Sunday, September 6, 2020

Check and Checkmate: Why Many Anti-MAGAs Need Four More Years

Progressives continue to carp about Biden (some conservative never-Trumpers are doing the same, but we'll get to that later). Given a choice between a cookie and a knot of rusty razor wire coated with anthrax, they bitch about the cookie. It's not their favorite cookie.

I figured it out a few months ago, when some on the Left were bellowing about how Biden would be as bad as Trump. Given that those same people had been pulling their hair out over Trump, it dawned on me that this is their baseline. Outrage doesn't mean the same thing to them as it does to me, as someone who doesn't enjoy that sort of thing. I put it like this:
After screaming bloody murder about Trump for three years (and appropriately so), how could the radical left imagine for even a second committing even a nuance of a whisper of an action that might harm Biden's chances of removing him?

Of course, many have done far more than that. They've noisily sworn not to vote for him, turning Twitter into a Taoist wet dream where crazy right and the crazy left find common cause in deluded cray-cray.

How can people who hate Trump so demonstratively - who prayed for Mueller, and then for Impeachment - work against the only shot at finally unseating him? I know Republicans, who viscerally oppose Biden's entire agenda, but who support him with relish. That seems a lot more to get past than "he's not my most favorite possible candidate."

I think I've got it.

Yes, they've been screaming bloody murder about Trump. But “screaming bloody murder” is their resting state.

Me? I'm not normally a screamer. So when I scream bloody murder about Trump, it's because I find him an existential threat to the republic and the world. My screaming is not just pro forma. But to radicals, Trump represents just one of innumerable furies. And they're highly adept at loathing multiple things simultaneously. Trump, Biden, and, while we're at it, this Jim Leff guy who's mocking us. Throw them all on the pile. The more the merrier.

I think I've found a way to empathize with the mindset. I often condemn the food at Olive Garden, but if one opened near me I wouldn’t protest, nor would I pressure town government to block their permit. After all, I bitch about loads of bad food…which I deem inevitable. In the end, the bitching doesn’t mean anything. I bitch just to bitch. It’s just my reflexive take on Shit World.
Discontent is their brand. They haven’t see Trump as a uniquely existential threat to democracy, like I do. They were yelling because NOT GOOD

Mental experiment. Say you try feeding sawdust to a hungry baby. Baby screams and knocks spoon from your hand, right? Then you offer strong French cheese. Baby screams and knocks spoon from your hand again, obviously. You might peer at the baby in consternation for being so foolish as to equate expensive cheese, which is edible and delicious, with sawdust, which is not. But is there not a certain baby logic to a baby wanting what it wants?

You and I may be exhausted and demoralized over Trump and ready to move to Tristan da Cunha (world's most remote inhabited island), but that's because we're unaccustomed to colicky pique. But some of us are like elite athletes, able to rise to every occasion with maximal bombast. They're like Energizer Bunnies who never wind down. After four years of screaming TRUMP NOT GOOD, they are perfectly prepared to scream BIDEN NOT GOOD right through to November. In fact, we seem loopy for having a problem with that. We look like pushovers and appeasers. Why would we settle for anything but the yummiest banana pudding?

It's not just the Left. Here's a conservative never-Trumper boggling the minds of friends and allies engaged in rescuing the nation from an authoritarian, corrosive, corrupt, bungling threat:
Only one conclusion can be drawn: Many people, on both sides, who profess to be mortally stricken by Trump simply haven't had enough Trump yet.

They need four more years, hundreds of thousands more deaths, more norms and institutions eviscerated, more chaos and division and lying and stupidity, and further brutal cooption of law enforcement, the justice department, and intelligence services. They still don't quite see the end game. It's not quite fully in focus yet. "Check" is not sufficient. They must hear "checkmate".

I once noted that most people don't actually do anything. We're now stress-testing that theory by gauging just how bad things must be to propel people into the extreme measure of strolling into a polling place and checking a box...even if they haven't been fully galvanized by creamy waves of optimally-tuned confirmation bias from a perfect candidate running an optimal campaign...and even if the opponent is an addled beast. We're seeing what it takes for rich-world people to willingly accept nutrition even when it's not the banana pudding they had their hearts set on.

It has to get worse than this, it appears. But at least we're learning. Extreme circumstance illuminates certain truths. Dr. Mengele compiled data that would have forever eluded normal researchers. If we're going to undergo obscene experiments, let's at least try to learn a thing or two.

The following should probably be filed as a "Postcard From My Childhood" (messages sent forward from my childhood to my elder self which I knew would be helpful, and which I suspected I'd otherwise forget; here they are in reverse chronological order), but here goes. I noticed this at age eight, and it applies to the many Americans who require something more persuasive than mere excruciation to achieve focus, perspective, and propulsion:
You shouldn't have to bash your nose bloody against every single dead end to solve a maze.

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