Yep, this is me and my son (Michael) from around 3 years ago. He looks pretty much the same. I look a lot older, but what the hell. I’m using this picture because I spent this morning having a great conversation with him. Since he does not live at home any longer we don’t get to talk as much, but when we do I really enjoy it.
Michael and I like to discuss all kinds of things, including politics, but also movies, music, working out, and plans for the future. Today he filled me in on the plots of the various superhero movies he’s seen (mostly Marvel), and then we had a political conversation that really made me think.
It helps that we agree on most things political. He is a tad more conservative than I on the second amendment, but not by a lot. I don’t see the need for civilians to own AR15s and similar automatic rifles, don’t see the need for oversized clips, bump stocks, etc. He would rather not restrict the automatic rifles, but agrees on all the other stuff. What’s funny is Michael supports the second amendment, but hates hunting. Like me, he thinks it is ok to hunt if it’s out of necessity, but as soon as someone says they hunt for sport, or calls hunting a sport, they lose both of us. Michael said that if hunting is a sport, find a way for the animals to shoot back. Any contest where the only defense the opponent has is to run is not a sport. I said yeah, that’s not a sport, it’s the Hunger Games. We had a laugh over that.
Neither of us can stand SCROTUS. We discussed SCROTUS’ hypocrisy, which was on full display this week during his speech at the NRA convention. Michael can’t stand the NRA either, which is also kind of funny considering his stance on gun ownership. However, I can understand because I did not raise him to embrace extremes or to adopt ideas without considering all sides of a subject. He thinks about things and comes to his own conclusions, which more often than not reflect a balanced viewpoint. We both consider the NRA extreme.
Of course, we can’t talk about SCROTUS without bringing up Russia. We both feel there is something going on (or was) between SCROTUS’ campaign and Russia at the very least. Was the pretender himself involved? I’m not sure – Michael seems to think so. This raised the question of what exactly Russia is trying to do with all the meddling. This is what made me think.
Did Russia directly affect the outcome of the election? I don’t think so IF “directly” means things like messing with actual voting machines or hacking to change real vote totals. I think what Russia is doing is much more insidious. They are trying to sow the seeds of social discord (and doing a pretty good job).
Does this mean they wanted to help SCROTUS win? I think Putin preferred SCROTUS, but I don’t think that was the primary goal. It worked out that way, but I think Putin’s goal was, and continues to be, simply weakening the fabric of our democratic republic. That is why the meddling concentrates on causing discord.
Think about it. People say we should all put our differences aside and unite as one for the good of the country. The problem with that is it’s not the way a democratic republic works. Were we all united and agreeing with each other before SCROTUS? Hell no! The way our system works, there is always a group in charge (currently the GOP, but not always), and there is always a “loyal opposition” which exerts influence on policy and tries to balance things out. The sides, citizens and politicians alike, debate, argue, and compromise through life. However, for the most part, they do it civilly when left to their own devices.
Through inserting their “bots” and bad players into our discussions, what Russia is destroying is our civility. The problem isn’t that we argue; it’s how we argue. Discussions that used to be civilized debates of opposing views have devolved into name calling and other insults. This lower level discourse was always around, but to a more limited extent before Russian hackers decided to try to pit us against each other. I think this is why Putin preferred SCROTUS. Encouraging our citizenry to sink to name calling and insults plays right into SCROTUS’ style. Putin wants us to battle each other, and SCROTUS is helping guarantee that result. SCROTUS may not know he’s being used this way, but it certainly seems the case.
Unfortunately, we now have an appointed WH occupant who constantly tweets, constantly calls his critics insulting names in those tweets, constantly makes the same unfounded and unproven pronouncements over and over in those tweets, and wouldn’t know the truth if it walked into the Oval Office carrying a dinner from McDonald’s. This is not because of Putin. It just makes Putin’s job easier.
Until next week…