Thursday, February 16, 2006

Very, very tired

I've reached a level of exhaustion that is clearly unheathly but must be endured. That is the sole explanation for the infrequent posting. That and the fact that politics is routinely turning my stomach. The dishonesty, the backbiting, the shooting in the face - all of it is a drain on America, and a drain on those of us that actually give enough of a damn to pay attention.

In fact, if anyone is looking for reasons why there is so much political apathy in this country, a viable explanation is likely to be found in the morass of muckraking and dishonesty that is American politics. There are a few beacons of light amidst that muck, but they are few and far between. Instead, you have dictatorial presidents with politburo vice presidents ready to fling out a pack of well versed lies. At the same time theses people sell the farm to protect the "rights of the unborn" their moral bankruptcy extends wars of aggression that kill a hundred thousand truly innocent people. At the same time they shout for a "return to traditional American values" (things like slavery, racism, and sexism), they eliminate any sense of meritocracy that their party was allegedly founded on. Brownie, anyone?

Add it all up and it leaves one with a sense of helplessness. The Democrats, as currently configured, aren't providing much hope. No, they've got their own form of croynism as evidenced by the power moves performed by Harry Reid and Charles Schumer when they forced Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race by not just endorsing someone else for the primary, but also by calling up major donors and asking them to stop funding Hackett's campaign. The system begets cronies while at the same time has produced an impotent and muted Democratic party that seems fundamentally incapable of a) having an independent thought or b) demonstrating any sense of a backbone.

Progressives like myself are told to relax because progress is being made. When Clarence Thomas was voted on the Supreme Court by a Democratic Congress, the Dems just rolled in the face of overwhelming Bush popularity. Now, the Dems may not have stopped Alito, but at least they tried a late filibuster, which shows progress. "Backbone is developing" they shout from the liberal blogosphere while ignoring that the vote to authorize the war was only possible with strong Democratic support, a vote that was the linchpin in enabling a runaway presidency to lead America down a path of no return in the Middle East.

Whatever happened to principles in the face of opposition? Whatever happened to standing up and saying, "I don't care if my position isn't popular, this is wrong and I'm standing against it"? Whatever happened to the shred of decency and honesty that is, at the least, mythologized in American history books? "I cut down the cherry tree father. I cannot tell a lie." Rubbish. We don't live in an honest culture. We live in a culture of "what have you done for me lately" and "it wasn't me". It's not, "we made some mistakes and we're working to ensure that doesn't happen anymore." Instead, it's, "mistakes were made," the ultimate freedom from all responsibility or admission of human failing.

Someone, pointedly, said last night that the history of brutality that dominates world history has not really been erased, instead it's shadowed with a veneer of sophistication. Allusions to the "glory days" of the past are more a realization that we live in a wildly imperfect word than an accurate association with a previous era of excellence.

I used to believe in America. Now I'm not so sure. I look around and see state sponsored torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantamano Bay while crafty legal arguments are deployed to provide a shread of legitimacy. I see illegal and irrational wars of aggression with grave human, economic, and political consequences. I see an imperial presidency with little to no checks on his power. I see the world's top democracy becoming less and less democratic. I see a government illegally spying on its citizens. I see unbelievable spending deficits and the glory days of the 90's becoming little more than a distant memory replaced with nervous consumerism and unsecure employment.

America isn't great now. I believe America can be great again. But after years of believing strongly that one must work through the system to improve the system, now I'm not so sure. The system is organized to inhibit progressive change. It's organized to preserve the financial resources of the wealthy and connected. The American dream that "anyone" can become President is a lie. Tell that to women, blacks, hispanics and latinos. No, the reality is, politics is and always has been about who you know, how much money you have, and where you put it.

I'm at a loss of how to proceed from here. Perhaps I should just focus on the things that interest me and attempt to make whatever small improvements I'm able. But the overwhelmingly depressing weight of the big picture is crushing the idealism and optimism of my youth. Is this what happens as we get older?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Political Favorites
Guilty Pleasures
My Global Position