Melania is dressed in a trench coat and trademark jumbo shades, which is completely evocative of a spy costume. Between that and her body language, which arguably looks bored and uncomfortable, spectators begin to wonder if it is really her.

melania-body-double-trump

Adding massive fuel to the fire: President Trump actually says during that gaggle, “My wife, Melania, who happens to be right here…”. The interwebs collectively point out that this is exactly what Donny would say if she wasn’t right there.

Continue reading “The Fake Melania Conspiracy Theory”

2020 Democratic Candidates Compared

Everybody, we have a long and bloody road ahead of us until Election Day, 2020. The Monster Politic is just starting to awaken from its very short slumber, and the cable news channels are already feeding the beast and prepping the arena for some of the most ungladiator-like combat in the history of the worrrrrrld.

So, Dems, who are we going to throw in the arena with Lumpy the Orange Foul-Mouthed Blob? Will it be the DNA-tested woman who likes to video herself drinking a beer according to a script? Will it be the fuzzy-domed muppet who admits to loving socialism? Or maybe the dude who brags about watching porn with his mom.

So many choices!

Realizing you might need a little help picking which hero to give your favor to, I have devised a very helpful, very scientific overview of every current 2020 Democratic primary candidate:

2020 Democratic Candidates - HauntedCoconut.com

Choose your candidate wisely. We only get one chance to crowbar that orange lump out of the White House and spray for crabs.