Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Alt-Left

There was no Alt-Left until Trump invented it.  Actually, all our wordsmith president said was “There is blame on both sides” and some journalist made up “Alt-Left” as a counter to Alt-Right (an umbrella label for right-wing extremist groups).

So, who makes up the Alt-Left?  As the Alt-Right actually exists, it’s easier to define its membership.  So, the Alt-Right consists of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, white supremacists, some extreme NRA members, Hell’s Angels, Vigilante groups, Survivalist groups.  More than anyone else, they tend to be white and Christian and male and straight, even if most white Christian straight males are not Alt-Right themselves.  They believe that they alone are true Americans.  They are not just conservative, they are fringe conservative.

As there really isn’t any Alt-Left, we are free to make it up as long as it fits the anti-protestors in Charlottesville.  If the Alt-Right is exclusionist, the Alt-Right must begin as inclusionist.  So, Communists, socialists, Bernie Sanders, unions, LGBTQIA people, non-whites, non-Christians, and anyone whose identity as an American is insecure.  So, fringe liberal.

When these two groups clash, it is possible to imagine them refighting the Civil War, the Alt-Left fighting as the Union and the Alt-Right as the Confederacy.  But a real war this time would go the other way, as Alt-Right types tend to own firearms and Alt-Left types do not.

The only good thing I can say about this labelling and this division, is it is better that it be out in the open than underground.  If our democracy can’t handle it, so be it.

Y'all should take in the memorial service for Heather Heyer, the girl who was killed in Charlottesville, especially her Mom's trenchant eulogy that begins some 50:00 minutes into the service and her Dad's touching eulogy some 14:00 minutes in.  The Left, whether Alt-Left or ordinary Left, needs to listen.  The idea is to speak up, make noise, be heard; otherwise you get what you get, a world defined by others.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stupid Libertarians

I entitled this essay “Stupid Libertarians” to get your attention, or maybe the attention of self-identifying Libertarians.

Some of the smartest friends I have ever had were Libertarians.  I never understood why they were Libertarians, and I think that we argued at cross-purposes, each of us not really understanding the other.

And I know that there are different flavors of Libertarianism.  But they have a common core.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Repeal and Replace

Republicans are in trouble.  Repeal and Replace is a great campaign slogan but it is fraught with land mines that are armed and dangerous.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Intro to Ben's Care

If you are young, reasonably healthy, have a decent job with employer-paid health insurance, you may well wonder: why is health care such an important political issue in the United States?  But you may know the answer anyway: 1) too many Americans have no access to health care because of poverty or bad health, and 2) over-all, health care costs our economy way too much (17.8% of the GDP on its way to 20% by 2024).

But before I begin my pitch, may I ask you about your last doctor visit.  Do you know how much your doctor billed your insurance?  Do you care how much he or she billed your insurance?  How much would you care if you had to pay for the visit yourself?  And knowing how much he or she charged, would you have made the appointment in the first place?  No, really, answer these questions honestly before reading on.