Re-Share: Has Bernie Sanders Been Casting Pearls Before Swine?

As the world sits silently and watches the COVID-19 crisis unfold, it is easy to feel like life is on pause as we learn to face this new and unexpected challenge. Perhaps sadly, that is not the case, and even as we focus on the fresh fight ahead of us, old and familiar cycles are repeating themselves right under our noses.

Today, we look back to a post from June 5th, 2016. Has America learned nothing in the four years since then?

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This week, the American people will have their final chance to capitalize on the heartfelt platform of hope proffered by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Will they take this opportunity, or has Bernie merely been casting pearls before swine?

We’ll find out on June 7th, as the DNC hosts their final major round of primaries, with 6 states holding contests, and a grand-total of 694 pledged delegates up for grabs. As of the writing of this article, the pledged delegate count sits at 1500 for Bernie Sanders, and 1770 for his opponent Hilary Clinton.

It must here be noted that this does not include super-delegates—the patently undemocratic party elites who are afforded the opportunity to pledge their loyalty according to their personal interests, rather than the will of their constituents. Of these, Hillary currently has 520, while Bernie holds a comparably measly 45. Although these super-delegates have currently promised their loyalty as such, their support is not locked in until the Convention in July. It’s possible therefore that the events of June 7th could weigh heavily on this final process, and herein lays Bernie Sander’s greatest hope.

sandersBased on these current numbers, Sanders would need to take ~71% of the vote on the 7th in order to enter the Convention with a compelling argument. It’s a tall order to be sure—but not wholly impossible. Still, even if Sanders and Clinton went to convention with relatively equal delegate counts, the onus would be on Sanders to convince the super-delegates to throw their support behind him—a revolutionary thinker who has consistently challenged the very sort of entrenched Establishment politics upon which the super-delegates are based.

It’s not an encouraging scenario, and it brings us back to our initial question. In his campaign, Bernie has been infallibly consistent in the message he’s delivered to the American electorate. His vision is that of a nation which values its people as a whole, and not simply its business owners and billionaires. He has captivated the youth and other well-meaning people of the nation with the rather seditious notion that government must serve its people: that fair taxes must be paid by everyone, and that the use of those taxes must at all times be aimed at improving the station of the population as a whole—rather than merely protecting the interests of the rich and powerful.

For the majority of the civilized world, these ideas are already held as sacrosanct. Unfortunately for him, Bernie Sanders is running in America, where the reek of Reaganomics still lingers in the very fabric of the economic structures, and the working class still confuses the meanings of freedom and fiefdom.

So if Bernie’s natural empathy for the working class and indefatigable hope for the future have captured the minds of the electorate, it may prove rather less effective in securing the support of the ruling elite. Rather, his argument will soon switch focus—insisting (and not without merit) that he is the most likely Democratic contender to topple Donald Trump—that unholy mess streaming down from the recently self-eviscerated GOP.

Unfortunately, the Democratic National Committee is firmly entrenched in its current politics—hell, their pocketbooks depend on it. So this argument—though valid—may still fall upon deaf ears, leaving America in a more dismal situation than ever.

If June 7th turns sour for Bernie, this rare opportunity for positive growth will have been momentarily squandered, and Americans will be left with a choice between Donald Trump: a hair-brained demagogue promising to fan the already raging flames of fear and bigotry, or Hillary Clinton: a sorry shill of a candidate whose sound-bite message changes with every opinion poll, but whose true priorities are as intrinsically tied to Wall St. and the corporate elite as is her fundraising. Either would likely mean another four years of rule by corporate interests…and a depressing admission that despite the growing mass of well-informed and even-headed voters, the powers that be still have a fatal stranglehold on American politics.

For voters on both sides of the political spectrum, this scenario would amount to little more than a compulsion to vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’—all while knowing full well that the end result will favour the entitled rich, and further isolate the vast majority of society from active political discourse.

1401x788-Screen-Shot-2015-06-04-at-12.45.15-PMHowever, this won’t be the case…at least not entirely. The message Bernie has been spreading is nothing new—hell, he’s been saying it the entirety of his 35-year political career, and most of his life besides that. What’s more, it is the ever-growing sentiment of the caring and politically-informed—not restricted to the young alone as the media often claims—open and accessible to all with the mind to understand the scope of their situation, and the resolve to damn well do something about it.

