Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rant #2

I’m a U.S. citizen who can’t take it anymore. I live in a state of gut-churning rage every day, and I am not alone. It’s gotten so bad that I’m hoping to wake up one morning to the news that McCain is dead of cancer, and Sarah Palin has been run over by a snowmobile. This is a terrible state to be in, and it began with Bush stealing the election, the complicit acts of the Supreme Court that allowed it, and I don’t need to tell you what has gone on since then. I am a disenfranchised citizen. I am in a state of constant affront over the political process. And, I cannot fathom how anyone with a thimbleful of common sense can support John McCain and Sarah Palin if they don’t want a repeat of the last eight years. But this is the problem: people do. And I see no good reason, not one.

How do people get like this? No grasp of the emotional factors that drive their judgment, for one thing. Poor critical thinking skills. From where I stand, and it’s not a friendly place, support of Palin can only be a product of denial. Denial is the engine that fuels emotional and intellectual ignorance and makes an insecure public vulnerable to manipulation. Denial always favors fiction over truth, because truth always challenges our beliefs. And while the emotional tolerance for that scenario may be low for all of us, it is close to nil for the fearful and poorly informed. This is no surprise. It's also no surprise, either, that it's core to most Republican thinking and policymaking; it's the sand under the so-called conservative foundation. Republican operatives exploit every aspect of illiteracy. Is it because denial makes them as emotionally challenged as their hoped-for constituents? As right-wing politicos pray, and then prey upon the weakness in the American character that turns us infantile in the face of fictional notions of righteous authority above and outside ourselves, do they also praise their God for the perverse cynicism that makes this possible, or are they so far gone that they can’t see the harm they do?

Democrats are far from perfect, and also responsible for the pain we’re in, but they are not an army of bold-faced liars. Progressive thinking has always been more tolerant of differences. Maybe it's time to end that tolerance, since peace is neither understood, nor valued by ultra right wing types. Maybe it's time to get tough. Maybe it's time to use force in every legitimate way possible to make the religious/political right wing accountable for the damage they've done and continue to do. Maybe it’s time to create laws that allow us to throw polluted Justices off the Supreme Court and prosecute Presidents who get us into unjust wars and enhance their executive privilege at the expense of the Constitution.

For decades now, the media has eroded the boundary between substance and appearance, on TV especially where news is entertainment and “reality” shows are king. Can we no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t? Have we created a mob of mindless consumers so undermined by the every-seven-minutes advertising assault on sustainable thinking that the ability to create honest values out of real facts no longer exists? McCain/Palin supporters don't seem to get even the most basic of differences. They’re like anorexics looking into the mirror--what they see isn’t there, but they believe it is. Does a social form of mental disease explain why they can't see through the lies, distortions, manipulations, disinformation, misrepresentations or whatever else McCain’s tactics call forth from its Rove-infested cellar? Or are they gung ho for the whole package? Have deceit and delusion so become the American way of life that we no longer care about making informed decisions for the common good? It's been terrifying to watch the disintegration of democracy over the last eight years fueled by reactionary attitudes. It provokes despair to witness the relentless dumbing down of the average person to the point where education and intelligence and critical thinking are no longer respected, but are spat upon as form of "elitism."

Who do these right-wing bullies think the founders of our democratic (and now failing) experiment were? One of the "guys"?! Like Rush Limbaugh or Rupert Murdoch? Like Bush? Cheney or Rove? All of them are despicable failures as guardians of freedom and democracy. No, our founders were extraordinary, gifted men, despite their flaws. They read books (what a concept!). They thought deeply about generations down the road. They cared, and not about wealth. They actually knew the meaning of things. They knew HOW to think, how to mix heart and mind, which is why we HAVE a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

Hello? Can you imagine today's administration and most (not all) the greedy prevaricating eunuchs in Congress coming up with the Constitution? They can't find their way out of the toilet. They are the toilet, mired as they are in a morass of their own making. Instead of standing up for principles that took a revolution to create, they wallow in the greased vat of collective delusion that passes for contemporary American culture, and applaud the duplicitous front men serving propaganda machines like Fox News. They make the crap and then spin it into a confection of diluted sound bites, defying us to call it what it is. This is not just pathetic; it's disastrous. It's beyond sad; it's tragedy happening before our eyes. It gave us Bush. It's turning us into a fascist nation. I want to weep.

All of it comes down with such self-righteousness, dressed up as it is in the fake “spiritual” garb that’s always been used to hide misogyny and the covert dislike of children. A so-called "pro-lifer" like Palin, for instance, won’t admit that it’s not life she worships--the actual life of a mother and child--but the fantasy of life. And what is that, but a concept manufactured to keep women and children poor, and dependent on a so-called “authority” that feels threatened by another’s freely chosen well being? Palin has no respect or concern for what living life means for someone else. The magical fetus trumps all, but on what authority? Hers? An ancient text’s, written by men? How does an unwanted child’s suffering become irrelevant, or the agony of an ill-equipped mother who must care for it become less important than a fetus--who, if born, will depend upon her? Morphing cells are sacred but breathing humans are not? This is cynical and arrogant. But "pro-life" is not about caring any more than it’s about life; it’s pious hypocrisy. It’s about lying in the face of facts. It’s about people like McCain and Palin who strut their moral insufficiencies inside a fetal bubble of deception, avoiding questions because serious inquiry is “hostile.” It's about the fear that drives the need to control someone else's experience. This is totalitarianism, and it’s rising in the United States, wrapped in a flag, just as it did in Nazi Germany. Imagine for a moment the dinner tables of the early '30s where "good” Germans sliced their wurst and politely declined to discuss the fate of their Jewish colleagues, burying their heads in a trough of rationalized prejudice until it was too late. Is this where we are today: “no way am I votin’ for a nigger,” or “did’ya hear? Obama is the anti-Christ”?

