Elise Stefanik, John Katko and a Snowflake in Snow Country

Elise Stefanik, John Katko and a Snowflake in Snow Country

Elise Stefanik showed her allegiance to the Freedom Caucus and Trump at the Impeachment Hearings last week. She showed that she could talk trash to Adam Schiff, who is heading the hearings, but who is a Democrat. She was as disrespectful as those in her party like to be and they have been in Congress for far longer than she has. She proved she could be “one of the boys.” Perhaps she handled the moment when Adam Schiff held her to the process rules in such an unprofessional manner, even though they had been agreed upon in advance, because she is new to her role as a disrupter and she just reacted as the young person she is. But everyone certainly noticed her and she had her 15 minutes of fame, and may it be the only 15 minutes she gets. It is far too simple, if you are Republican, to join the Trump cult and to find yourself unable to disapprove of anything our creative and criminally-minded leader thinks up even if he breaks every rule America tries to live by and every rule Ms. Stefanik has sworn to uphold.

Elise Stefanik represents the NY 21 district which stretches from the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario (Watertown) over to the Vermont border (Plattsburg), from Albany to the Canadian border. Much of the region is mountainous and rural, sprinkled with a few resorts and tourist spots, a few wealthy suburban enclaves, some farmers, some Amish residents, some colleges, the Adirondack Preserve, and the seat of NY State government. Summers are spent near water and winters are snowy, long, and very cold. Her parents own a successful business and Stefanik has a degree in government from Harvard. She has stuck to her goal to work in government ever since beginning with the Bush 43 administration.

Some of northern NY is very similar to the Rust Belt, with factories that once offered lifelong employment folding or moving elsewhere. It was not obvious before Stefanik was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 that many in the north country would be backing Trump in the 2016 election. Although Stefanik said she was a moderate Republican she helped Paul Ryan, a Tea Party favorite, prepare for the 2012 election. She has also worked for two groups, Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Foreign Policy Institute – two organizations that claim to be nonpartisan, a claim that is considered questionable. Since Stefanik’s district abuts mine to the north I knew that she became a Trump backer in the 2016 election. Many people in the north country who do not support Trump have no current local representation in the House since Trump supporters almost never vote with the Democrats.

So here I am, a libtard, a snowflake in snow country, surrounded by Republicans who toe the party line. I have Stefanik in NY 21 and then I have John Katko in NY24. John Katko came to Congress through law enforcement. He worked for the DOJ as a senior trial attorney at the US-Mexican Border (he has a degree in law from SU) and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and as an assistant US attorney in Syracuse, NY where he helped prosecute gang members. He is a good man, except for the fact that his ideology is old and his law and order approach is currently being questioned.

Syracuse, NY has popped up in recent research as one of the places in America with the most stubborn pockets of poverty and segregation. Policies pursued in the get-tough-on-crime years have done nothing to change this situation in Syracuse (and many other cities). John Katko has proven to be a hard worker, but inflexible in his belief that tougher is better. He also sees no reasons to work across the aisle although he occasionally votes with Democrats when it suits him. He does not want to listen to other points of view. If you write him he answers, however he says he understands what you are saying but he cannot agree with it and he must vote his conscience (not exactly the way one would expect a representative to think). It is incomprehensible how he can stomach someone like Trump as he is a very straight-arrow Catholic. But his inability to be flexible, both in terms of policy and sociological remedies, is the biggest argument against him. John Katko and Elise Stefanik are both members of a conservative group in the House called Tuesday Group.

So I am living in the midst of one district full of Trump supporters (and Katko has many in this district who agree with him), and I am bordered on the north by another Trump district. I have to hope that Dana Balter will win in NY24 (by magic) and that Tedra Cobb will win in NY21 (she has a bit more financial backing) and it appears that both of these House seats are very unlikely to be overturned in 2020. Slick ads for John Katko have already begun to appear, but I have seen no ads, slick or otherwise, for Democrats. And while I understand the rigor and purity of grassroots funding, I find it almost impossible to accept that it can win a national race in the age of Citizens United.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Auburnpub.com

Snowflakes and Ghosts

When I spent a few dollars to have my post about white nationalism “boosted” out on Facebook to more readers, two right-wingers piled on to comment. One argued that the Antifa and the BLM are way worse than the KKK which is very weak and on its last legs. I did not let them get away with that.

