The Absurdity of Political Discourse This Year

I was having an interesting discussion over at neo-neocon's about Trump when the full weight of this election's absurdity struck me. Again. If I were to reduce it to campaign slogans, it would look like this:

Vote for Trump -- We're more likely to be able to impeach him!

Vote for Hillary -- She's going to be an awful president, but better than Trump!

Vote for Trump -- He might, possibly, maybe, do some good things! Really! He could!

Vote for Hillary -- If we're going to have the worst president ever, better the Democrats get the blame! Or the Liberals!

Someone I read recently, I can't remember who, claimed that there were just a lot fewer conservatives than she thought. I think the electorate has caught us by surprise, and so I wonder how well I know the people of my own nation.

I got to hear one of my state senators recently. He encouraged everyone to get into local politics more. Focus on your city, county, and state offices, he said. Those in local offices are closer than DC and more likely to sit down and talk with you. You have more actual influence there.

He also said something interesting about Democratic vs. Republican involvement. He had spent some years in city government before being elected to the state legislature. He said that although he was a Republican in a deep red state, his Democratic constituents contacted him a lot more than his Republican ones. This was especially true at the city level, but still true at the state level.

I think I've gotten to the point where I'm writing off the presidential election. Whoever wins, it seems, will be a tragedy. I'll vote, but gradually I've come to care less and less about who wins. I'm going to focus more on local politics.

But even more, I want to focus on participating in the culture. I do believe politics is downstream from culture. I think, if we could shift the culture toward conservative values, the political elections would follow. If we shift it enough, the parties will follow.

Interior decorators

I've reached this advanced age never really knowing what people saw in the Taj Mahal.  All I've ever seen is the standard exterior shots, not really for me, radial symmetry and so on.  Someone pointed out to me that the extraordinary part was the interior detail.  Yikes!  I'll say.  "Google Images" has an eyeful, this being just an example:

Well, I can't do that kind of work, but I have been having the best time making "Chrismon" Christmas tree ornaments for my new church's new Christmas tree.  The new building's higher ceilings inspired someone to pass the hat and buy a bigger tree, sadly artificial but still nicer than the old one.  They need new ornaments in the 8- to 10-inch range.  You know what that means?  There are many, many more pixels in an ornament that size than the usual 3-inch range I shoot for.  At least four times as much fun, and I still have five months till Christmas to work on these.  My work table is fairly groaning with the weight of thread and beads and sequins crying out to be sewn and crocheted together.  In fact, when the word goes out that you need beads and such, people start volunteering to unload their craft closets on you.  There is a place in the world for people afflicted with OCD.

How About I Volunteer You to Lead a Discussion?

The comments under my recent Seven Books Every Conservative Should Read post made me think of doing some kind of read-and-discuss project here. I had thought about continuing my Common Ground series with something like this, but life got busy last fall and it didn't happen.

Would you be interested in such a thing? And if so, would you be willing to lead a discussion for a book you recommend and others were interested in? If you are not a blogger, maybe we could work something out where I post and then you pick it up in the comments.

It doesn't even have to be one person leading. If several bloggers were reading the same book, there's no reason we couldn't all be posting on different aspects of it as we read.

As for me, I am going to put off leading any read-and-discuss blogging for now. I would like to lead a discussion on the book Aristotle for Everybody, but I want to see how difficult this semester will be before making other time commitments. If there's time, I may try to get into it this fall, or maybe in December when classes are done. I would enjoy participating in your discussions, though.

What do you think?


Grim mentioned that Nathaniel Rateliff most resembles the Blues Brothers.

For your consideration:

Everybody Needs Somebody

Seven Books Every Conservative Should Read

Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon and regular contributor to the Weekly Standard, discusses other famous Conservatives' reading suggestions and then gives us his own list. It looks pretty interesting. I've ordered Modern Times and put the rest on my Amazon wish list.

Alas, with classes starting up next Monday, I will have very little time to read things I choose.

Why Beauty Matters

An hour with philosopher Sir Roger Scruton

Shamelessly stolen from Maggie's Farm.

Update: I don't remember running across him before, but from the Wikipedia entry about him and his website, he would appear to be one of Britain's foremost Conservative philosophers. During the Cold War, he helped establish "underground universities and academic networks" behind the Iron Curtain.

Go, Mighty Bulldogs

You may have seen the graph showing that Texas has won as many medals as some nations. Did you know that the University of Georgia has won as many as Brazil?


"He is Conan, Cimmerian. He Won't Cry. So I Cry For Him."

I also detailed this duty. I find I can't. It is not for lack of love. Love is just channeled into duty, and so it is in the things done that I express my sense of loss. I have come to know that a very great deal was lost. So many have come to tell me, and to ask to help in ways they cannot. I have a list I am building of people who want to come to the funeral. We weren't even going to have one. Dad hated them. Now it looks like we will have a funeral with military and Fire Department honors, because it answers a demand.

The Fire Department stripped the flags from their stations, the police stopped traffic on all the streets, and the Firemen lined the streets with their trucks when they moved his body to the funeral home. No one asked them to do this. They needed to do it.

Such was my father.

New vistas in architecture

I love it when Bird Dog goes on vacation and lets Roger de Hautville post for him.  One of today's excellent links is Ugly Belgian Houses, and as Roger says, Boy. Howdy.

"It's ugly house mating season"

Monday Night Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Off Station for the Week

I want to thank you all for your condolences, as well as for the congratulations on the birth of my niece. I will be spending the week with my mother to help her get through all the many details that come with ending a 49 year partnership with another human being. In addition to mourning, as all of you know who have done it, there is a lot of paperwork, a lot of stuff to untangle, and of course personal effects to deal with.

On Saturday, however, I'm putting her on a plane to meet her new grandbaby. I'll be with her until I send her through security at the airport, and family will pick her up on the other side.