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On Trump and the Race To The Bottom

Clayton Lin: Weighing In

On Trump and the Race To The Bottom

Andrew Ryan

Isolation isn’t a healthy thing. I haven’t been out of the house for a while, most of the time spent divided between looking for work, and fine-tuning decks, as well as reading the media. It is true what they say, the media does make one feel miserable- especially when combined with not having much to do. Wish I remembered to save money for Doogs instead- mud soaked fun, from all the reports I heard.

So the trending topic of late has been the Republican candidate once again- the fact that he makes a lot of crude remarks, opens him up to wide-scathing criticism, stateside and around the world. His most recent remarks, or rather, technically footage from eleven years ago (which I won’t reproduce here), but almost seemingly treated as if he had made them yesterday. Granted they are very crude and demeaning, and I personally wouldn’t stand for it (I’m a man in favour of honouring personal liberties), but you know its a race to the bottom when that is the main focus of the election cycle.

The current American election cycle is at worst a farce, and at best, entertainment. One can’t deny it is the most entertaining in some respects. It is a highly partisan battle, with much of the mainstream media combined with personalities, going basically all-in on him- something along the lines of Hitler comparisons, and how he will be the man to press the nuclear button over a snarky comment on his hairstyle, which I doubt, since his real estate empire would be the first thing to disappear in the coming nuclear holocaust, at the same time accusing anyone of not being with Hillary as a sexist, misogynist and definitely/most-likely racist, when in reality, there’s a lot of reasons that not everyone, whether on the liberal side or the slightly closer to the, isn’t entirely with her- such as her record on foreign policy and war-waging, for example. This has the second order effect of reducing trust in the mainstream media (which is already at a low watermark), as it looks like both sides is just spewing spin and propaganda, with a dash of muckraking and slander (this is how journalism dies, folks).

I find the portrayal fascinating, as it shows how polarized the modern world has become when it comes to politics. To paraphrase Orwell, each side believing in the atrocities of the other, whilst not of their own, of which both sides of the spectrum are guilty- each side is closing ranks within its own echo chamber- and media pieces out-doing one another in publishing hit pieces on the Donald. As for the debates, I think it is a meaningless, except a further race to the bottom where nothing of import is discussed, things like foreign policy, or the economy, or a vision of the future (Trump is barely winning on this part, just barely, but his vision of the future is restoring a little bit of the past), but by and large that is honestly how elections seem to happen in the U.S. and to some degree, Australia as well, where personality trumps policy.

This is assuming all discussion of politics, and polling at the booth is done calmly, with consideration of all its facts, but do not underestimate a little bit of Anarch in everyone, voting against the establishment out of spite, voting against an establishment that has clearly failed them in favour of something different- whether or not it ends up biting them back is irrelevant. Brexit was a taste of that, and we should take it seriously. And the reaction from the younger generation and people on the left-side of politics was nothing short of vile. Comments like how old people ruined it all and that those who voted Leave were idiots (and followed by some murmur of that only smart people should be the one getting the right to vote), and that the working classes voting against their self interest and so on and so for. The very real danger of the underestimating people that aren’t within your social circle, tends to translate in shock results, and contributes to society being more divided than ever. If Trump wins, expect articles like “Why Democracy Is Bad.”, or “It’s the Time for The Elites To Rise Up Against The Ignorant Masses.”

I wouldn’t endorse either candidate. But even if Hillary wins, to the cheers of many, it will be a hollow victory, more of the same will continue. But I definitely do not endorse the sort of attitude that permeates among people who believe in progressive ideals. Human decency is a progressive ideal too.

Enough from me. I’m probably going to spend the weekend watching a lot of gaming-related streams- the League of Legends World Championship and Magic The Gathering: Pro Tour Kaladesh (hoping that a version of my deck would win, or at least get close, at the same time wishing the reverse, because I don't like the thought of sideboard hate aiming at mine.). I also need to get out of the house. Spring is here, and I no longer need to be decked in woollen armour.