Bernie has not created this movement, but rather he has acted as the lightning rod for an already growing resistance. He has become the voice of a generation who have had enough of the unfair playing field they have been given, and who seek to build a system that is fair and compassionate; one which provides for all of its citizens the opportunity to flourish in a country which has no justifiable reason to offer anything less.

While Bernie has been the mouthpiece, this surging tide will not end with his campaign (should it indeed end). Bernie Sanders has shone a light on the reality of our station—showing countless people that they are not alone in their hope for a better world, and that they are not naively idealistic in their expectations. This ever increasing sense of justice is one that cannot help but spread, simply because it is rooted in a truth far more fundamental than the forces of greed and vice against which they strive.

If Bernie’s message could be encapsulated in a few words, it would be this: ‘We can do much better’. He has spoken this time and again—sounding often enough like a broken record—and despite the potentially disappointing results of this year’s primaries; his message has not fallen on deaf ears. People perceive how much better we can do, and even though the forces of greed may once again prevail, the lasting sentiment of this movement will continue to flourish. Now, its message is a bit different. The knowledge of a better world is beyond doubt, but so too are the obstacles to obtaining it all the more evident.

So perhaps Bernie has cast pearls before swine—far too many swine at least. But his pearls have nonetheless been plucked up by deserving and admirable minds, and their message now, seeing the fight before them, may be best expressed with a line stolen from the late great Pete Seeger. Democratic Socialism and Bernie Sander’s Revolution are of one clear and conscientious message: ‘We are not afraid.’

sanders-vpr-laslo-20150910So, although trampled and despoiled, pearls they remain. And if there are dark times ahead, then so too is there the promise of brighter days. The masses, I am convinced, have been awoken, and never again will their eyes be closed to the truth of their oppression, nor from the laudable promise of a fair and equitable world which values it’s humanity above its finances. For this at least, we owe Bernie Sanders a debt of thanks—time alone will reveal just what a great debt that is.

-Brad OH Inc.

Madness, Misers, and the Miserable Prospect of 4 more Years Under Trump

It’s been a dark week—marred by cynicism and maligned by the self-serving greed of a party that claims to be for the people. The Democratic Primaries are tightening, with Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and O’Rourke all dropping out of the race just ahead of the crucial ‘Super Tuesday’—when 14 states cast their votes in the primary race.

Not only did this move clear the field, but also saw each of them endorse candidate Joe Biden, former Obama VP, and a veritable bag of bones who makes beige seem compelling. The choice is most often defended as an electability claim, which seems surprising in regards to a candidate with a pathetically dismal turnout prior to Tuesday—especially given his association with one of the most popular political figures of this generation in President Obama.

Endorsements mean more than they should though—that is to say, more than nothing—and Biden won big on Super Tuesday, landing him in the top spot, with 627 delegates to second place Sanders’ 551 at the time of this writing. The next closest competitor, Warren, held only 64 before dropping out on the 5th of March.

Following Super Tuesday, Scrooge McDuck imitator Bloomberg called it quits on his self-financed bid to buy the coveted spot as leader of the USA, also taking the opportunity to throw his support behind Biden.

This Biden love and the endless claims of electability may seem surprising, given that after the first three primary contests—prior to these endorsements—Biden held a measly 15 delegates to Sanders’ 45.

In truth, arguments that Sanders is not sufficiently ‘electable’ come down to one thing—the old Red scare. Fear of the second half of Sanders bandied ‘Democratic Socialism’ still has many below the Mason-Dixon line soiling their overalls; there’s no denying this fact. But Democratic Socialism is a far stretch from the Communism of old, as we have explored in past articles ‘On Bernie Sanders and Changing Economic Systems’, and ‘What is Democratic Socialism?’.

Still, Sanders and his solutions have become increasingly palatable to the citizens of America since 2016—and even then may have been the far superior choice over Clinton, as explored in the article, ‘Has Bernie Sanders Been Casting Pearls Before Swine?’.

