Tuesday, April 05, 2011


The longer I think about what needs to be done politically - locally, nationally and internationally, I am more and more bewildered and depressed.

We are a people of… well maybe I need to put that a bit differently.  We aren’t “a people” anymore, if we ever were.

For millennia now, we have fought each other because of ethnic, cultural, religious and economic differences.  I’ve had the advantage of being a white male of a non-descript ethnic, cultural and economic strata growing up in a place and time that made it seem that all would be good and over time, better.

I dearly wish I were rich and could wall myself off from the, I fear, coming storm of fear and hate.  But I’m not and will deal with the consequences of our moral, cultural and economic profilgacy for the rest of my life.

We are not a country or a world of “exceptionalism” other than in a material sense for some people in some places.  Traditional politics will not solve the problems facing us, be the politics those of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party folks or any international flavor you would like to name.

Some medicine for whichever flavor you favor:

You are a flaming economic liberal and want to spend and spend and spend to make all well for all people in every way.  Noticed how well decades of deficit spending have worked?  Social liberal?  Noticed how your mannered approach to the differences among us doesn't lead to, in the immortal words of Rodney King, us all being able to “get along?”  And maybe more importantly for me, a flaming social liberal, have you noticed that for the most part, most people don’t give a damn about civil liberties, because, pick your reason – they are starving, they are oppressed, they are cussed.  Think that’s going to change anytime soon?

You are a right wing conservative of either a fiscal or social or both, persuasion:  Let’s assume you are right in all your beliefs.  Okay, what are you going to do with “the other,” those you fear and hate?  Those that insist on living their lives immorally to your mind, those that don’t have the physical, mental or plain moral ability to make it on their own in the world.  There are a lot of them, quite possibly more of them than there are of you.  Plan to man the ramparts when they are starving and fed up with your moralizing?

Libertarian are you?  Burn your Ayn Rand books and smell, the more and more putrid, odor of our coming catastrophe.  John Galt didn’t and doesn’t exist.  And if I’m wrong, he’s retreated to the secret valley in the mountains.

Tea Party your bent?  You are deluding yourself – the GOP and its main supporters have no intention of fulfilling any of the unworkable mandates you insist on promoting.  Noticed that the entire U.S. government is at a virtual standstill debating about whether to cut, what, a percent or so of the budget that won’t make a damn bit of difference socially or economically the minute it happens?  When is it that you think that defense and social entitlements are going to be meaningfully cut?  Not anytime soon.

I’m not going to harass my few readers around the world – I don’t know your situation well enough to tell you you’re screwed, though I think you are if you think there’s a good outcome around the corner.

We “the people” really need to get slapped in our individual and collective faces and face the consequences of our long avoidance of reality.  I suggest we all read some history books about what happened to fat and happy cultures.  Or take a look at the Middle East and Africa today for a more current lesson.

We really don’t need to blame our “leaders” as we have encouraged their errors, indeed demanded them to earn our votes.  Bread and circuses are what you get when you think constantly only about your small place in society.  Economic chaos is what you get when you are out to get only what you think benefits you.  Ethnic, cultural and religious hate?  I don’t have a clue what drives you.

Solutions, I have none.  Maybe we will get the next miracle leader to actually fix everything.  I very much doubt it and think we all should start thinking about to do in the absence of a savior.


Anonymous said...

I kind of gave up on the big battles. Obama pretty much killed my last hope for change via the political process.

Now I just focus on the little, local battles. If I make an old man smile, that's enough for me.

The Curmudgeon said...

Well, this is a cheery post.

Although I see the waterfall too....

I think the country needs a purpose -- not a crisis -- and, heaven forfend, not another war. This is a theme to which I will return on my blog in due course.

Meanwhile, I do believe that America is exceptional: There have been multi-ethnic empires (Imperial Rome and Ottoman Turkey come to mind); there have been tolerant oases, but there has never been a multi-ethnic, tolerant country like this one. Don't snort that we're not very tolerant at all -- we only fall short compared to our expectations and ideals. That's a good thing! We're not smug and satisfied. We want to do better. Compared to the rest of the world, though, this is still paradise.

In some ways the 1960s were the undoing of this country -- not that a lot of good things did not emerge from the 60s -- it's just that, since the 60s, we focus on all of our perceived shortcomings and are afraid to recognize and celebrate our unique place in world history.