Calcutta Club: Please Remain Calm
Welcome to a new corner for my musings and observations. The Calcutta Club is the latest platform for me to speak my mind, only this time while enjoying my favorite vice: cigars. The name for the feature comes from the room where the writers of the 24 television series tossed ideas around and developed the script for the show.
Cigar of the Day: Punch Elite Maduro
Yup. Several months of sickness late and I can finally enjoy a premium, hand-rolled cigar. I am a very, very happy JP.
Now, let’s get down to the musings of the day. It has come to my attention in the midst of enjoying this smooth Honduran flavor, that my nation has an election coming up. While I am an old man with fairly old opinions, I am not in the mindset of using my platform to tell people how to exercise their duties as a citizen…with the minor exception of the 2017 Pakistan National Assembly elections, but that’s neither here nor there. More important than any political or ideological expression is an acknowledgment of the times we are living in and the vain, possibly naïve hope that we, as a nation, are not too far gone. Today, I want to muse on that and hopefully, artfully stumble on an idea that may yet save us. But first, we have to all acknowledge a few things. The first is fairly simple:
We have a lot of very stupid people in politics right now.
Now, I know the easiest target for some concerning this statement is the current President of the United States. No. The operative word here is ‘we’: as in all of us. Only rarely in the history of this country has every political faction been able to count the collective brain cells of its many in its membership using a professional hockey score. The fault for this is purely ours as a citizenry. Our national and local governments are a reflection of what we expect them to be and do in office. Using that barometer, all we are expecting as a nation is emotional validation at all cost. And the cost of that can be see around you every day in both the short and long term issues facing our nation. We have a pandemic that requires central planning and broad consensus on any mitigation efforts, an economy driven by debt and spending that is far too temperamental to last, our debt is spiraling, we still are not ready as a nation to discuss what local police reform would even look like, we may never address the racial issues that is exploited by serious issues in our criminal justice and, oh yeah, domestic and international terrorism are still an everyday thing. But yes, let’s ignore all of that and talk about our feelings. Should be alright.
One thing that has given me hope in this ridiculous times are the growing amount of people who are just flat-out sick of it. I have seen people compare voting to taking a bus, purchasing stock and, most amusingly, demanding ‘Any Functioning Adult’ in the Office of Presidency. Their is a hunger in this country from calm in politics: perhaps even mundanity. That may seem to be counter-intuitive, but nothing good can be accomplished in a panic. If we’re even going to begin to address the issues facing our nation, the vast majority of us have to remain calm and refuse to be led around by those who exploit emotion. That’s the only way we can even hope to get down to business (to defeat the Huns).
To those still tempted to feel their way through the next few days or are preparing to fire off a series of comments of how I don’t understand, allow me to retort: no, I probably don’t. I’m not comparing my life situation or history to yours, nor am I assuming we are equally affected by the actions of state and federal government. However, having worked with stakeholders in both of these fields, I know the first thing they learn to tune out in office are people pouring their emotions onto them and demanding a reaction. This is harsh but true: no one cares. and no one will be made to care. The best hope for change isn’t in assuming either side of the aisle has a heart big enough to include you: they don’t (and I include AOC, Trump, Trudeau and Your Favorite in that count). Your best option is to make your case coldly and consistently, using small goals to build to the prize and not letting up until you win. That’s how anything has ever gotten done in any system of government: including the one you think will fix everything if we were just willing to try it.
This isn’t a note dismissing what may come tonight. I myself will be busy wrapping up campaign business in my home state and may be heading out of the first flight tomorrow AM to work with some other group to do the same. I may well be blinded by the fact that, for me, politics is a business. No matter what happens, the fringe nationalists on the Right will find an excuse to tangle with black block anarchists on the Left across this country. There will be some level of violence and destruction because that’s the current state of the country. But, after that, most Americans will deal with the chaos and move on. Hopefully anyone looking for an excuse to be a vindictive child will spend the night in a cell and can reconsidered their actions. And, hopefully, we will get a more boring politick after this. I think we could all use it.
The United States of America is my country: even with all of its faults. I don’t have any insider knowledge on who will win on what level, but no matter how it shakes out I’m not going anywhere. Good luck to all of my fellow citizens at the polls today and no matter what happens, please remain calm.