No, it’s a fool who thinks this sudden surge of Biden love from the DNC is motivated by concerns of electability. They’d have learned that lesson last election. Biden is every bit the war-hawk, establishment crony that Clinton was, with less personality than tofu, and an obviously declining mental acuity. He’s a lame-duck candidate who’s already lost two presidential bids. He’s Hillary-light, and lacks even the potential marketability of ovaries. If he gets the nod and does even half as well as she did, it will give credence to nothing beyond the claims that Hillary’s failure to defeat Trump was due largely to America’s discomfort with having a woman at the helm. Either option is a dismal prospect.

No, these endorsements are about something else. No one in the arguably accomplished position of these 4 would be dense enough to tempt fate a second time with a weaker candidate. Trump is many things, and few of them have any proximity to even the most moderately positive traits. But he does have charisma, and he does inspire passion in his fanbase. If he faced Biden on the debate stage, he would devour the old fool—publicly masticating him to the slathering cheers of his ardent supporters.

It would be a god damn massacre.

So why take such a foolish gambit? Clearly, this is an age of extremes. An age of passionate adherence to alternatives, when both left and right seek to sunder themselves from the status quo of the establishment and take back control of their democracy. Trump has given the right that to a tee, and the fervent joy he’s inspired in his loyalists renders them blind to the turmoil he leaves in his wake.

Bernie is the only answer remaining to the left. He is a radical, and he has answers to counter any point of Trumps. Bernie has a plan, he has passion, he has charisma, and he puts people before self-interest. With full acknowledgement of this writer’s bias and personal political leanings, Bernie stands as the best option to help America move into a more progressive and egalitarian future than they’ve ever seen.

Sadly, these endorsements aren’t about any of that. Electability be damned. People, progressives, and democracy itself be damned. These are not progressives, and they barely befit the term democrat, save for the sad reality that the past decade has revealed this to be the very core of the DNC—to protect their own wealth. To live the status quo or die in its defense. That’s just what they are willing to do. For the DNC to repeat the mistakes of 2016 would be the nail in the coffin of their own slow suicide. It would almost certainly mean another 4 years of Trump, which to them would perhaps be the preferable choice over paying slightly more taxes so their constituents could live the ‘high-life’ of accessing the luxuries of health-care and affordable education.

So, the road ahead is a dreary affair, but not hopeless. One of the most interesting factors remaining to be seen is who former candidate Elizabeth Warren will endorse. Will she stick with her progressive aspirations, and join Sanders to create a potentially formidable alliance, or will she go the way of apathetic self-service as the rest have done?

The flow of time is the inevitability of progress. To deny the tides is to be washed away beneath them, and left like the statue of Ozymandias for history to forget.

The people will have their day. The old ways have died, and progress will not be halted forever. In these treacherous times, change is only going one of two ways: Bernie’s, or Trump’s.

The days of the establishment’s status quo are gone. In the past week, they have shown this more than any election ever could.

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Tis the Season…

I heard a quote recently, ‘We’re all just walking each other home.’

The original quote is by Ram Dass, but that’s irrelevant to this writing. The quote might be as well, except to say that it’s suddenly among my favourites.

The holiday season is upon us once again, and that means something different to everyone reading this. Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, or myriad others. Family, joy, connection, isolation, pain. Maybe nothing at all.

There’s a good deal of variety to the season, and that’s to say nothing of the New Year.

Once upon a time, I used to write an essay every New Year. It seemed like a great way to reflect on what I’d accomplished, what I’d loved, what I’d lost, and what I’d yet to learn. I think I hoped that by putting it all down on paper, some great revelation might come down to me from on high and steer me towards some bold new course.

That never happened.

Still, I remain rather fond of the year’s end…or beginning—however you choose to see things. I’d say it’s a sort of glass half-empty or glass half-full kind of thing, but I don’t really think it’s that complicated. Neither is the whole glass idea for that matter. Only if you treat it as such.

What matters, of course, is what’s in the glass. This season, I hope you all have something to fill your cups and warm your guts.

I think the more important thing is the quote above…which is—like any worthwhile idea—about life and death. The terrible truth is that none of us are getting out of this alive. Life isn’t about surviving, it’s just about getting back to the void from whence we came in the most entertaining and enjoyable way possible, and I think that a big part of that comes down to who we’re walking with.

So, as you go along your holiday season, pay attention to those beside you. They’re the only reason for it to matter, after all.

