Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why They Hate Us

After 9/11 there were numerous articles speculating on the motive of the terrorists whose suicide missions resulted in the deaths of thousands. Why do they hate us? a columnist would ask, and then the answer was often a variation of: they hate us because of our freedoms.

Maybe. Maybe it's more nuanced.

After the Orlando massacre (6/12) where a muslim American killed at least 50 people in a gay nightclub, I began to see the parallel strains of homophobia and Islamic extremism.

It's become almost a given, hasn't it, that the most homophobic people (men) are curious about the gay lifestyle? It started as a trope and then became a stereotype -- the kind of stereotype that persists because of a fundamental truth. For one obvious example, anti-gay Senator Larry Craig who was caught allegedly soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom. More examples are documented in Kirby Dick's film "Outrage."

This hypocritical homophobia seems to stem from frustration and self-hatred by men who are unable to express their sexuality and are enraged by seeing other men who are comfortable with themselves.

I've never understood the anti-gay marriage argument that same sex marriages would destroy "traditional marriage." I don't see how it changes my marriage one way or another, but perhaps closeted men and women see a problem if they might feel more empowered to dissolve a "traditional" marriage for something else.

At this moment, there is not much we know about Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter. The New York Times noted that his father noted the younger Mateen's homophobia. But Omar also allegedly called 911 to declare his allegiance to ISIS before his killing spree.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Political Theories

Here's my theory: Donald Trump got into the race as a lark, a marketing gimmick.

A lot of people have that theory. And of course he did better than expected, which was great for marketing and then people started effusively praising him which was great for his ego.

But now he's the presumptive Republican candidate and he has a problem. In the general election, he will either a) lose and become a "loser" like Romney and Bob Dole and that loser John McCain who allowed himself to be captured during war; or b) become president, a position that must look more daunting and hard to wrap your head around the closer you get to it.

Yes, I think Trump still doesn't actually want to be president. I mean, I'm sure he'd like to be president the way I would: be president for a day, with a congress that goes along with everything I say, pass three laws of meaning to me and then step down. But four years of actual presidency? And Trump doesn't like the GOP establishment, the kind of people who could actually supply him with cabinet secretaries and advisors to actually help him.

So here's the theory as of today. Trump doesn't want to be president and he's purposefully flaming out to try to avoid becoming the GOP candidate. Thus the remarks about impartial judges recently. He's trying to get fired before the GOP convention.

Here's another theory: if Trump is the GOP candidate, he will not win, but there could be a lot of trouble for Democrats in the near future.

I know that people say that Trump would motivate a Democratic base to vote down ballot for senators and representatives, but the other part of this is the GOP money machine. If Trump is the candidate, the Kochs and others will fund the billions of dollars they had ear-marked for this year into races for state houses and mayors and city councils. Those races don't make the news and people will be much more easily swayed by advertising dollars.

The problem then is that there will be incumbents leading up to 2020 and the next census. Then those state houses will redraw congressional districts and make more safe GOP seats meaning more extreme candidates from the right.

So, for the record, those are my theories of the moment. I hope some of them are wrong.