The Czar and his family spent a wonderful weekend off-line, thank you, at a fantastic and ancient lake home up in Wisconsin with a large group of people. The days were filled with swimming, boating, eating, bonfires, and a hell of a lot of drinking.
Once, not too long ago, discussing politics in a mixed group of polite people would have been a social error of monumental proportions; however, thanks to the thrashing death throes of the Left and the incessant milquetoast crumbling of the Right, our society is in a position where you must choose sides, lest a side be chosen for you. Discussing your peculiar extremist viewpoint is as de rigueur as chatting about the road construction on Westmoreland. The Czar thinks this is sad.
In our particular crowd, we were treated to a spectrum of political opinions: we had two ardent Trump supporters, some libertarians, a self-proclaimed independent (but admittedly more often Republican), die-hard conservatives, a wing-nut Sanders supporter, loyal liberal Democrats, fairly strong progressives, and so on… everything from extreme on each side to squishy on all fronts. The Czar is not certain anyone held back on their particular views, and that made a big difference.
But being a mixed group of polite people, we preferred not to argue and scream but to find common ground. And while you would be forgiven for thinking that common ground is surprising success in the age of shrieking, the areas upon which we agreed were really quite unfortunate. Our conclusions, in no particular order:
- These are the worst political candidates we’ve ever seen. Yeah, we’ve had some stinkers before, but not on both sides at the same time.
- Even the Democrats in our group understand that Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate and will not, if successfully elected, be viewed on as a great president. She’s lying, manipulative, and has no authenticity. Indeed, her political agenda trumps any real love she should have for her country.
- Speaking of Trump, even his two supporters in our group realize he’s a man-child of reckless compulsion. At some level, they admit, this whole campaign seems to be a political protest that has gotten out of his control.
- The Czar will not condemn anyone for voting for Trump to defeat Hillary, nor for declining to vote for Trump on principle. 2016 is not an election to be judgmental when the candidates are this bad.
- Whether you are on the Right or the Left, we are in serious trouble as a country. Not so much an existential threat to our own existence, but a growing sense that every imaginable issue is being exaggerated into outright nonsense, with people being forced to pick an opinion.
- Everyone wishes that someone—anyone—could have displaced Hillary Clinton on the Democrats. Well, anyone but Bernie Sanders. Our one pro-Sanders participant admits he’s a clown, but believes (correctly, in our estimation) that Sanders actually forced Clinton to campaign. Previously, if you recall, she was avoiding any public appearances or speaking engagements.
- Our conservatives and looser Republicans dearly hoped someone other than Trump would be the presumptive nominee. And yes, the Trump supporters expressed a wish that a more mainstream Republican would have taken a populist tone earlier on and produced a better campaign. In other words, they like Donald Trump’s idea, but not the man or his campaign. Alternates? One hoped Sen. Ted Cruz could have started off less pissy and run the campaign he eventually did, and the other would have liked to seen Sen. Rand Paul come out meaner and tougher. Fair criticisms, the Czar acknowledges.
- Both Republicans and Democrats believe the other side is going to win. That was interesting.
- No matter who wins, it’s likely to be a long four years and a probable single term. The presidency is too tough a job, and cracks will show right away, they believe. The Czar did not mention that if anyone was too lightweight to be re-elected, it was Barack Obama, but we’ve covered that at length on this site.
Naturally enough, the Czar was delighted to spend time with others outside our respective echo chambers. We came to little agreement on firearms (most of us, though, were enthusiasts; only a couple were anti-gun), a lot of agreement that Islam does not deserve the protection it’s getting from the Left, total agreement on Brexit being a good thing, and that the media are basically behind all our cross-loathing. Ah yes, the media: the biggest echo chamber there is.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.