It’s been a while since I’ve written like this. It’s been nice. I have a whiskey beside me, and the pounding of the keyboard is driving out the third playthrough of the album I’ve had on repeat since I first started this dance a couple of hours and several projects ago.

I’ve found a groove.

Writing is about speaking truth, and if you can’t do that, then you have no business writing in the first place. Sure, it requires patience, practice, and just a touch of pugnacity, but without some essential truth to tell, none of that is worth jack shit. Writing is about capturing what you can’t avoid saying, not about forcing yourself to say anything. It’s revelation, not repetition.

That’s it. That’s all I have to say. Now, I’m going away to walk beside those whose company I cherish, if they’ll have me.

I’ll be gone for a bit, and with any luck return to you my dear readers around January 12th. That said, I may be re-visiting the weekly format in favour of publishing whenever the hell I choose. It seems more proper at any rate.

I’m writing another book, and that takes up a good deal of my time and attention.

I don’t make resolutions anymore, so I won’t leave you with any. No false promises, no hollow claims, no empty braggadocio. I’ll be back when I can. Look out for me, especially at unlikely times.

Wait till you see what’s next…

Happy Holidays you filthy animals,

-Brad OH Inc.

Identity and Action

Dear America,

It’s been a while since we talked. Maybe that’s my fault.

On second thought, no, it’s definitely your fault.

You see, with each passing day you become a little more difficult to bear, and it does nothing to make a person want to reach out and connect.

You’ve got a problem, deeply rooted within you, and you just can’t seem to shake it. What makes it worse, you continue to struggle in even accepting what’s wrong. I hear it all the time, even from so far away. It’s a common refrain that so many of you use to brush away the undeniable and reframe the unthinkable.

“Is this really who we are?”

It may seem like harmless rhetoric, or perhaps an attempt to differentiate oneself from the masses, but it’s also insincere, and at its root, fundamentally dishonest.

The questions acts as a challenge, but the fact is that it goes unanswered, when the answer itself is entirely too apparent.

Yes.

Yes, it is who you are.

America, as it is right now, with all the imbecilic deceits and dangerous hatreds, chooses each day who it is.

See, it’s easy to talk about what you want to be, or who you’re going to be, or what you should have been. But these false-identities amount to nothing. We aren’t who we wish we were, and we aren’t who we tell people we are. It’s not about perceived identity, it’s always about action.

You are how you treat others, what you do, and how you conduct yourself. That’s what makes a person (or nation) who they are.

So, America, it’s time to settle your debts, pay the tab, and take account of who you really are. Just as any fitness instructor, diet coach, or motivational speaker will tell you—if you want change, then get up and make it happen.

If this is not who you want to be as a nation, then decide what you do want, and figure out how to make it happen. The excuses are getting old. The time for asking “is this who we are?” has passed.

Yes, it is.

The question now then, must be, “what are you going to do about it?”

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Dear America

I first published this article in August of 2016. Sadly, it is all the more salient today, and therefore, it must be said again…

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Dear America,

It’s time we had a chat. I’ve been thinking about it for some time—stewing and chewing my lip and hoping the feeling would pass. Sometimes, after all, it’s best to wait things out; give it some time, let emotions cool, and perhaps things will just settle down.

It’s gone on long enough now.

It’s nothing major mind you, and I’m certainly not looking to make a ‘big deal’ about this, but there’s something you do far too often to overlook. It’s insulting, disingenuous, and, dare I say, egomaniacal.

So let’s just have it out right now. America, you really, really need to stop claiming it as your solemn duty to protect the world. Freedom is not your export.

As the world watches you plunge into chaos with sorrow and trepidation, it seems a terrible injustice to hear you continue to describe yourselves as world-leaders, while simultaneously chastising the state of the world. Be clear about this—if leaders you are, then you must take full ownership of the bad along with the good.

You have made a commodity of greed, and the pursuit of vice has long overtaken those of liberty and happiness. If you are a role-model, it is primarily for bombast and falsehood—for yelling and kicking dirt and ignoring reason until everyone else gives up on you and you sit alone to wallow in your own petulance.

You speak of freedom and democracy in the same breath as economic-sanctions and drone strikes. You’re like the oversized moron on the playground preaching about self-restraint by playing ‘stop hitting yourself’ with the runt.

It’s not as funny as that analogy may lead you to believe.

