Friday, November 21, 2008

All that's left you

Reality check: We are two months or so away from the Inauguration, as near as I can reckon. So explain to me what value this shirt serves? At first, I thought it was a joke, but it isn't. And please don't misunderstand me: you are more than welcome to buy one or more, operators standing by I'm sure, and give them as Christmas gifts to all of your friends (assuming you have any) but more than answering 'why' try first to explain to me how we've gotten out here on Rising Gorge, across the street from Moot Point? And in the interest of equal time, here's a 'survey' by a renowned research company, used by both US political parties, offering insight into the reaction of plain folks, like us kids in the weeds, to a not-even-yet-hypothetical exercise.

Rush and The Dittoheads (sounds almost like Lothar and the Hand People, doesn't it? Pity it isn't) are already in full rant-but they're an easy fix for me. I just don't tune to any of the stations he's on and since I'm not a big fan of Faux Gnus, my contact with his fellow travellers is even more limited. Not that the other side of the political spectrum is overrun by choir boys and secular saints, either, come to think of it. When I inadvertently encounter Saint Keith of MSNBC pontificating on the newest O'Miracle, I hit mute on the volume and moot on the channel selector simultaneously.

I remember European history (vaguely) from high school and reading of Voltaire, whose wit and wisdom were brushed aside as his nation, seeking to emulate in its way, our own American Revolution, created horrors without end during what became known as the French Revolution. Not that long ago, it seems to me, we stopped to think but then never started again.

We are, and/or until recently were, a nation of accommodation, of middle ground, of disagreeing but not being disagreeable. All of that is now gone or at least it seems to be. Compromise is no longer revered, it's reviled. Our slogan has become 'love me, love my dog!' Politics is no longer the art of the possible, it's a systemic polemic designed to divide our world into black and white even as we separate red from blue states. We have an inside and an outside and if you are not with us, you are against us.

We used to struggle as a nation to find a way to solve our problems and to meet our challenges. So much for the indefinite article, these days. Everything is "The" and if you disagree, there's no discussion, just diatribe. We have little use for impartial accounts and, point in fact, tend to regard those whom we call 'fair' as those with whom we agree. There's an old bumper sticker, 'be reasonable, do it my way', that's not quite as funny as it once was.

When did shouting replace talking? How do we explain to our children what we did to the country their grandparents gave us? Until us, every generation since the Founding of the Republic had striven and succeeded in leaving their children more than they had inherited. In less than a week it's Thanksgiving. What should we, and they, be thankful for? That we didn't, yet, destroy through heedless speed and greed a nation and notion that so many millions sacrificed to keep as an example to the world? Will this someday be part of our grandchildren's 'good old days?' Will they one day have to tell each other, 'my grandparents tried to change their country and all I got was this lousy tee shirt'?
-bill kenny


Mark B. said...

Extremism on either side of the aisle make no sense. It tends to limit your options. Although I feel strongly about a variety of the social issues we see publicized today you won't see me leading the charge for any of them because politicians that do usually are self serving in doing so. These issues tend to divide and don't add to what I think are the much more important issues of the day. How will we feed, clothe, shelter, educate and care for ourselves and our children (and our parents too)? Too many have been bamboozled (spell check horror word) into an agenda not right for them because of the emotion buttons these issues press. The debates are caustic, leaving scars on the public psyche that don't easily heal. Both sides have been guilty here.

dweeb said...

And from what I've seen, you practice what you preach and not only help make a difference but are part of the difference.

Too many, too often (I'm tried from a long work and even longer health challenge so perhaps I'm overstating, but I think not) have decided lending a hand is too hard, but pointing a finger works just fine. Cynic that I am, I smile when I realize with all the finger-pointing, three of them still point back at ourselves.

You can't be too strong, too determined, too stoic, too patient or too kind when it comes to the important business of continuing to help make this magnificent notion in which we live, the greatest nation in the history of the planet.

I'm only one, but I am one. This must continue to be the mantra we use to build a coalition of caring and common sense to advance all of us.

When one succeeds, we all do. And anything other than success is unimaginable, unthinkable and unacceptable.