Dean Clough

November 19, 2021

Portico Darwin: It's Cultured

Said no one:  "Portico, would you be so kind as to comment upon the raging Culture War in America?"

My pleasure, and thanks for asking.  And "Culture War" is so much nicer-sounding than "Civil War"!

I often point out that there's a dearth of policy ideas coming from what is currently the Republican party.  Instead, they seek electoral advantage by dividing us over sensitive topics.  Topics that used to be either sacrosanct (science and voting) or not discussed at all in polite company (most everything else) are now red-meat fodder for their partisan cannons.  Topics like these.

Be it climate change or vaccines, it is now some kind of right-wing virtue signal to deny the wisdom that came with The Enlightenment and The Renaissance.  Dr. Fauci and other leading scientists across a broad spectrum of study change their guidance and observations over time because that's the way learning works

This is the pinnacle of Culture War nuance - or lack thereof.  The factual history of how Indigenous people and enslaved Blacks and their descendants were treated, and their true place in our shared history, needs to be told and taught.  But no one wants you to hate yourself as a white American in the process - just perhaps understand the role of Black Americans in our history a bit better.  That's not so bad, is it?  Or is it?

Flag and National Anthem Idolatry
This is an easy one!  These are symbols of the USA, not the country itself.  Plus, they're also symbols of what our country stands for.  And right there in the First Amendment, it says something about "freedom of speech".  Many, many people have fought and died over protecting our rights and freedoms as Americans.  Choosing not to stand or otherwise salute the country or its symbols is absolutely one of those rights. 

Or put a bit more directly:  what part of "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" don't you understand?

Christianity as "The National Religion"
Let's stay with the First Amendment of the US Constitution for a bit longer.  Here is an exact quote:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof."

In other words, in America, we have
  • the Separation of Church and State, and 
  • Freedom of Religion

So Christianity is decidedly not our national religion.  That is an objective fact, one any Constitutional scholar will confirm.  Further, and as much as some find the word repugnant, we are a secular nation.  One can worship a God or not, and faith and mysticism are not a part of governing.  What a great combo!  Room for everybody, and fact-based, too!

Transgender Americans
Are Americans.  That means they should get the same things I do, like respect and dignity.  Further, I don't give a rat's ass what bathroom anyone uses, nor should you.  And oh my, the uproar over transgender participation in amateur sports?  Is this really the biggest problem we're facing as a nation and as a people?

Voter fraud has been studied, and studied again.  And in the wake of Trump's corrosive Big Lie, it's been adjudicated, and adjudicated again.  Where it's found at all, voter fraud doesn't occur at anywhere near the volume needed to impact an election, nor could it, if you think about it.  Yet a whole bunch of folks want to make it harder to vote - under the guise of protecting our elections from voter fraud. 

But ask yourself:  If Republicans weren't afraid of what the electorate might do, why the extreme  gerrymandering and voter suppression?  If they were confident their policy ideas were winners with voters, wouldn't they want more people voting?

"Support The Troops"
Who the hell doesn't support someone who volunteers to do something virtuous?  Let alone volunteering with life and limb?  I just worked with a bunch, and let me tell you, it's humbling.

But that does not translate into a free pass.  US troops and and their superiors have committed atrocities since the beginning, and they still do today.  I salute your service, but do the right thing in our name.   And when you don't, there must be real consequences. 

Oh, and this:  we could spend about 75% less on defense and be just fine.

I wrote about this recently, and bring it up again, because I find it amongst the most amusing fronts in the Culture War.  It seems that people like me in SF are "elite", and we want to generally destroy the lives of real Americans.  You know, like the Cunningham family from "Happy Days".

Cunningham Family (1).jpg

In other words, authentically American Americans, not people that eat sushi, vacation in Europe, and take issue with statues honoring dead Confederates (A.K.A. "traitors").  American Americans, that don't hate America. 

But the resumes of those screaming the loudest about saving white America from the awful Elites typically reek of the upper crust themselves:

Tom Cotton:  Harvard, Harvard Law School
Ted Cruz:  Princeton, Harvard Law School
Ron DeSantis:  Yale, Harvard Law School
Josh Hawley:  Stanford, Yale Law School
Glenn Youngkin:  Rice, Harvard Business School, Carlyle Group
Stephen K. Bannon:  US Navy Lieutenant, Goldman Sachs, Hollywood

I'll stop here.  I don't want a Culture War.  I don't want any war.  But rather than fanning the flames, how about Republicans getting real and proposing some market-based, conservative solutions for what ails us?   No doubt some of my progressive friends love to play identity politics, which also wrongly divides us.  But Democrats are at least proposing, and even trying to enact, policies to improve America.  What has the Republican party done for America lately? 

I will publish, unadorned with smarm, any reader's comments on today's post.  Where do you agree?  More importantly, where do I have it wrong on the Culture War?

We haven't heard much from him recently, but wow, when I leave out the names and pictures of his Rookie of the Year nominees, Professor Howard Blum Esq. comes out en fuego.  He correctly assumed I'd do an updated post,  and he also pointed out (using the modern telegram) that the kitties' names are Charley and Posey.   Adorable little monsters, no?


The aggrieved Conservative big thinker Raymond Michaels weighed in with an article from the mostly esteemed Wall Street Journal, entitled "Tesla, Toyota Accuse Biden’s EV Tax Credit of Putting Unions Over the Environment".  Sadly, the article is behind a paywall, but here were Raymond's comments.
"Since you’ve been talking about corruption in recent months, thought this falls right into place. Can’t wait to get a Chevy Bolt!!  Crony capitalism at its finest."

I replied to Raymond with a boring diatribe as a rejoinder, which was stupid, as I could not even read the article he had sent.  My apologies, and if Mr. Michaels would be so kind to PDF and send me the article, I'll post it here.  I will say if we're going to have corruption, I'd rather have it skew things towards union-built electric cars vs. subsidizing the fossil fuel industry (which is still going on!).

Everyone will be pleased to know that Redwood City now has broadband service equal to what was available in South Korea 10 years ago.  Yep, Arthur shared the big news that his house now has fiber optic Internet access, and wowed me with his reports of bidirectional multi-gigabit speeds.  We're still waiting in the SF Marina.

Lastly, there were calls (OK, two) for some way to vote on the Rookie of The Year Award category in this year's Darwin Awards.  But who would vote for a dog or a cat over a human baby?  Not Andrew Whistler.  Nope.  Never.  

"How do we vote for Louie?"

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

Some look at America and say "Where have all the good times gone?"  I say they're still right here - we just have to stop the divisive bullshit.

To energize that transition, here is a very good, but not great (no album with the stupidity of "Big Bad Bill" or "Happy Trails" could ever be considered great) Van Halen album, "Diver Down".


This just in, and you'll be glad you made it this far, at least if you like eclectic rock music.  Late yesterday, Arthur turned me on to Porcupine Tree, via this YouTube video.  I am listening now for the first time to one of their proper albums, "Signify", and it is excellent.  Thank you, my friend - I think these guys are keepers.  

And Porcupine Tree may just be the true polar opposite of Van Halen.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.