Tuesday, March 01, 2016

the Samil-jeol chill

It's Samil-jeol, i.e., March 1st Movement Day.

I'm off from work for a day, so the agenda is mostly about just chilling. I'll be putting together my TV/DVD-player stand and possibly rearranging my apartment's interior so that my bed can become a TV-viewing couch. Other than that, sloth is the order of the day. I'm in the middle of a major crunch period at work (we're trying to crank out a textbook before deadline), so a day of rest doesn't seem uncalled-for.

ADDENDUM: Oh, right! Today's Super Tuesday in America! Around a dozen primaries and caucuses are happening today in the States. The US east coast is 14 hours behind Seoul, so I won't be seeing any Super Tuesday results until Wednesday morning, Seoul time, but I wish all the contestants except Don and Hil good luck. Unfortunately, Don and Hil are looking, more and more, to be our front-runners, and Super Tuesday is likely to confirm this. At some point, people get pragmatic and start thinking about electability; for the GOP side, Don's got the momentum, and for the Dem side, Hil's got more mainstream appeal whereas Sanders has always been more about the margins than about the supposed little-guy masses. Wikipedia notes that Super Tuesday is often considered a candidate's "first test of national electability." That word again. After Tuesday, Joe Citizen's choices will most likely be Trump the Substance-free Bloviator or Hillary the Outright Criminal. It may be best not to vote at all this year. Why even participate in a process this tainted?



Elisson said...

A lot of people who should know better are bandying the word "criminal" about with respect to Hillary.

As of right now, she has not been accused or convicted of any crime. Under the reasonable presumption that she is innocent until proven guilty, I'm going to consider her as innocent - for now.

I don't see anything even approaching the criminality of Richard Nixon, who was, at the time he stood election for his second term, waist-deep in the growing Watergate scandal. What we did not know at the time was that he had deliberately sabotaged the Vietnam peace talks taking place in 1968. Peace was finally concluded several years later, with no benefit to the US beyond what could have been achieved in 1968, but after a few tens of thousands of American kids were fed into the meat grinder.

Look, I get that people who dislike Hillary dislike her intensely. But looking at any of the GOP alternatives, I don't see a reasonable alternative... and Trump is downright scary in a "Hitler during the Weimar Republic" sort of way. His candidacy is a test of whether American representative democracy can survive today's Culture of Willful Idiocy.

Kevin Kim said...

I consider Hillary a national-security risk (to be fair, Trump is, too, but for different reasons). She's currently under federal investigation, and well over a thousand emails found in her home-brew server have been determined, without a doubt, to be rated "classified" or above. It's no stretch to think that people like Putin and Xi are chuckling over translated versions of her correspondence. She may not have been formally accused of a crime, but this investigation, the evidence it has uncovered, and Hillary's reflexive tendency toward secrecy together produce a strong stink of scandal. (She will not, of course, be indicted for anything because she's a Clinton, and the dynasty must be protected, despite the fact that people of lower rank, like General Petraeus, have suffered worse consequences for more minor infractions.)

Years ago, HRC did yeoman's work in helping her husband attack the women who had accused him of sexual predation, thus undermining any claims she makes either to feminism or to the need to believe victims of sexual assault. In view of all that and more, it's hard for me to label her "innocent."

Then there's the issue of what quality of politician/leader she is. People are going after Trump for flip-flopping in his views, but Hillary only recently became a convert to gay marriage—when it was easy and safe to do so. That wasn't her only flip-flop: her initial advocacy of the Iraq War comes to mind, as does her stance on NAFTA (against it before she was for it). Bernie Sanders has—gently—held her feet to the fire during debates because of her inconsistencies. Along with the flip-flopping, there's the practical question of her actual competence while in office, either as a senator or as Madame Secretary. What has she done that was notable to the public, aside from allowing an ambassador to die?

She has also been known to fabricate stories, as with her infamous story of finding herself under sniper fire in Bosnia. To me, she confirms every cynical suspicion that I, as a regular citizen, have about most politicians.

None of this is to disagree with what you say about Trump—God, no. The man is scary, and I don't want his finger on the button any more than I want Hillary's to be there. Ideally, during a Trump/Hillary debate, the two will flay each other so bloody that neither will be fit to occupy the Oval Office a few months later. I'm hoping for a matter/antimatter collision myself.

Charles said...

I disagree with you that Trump is substance-free. He has plenty of substance: hatred, jingoism, xenophobia, narcissism, etc. To call him substance-free is to greatly underestimate him and his influence. He may not have the substance you want to see (actual policy, etc.), but he does have substance--and, as odious as it may be, it seems to appeal to a frighteningly large percentage of the Republican electorate.

My definition of a substance-free politician would be Palin, who has not shown that she possesses the ability to string together two coherent sentences.

Kevin Kim said...


We may be talking past each other, here. When I say "substance-free," I mean things like (1) Trump's not laying down any specifics regarding his Great Wall, (2) Trump's inability to name a favorite Bible verse after having said his favorite book is the Bible, (3) Trump's lack of specifics regarding either the Muslim issue or the more general issue of illegal immigration, (4) Trump's policy ignorance as shown when he failed to realize that China isn't part of the TPP, etc.

Trump is very good at self-aggrandizement and at belittling others. There's little else of substance there. What you're calling substance I'd call vitriol, or soul-muck, or—per Dr. Seuss—a brain that's full of spiders. But in terms of Trump's actual knowledge and wisdom, where's the beef?

And I'm sure as hell not underestimating the man. He's a businessman, a wheeler-dealer, and he seems to think, like Ross Perot before him, that you can run a country the way you run a (four-times-bankrupt) business. Of course this is dangerous. I can't imagine Trump with his finger on the button, or how he's going to react to world leaders who don't treat him as a god. As much as I'd feel great Schadenfreude were Hillary to go down in flames, I'd feel the same for Trump.

Charles said...

Yeah, I understand where you're coming from, and I don't disagree. I guess I'm just bothered when people talk about how "entertaining" Trump is. It is people like this who fail to realize how dangerous he is.

(I've never found Trump entertaining, even when he was just an entertainer. I've always wanted to take a baseball bat to his face. But this is beside the point.)

Kevin Kim said...

I'll second that. As I said when we spoke about this face-to-face, I can't stand watching Trump on video for more than a few seconds. Imagine what trying to watch his State of the Union address would be like, what with all that Shatnerian hamming it up. Even Shatner would be embarrassed.