It is an insult to the world at large to be chastised about morality by rat-fink purveyors of calamity such as yourselves—it’s beyond ironic, it’s downright pathetic.

But it’s not just about us and our hurt pride. It’s not even only about the importance of owning up to your actions—although this is certainly a laudable goal as well. It’s about you, and the inexpressible importance of being sincere with yourself.

As it stands, you live in a state of terrible cognitive dissonance. Calling for war while praising your mercy, and condemning greed while lining your coffers through the toil of those with less.

It is time you set aside the false braggadocio and face your true self America. Be honest with who you are—own it first, and then decide if you wish to change. For without facing our true selves—we cannot ever hope to be at peace.

Of course, if recent headlines are to be trusted, perhaps taking a good hard look into the mirror is exactly what America has been doing of late. The question then becomes, will you like what you see? (Link)

-Brad OH Inc.

Stick to the Plan

I can’t deny—it’s a good time to be a corporate person. We’ve cleared the way to further controlling access to information, and have made great progress towards ensuring the rights of the elite to use their power to leach from the coffers of the taxpayers.

Yes, for the rich and powerful, for the corporate humans and those born into luxury, it certainly is a wonderful time to be alive. Of course, these boons aren’t limited to the greatest corporations alone, and your humble friends here at Brad OH Inc. have not been idle.

The bounty of the times comes to us all…except the poor of course. So right now, we are kicking back and letting the good times roll…but we’ll talk more about all that later.

For now, we encourage you to relax, sit back, and find solace in whatever joy has been left to you. If that proves to be little, then trust instead in us—big things are coming, and as any sound minded person knows, when the pockets of the corporations swell, something is certain to come trickling down to the rest.

Trust us, and stick to the plan…

-Brad OH Inc.

Who Are We?

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

One phrase that’s heard with depressing frequency these days is the impotent refrain of “this is not who we are”.

It begs the question—who are we?

That’s a pretty deep question to anyone but an asshole.

Personally, I’m a little bit different around pretty much everyone I know.

I notice their sense of humour, the tones and facial expressions they respond to best, establish nicknames and idioms to go back to in need.

Alone? That’s a wildcard.

Still, I don’t expect that’s what makes someone something.

Is it their actions?

Their stories?

The changes they’ve made?

The happiness they’ve created?

…Who am I?

A soul, lost and confused, trying it’s best to do good for the world. Taking it all in—the good, the bad, the perverse, the fanatical. Working to process it all, to understand it all, to bring it all together, and in the light remind it.

…Who it was in the beginning.

-Brad OH Inc.

Re-Share: Why the United States is Not Morally Justified to Limit Immigration

Today, we have an older post for you. Originally posted on July 26th, 2015, this article remains as sadly apt today as it was then. Have things changed at all? For better or worse? Can we still harbour the same hope that was expressed in this article? Can we afford not to?


If there’s one topic permeating public discourse above all others these days, it’s immigration. How to control it, what amnesty programs should be in order, and how it will affect the future of the western world are discussed daily—politicians all sounding off with their own theories, interpretations, and biases.

But the issue is simpler than it’s made out to be. Today, we’re here to discuss why the United States (and the rest of the ‘1st World’ for that matter) has no moral justification to limit immigration whatsoever.

Popular hysteria would find this claim entirely daft no doubt. As Donald Trump elucidated so profoundly in his recent Presidential bid (Link), common perception of immigrants paints a picture of a hoard of locusts come to devastate our pristine and peaceful land. He saw some backlash to be sure (Link), but make no mistake that his sentiments are shared by entirely too large a portion of the population.

So let’s examine the issue a bit more critically.

First off, it must be noted that the North American continent as it is now was built entirely by immigrants. Steel workers, factory workers, road builders and ditch diggers all came from abroad to find the freedom still sought by immigrants today. So there’s an undeniable element of hypocrisy in any claim that immigration is inherently harmful to this or any other nation.

Speaking of past immigration, even if the hotly debated Mexican border were to be shorn open completely, the resulting influx of immigration would be far less destructive to our culture than was our initial immigration to the Native population at the time. But let us not dwell on the past; this is about the present. History continues on by the day, and we must reckon ourselves to the fact that the machinations of the Western World are among the key forces driving the influx of aspiring immigrants around the world. If necessary, their concern for the laws of immigration will be no greater than we once showed.