I got called a snowflake. But I know the power of deep snow. One snowflake – flaky, cute and doomed. A huge lake effect snow event however is an entirely different story. Without good governance, without effective snow removal plans such a snowfall could be a killer. Even with good services in place people have died.

But I think I would rather be a snowflake than some kind of unfriendly ghost, clinging to a past that is unlikely to return. The GOP seems to be trying to create the ultimate “safe space” for right wingers. They plan to establish an empire that will keep white folks on top of the social heap. Well they had better get the masses busy having lots of white babies and they had better get them busy right away if they want the future of our planet to be white. Some folks are way ahead of us in terms of population.

Right wingers also want a booming economy, although who will trade with us once we have shut ourselves away in the prison that an isolationist America will become. I do not know. We import much more these days than we export.

The middle class had better not fool themselves. They will be fodder for the industrial machine, especially with the power of labor unions nullified. Women will no longer work. They will be baby factories and tasked with reanimating the nuclear family. It will have to be a rather giant nuclear family. Perhaps polygamy will no longer be illegal.

Let the globe rage around us. We will be an island of peace and industry, the GOP contends, (but not an island of freedom).

There are a fair number of problems with this plan. It is very likely that our enemies – and they will be legion – will simply lob bombs into our “sanctuary” until it is obliterated and then someone, as soon as this newly opened territory becomes livable again, will claim it, or there will be a bloody war to decide who gets our once beautiful land.

Oceans and walls will not keep people out forever.

Perhaps after the resources of America are all found and consumed in every way that the avaricious desire, our land will no longer be a temptation for any other nation. Instead of beauty extending from sea to shining sea, our nation will be a grim wasteland.

I don’t see where isolationism and nationalism lead to any great future. Don’t ask for what you want because you might get it.

When times get tough and these are already tough times, you need your neighbors more than you normally do. We will certainly need Europe and any other nations who want to keep some order to the changes that are boiling up around us. If you want white-skinned folks to remain relevant you must be in the mix, pitching in, making life better for all of the poor and the victimized and the desolate. Cooperation will serve us all in creating a stable world for humans to live in.

A society is not only an economy. We have lived in a free society. We know the sweet taste of it. We have tried to make equal opportunity possible. And yet, although we may have pioneered the idea of a social safety net to lift up the poorest among us (which lifts us all up), we have such strong opposition to giving people “something for nothing” that we are now have the most poorly distributed wealth of all societies on the globe.

And still wealthy Americans are not happy with what they have. They want us to put more money in their pockets. These people have even convinced average Americans through Svengali levels of propaganda to help the rich put more of our money in their pockets. “Don’t worry,” they say, “we’ll throw some coins your way.” “We’ll give you back one of those jobs that you will perform from cradle to grave and then we’ll yank away your pension and raise the retirement age just when you sense that freedom is near.”

So I guess we should risk being snowflakes every day because it seems better than being ghosts. I see nothing positive being offered to the American people by the GOP.

At least if we go with the globalists there is a chance that we will have robust human societies on this planet for centuries to come. It will take time and patience to get everyone up to speed. Christians, Muslims and all religions either learn to coexist peacefully or we will not have to worry about which society is number one. We will be immersed in war for decades to come. That is where we are trying not to go. And America under Trump, and the GOP are not helping.

My views of the future are not based on facts. They cannot be, because any prediction is a hypothetical. The GOP has predictions also but I don’t know if they are being honest with us or not, the propaganda campaign has been so omnipresent. I believe that isolationism will lead to atrophy and the fall of our grand experiment. What do you predict the current politics of each side would bring for America and for the world?