Last year, I was quite the political firebreather. I had what I thought were good moral reasons for this -- namely, the idea that "all that it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." As I recently said to somebody (who initiated a political debate), as I took apart their arguments piece by piece, logically and I hope objectively: "so why does it fall to an itinerant musician to point this stuff out? Shouldn't our media be doing that?"
But I finally got to the point where I realized two things: one is that there's a law of diminishing returns with this stuff. And another is that, basically I had no constituency. People move in groups, people tend to congregate around ideas and belief systems that make them comfortable. And by speaking up, I wasn't building a following for certain ideas. I was pissing EVERYBODY off, one demographic at a time. And the basic fact is, those ideas are out there. People just decide whether or not they want to entertain them. When people are scared crapless, they don't usually sit down and think of how to get out of the situation they're in. They react. That might be the wrong move but...it's human nature. Whatcha gonna do?
But the biggest reason I shut up? Because I think nearly everybody -- everybody -- in this country is a sucker and a moron -- and that includes other people that think everybody in this country is a sucker and a moron. And that's not a way to win any friends. So why am I posting this blog? I dunno. Maybe I feel guilty for detaching from political discussions when I took a stand earlier. Since I don't plan to call attention to it, and since I haven't posted in ages, I expect no one will see it.
So if any of the following offends you -- well, duh. Of course the large percentage of you won't agree with me. But it's cool. I'm still a good guy and guess what! I don't have any power! All of you are free to mass in any way you like and you are far more likely to realize your own vision of the country than I ever will. And I will just have to deal with it. So I think you can take it. Don't get mad at ME. I'm just one dude shaking his fist at windmill.
Basically the country is separated into three groups. All of whom I think, as I said, are in their own way, sending us right down the tubes, though not in equal measures.
Conservatives -- Good God, where do I start? Did anyone watch the Republican debates last night? All of these people are falling all over themselves to out-crazy one another. If you saw these people walking down the street and talked to them for ten seconds, you would run. And yet these are the only people the right wing of our country can entertain as presidential candidates.
My dad was a conservative. Like, a real conservative, an intellectually consistent conservative, someone who wasn't hooked on dogma as a replacement for real thinking. I know the tenets of the philosophy. I was raised on them. I internalized the concepts of personal responsibility, the perils of the "nanny state" (there's a bogus euphemism for ya), the struggles businesses face with regulations and labor costs. I get it. Modern day conservatism has taken these concepts, slapped it together with religious fervor and a large dollop of fear, and made it into a crazy quilt of a religion that punishes severely for the slightest deviation from the Ten Commandments -- Thou Shalt Not Raise Taxes. Thou Shalt Blame Liberals For Everything. Thou Shalt Ignore Every Bit of Information That Does Not Come From a Conservative Because It Is Biased. Shall I go on?
Conservatism is not a political movement. It is a cult. There is a tautology of circular logic that prevents any doctrinaire conservative from reconsidering any portion of their beliefs. And unfortunately, this is the largest and most intractable minority voting block in our country, thanks in part to the vagaries of the Constitution. But I think what I loathe about conservatives most of all is their absolute inability to take any responsibility for any part of the problems that they whine about incessantly, even though you can draw a direct line from people and policies most of them support to the things they complain about.
Phew. OK, next!
Liberals -- people assume I am one because I take a liberal position in an argument more often than not. But that's just so someone can HEAR it...since liberals are the most demonized, and yet the most politically powerless (I can hear conservatives chuckling at this right now...hey bozos...YOU do not get define what a "liberal" is. People still get to choose their own labels in this country. A real "liberal" does not mean ANYONE TO THE LEFT OF YOU. The reason you do not know what a real liberal is is true lefties have been systematically excluded from having any real voice in anything that is said or debated...with the exception of a few crazies that get trumped up to the skies anytime someone on Fox wants to make an example of how nutty those socialists are).
A country that demeans and ridicules what 25% of the population believes is in trouble. Yes, maybe a lot of lefties are nuts but guess what? Michelle Bachman is nuts too, and her face is plastered all over my computer screen. She gets to have her insane ideas listened to. Noam Chomsky (Who? Exactly?)? Not so much.
