Manipulate

By the time this is posted, the Electoral College will have voted.  The outcome will be properly certified and the last predictable point for drama will have come and gone.  Surely some of the Electors will prove faithless to their voters and faithful to one of the reasons behind the existence of the Electoral College in the first place: making sure we have a President qualified and fit for office.  The long-shot hope for a wide-spread revolt is only that at the time of writing, but an underlying philosophy will hold true regardless.

Manipulation is a bad plan.  It comes from the notion that the manipulator 1) knows better than the manipulated, 2) has the right to use any means necessary to change the outcome in his favor, and 3) has some super-human power to exert control with out blow-back* of some kind.  The reality that catches up to everyone eventually is that the only thing you can ever truly control is yourself, and that is a full time job.

Our Democracy has seen some epic manipulation.  While one could never claim that both sides are free of shenanigans, the GOP has outmaneuvered the DNC by an epic margin.  Using the census to carve out DNC-proof districts.  Voter suppression through Operation Cross Check.  Fox News.  Breitbart.

I’m not saying that Rachael Maddow is some Walter Cronkite from 1970, reporting the news straight up, no chaser or perspective.  Her opinions are liberal, but her facts are checkable.

For all that the right is skeptical of news sources that seem to lean away from their political ideology, they aren’t usually skeptical at all when the news story agrees with already-held beliefs.  The left is harder to fool with fake news: the fake news money is in stories about FBI agents in towns that don’t exist committing suicide after investigating Hillary.  Sorry.  Killary.

Meanwhile, on the left side of the imaginary aisle, the DNC’s manipulations in favor of HRC in the primary gave them a historically weak candidate to run against a man who clearly knew his audience.  What did we get?  Blow-back.

It hit the DNC in a very clear cause-and-effect, all in a short period of time.

But don’t worry.  Blow-back is coming to the GOP as well.  They have out-played the DNC, no question.  But they aren’t as smart as they think they are, because their planning is flawed.  They are planning for power, not for preventing problems.  If they were planning for the probable future, then they would be doing something about climate change, they would assess income inequality as a threat to civil society which makes commerce and capitalism possible, and they would cut back on some wealth gains today to keep from the pitchforks of the proletariat tomorrow.

HRC’s email thing was a problem of manipulation, of attempting to exert control over an outcome that wasn’t hers to control.  She didn’t want her conversations to be subject to public scrutiny.  She installed a server to prevent public scrutiny.  Her private server subjected her to a vast increase of public scrutiny.

You meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.

I say put what you got out there in plain language, stand by your convictions, and let the cards fall where they may.  I’d rather fail by being straightforward than succeed and have the manipulation I did to achieve that success prove to be my undoing.  If I’m going to fall down, I’ll do it on my own thanks.  No need to have the weight of my maneuverings knock me over when I think I’ve gotten away with something.

Take it to the bank: the shenanigans will come back to haunt both parties.**

*blow-back: the CIA’s term for the reaction to your action that you didn’t see coming.  For example, you throw shit at the fan and some gets in your mouth.  You train Bin Laden and he uses that training against you.  You arm Saddam Hussein and he turns into a monster.

**side note: why do you think no one trusts any of these elections outcomes?  Because both parties have been playing fast and lose with the process for so long, anything seems possible.  Neither party seems to hold the truth in any particular regard, so what aren’t they capable of?

To be fair, this is partially our fault.  Someone shows up with simple answers (I’m going to bring jobs back) and we hire them on the spot.  The more complicated answer – manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back and addressing the problems of a crippled small-town America is going to be complicated and might require us all giving up some of our orthodoxy in favor of something new – doesn’t get anyone elected.  So until we demand and receive something like the truth, we’re going to get what we deserve out of our leadership.

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Manipulate

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