Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Which I Prove That I Chose the Correct Party Affiliation

Like every American, I occasionally wonder whether I chose the correct party when I registered to vote.  In this age of dangerous rifts between parties, it's not uncommon for people to be chastised for being "too Republican" or "too Democratic."  Equally unfortunate is the fact that under the current trends of political thought, any registered Democrat is immediately labelled something like a atheist Massachusetts college-educated liberal.  Contrarily, any registered Republican is considered a NASCAR redneck evangelical Reaganite.  The greatest threat this ideology poses to America is that the classic Moderate in either party is seen as siding with the enemy.  Why is this?  What happened in America that caused such a massive break between the parties?  Why is bipartisan cooperation considered such an evil?  Why can't we all just be a little bit more like, YOU GUESSED IT:


I consider this break in the parties to be one of the greatest faults in American history.  There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that encourages schism and denounces thoughtful cooperation.  Abraham Lincoln said something about a house divided against itself being unable to stand.  I'm relatively certain he wasn't conveying his understanding of architecture when he offered this warning.  History has already proven that when bipartisanship entirely separates the parties, something awful like say a Civil War can break out.
As of right now, I'm a registered Democrat in New York State.  That's almost like saying that I'm a human being that breathes oxygen apparently.  This wasn't always the case however.  A younger, more foolish BillChas did something very silly on February 25th of 2002.  It was the day after I turned 18.  I couldn't technically register to vote on my birthday, as it fell on a Sunday that year.  New York is a funny state, in that you may choose from the following parties upon registration: 
  • Democratic party
  • Republican party
  • Conservative party
  • Working Families party
  • Independence party*
  • Green party
*-Note that this oughtn't be confused with registering independent!  The Independence party is that of failed Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, which consists mainly of billionaire libertarians.  
Then there is of course the option of registering Independent or filling in your own political party, for those remaining Know-Nothings, Whigs, Bull-Mooses and Jedi among us.  I, a young and stupid idealist, blindly put a check mark next to Green party.  One day I received a literature in the mail from the Green party which illuminated, in shockingly disgusting detail, how the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 were orchestrated and carried out by our own government.  Naturally, I found this so despicable that I went down to the Sayville Post Office at my earliest convenience to change my party affiliation.  Ever since I have been a Democrat.
And why shouldn't I have registered Democratic?  There have been many fine Democrats in our time: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton and DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN just to name a few.  But I cannot help but wonder if I did make the right decision.  Several of my favorite politicians have been Republicans.  Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower, the ferocious graduate of West Point and Commander of the Allied Forces come to mind.  And here's where the moronic of our number pipe in and issue some pithy ex cathedra statement about "Ooh... but the Parties have changed throughout the years!  Some Democrats would be considered Republicans nowadays and blah blah blah blah..."  Well, I'll have none of your armchair, barstool political thought!  Try telling Abraham Lincoln that he was a Democrat!  If that were the case, then John Wilkes Booth most likely wouldn't have seen fit to lodge a bullet in Our Beloved President's brilliant skull.  I care NOT for your modern political thought!  These presidents were the HEADS of the parties they ran under.  And I won't listen to your inane ramblings any longer.
So how does one decide if he or she has made the right decision when selecting a political party?  It's a tough call.  But I did come up with a method for seeing if you've made the right choice.  How is it done?  Simple.  By the way, I came up with this method while I was pondering the most forgotten and underrated President in History:

Fig. 2: Mr. James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump
Make a list of every President of the United States of America.  Research each of their Presidencies, including decisions they made, how the country fared during their Presidency, and to what degree you agree with how they saw fit to run the country.  Now, you might run into a few snags.  You'll note that there are four Whigs, at least one Federalist, one awesome God-like war hero that refused to join a political party on the grounds that it might cause a great rife in the nation (and yes, George Washington was a goddamned Prophet) and several Democratic-Republicans in the mix.  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CONSIDER THESE PRESIDENCIES.  These parties no longer exist.  We cannot retroactively assign Jefferson to the Democratic Party.  Nor can we lump the Adamses in with the Republicans.  You may as well skip all the way down to Andrew Jackson, THE FIRST AND MOST BLOOD THIRSTY DEMOCRAT, and begin your counting there - of course skipping all Whigs you may come upon.
For each of those Presidencies, use the following scale to assign a positive or negative number:

+2 = One of the most fantastical Presidencies that all Presidents should strive to emulate.
+1 = A fine and model President!  Job well done!
0 = I care nothing about what this President did, and I don't see how the country would be much different without this person's Presidency.
-1 = Oh come on!  You can do better than this!  You're the president for cripes sake!  Do something good, will ya?
-2 = Ran the country into the ground and ought to have the title of Mr President posthumously stripped from them.

