Let’s talk Pre-Politics.

With the GOP tax bill – which experts can all agree is less of a bill and more of a swindling of the American public in the wee hours of the night – and then the first gun legislation since the largest mass shooting being one that gives nutjobs more access to guns, the Republican party has officially passed over the threshold between benign negligence into outright aggression.

In other words, it used to be: “I can convince myself of these deadbeat lies that serve my self interests because [insert Christian morality propaganda here],” and now it’s “Yo, I want to steal everyone’s fucking money and then give them a bunch of guns so they kill each other.”

The question I often ask myself is, how did we get here?

There are the brainwashed masses who still believe that, despite the GOP efforts to steal their healthcare, gleefully steal money and put pedophiles in charge, Republicans suddenly have their best interests at heart when they unconditionally uphold the Second Amendment.

But let’s think about how we can still change the world, if we last past the holidays.

We’ve come to this kakistocracy, or Idiocracy if you’re feeling comical, by way of the pre-political ideals that run our world from behind the scenes.

Yes, it’s just beliefs that I’m talking about here. Our beliefs. But I’m calling them pre-political ideals to make a point here, and that is: instead of bickering over the ins and outs of politics everyday, like I’m currently doing, let’s examine the beliefs that have shaped the lumps and valleys of the colostomy bag that is American politics today.

(TRUTH BE TOLD: I have never seen a colostomy bag before. Do they have lumps?)

Let’s start with one belief that rules our world.

Humans prefer cockiness to expertise {source}

When blind swagger is more compelling to you than years of knowledge, the people in charge are gonna be experts at confidence and incompetent at the actual job at hand. Our President himself has ridden the wave of unchecked Alpha Dominance to the highest level of office in one of the most powerful countries in the world. I fear for our country and for the world.

Many of you might be nodding your heads in agreement, but I see you, and I know that you personally have ignored my experience in our last meeting together, because I delivered it in a meek and feminine voice. When you asked me a certain question I didn’t know the answer to, I told you that I didn’t know. When you asked me a question that I knew the answer to, I answered using the years of expertise that I have, instead of slapping a meaty hand on the table and saying “Don’t worry, I got this.” But you didn’t believe me because I didn’t deliver my answers with unwavering gusto.

Men, you are especially bad about this. You need to listen to more shaky or quiet or female voices. You need to trust that if someone knows their limits, they are more trustworthy because they will be honest when they really do fucking know.

Manipulation is encouraged without limits.

It might be my line of work, but nearly every job I’ve had has taught me manipulation as a tactic to do my job. In the music industry, my band manager boss taught me to dangle free tickets over a writer’s nose to get them to write about our artists. Or to do favors for important people, without their asking, and then come back to them when we need some last minute coverage to demand repayment.

With all of the issues surrounding consent with the #MeToo revolution, let’s look at other ways people cross boundaries (like trying to alter someone’s behavior, or starting an exchange of favors) without consent.

The same boss asked me every day what I thought of my coworker’s performance. I was very close to the coworker, and carpooled to work with him everyday. I didn’t see anything wrong with his performance, but my boss began to insert the seed of doubt with these regular talks.

Finally, he fired my coworker without warning. The thing was, I felt like I couldn’t quite mutiny over this because I had been made complicit in the firings, even if I hadn’t outright agreed with my boss.

Manipulation often involves trapping people into feeling certain ways.

When I had children, I experienced an outright crisis of morals when I realized that manipulation is essential to parenting. You can reason all you want with a two-year-old about why they need to brush their teeth, but it just doesn’t work as well as saying “I have a fun game! Let’s see if we can brush off all the sugar bugs in our mouths. I bet I can get more than you. Let’s go!”

But that’s just the thing. Seven, I believe, is the age of reason. It’s the age when children learn reasoning and logic.

After someone is seven years old, we should be able to give them the facts and even, yes, try to persuade them towards our goals without outright manipulation.

Sure, there is plenty of manipulation in the creative realm – after all, if you’re a filmmaker or novelist, convincing someone they’re living in your world for two hours requires manipulation.

But that’s consensual manipulation. Let’s keep it consensual, folks.

Competition is our driving force.

There are an endless number of forces that move us to do more: curiosity, the creative urge, love, flow, skepticism, truth, peace, well-being, and you get the idea.

And yet, our country teaches us that competition is the only thing that we can actually trust to motivate people.

From the moment we are shoved out of the womb, we are being told that the reason to do something is to do it better than the person next to us.

No wonder we are sowing seeds of hate for our fellow man.

