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The Weekend Politics Thread Stands Bloodied but Unbowed

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
— Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic,” 1910 address at the Sorbonne

Partly as a Christmas present to himself, Uvular takes this penultimate WPT post of 2017 as an excuse to traipse through his favorite trope of elucidating with annotated links the present-day relevance of decades-old indie rock lyrics. Welcome this weekend’s candidate, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s 1986 cowpunk classic “Scarred But Smarter.”

Well I’m out of work
I’m out of hope
Of what should be of thee I spoke

Ahem. “Unemployment is up in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio since May, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even as the national unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.” Good looking out, Midwestern voters.

Good times for the undeserved
Bad times for the ones who work

Look, Uvular could link to thousands of articles, op-eds, budget analyses, and every iteration of the daily Politics Thread since the beginning of December. It probably suffices to highlight a single Jesus wept-esque summation buried in a New Yorker instant history titled “The Republicans’ ‘Win’ on Taxes Is a Loss for American Democracy.” That sentence, in an understatement for all time, states, “This was nonsense.”

I said poor man, rich man, blind man, dead man
Hoped for more than they had all planned
Just then they suffered a serious blow
As the real world cut the line they hold

House Speaker and 24/7 Eddie Munster coplayer Paul Ryan has pledged to massively cut Medicare, Medicaid, Temporary Aid to Needy Families, food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and any other social safety net program we might have dragging down the federal balance sheet now that the IRS can no longer take in revenue.

I said nobody said it would be fair
They warned you before you went out there
There’s always a chance to get restarted
To a new world, new life
Scarred but smarter

Take heart, Politicados. Michelle Goldberg over at the New York Times recounts the resilience and necessity of resistance to Trumpism. To wit, “While Trump has given his followers the liberal tears they crave, that victory contains the seeds of its own reversal. Trump has done more to spur progressive political organizing than Bernie Sanders, George Soros and Saul Alinsky combined.” Rage on.

Is it right to wish the poor man rich
Is it right to wish the rich man poor
To hope all that’s well is fair ends fair
To wish thy neighbor’s life to despair

Yes? One can only guess at exactly what songwriter, frontman, and typo tripwire Kevn Kinney intended to communicate here. In light of this United Nations report on extreme poverty in the United States, however, it seems perfectly appropriate to wish comeuppance on the wealthy and more than blessings on the dispossessed.

Being so mad that I start crying
No pay off for all my trying
To do it right — to never fail
Wishing for a fairy tale

The Avocado!*

Nobody said it would be fair
They warned me before I went out there
There’s always a chance to get restarted
To a new world, new life
Scarred but smarter

Rage at what? Aside from packing the federal bench with ideologues and incompetents, alienating foreign allies, waging all-out war on a free and factual press, and colluding with Putin to destroy the very foundations of liberal democracy, we must raise the alarm daily over Trumpists wanting to kill us all to enrich soulless corporations. Just this past week, Obama-era rules to ban brain-destroying agricultural chemicals, move housing out of flood plains, and remove cancer-causing particulates from the air got axed.

But when my life it turns all around
Jobs and things to do that I’ve found
I think how foolish I must have looked
To think I could be down for good

The good guys won statewide in Virginia and in the Alabama U.S. Senate race.

Nobody said it would be fair
But in the end I think it is
Karma, justice — whatever you call it
It’s really there — just keep looking for it

All dictators and wannabe kings of the world fall. A whole poem** and the misguided hero in a graphic novel-turned-lousy-movie attest to that.

Writing of unfair, the epigraphed quote actually begins this way: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.” Which possibly makes the quoting of the rest to introduce an internet comment thread hypocritical.

Stipulated, but also immaterial when action results from expressions of disapproval. One can put match to candle while simultaneously calling the dark a fargin’ bastich. Just try this the next time the power goes out. Very cathartic.

Given that dispensation, type away over this holiday weekend, then resume the proper work of restoring basic principles of republican governance on December 26.


n.b. Feel free to view the eagle in the header gif as a Politicado circa 2018. For now, us lot probably take the allegorical form of a nonsatirical mouse who roars. And play the damn video. You will not regret it.
*How dare you expect Uvular to resist the urge to take a cheap shot for an even cheaper laugh while in the middle of a cri de coeur.
**Thank his sophomore-year Catholic high school English teacher for making Uvular minimally well read in Romantic poetry.