I did this.  And I was surprised with the results.  Now one must bear in mind that there have been slightly more Republicans than there have been Democrats.  Honestly though, there is a whole slew of Republican Presidents that even modern-day Republicans wish never existed.  You can omit these Presidents (Hayes, Garfield, Arthur) should you so choose, and suddenly the playing field is once again equal.  Here is how my scores came out:

Gray: Federalist
Green: Democratic-Republican
Yellow: Whig
Blue: Democrat
Red: Republican
PRESIDENT NAME Republican Democrat Neither
George Washington +2
John Adams +1
Thomas Jefferson +2
James Madison +1
James Monroe +1
John Q. Adams -1
Andrew Jackson +2
Martin Van Buren 0
William Henry Harrison 0
John Tyler +1
James K. Polk +2
Zachary Taylor -1
Millard Fillmore -1
Franklin Pierce -2
James Buchanan -2
Abraham Lincoln +2
Andrew Johnson -2
Ulysses S. Grant +2
Rutherford B. Hayes -1
James A. Garfield -2
Chester A. Arthur 0
Grover Cleveland -1
Benjamin Harrison 0
Grover Cleveland 0
William McKinley -1
Theodore Roosevelt +2
William Taft -1
Woodrow Wilson* -2
Warren G. Harding -2
Calvin Coolidge 0
Herbert Hoover -2
Franklin D. Roosevelt +2
Harry S Truman +1
Dwight Eisenhower +2
John F. Kennedy +1
Lyndon B. Johnson +2
Richard Nixon -2
Gerald Ford -2
Jimmy Carter 0
Ronald Reagan +2
George H.W. Bush 0
Bill Clinton +2
George W. Bush -2
Barack Obama 0
Total: -5 Total: +4 Total: +5

All Republicans together resulted in a total of -5 points, meaning that, as a whole, the Republican Party has produced a net of nearly THREE miserable failures of a Presidency.  On the other hand, the Democrats have produced a net of TWO divine leaders that have brought about a Pax Americana in their theoretical times.  Even the hodgepodge of mixed political parties from throughout history far outshine the Republican presidents, even if one is to completely omit the abysmal triumvirate of Hayes, Garfield & Arthur.
I've clearly chosen wisely.  Are my points awarded skewed by my political beliefs?  That is entirely for the Court of the World to decide.  For my money however, I can rest easy knowing that I categorically proved that I chose the correct political party, at least where the Presidency is concerned.  Try it and share your results!

* - Please note that I made an egregious error when I was translating my work from paper to Excel.  I originally posted that Woodrow Wilson received a +1.  My friend Alex pointed out that he found it odd that I gave Wilson a positive number at all, being that Wilson was famous for re-segregating the White House, endorsing the message in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, needlessly dragging the country into World War I, and failed to garner Republican support for the centerpiece of his Fourteen Points, the League of Nations.  On paper I originally gave Wilson -1, but after some careful consideration and more insight from Alex, I have decided to give President Wilson -2.  This means that Democratic Presidents have earned a net of +4.  I have adjusted my analysis to reflect this.  Isn't that the beauty of this method?  I imagine that if I were to try this exercise 20 years from now, I'd probably get different results.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


What a travesty.  According to reliable sources, I haven't updated this weblog since June of 2011.  Why is this such a travesty?  I cannot even begin to atone for not recording all the fantastical events of my life in the past 8 or so months.  What in the hell has happened in all that time.
Well, for one, Maria and I were married.  You know, no big deal.  I've noticed that an awful lot of traffic for this website comes from the multitudes of other fancy gentlemen wishing to look like Atticus Finch and where to find a tie with a whale pattern.  It just so happens that both of those search criteria will land you on my blog entries pertaining to how I'd like to dress for the wedding.  The votes were cast and the whale tie won.  And what of the seersucker suit?  Was I able to do the legendary Southern lawyer a good turn?  I leave that for the Court of the World to decide:

Fig. 1: This style brought to you by J. Press and its finest salesman, Mark Clark.  And under the advice of one Jon Meier, who then proceeded to buy me very expensive cocktails at the Algonquin to stave off the panic attack triggered by the ludicrous amount of money I dropped on a suit.  And still it was outshone by the ethereal brilliance of my bride.  To quote Mary Poppins, "That's as it should be."