People like McCain/Palin who want to control the intimate lives of others are dishonest thinkers. They hide from the truth that they have neither cultivated, nor paid the dues that generate personal moral authority. Such authority is not automatically conferred in a prison camp, despite what torture may teach about one’s tolerance for mental and physical suffering, any more than it is conferred in a jail, or our inmates would be our wisest citizens. You don’t find it in an airplane flying over the snowpack shooting helpless wolves that can’t escape your gunsight. Personal moral authority comes from challenging the things that are hardest to see: one’s cultural upbringing and the unexamined family ties that bind, much of which has been brain washing since birth--a brain washing that is designed to convince the child that it can't/mustn't judge for itself, that to do that is to think outside the box, which is a dangerous and seditious act. People who do not question these things do not live authentic moral lives; they live fearful and vicarious ones, dependent upon someone else's “powerful voice” to guide them, whether it comes from a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Mormon, military, political, or whatever infantilizing belief system that satisfies our perpetual need to find illusory comfort in the face of stark universal realities, like death and our cosmic unimportance. Who wants to tolerate the possibility that we may only be important to ourselves, and that our survival might depend on understanding this? People who can't live without being told what to do or how to think can’t tell truth from fiction. They remain undeveloped children. They can’t see that their breath is enough to clear a space in the world. Fear drives them to legislate others, because they know nothing about what it takes to successfully govern themselves. They have never learned how take the measure of personal weakness and shame, which is the only road to compassion and empathy. They are the U.S. version of the Taliban, and they are in our midst. Yes, I am judging them. They are dangerous; they are emotionally and intellectually dishonest, and they need to be stopped.

A person like Sarah Palin who goes so far as to punish the woman victimized by rape or incest by demanding that she bear a child who carries the marks of those acts is not a competent nor a compassionate thinker. To remove the option of choice from such a victim is to victimize her twice and then to victimize the child forced to be born. Is this a leader we want? Do we want HER finger on the trigger? A retrograde female who rejects all the evidence that proves evolution and disproves the wishful thinking that drives creationism? Who is she going to listen to when she denies science while living the effects of its proofs every day as she downloads messages from a satellite or turns on the lights? God? This is the banal and self-serving argument of religious right freaks who are no strangers to grandiosity. Yeah, we know what God wants! Sure we do. Think Bush. We’re going to support a woman who claims she'll break the glass ceiling while she bans books and charges her town's rape victims for their rape tests at $1000 a pop? What sort of woman is this? Not a woman for women--or for children. But totalitarian minds know no gender, and they like to hide out inside ignorant and fearful crowds. They avoid public scrutiny, because the emperor's new clothes are no clothes at all.

Break the ceiling?! How can you break a ceiling if it’s been dropped into your food dish? But Palin is no pitbull. At least dogs have heart and can hunt without a gun. She's the lipstick. She's the dangerous superficial flash that McCain grabbed to shore up his failing campaign, and any woman (or man) who falls for that irresponsible scam deserves exactly what he or she will inevitably get. Trouble is it will also get my children and yours. She cares so much about hers that she risked her pregnancy for 24 hours before stemming a leak in her amniotic sac--if that’s her child at all (care to take a DNA test, Sarah, to quell speculation?). Yep, sweet Sarah is on the up and up and surely has a lot to teach us. She lied about it, poor thing, but she did get the road built to nowhere for $29 million. And what about nasty Putin rearing his head in the airspace over Alaska? The damage he could do! I mean, who can question her foreign policy credentials what with Russia on one side of Alaska and Canada on the other? Yep, no way around it, Sarah Palin is the pick of the kitty litter. With a little voodoo and laying on of hands, who knows how far she’ll go—maybe straight out of town, like her witch hunting pastor’s last victim. We could get lucky.

A vote for McCain/Palin is a vote against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It’s pissing on the graves of those who fought to establish and preserve democracy: Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, and every serviceman in the two World Wars, not to mention those who were unnecessarily lost in the unjust wars of Vietnam, and now Iraq. To vote for dishonest and incompetent thinkers is a cynical breach of respect. It not only dishonors the dead, but it dishonors those who will die tomorrow, next week, next month, until this disgraceful war is brought to an end. The only way forward is to swallow our false pride and admit how ignorant we have been, how wrong, and how much work lies ahead to make things right. A vote for McCain/Palin will not take us down that road; it will put our nation and the world at even greater risk.

Are we up to the task of emotional realignment, or are we so far gone as a people that we can only behave as victims of our upbringing and our disintegrating culture? Will our choice be marked by a willful and shameful lack of awareness based on denial? Or, do we have the collective internal strength to ask the hard questions and take on the painful answers?

The McCain/Palin vote is a vote for self-destruction, for the abandonment of children generations out who will suffer the consequences, and the ruin of a nation. One can only hope that the American people will come to see this, and choose to leave their sexist/racist illiterate hearts outside the polling booth.


mandt said...

Absolutely brilliant! We would like an introduction when we move to San Miguel this Spring.

ErnestO said...

The answer is always in the question.

"Have we created a mob of mindless consumers so undermined by the every-seven-minutes advertising assault on sustainable thinking that the ability to create honest values out of real facts no longer exists"?

Pauline Johnson-Tsai said...

what do you think of your Man Obama now? He's running us into the ground. Can't blame Bush for the last year.

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