Four years ago today, I said the following:
In the end, they’re politicians. You’re more than a vote, more than a member of Team Red or Team Blue, more than a client of the state and more than a subject of some would-be ruler’s epideictic blather. None of those things determine your worth.
Don’t get fooled by either side, and may you have as little to do with any of them as possible.
My position remains unchanged. I voted against the previous occupant; I voted against the current occupant. Having said that…
I sincerely hope that we do our best to hold the new administration accountable, with the same level of skepticism we had for the old. I don’t care what the people in power are wearing, listening to, or watching on TV. They aren’t “cool” by any definition I could imagine sharing. Do not frame them as heroes; do not fawn on them as celebrities.
And I think supporters of the new administration should beware of the temptations to which some supporters of the last administration succumbed. I’ve watched people I respected go completely off the rails into conspiracy cults, and I hope they will find their way back to sanity, a view of reality that corresponds with things as they are, rather than one that suits the illusory gnosis to which they have subscribed.
We remember the famous scene in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons. I’ll let St. Wiki review it:
Bolt depicts [Sir Richard] Rich as perjuring himself against More in order to become Attorney-General for Wales. [Thomas] More responds, “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world… but for Wales?”.
How much worse, to abandon one’s commitment to reason, common sense, and the republican process for a populist sideshow barker? At least Wales has beauty.
It’s useful, I think, to remember that sometimes, the enemy of my enemy is just some other asshole.
Of course, I also hope we remember that so many people are so invested in Team Red and Team Blue because we have allowed government into too much of our lives. And with that diminution of the private sphere, the region where civil society once existed, we have accepted the idea that winning an election empowers a majority to ride roughshod over the minority. At that point, what we have may be democracy, but it’s also mob rule, and we’ve had a spectacularly awful example of mobs in recent days.
So there’s a new administration. I intend to deal with it as I did its predecessor, and those before that. Insofar as I agree with their efforts, I will support them. Insofar as I disagree, I will oppose them. Either way, I don’t intend to be involved with them any more than I have to.
I’ll close with a couple of quotes that I think sum up my position pretty nicely. First, from the Psalmist:
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.. (Ps. 146:3, KJV.)
The other one comes from Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine:
What do you mean I don’t support the system? I go to court when I have to.
However you feel today, be well.