And justly so. At present, all nations outside of the alleged ‘1st World’ are treated as low-cost production facilities, mining operations, or to put it flatly, as simple, legal sources of modern slave labour. This system produces the vast majority of luxury commodities we benefit from in our daily lives as those doing the building are left to linger in abject poverty.

Once again, Trump makes for a depressingly potent example. While decrying the potential dangers immigrants may bring, he rests high among the contributors to the need for such Freedom-bent exodus. Even as he stands at his pulpit and casts down his vitriol and hatred, he has operations going word wide paying slave-wages to potential immigrants desperate for a chance at something better (Link).

Trump isn’t an isolated example. The ‘Western World’ has a long history of supporting dictators they know will keep this system of indentured servitude in place, while reaping the benefits from the comfort of their own state-side villas.

Ignorance incarnate, this attitude is due for a rude awakening. It’s coming sooner than they think, and these entitled sycophants will shortly learn that you can’t piss in the pool, and then complain when people scramble onto the deck.

Like it or not, we are connected in this world (Link). For every ounce of unearned comfort we see, there are others who suffer a pound. To expect these benefits—at the cost of such despair—and yet expect to close the doors to any who seek only for themselves what we can barely appreciate is the height of arrogance.

If the current luxury we take for granted is to be preserved, it must be made available to all. One way or another (Link) people will find their happiness. If we find ours at the expense of others, we can only expect the same in turn. So let us invest rather in the future of all—for only by building a better world for all its inhabitants can we find justification in enjoying our own spoils.

-Brad OH Inc.

Where the Children Sleep

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Over here, the children sleep,

In warm and comfy beds,

They dream of games and food and joy,

And peace is in their heads.

Will they see their friends at school?

Will they see a parade?

Will their parents yell today?

Or will their anger fade?

Over there, the children sleep,

On ground filthy and cold,

Will they have the same tomorrow?

Perchance will they be sold?

Will they have friends remaining,

When the bombs somehow bring peace?

Will their parents hold them tight,

or dying will they cease?

Yet we continue on our way,

Dividing here and there,

With more than enough to go around,

And make it ‘us’, everywhere.

Around the world, the children sleep,

The darkening night away,

And do they dream in that deep sleep,

About a better day?

 

-Brad OH Inc.

The Brad OH Inc. Super-Challenge!

Today, I’m being lazy. Don’t judge me. Lazy, and, I suppose, there’s a lingering sense of deja-vu. I find myself wondering what to say, in a time when it’s all been said, and nothing has changed.

So instead, I leave it to my intrepid readers to do the math, connect the dots…all that jazz.

Below, I’ve re-shared two former articles. It is up to you, the reader, to find what dreadfully ubiquitous themes might tie them together.

The Polarizing Debate Around Gun Control

Nobody wants to get shot. That, at the least, is something I believe we can all agree on. Wanting other people to get shot might be a different story, but let’s take what we can get.

There is virtually no one out there eager to catch a bullet when walking down the street—or to see their loved ones do so.

If we can agree on something as simple as that, one might assume we could find some basic consensus on how to handle guns in contemporary society.

Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Fortunately, we here at Brad OH Inc. are an ambitious and defiantly tenacious lot, and today, that’s just what we intend to do. So sit down, strap in, and fasten up your bullet proof vests, because today, we are getting to the heart of the debate over gun control!

The most basic breakdown of opinions here are the classic and time-tested notions of right, and left. The conservatives argue in favour of free access to guns—usually on account of the good ole’ second amendment. The liberals, meanwhile, tend to go the other way—as they so often do—pushing for tighter gun control. This, presumably, goes back to the notion of not wanting to get shot.

But beyond this, things begin to get a little bit murky. I believe however, that if we truly break this whole debacle down to its very essence, we might best steal a line from ‘Cool Hand Luke’ (Source) in saying that ‘what we’ve got here is, failure to communicate’.

I want to introduce a new theme here, because I think it affords us a very important tool with which to explore this debate. I want to talk about the concept of ‘Polarity Management’.