So why do I have the knife into liberals too, when I obviously have a great deal of sympathy for their plight? Simple. You look at the 2010 elections, how we got in this insane position. The Tea Party turned out en masse to put right wing dudes into office right? Wrong. The loonies got in because liberals stayed home. They were mad at Obama because of his messaging failures, because of his not pulling out of Afghanistan, because of not having a public option in the health care reform bill...etc., etc.
Those are all fair criticisms, up to a point. But dude, Obama is not God. He's got a whole bunch of people that are on his ass trying to take him down. Secondly, the fact that you projected him to be a liberal shining knight is not his fault. Most of the things he's done are exactly what he's campaigned on. I was there and I remember. And because you guys all sat on your hands and bitched about how disappointed you are, we got this bunch of loons. Thanks a lot, guys.
Yeah, it sucks that liberal ideas are not properly articulated in our media, and you guys are totally demonized. It sucks that lefties are out-messaged and that Obama hasn't been able to give you everything you want. But the fact remains there's still a lot more of Them than there are of You. And if you want a bigger seat at the table, you need to do what the right wing loonies -- who when I was a kid were a punch line, a total joke -- have been doing for 30 years. Get organized and start taking over, one school board at a time. Sitting around and whining because you got half a loaf from President Obama is not a good start to that goal.
Centrists -- Ah yes. That's most of us, right? We're not one of those crazy right wing wide eyes, and we're not one of the loonie left. WE'RE normal. You won't catch us taking a side, getting caught up in all this Washington nonsense. WE'RE the cool ones. WE'RE above it all. We know the whole thing is a scam, a joke.
I think I'm more pissed at the Centrists than anybody else. Because the Centrists smugly thing it has nothing to do with Them. They know it's all fucked up, and the only thing to do is wash your hands of it. It's all corrupt. It's all Those Politicians in Washington screwing everything up. Throw 'em all out. They are not listening to Us.
Except this fake notion of equality, "both sides do it", this bias towards not getting one's hand's dirty, is exactly the reason we have a situation now where one party is flawed and corrupt, and the other party is flat-out, batshit insane and may drive the country over the edge. Oh my, did I just say that? That must make me a LIBERAL! Must cover ears! La la la!
But that, if anyone has any ounce of perspective and looks at the situation fairly, is WHAT'S HAPPENING. And we've gotten to the point where no one in the media can actually just look at something and, even though they KNOW that's what's going on, they can't SAY it. And so the media just says "Democrats say this, and Republicans say that." And the disconnected masses watch it, and just see a mess they don't like. And walk away from it. And so in a situation where one side is just your normal gang of semi-corrupt fuck ups, and another side is completely trashing 100 years of political traditions, abusing the process and, of yeah, denying objective reality, and it's reported as being the same thing, guess which side triumphs? And guess whose fault it is? It's not the fault of the people doing the damage. They're getting away with it, why shouldn't they keep right on truckin'? After all, we're letting them. It's like saying "Johnny, you didn't take out the trash. Jimmy, you strangled the cat. You both go to bed without any supper." How is that going to work out, hmm?
50% of the country doesn't vote. We think that it doesn't matter, that our voices don't count. But think about it. If we REALLY didn't matter, why the enormous amount of money to obfuscate every issue, to keep us confused and disconnected and mad at each other? To get us so completely disgusted with the process that we just walk away from it, throw up our hands, say it doesn't matter, it ain't me?
Well, of course it's you. Who the heck is gonna listen to you, when you just shit on the people breaking things, and the people trying (however imperfectly) to fix things, equally? And you're not kicking down any money, or standing for anything, to boot?
In the end, here's what's going to happen: the country is going to be a place that none of us recognize. Hell, in many ways, it already is. Every single one of us is going to see it. And instead of being united in our unhappiness and coming together and thinking about a way to proceed that we can all live with, we're going to point fingers at each other, saying it's so and so's fault, fighting over smaller and smaller scraps, while the small cadre of people who engineered this entire shell game laugh at us and count their money. And who can blame them? They had an idea, they made a plan, and they followed through. The rest of us just fell for it.
And I'm one of them. Because this blog aside, I have decided to keep my mouth shut.
Yay! Now I belong.