Martial Arts as War (MAW) and Martial Arts as Sport (MAS)—these are the two paradigms that, by and large, define the contemporary universe of the martial arts. Or so I have argued in previous essays. Now, it’s true, of course, that—as my own Master-Instructor observed to me in one of our countless conversations over this […]
While both political parties pay homage to and occasionally quote Thomas Jefferson, the plain fact is that old TJ could never win the nomination of either party. Would the Democrats nominate a male white supremacist who owned slaves even to the point of raping (and owning) his wife’s half-sister, a man who wanted to expand white populations into Indian territories? Would the Republicans nominate a pro-immigrant deist who cut military spending, advocated non-interventionism, was sympathetic to Jacobin revolutionaries, and distrusted banks and corporations? No way!
The 2015 Republicans rest upon 3 fundamental pillars:
 SUPPORT OF “FAMILY VALUES”: whereby government promotes abstinence education, school prayer, and the old “Leave It To Beaver” lifestyle of sexually abstinent heterosexuals who married until death do us part with no drugs, abortions, or much booze. While those values were nostalgic and disappearing even in Beaver’s 1950’s, many can appreciate that a nation that lauds an Olympic athlete who chops off his penis suffers from moral confusion. The old-time ideals still hold sway—especially among the rural white Protestants in the “Red States”.
 CUTTING TAXES ON THE WEALTHY: – that is, the “supply side economics” from the 1980’s where tax rates of 70% were cut while the Federal Reserve jacked interest rates to 18% and led to renewed prosperity when inflation was finally conquered. People forget that Reagan and Bob Dole raised payroll taxes and that government spending skyrocketed. The “supply side” formula did not work under Bush-II and most people see that the bailouts enrich Wall Street Megabanks and that billionaires like Trump buy politicians of both parties to use eminent domain laws to grab private property and bankruptcy laws to default on $ 5 Billion of debt. The middle class treads water and the “working class” drowns (as its jobs disappear overseas or to robots) while Fiorinas come in, fire employees, tank the stock, and walk away with $ 100,000,000. Nevertheless, the “supply side” idea has enough libertarian appeal and sufficient economic common sense to gather political support.
 GLOBAL WARMONGERING: where the neocons make war on demons intent on destroying us – Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, Russians, Chinese, Syrians, Iranians, “terrorists” and where we pump billions into defense contractors. The “bad guy” drumbeat never stops with some beheading or “Russians expanding influence” or some existential threat to Peoria such as Saddam Hussein’s nuclear-armed cruise missile “mushroom cloud”. Fear is not only a great motivator; it wins votes as well.
The 2015 Democrats have their basic pillars:
 THE MAJORITY OF “MINORITIES”: of immigrants, Hispanics, non-whites, non-Christians, non-heterosexuals, and feminists with enough identity grievances to constitute a majority. Lesbians and Moslems may not have common cause but they do have a common enemy. Blacks and Asians have little in common together, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend and rural, heterosexual, anti-immigrant, white Protestant men are the enemy.
 CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES/DEPENDENTS: discounting the military and defense contractors who lean Republican. Millions of academicians, Amtrak employees, elderly, students, welfare recipients, firefighters, Sallie Mae employees, social workers, TSA gropers, and their families get their compensation from the government. This forms an almost unstoppable bulwark even if a small percentage of this constituency consists of Republican voters. Money means self-interest. And money talks.
The libertarians and constitutionalists and non-interventionists who aren’t into the Red and Blue State identity politics have no other alternatives to which to turn than apathy and cynicism. Also stuck in the middle of this muck are old, rural, white gun-owning Jacksonians like Confederate descendant James Webb. The latter began his political life as a Democrat, left the party of McGovernization, worked as Reagan’s Navy Secretary, and then returned to the “old Democracy” after watching the neocon plutocrats of Bush-II screwing over his rural Virginian constituents. Webb and others are as much political orphans as the libertarians.
The political season opens up with two-thirds of Republicans rejecting their own politicians for three candidates who never served in any public capacity. The Democrats are stuck with an openly corrupt ex-Secretary of State and Presidential spouse who raises billions from the Wall Street crowd or an aging Marxist hippie who does not even belong to the party.
While a majority will stay home on Election Day, the only major motivation to vote is fear of the other party!