‘Polarity Management’ (Source) describes a process by which we can more effectively analyze all sides of a debate—ideally finding a bit of common ground. In essence, ‘Polarity Management’ is a means of viewing typically entrenched positions which usually go nowhere—such as this one. ‘Polarities’ refer to the opposite ends of a single, connected issue. The key here is that one affects the other directly—it is not simply one problem to solve, but an imperative interaction that must be understood. Polarities are related, and persist over time—thus they must be managed, not solved.

The problem is that we tend to treat these as ‘either/ or’ scenarios—closing off debate, and freezing out both understanding and context. But dynamic issues such as these seldom reflect one single value or quality—no simple right or wrong. They are the result of multiple, interrelated factors.

An easy example of this is rain and sunshine. You may prefer either one, but without the other, your preference becomes a dreadful imposition. Too much sun leads to droughts, and too much rain leads to flooding. You need a balance, and that is why in any issue regarding polarities, we need communication, and then compromise.

Once we’ve identified an issue as a polarity, we can proceed to explore the balance between each side—the positives brought by each end, and the negatives they bring as well. This allows us to better understand how the opposing views of the issue interact with one another, and ideally find the crucial balance necessary to manage them.

I admit already—taking this approach to gun control with any shred of optimism is a tall order, but what the hell…let’s give it a go. To strip it all down to parts, the debate around the issue of gun control essentially amounts to two wildly opposing views:

1) The right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment, and must not be infringed in any way.

2) Gun ownership presents a significant risk to the public good, and should be curtailed, if not eliminated.

Now certainly, there are few who would fully align themselves with either extreme viewpoint, yet those are the sides as purported, so let’s consider them in turn.

Much of the argument from the (typically) Conservative crowd favoring access to firearms makes an appeal to safety—believing that arming ourselves for self-defence is an inalienable right, and that we must have the ability to purchase and carry guns in order to protects ourselves from others which might do so surreptitiously. This certainly makes some sense. After all, there is plenty of merit to the old adage against bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Of course, the better solution is to avoid entering a gun fight, or being anywhere in its vicinity. This isn’t always easy, and may even be a tad unrealistic depending on where you happen to be located. Further, the argument is often made that ‘if we make guns illegal, then only criminals will have guns’. This is a self-serving tautology to be sure, but it does a fair job of illustrating the impotent terror which might come from being left defenseless in a world full of armed lunatics.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find the (typically) Liberal crowd, who heavily favor significant controls on gun ownership, including but not limited to restrictions, background checks, and waiting periods.

This side argues that due to the potential of guns to inflict serious injury and death, access to them must be well regulated in order to avoid such weapons falling into the hands of those who would use them either unjustly, or in ignorance.

Much of the force from the ‘Right to Bear Arms’ side tends to focus on an appeal to the second amendment (Link), which guarantees to citizens that: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The ‘right to bear arms’ was initially created as an assurance that the people of America were free and able to raise a standing militia to oppose the government should it become oppressive. This is understandably justified in light of the fact that it’s exactly how America became a nation in the American Revolution against the British. But taking up arms against the government now is—sadly perhaps—a foolish and ignoble idea. The Second Amendment notion of armed war against the government is not only invalid, it’s infantile. It’s also the legal equivalent of demanding the ‘Terrorism’ trump card.

Finally, it must be noted here that even within that sacred amendment, the qualifier ‘Well-regulated’ managed to make the cut. Never was there any suggestion of handing out missile-launchers to every civilian. Handguns for self-defence may be deemed reasonable, but if you are equipped to fight an army, you are more likely to start a war.

At this point, we can see some weakness in the notion of free access to guns for all. There are few who would support selling firearms to people on a terrorist watch list, or violent offenders—and those few should certainly be ashamed of their stupidity.

But accepting some control hardly means encouraging complete control, and it may certainly be argued that the more difficult it is for citizens to legally access firearms for self-defence, the more prone they are to victimization by those who will harbor no such qualms. Further, it is a defensible case to argue that unless a restriction is demonstrably proven to be in the best interests of the citizens, then a government has no right whatsoever to enforce it. While I expect the vast majority of people who would favor that position would have a hard time defending it if pressed, it’s something to consider.

So where does this leave us? We can see strengths and weaknesses on both sides: With no control, we are inundated with guns and seduced by their increasing fetishization. With complete gun control however, we are cast into perceived subservience, and potentially left helpless against criminals who continue to arm themselves.

