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Eric Garland Political Trends 47 Comments

So, um, greetings to my bajillion new readers, and several hundred new detractors! The explosive popularity of  my first-person trend analysis of Republican demographic segmentation (which I did in a single draft over one cup of coffee at Starbucks before turning to my actual work) has quite surprised me, to say the least. Obviously, the subject of the partisan divide in America needs considerable discussion, and I am honored to have served as the touchstone for this dialogue.

I have several new articles on American politics to come, but since so many people are asking for more information about my piece, I thought I would answer just a few questions that have been raised.


1. Dude, why haven’t I heard stuff like this on political blogs before?

Because this isn’t a political blog, and I am not a political commentator. Moreover, this was my first ever commentary on American electoral politics. I normally write about strategic trends in economics, technology and society, while assiduously avoiding the partisan hair-pulling that has become a sad hallmark of American civic life. But I could no longer ignore the major intellectual shift in America. A real and critical change is happening in Americans from the shoulders up – a change I find to be very positive.

Stay tuned to this blog to find out what I mean in great detail.

2. So you voted for Obama, so what? Why should anybody care? 

This year, as a (temporary) resident of Missouri, I voted for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. I want to see an active dialogue in American life, and the binary politics of Democrats and Republicans lead to straight tribalism and epistemic closure. We need broad dialogue, and I personally think that would be best served with five to seven major political parties that need to create governments by forming coalitions.

We need ideas and dialogues, not team jerseys and shouting matches. It is possible. Let’s start now to make it a reality.

3. I think you are lying about starting work at age 12 just to make yourself sound more heroic!

This is actually in the comment stream of the original post, and I got a kick out of it. I began working for my father’s farm store in Rutland, Vermont in 1986 at the age of 12. Duties includes strategic logistics of cow manure, peat moss, cracked corn, pet food, lumber, and things that are smelly and dirty. My father fired me on three separate occasions, but hired me back repeatedly because you just can’t find help anymore that you can pay minimum wage AND threaten with early bedtime if work is not done appropriately.

From age 16 to 18 I worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken on Route 7 in Rutland under the tutelage of Jeff Washburn, and let me tell you, it was a really easy gig after unloading 18-wheelers full of peat moss coming out of Quebec, covered in ice.

4. I’m completely offended that you used potty language to describe your feelings on your own blog!

Oh, can we stop with the pearl clutching routine already? Are you seriously an adult? You’re just trying to find a way to dismiss my ideas, and can’t, so you are trying to paint me as a vulgarian. Weak.

You want to talk offensive use of language? I will make you a deal – when Republicans stop referring to torture as “enhanced interrogation” and the forcible dislocation of prisoners’ shoulders as “stress positions,” I will stop referring to their policies as “an enormous clusterfuck of galactic scale.” Obfuscating war crimes is a much more offensive use of English than the occasional use of common Anglo-Saxon words to punctuate emotion in an essay posted on one’s personal blog.

5. You would never be a real Republican anyhow! Shut up, derp, derp, etc. 

Are you running the Mickey Mouse club with secret handshakes and special T shirts, or are you trying to put together a majority coalition to win elections?

The thesis of my article is that the new definition of “real Republican” is so narrow and extreme that the GOP cannot, and will not be able to win elections in the future. I do not care to be part of that coalition – I am merely pointing out the irony that I fit the precise profile of your ideal voter, and I cannot stand your platform in the least.

You may not understand what this means, but the guys bundling PAC money sure do. The guys who called Karl Rove, livid that their millions of anonymous cashola bought them nothing last Tuesday, you better believe they know what this means.

6. What do you think of the Democratic Party?

They are the standard bearers of the status quo, in all its dysfunction. The party has too many faults to list here all at once – but at least they seem to live in a world that resembles reality.

Somebody needs to challenge them seriously if we are to have policies that really work to solve America’s problems. I fear a one-party system would have the same weaknesses that we see in China or Venezuela.

7. Where can I find more of your work? 

Aw shucks, kids, I’m really on a research sabbatical right now, but if you want to buy my books, fine. Or get this blog by RSS or email (look to the right column). Bunch of videos here showing my recent TV appearances and stuff. I’m on Twitter every single day.

8. As a native Vermonter, do you have a favorite type of maple syrup?

For around the house, I definitely recommend Grade B Medium Amber for your pancakes, or to put in your coffee. Dark Amber is good too, but especially if you want to use it to flavor other foods, like as a glaze for carrots or over ice cream.

Fancy grade syrup is for Flatlanders only.

Thanks everyone, and please stay tuned for a post featuring the amazing stories you all have shared.