15 July, 2018

Personality politics – a beginner’s guide

One of the latest buzzwords in political debate across the world wide wank is “personality politics.”

Now personality politics has been with us ever since we’ve had politics, or indeed personalities but it turns out in 2018 it’s a bad thing.

It’s probably easier to illustrate than to describe the phenomenon, so here are a couple of examples:

Turnbull and Morrison: Billion dollar Bill! Unbelieva-Bill! Electricity Bill! Impossi-Bill!
Labor: Isn’t it interesting how Malcolm Turnbull is exactly the type of person who stands to gain the most from his own tax policy?
Liberals: UM-AH! That’s personality politics! That’s not allowed! I’m dobbing!

Or perhaps try this example:

Trump: Crooked Hillary! Lyin’ Ted! Little Marco! Little Rocket Man! Angry Democrats! Pizza-gate! Bill Clinton is a rapist! Mexicans are rapists! Sloppy Steve!
Democrats: Here is a man who is a multiple bankrupt, has hundreds of lawsuits against him, over a dozen allegations of sexual assault, has bragged about being able to sexually assault women with impunity, in the same conversation he brags about cheating on his third wife (not that this should disqualify him from office, but Republicans seem to have had objections to marital infidelity in the past), there is credible evidence he has ties to organised crime in both New York and Moscow, he invited another country to commit espionage against the United States, he used a profanity at a campaign rally and doesn’t seem to know very much about anything other than what’s on television. Are you sure this is the type of person we want running the country?
Trump supporters: WAH! You’re playing personality politics! That’s not fair! Mom! They’re cheating!

Do you see a pattern emerging here?

If you’re a right winger telling lies about progressives, that’s free speech and must be defended at all costs because it’s the foundation of our political discourse.

If you’re a progressive telling the truth about the right wing, then that’s personality politics and is everything that’s wrong with modern political discourse.

I hope that helps.

01 July, 2018

On civility

In the wake of a private business invoking its right to refuse service on moral grounds – a right recently upheld by the US Supreme Court in a slightly different context – there has been much chatter from some unusual sources about the need for civility in public discourse.

It’s as if some people just woke up from a 25-year coma last week. To the people who have suddenly noticed the lack of civility, I have this to say:

We TRIED civil discourse. We WANTED civil discourse.
You gave us chants of “Lock her up!” “Drain the swamp!” and “Build the wall!”
You gave us Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Alex Jones, Stephen Miller and Pepe memes.
You called us snowflakes (among many other names) when we dared to suggest this was not productive.
And you have the gall to ask for civility now?

One of the first refuges of a bully is to accuse his target of his own worst behaviour.

We are playing by your rules now.
If you can’t take the heat, allow me to show you the kitchen door. And I don’t care if it hits you in the ass on your way out.