I Don’t Understand The Current GOP

If you’d ask me to sum up Republicans in a few stereotypes, one of the big ones would be “loving the military and everything that the military does is super awesome.”

Republicans love the military. They love military spending, they love cool fighter jets and big tanks and awesome guns that can kill people from three miles away. They love thinking about how America is the world’s greatest military superpower. Republicans believe that the only time it’s acceptable for a man to cry in front of another man is during the honoring of military heroism or remembering the fallen. Republicans believe that the sacredness of the veteran is second only to Jesus, who is the Christ, and even then . . . it’d be tough to choose if you asked a Republican to say which one was more sacred.

That sounds right, doesn’t it? It’s certainly not those Democrats who have the stereotype of being all about the veterans and the military. I’m not saying that Democrats are anti-military. I’m just saying we have the stereotype of being not on board. We have to worry about swift-boating. We get called “traitors” a lot because of criticism of the military. We’re definitely considered to be a bunch of tree-huggers.

One of my favorite Democrats wanted to replace the Department of Defense with the Department of Peace. There isn’t a Republican worth his domestic beer that would suggest such a thing.

With all that in mind, somebody please tell me what the fuck is going on with this Bowe Bergdahl thing?

Seriously. I can’t fucking understand it. The man’s a soldier. A veteran. One of America’s “fighting men,” as John McCain would say. He wears the uniform of the United States military.

“No one gets left behind” isn’t just a cornerstone of the American military, it’s pretty much its most sacred commandment. Marines are trained not to leave a man behind, even if you know that he’s dead. You bring your brother (or sister!) back home. You don’t leave anyone to the enemy. Risk your life if you have to. Carry him out on your shoulders or drag him behind you, but don’t leave him behind.

No. Matter. What.

It’s like, Jesus Christ, even a tree-hugging, vegetarian liberal like me understands and respects that basic truth about the military. I respect the hell out of this particular truth.

Regardless of why we went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of the morality of why we’re fighting, it doesn’t change the fact that the men and women who did that fighting volunteered for it. The fact that they volunteered meant that I didn’t have to fight.

So the Obama administration brings Bergdahl home. The last Afghanistan War POW is returned home.

And suddenly, this is a bad thing? Suddenly, there are qualifiers about who gets left behind and who doesn’t?

Fucking explain this to me. Explain this to me as anything other than evidence that the GOP has lost its goddamn collective mind over how much it hates anything Obama does.

Because honestly, at this point, it looks like if Obama declared that being able to breathe oxygen was the right of every American, Republicans would declare that free, breathable oxygen was an evil socialist plot and that the market should decide whether Americans deserve oxygen or one of the other market-based alternatives, such as argon or chlorine. You know, I’ve heard good things about some of those noble gases; maybe we should try some of those instead. Xenon might be fun.

I realized that I’m incrediably biased when it comes to politics. I’m really, really far to the left on, well, nearly everything. My opinion on what Republicans do isn’t going to be reasonable a lot of the time. I’m not always willing to admit that some the things my side does are fucking stupid, even though they sometimes are.

But the military? Republicans are mad that a POW was returned to American soil? How the hell is bringing home a POW a controversy?

It’s supposed to be “no one gets left behind.” Not “no one gets left behind . . . as long as we like you enough to bother trying to save your ass. If we don’t like you, fuck off and die.”

And yes, I recognize that there are some Democrats complaining about Bergdahl’s return as well. But I expect Democrats to bitch about anything related to the military. That’s nothing new. It isn’t even surprising.

Seriously, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I think back to the Bush years and how much the military and “support our troops” were the hallmarks of the Republican identity. It really does illustrate just how much the past five-and-a-half years of Obama have made the GOP go absolutely insane.

On A Very Certain Type Of Wolf

If you’re not immersed in “video game culture,” this post isn’t going to make any sense to you. That’s okay; honestly, you’re probably better off, because sometimes, video game culture gets pretty weird. This is one of those times.

I’ve never been shy about sharing my opinion on something. Generally, if I’m not writing about a particular topic, it’s because I haven’t researched the issue to the extent that I feel confident writing about it. Alternatively, it might be an issue that I don’t hold an opinion worth writing about either way. The health care discussion is one example of this; my opinion is cautious optimism, but I don’t argue strongly for it because it’s not a debate that I have anything new to say. There are other, more eloquent writers talking about it, so my response, if asked, would be to go read one of them.

However, sometimes there’s a topic that comes along that hits all the issues that I do care about and it seems like I should have something to say about it and I haven’t said anything. Feminism and gender issues are two of those particular issues. Video games are another.

If you’re still with me at this point, here’s your required reading to understand the Dickwolf controversy. I don’t even know how to distill it down to a paragraph at this point, but I’ll try. A comic strip that was created three years ago created a controversy that continues to this day. Its very mention is enough to create headlines on gaming news sites and blogs. Even mentioning it here makes me feel uneasy.

So why mention it at all? One reason is because of how much I’ve written about feminism already and how much I think about issues of gender equality. This is one of those issues that everybody is talking about. I should say something, right?

Except that I don’t know what to say.

It’s like watching your friends fight and it’s the kind of fight that you know is going to end the friendship between these two friends because of what’s been said. It’s the kind of argument where really hurtful things are said and it’s gone past the point of anybody really being “right,” although perhaps nobody was right to begin with. Worst of all, you can see both sides. You can understand where each one is coming from, even if you don’t necessarily agree with both sides.

In this case, one side is arguing for the freedom of speech to tell jokes without reprisal and they are defending this position. The other side is arguing that it’s not a freedom of speech issue and that’s an issue of making jokes about rape culture. The response is that the original joke wasn’t a rape joke and that the true “victims” of the joke were so-called heroes in MMORPGs, who are actually quite abominable themselves. And then came everything afterwards, when things got really messy.

So, what do I do? I feel very strongly about freedom of speech! I think the way rape is treated in our society is abominable!

And so we have this debacle. If I were to try to pinpoint where it all became so hopelessly entangled, I think it’s due to the various ideals that have been called in as part of the argument. Making it a freedom of speech issue is as problematic as making it a “rape culture” issue. It brings in a lot of material that creates a quagmire.

I don’t know. I guess I don’t have anything to say. I can see both sides. I won’t say who I am in agreement with, because people I respect and whose content I enjoy are on opposite sides of the issue. It feels like saying who I think is correct is like choosing between friends.

All I can really say is that I feel like I’ve failed both my ideals by existing in this sort of wishy-washy neutral ground. I feel like I should be supporting one side. There are a lot of wounded feelings all around. Standing on the sideline doesn’t feel right. But I don’t really know what to do.

And that’s where I’m at and why I haven’t written about it before. It’s not that I don’t care. I do care, very deeply, and I’ve followed the controversy since it began. I just didn’t know what to say then and I don’t know what to say now. The link, if you clicked it, gives you opinions from all the big names in game journalism and geek culture who have weighed in on this before me. You’ll find plenty to keep you busy.

As for me, I’ll just keep on watching, feeling like I should say something more substantial, but having no idea what that should be.