So here we are. Gun deaths are increasing, distrust of police/ government is growing, and America continues to have a depressing hang-up about guns being inherent to their self-worth (Source). Further, we’ve now seen that the extreme polarity of either side could potentially prove disastrous. Because we can now better understand the best intentions (public safety) of both sides, as well as the inherent risks of each extreme (uncontrolled carnage), we may find that we are better equipped to find a position of compromise.

We need balance and informed decision making. Both opinions have valuable insights—but we must actively work towards a greater and more comprehensive understanding of the issue if we ever hope to manage it. People, left with no hope, will always find ways to be violent and get what they need. We must give them hope for an achievable way if we intend to avoid strife. In the end, it is education and empathy, not arms, which shall assure the future safety of our citizenry.

-Brad OH Inc.

On the Fear of Big Government

Government infringement into personal life is a serious concern to a great many people—and the stripping away of civil liberties such as privacy is a trend which continues to show the detached relationship government has with its citizenry. With such gross violations becoming a regular trend, it’s no wonder we still toil under the outdated notion that ‘big government’ needs to be held in check.

But make no mistake about it people, this is no reason to hate big government; just bad government. In the 1980 presidential race against Jimmy Carter, it was the infernal idiot Ronald Reagan who promised to “get government off our backs” (Source). After taking office, Reagan followed through dutifully on his promise—shattering the government’s role in protecting families, citizens, and the environment. Business, of course, flourished.

This push by Reagan to reduce the size of government was founded on claims of a fictional ‘welfare queen’ getting rich off the tax dollars of the electorate, and the general claim—as off-putting now as it was then for a man seeking public office—that “Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem” (Source).

This toxic line of thinking heralded in an era of anti-government dialogue which effectively allowed rights to shrink away as powers were handed off to the corporations. Social programs were cut, and people suffered. The fictional ‘welfare queens’ theorized by Reagan have been fully realized in the decades since, as corporations are given increasingly large portions of the communal pie: receiving corporate tax breaks, bailouts in place of bankruptcy, and taking eagerly the keys of governance from the discredited and disenfranchised democratic system.

Ever since then, people have been treating government like it’s a dirty word—perhaps because it so often acts like several of them. But fear of government is irrationally motivated, and exercised for all the wrong reasons. It serves only to allow government abuse of citizens. People must remember that proper governance is there to protect them, from exactly the sort of threats which corporate governance has become. We should not fear government; we should utilize and control it to our own empowerment.

Of course, the government has to remember this as well.

The very notion of democratic government is anchored firmly in the concept of representation for the people—and this includes all people, not merely the drivers of the economy. In this era of ever growing population and incredible scientific potential, the ‘free’ market has proven itself a failed notion. But let’s hope that from this mistake we’ve learned at least not to store the meat with the dogs for safe keeping.

It’s the government’s job to put these lessons into action: protecting and promoting the healthy growth of society. This is the primary and most fundamental function of any government which has a legitimate claim to authority, but the vilification of big government started with Reagan has led to a very different objective for government institutions.

By reducing government programs, the general citizenry has been left out of the conversation, while political control has been corralled into the realm of economic growth. The corporations which now run the economic and social systems are malignant automatons. For all the time humans have piddled away fearing robots or advanced and indignant AI’s, they miss that they have not only created such in the corporate human, but also given it the keys to the driver’s seat of our society.

If such a threat came from metal clad robots or from outer space, the entire world would be clamoring for government intervention. Instead, it is claimed to be ‘capitalist’ and a product of the ‘free’ market, and the electorate has bowed their heads in well-rehearsed reverence for their reckless and self-serving overlords.

The point cannot be stressed enough: it is the function of government–elected by and representative of the people—to reign in these brutes, to protect natural resources that rightly belong to all, and to ensure that whether or not commercial entities deign to send our jobs overseas (leaving all save the CEO’s destitute), the people of this and all other countries are provided for from the resulting bounty.

These are the needs of a society, and the job of the government. To fear such is the sole result of misinformed and malicious propaganda. What we have now is not a democratic government, and this needs to change. If we are to find our way out of these difficult times, it must be faith in government—true government—which is the light on our path. This is our salvation—for to fear all government is to leave ourselves alone in the dark, looking to the wolves for solace.

-Brad OH Inc.