Uprisings: September 10 – 23

By : Billy Manes
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Even though the 2016 presidential elections – and their requisite accessories of electoral nodding heads from the trenches of politics ­– are more than a year away, we’re already feeling a slight graying climbing up our sideburns, a little bit of hubris clogging our synapses,  an almost instinctive desire to climb into the darkest and coolest rooms we can find and curate our own personal exhibition, titled, simply, “Isolation.” It’s not that we don’t believe in the process (there are more “GOTV” night terrors in our collective head than we care to admit), but it’s just that, in some ways, we already know there is going to be a heightening of kitchen-table rhetoric and, with that, blood pressure. The ending is spoiled before its beginning, and if that’s happening to us (all hunched over our computers for the latest polysyllabic anachronism coming from a teleprompter), we fear it’s happening to you, too.

Looking back to the last time we went through this sort of itchy suffrage molting, it’s hard to get entirely thrilled about the voices gurgling up from the backside of our population. We’re supposed to “Feel the Bern” for Bernie Sanders, who, we might add, makes some pretty salient points, even if all of his policies would have to be enacted by executive order against the tantrums of a bought congress. We’re supposed to Windex the glass ceiling for its inevitable shattering by Hillary Clinton, who, we might add, makes some amazing points, especially in the face of the starched shirts who fear her so (clue: she’s a woman, and Benghazi isn’t really a thing). And then we’re supposed to follow the yellow-bricking of a Republican road that doesn’t read so much as a primary competition as it does a manipulative game of Koch Bros. chess.

But there is joy to be found here somewhere, right? Sanders has been turning out huge crowds of anxious folks who are concerned about this country’s sociopolitical narrative. There’s even talk that he may be able to remove the term “socialist” from the bright red book of words we never use when discussing politics. And Clinton, beneath the spotlight of scrutiny that comes with national security leaks and investigations, brings a certain benevolence alongside her legendary iron-glazed glances. Sanders is likely moving Clinton to the left, while Sanders keeps his eye on moving to the center and potentially winning.

But one thing Democrats don’t seem to be doing is bickering. They’re not fighting over personalities so much as they are policies and associations. And that’s the one thing that makes the Republican field seem so unpredictable and dangerous. To hear Newt Gingrich, he of the impeccable Republican record and cheerful smiles, argue on Sunday morning television that Republicans don’t care about policies at all, they care about winning, is more than an indictment of the Republican Party (which now boasts nearly 20 potential candidates); it’s a mystifying study in mob rule and narcissism. While trying to dredge up the most extreme leaves of the Tea Party (anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-government), they’re shining a light on the worst of who we are.

It’s going to be a long road to next November. Try not to get distracted by the sideshows … or their hairpieces.

UpRising_SarahPalinOur sister of compassion, former Alaska Governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is not into this whole so-called bilingualism of the new Republican normal (evidenced by Jeb Bush in his commercials). “It’s a benefit of Jeb Bush to be able to be so fluent in Spanish, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population that is helping to build America,” Palin said on CNN’s State of the Union, according to the Guardian.“On the other hand, you know, I think we can send a message and say: ‘You want to be in America? A, you better be here legally, or you’re out of here. B, when you’re here, let’s speak American.’ I mean, that’s just, that’s – let’s speak English.”

UpRising_RickScottIn alarming news that recalls the terror of surviving a screaming-at-yourself free fall of infinite doom just in time to have your thinly knit shirt snagged on a rock aside a cliff, a cliff that leads to a much more devastating descent into the bowels of hell, it appears that everyone’s favorite bobblehead Gov. Rick Scott may be running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Scott, who is perhaps the most difficult man ever to speak with, has been making the fundraising rounds throughout August even though he cannot run for a third term as the least popular governor in the world. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Scott has been squeamish about mentioning his potential bid for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s seat in public appearances, all while piling up $3.6 million this year for his Let’s Get to Work political action committee. Scott is always squeamish on issues, so that’s no surprise. But will Florida make the same mistake a third time? Ask your uncle with the chain email issues.

Bob PoeBecause political season is officially upon us, we shouldn’t feel surprised when politicos we know start popping up in news feeds as newborn contenders. Bob Poe, former chairman of the Florida Democratic Party and (more recently) fundraising friend of former Gov. Charlie Crist, is the latest to stick his wet finger in the wind to see if he’s going to throw his hat in the 10th Congressional District ring, according to Politico. We reached out to Poe, and he said that the notion of his candidacy is “premature,” though we all know that’s code for “independent polling.” A longtime champion of LGBT rights (along with husband Kenneth), Poe would clearly make some noise in a crowding field. Politico reports the obvious in that Poe would potentially be battling with minority candidates like Val Demings, Geraldine Thompson and Gary Siplin. This could get interesting.

What’s that you say? Candidates positioning themselves in high-volume, high-visibility circumstances out of the generosity and integrity of their own hearts? Well, Jeb Bush – who is totally a moderate if you don’t look at his record – is reportedly attending Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (or a Madonna listening party) in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23. Naturally, he doesn’t want anyone to know about it, so somebody told the Washington Post to report on it, and, boom, here we are drawing doodles in our heads about how this will actually play out. Francis, we should note, is coming to America to talk about poverty, immigration and climate change. Bush, meanwhile, will likely just be mugging for a photo and trying to scrub himself clean of terrestrial concerns. It’s the politics of dancing.

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