I want to tell you something. I have never given a fuck about what the person next to me is doing. I was never competitive with my siblings, and we enjoy great relationships because of it.

My life is 1000% better without an ounce of competitive spirit.

The only place where a total lack of competitive spirit has harmed me is on board game night and in sports.

So I just don’t do sports.

Recently I was going five miles OVER the speed limit over a winding mountain pass, and not one, but THREE UNAFFILIATED VEHICLES cut into the oncoming traffic lane to pass me, almost crashing into each other and killing my family in the process.

It was competition at the highest stakes for zero rewards, because I ended up catching up with them within a minute. We all literally almost died for nothing.

We’ve all been late and cut through traffic before, but sometimes I look at the way people drive and wonder, “Are you trying to get somewhere or just kill everyone?”

We encourage competition from an early age because it’s lazy parenting. “I don’t want to brush my teeth.” “Oh yeah? Well your sister just did a great job brushing her teeth.” We encourage competition because we think if we remove it, people will just sit staring at walls and grunting.

As a noncompetitive person, I’m here to tell you that you will be much more productive if your fuel is anything other than the empty calories of competition. After creating two whole human beings from scratch, I just wrote two books I have on the brink of publication (here’s hoping) on top of my two PR clients, and I’m doing just fine, thank you.

I am much more motivated than most people I know, and have even been called “ambitious,” because I’m motivated by forces that are rich and fulfilling. Creativity. Love. Truth. The satisfaction of being in the flow of work. These are plenty.

We celebrate unchecked individualism.

Look, as a total weirdo I appreciate a society that protects the rights of individuals. If I were living in a society where fitting quietly into the collective norms was a priority, my opinionated writerly ass would be booted out right quick.

But I hate that the right of the individual has gone so far as to harm the safety of others. Some hazy right of a dude who wants to carry a killing machine is held above my right to ride the bus with my son without our getting accidentally shot.

This is the same idiotic brand of individualism – at the cost of the entire collective – that people espouse when they forget how things like taxes or insurance work. When faced with the inequalities of the child tax credit with the new GOP tax bill, a Facebook stranger said, “Of course the single mother only making $18,000/year won’t get a child tax credit and the Senator making $174,000 will get $4,000, because he is putting more into the system.”

So, is it that her poor child doesn’t count? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I thought the whole point of a child tax credit is to offset the costs of raising a child. Helping those who need it keeps our economy running smoothly. A single mother making $18,000 will need the help more than a Senator – this system should be designed with her in mind. If it’s not helping her, then why should the child tax credit exist at all? The Senator doesn’t need the help.

Similarly, I’ve heard a lot of privileged white healthy men saying, “Why do I need to pay for insurance when I barely use the doctor?”

The way health insurance works is that the healthy folks kind of subsidize the unhealthy folks. If the healthy folks all bowed out of insurance, it wouldn’t work.

Billionaires across the country are building bulletproof dungeons under their mansions. They are hiring companies that build banks to create safe rooms in their homes, in the eventuality of natural disaster or apocalypse.

Preppers are collecting years’ worth of food and supplies in case of the zombie (or Republican) revolution. They post angry blogs on their websites like “WHY EVERYONE IS NOT PREPPING SPOILER ALERT IT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE PLANNING ON MOOCHING OFF OF YOU.”

In a nutshell, we are at this radical crossroads of humanity where somewhat cool ideals like “Individualism!” are being seen through to their ridiculous ends.

This celebrated self reliance is a point of pride for many libertarians, and I think it’s indication of a shitty human being. I can’t disagree that being prepared is a good thing. I just think you’re focusing on the worst parts of humanity. If you plan for the apocalypse, you might not even notice the possibility for Utopia right in front of your eyes.

We keep acting as though we’re planning for something horrible to happen that’s outside of our ability to control it.

That may be true in the future, but at this point in time, we are still the ones who are in control of what will happen. We just have to decide right now: should we have a loving society that nourishes its people so that they can thrive, trusting our neighbors and helping those who need help? Or are we going to be shitty and start the apocalypse?

Don’t be shitty. Don’t start the apocalypse. Seems like an easy choice to me.

 

One thought on “Let’s talk Pre-Politics.

  1. Solely on the firearm legislation – It’s not a big deal at all since it only affects the federal laws involved. They cannot compel the states to provide reciprocity in CCW matters as those are matters solely between several States.

    For a comparison, look at the Driver License Compact, which is what allows you to have one drivers license and one driving record that works in 50 states.

    Like

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