Anyhow, I really do enjoy updating this thing.  And I also enjoy the minute of fame the entry pertaining to Oscar the Grouch's Timelordship brought me.  And look, I even have a sticky on my desktop with all the thoughts on VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS that I wanted to share with the interweb.  I here share the contents of that sticky:

-Boston / J. Press
-UConn Dairy Bar
-Moynihan Tufts
-Comparing cameras
-5 things I'd do with a time machine
 >1964 World's Fair

And that's it.  A lone "greater than" sign is where I left off.  And OH the wonderful stories that could be  told about all the things I wrote on the sticky.  I will discuss all these topics (with the exception of our INCREDIBLE wedding - because a blurb could scarcely do it justice) VERY QUICKLY RIGHT NOW.
I intended to talk about the new jargon invented by the roughest, toughest bunch of clammers the Great South Bay ever saw.  Because of my neglect, perhaps no one will know what a braggart's dozen is.  Centuries from now, English speakers will be entirely ignorant of that fact that placing clams in a bucket ought to be referred to as "making a deposit," meaning that a handful of clams ought to be referred to as a "deposit."  I ought to at least make these precious gems of the English language look fancy!  In fact I will right now:

deposit \di-POZ-it\
1. a number of clams that fits in two hands... and possibly in your swim trunks as well: Seany Mikes placed an incredible deposit of clams into the bucket... and then chugged like 4 Miller High Lifes to celebrate.

braggart's dozen \BRAG-ertz  DUH-zin\
1. Seven or eight clams: Derek claimed he gleaned 48 clams from the murky waters of the Great South Bay, when he in fact only retrieved a braggarts dozen.  That didn't stop him from eating all the clams anyway.  Asshole.

As for Boston and J. Press - I was going to compare the Harvard Square store to the Madison Avenue store.  That doesn't seem as interesting in retrospect.  Moving on.

UConn Dairy Bar.  It's a magical place that we stopped at on our way back from Boston to visit our friend Alex. Um... it was.  Magical.  Once again, loses its luster in hindsight.  It was probably the most fantastic strawberry ice cream I've ever tasted.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan attended Tufts for both his Master and Doctorate.  Also, I found this picture of him.  DPM is the OFFICIAL mascot of The Elegance of Humanity in America.

Fig. 2: The Gentleman from New York.

I was going to compare my Mamiya C220 photos with those from my shitty Diana plastic hipster piece of shit.  But I have yet to make prints from ANY of these rolls of film.  Also, FAR TOO HIPSTERY.

Five things I'd do with a Time Machine.  Oh god, I don't think I'd be able to hew this down to only 5 events.  And... FINE, quickly!  The first five that come to mind!
  1.  The 1964 World's Fair.
  2. The meetings of the First Continental Congress.
  3. Abraham Lincoln doing SOMETHING awesome.  I mean, for him that could mean something as menial as shaving for God's sake.
  4.  The primordial soup mix that created life on Earth.
  5. D-Day.  No.  Wait.  I'd cry.  No.  I'd still go.
Maybe I'll flesh the discussion of time travel out more thoroughly at a later time.
And so many more things have happened.  We left our old crappy apartment for a much nicer one in a much worse part of Brooklyn.  We visited Hawai'i.  We welcomed the birth of our first nephew!  All of these just absolutely brilliantly wonderful things have happened in the past 8 months... and the thing that made me want to blog again was this:

 Fig. 3: If you're going to do propaganda, you might as well do it right.

I saw this poster today, and I realized that America doesn't urge its citizens to buy war bonds anymore.  During the First and Second World Wars, posters, cartoons, radio announcers all urged every red-blooded American to buy war bonds.  And there's something satisfying about giving over money to a good cause in return for a piece of paper that guarantees payback upon the victorious end of a war.  Hell, if I were in a position to give $25 to Uncle Sam in the 1910s or 1940s, I'd be first in line to buy my war bond.  But in our country's most recent conflicts: Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Gulf War II, Afghanistan, &c., the Congress didn't even ponder to ask its citizens for money.  What does that tell us of these obnoxious conflicts?
I could seriously go on about other subjects that boggle my mind.  Among them include the continuing flagrant abuse of food stamps programs that I see across the street from my apartment.  Ah... I think it's time to get back in the saddle.  It would be a vicious crime for me to deprive the masses of my ALWAYS 100% ACCURATE AND CORRECT commentaries and observations of THE ELEGANCE OF HUMANITY IN AMERICA - REDUX.
I think I will attempt to discuss the wedding and Hawaii in attempt to get back into form.
Until then, I am forever.
Please comment if you know of a way that I can add "President" to my ever expanding collection of titles.