A message to The American People™


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Note for the subscriber list: I promised you a rant and this is about as close as I come these days. I’ve mellowed since I began this list over seven years ago. I do want to point you over to the blog itself, which has undergone a facelift and repairs [thanks, Earleen, for the suggestion] and invite you to engage in conversation. We’re very old friends, you and I — perhaps we should exchange a few words?

***********

If I might have the attention of The American People™ for a moment?

I’ve been reading a lot about you in the last few days, for example:

    In an interview with ABC’s “World News,” the Speaker-in-waiting said he believes “there seems to be some denial on the part of the president and other Democratic leaders of the message that was sent by the American people.” Boehner told Diane Sawyer that “when you have the most historic election in over 60, 70 years, you would think the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they’ve put forward in the last few years.

… and here’s another, as the newly-minted Leader approves a temporary — VERY temporary, in fact reversed by Rand Paul immediately and supported by Mitch McConnell instantly until erstwhile Bagger/Christocratic leader Jim DeMint applied pressure — moratorium on pork, an exchange on FAUX News:

    BOEHNER: There’s gonna be an earmark moratorium, it’s pretty clear.

    BAIER: Why not an outright ban?

    BOEHNER: Only because some things that people call earmarks here wouldn’t classify as an earmark to the American people.

See? There you are again. And aren’t you lucky that the Republican Party works solely for YOU?!! But of course that’s lip service and you know that, right? To quote Robert Creamer in his article, When Voters Find Out They’ve Been Conned:

    The same people who paid for the midterm election ads playing on middle class economic insecurity are the people who made the middle class insecure in the first place. This will become cruelly obvious with the new Congress.


According to the statistics, you are old, white, rural and newly paranoid because of the black guy in the Oval Office. You haven’t been this uptight since post-Civil War Reconstruction and for the very same reasons. Talk about crusty! And let me say that those who summon your name constantly to justify their activities couldn’t have done all this damage without you. So, should you stray into this blog which you occasionally seem to do — I have a few things to say to you.

First off, you whiney old cranks, I read your e-mail barrages, and think: dementia. Early onset for those of you not requiring a walker. You’re being played and there’s even a part of you that vaguely recognizes that, but you can’t seem to help yourself. You still think that George Bush was a really good guy, just had a little spending problem. That a good dose of capitalism is going to save us all. You think God loves George but not Barack, who isn’t on His ‘side’ … and that’s because God plays favorites, it’s winner take all with Him and the fiery pit for everybody else; you’re pretty sure it says so in the Book, although you couldn’t say where. And although all of you have lived long enough to have heard real statesmen speak with your very own ears, even recently, now you depend on Glenn Beck for facts because he has educated himself without being corrupted by the intellectual elite.

I know all about you guys. I met you all summer, volunteering at the Democratic booth at local fairs; listened to you carefully when you told me about Obama’s illegitimacy, about his socialistic ideas and his covert war against us ‘real Americans.’ I heard your voice tremble with emotion, loathing and, yes, age as you blurted out your fears over healthcare and spending. I saw your minds freeze up as I tried to impress you with facts, unable to wrap your consciousness around the implications of this new century with its new demographics.

If I could get you to suspend your disbelief in what a liberal might have to say, I’d have observed that as churchgoers, you’ve failed your religion. You’ve spent all your emotional and political capital to insist we all believe in your authoritarian god but you don’t love your neighbor, you don’t care about the little children and you do badly unto the ‘least of these.’ If that doesn’t bite you late at night, then you actually are the psychopath you appear to be.

As well, you are arguably the best insured, most prosperous and best cared for generation, having gotten in on the American Dream on the ground floor; it’s been an uphill battle to get the breaks you’ve gotten since Reagan began a serious assault on same in the 70s, but you seem to think the playing field is still as wide open and the pickin’s as good so long as you ‘work hard.’ And with your recent vote, you’ve … again … abandoned the generations that came behind you to reversal of fortune in an attempt to pad your own nest. I do not understand your screaming to high heaven about death panels and loss of Medicare money — and now a debt that is perpetually foisted off on the next generations — while not advocating for the grand’s and great-grands to have the health care [that you expect and that they need] NOW.

I tried to help you understand what was happening to all of us but you didn’t hear, because you didn’t want to — and that’s a losing battle. I know you want to take your country back to a time when you weren’t so afraid but it’s been botched so badly now, going back to what brought this mess about is insanity itself. Your votes, your rhetoric, defined you this time around and stunningly, you’re proud of it. OK, fine. As Richard Bach says, argue for your limitations and they’re yours.

But they’re not mine. So I give up trying to convince you that there’s an easier way. You go ahead and get on the Crazy Train if you want to. Me and my friends — and a majority of this nation that you seem to think belongs exclusively to you — we’re not going. That’s not the consciousness we inhabit and we’re pretty pissy that you’ve dragged us back into it, frankly.

Here’s a gift for you: stop sitting up nights waiting for me or my kind to come get your guns, your kids or your Bible’s. It’s not in our character. I’d love to dance across your lives with hobnails the way you dance across mine, just so you know it’s possible, but I don’t have it in me. I’ve always thought that if the Dem base could give as good as it got, it would be a fair fight but we’re not the same sort, you and I. We attack policies, not people. We spend all of our time trying to remediate what you’ve previously broken and bungled. When we fix things for the commonweal, we INCLUDE YOU. You, on the other hand, want to throw us in the Great Divide between us and never hear from us again.

I’d like to hate you, but I can’t — you’re my family, my friends, my neighbors. You’re the generation that brought mine into being, along with the children that learned at your knee without examining the way “it’s always been done.” I empathize with your fear and your vulnerability, if not your self-centeredness. I celebrate your right to grow, but not to stifle mine or the good of my country. I understand your anger, I simply can’t find its cause in the simplistic things you consider an affront to your liberty. I can’t live in your black and white world and so, like Nancy Reagan, I must just say NO to all the fears you wish to foist on me. Or to quote your new House leader, “Not just no, but HELL NO!”

**********

The fear is real enough. Anger is based in fear. Anger is fear turned outward, as depression is fear turned inward. Difference between the two is that anger is motivating, if we allow it to move through us and not find a permanent home. Anger is even healing, handled properly. We lose control of this emotion at our peril, so let’s use our anger wisely and — even though we move on VERY QUICKLY these days, absorbing shocks as quickly as they erupt — lets not ignore the emotion there or gloss over it, because that’s part of what’s wrong with our world today. So let’s do the diligence.

I will surely have my angry moments in the next few years — whenever I see Jim DeMint or any of the “Young Guns” schlepping their new authoritarianism, my eyes roll back in my head. When I hear the in-fighting Pubs trying to carve up the public good to fuel their own power base, steam builds. But as for the election, my anger is more a kind of revulsion, a disgust that our populous has become lethargic, weak-willed and easily led on one hand and a deep remorse that a nation that once led the world is now looked upon as if dotty old Uncle Sam unforgivably screwed the pooch on his way to senility.

Fear — fundamental conservatism is based on fear of change and need to protect. That I can understand and accommodate. What’s happening now isn’t about conservative thought, it’s about radical delusion. If the Left is capable of a delusional equivalent, it would be in thinking change can remediate this energy — the predatory capitalism that drives it and the dark shadows that fund it — without complete [r]evolution. And that, of course, is the topic of every post Waves ever writes. The personal is political, the personal is where the collective power begins, and your personal [inner] reflections hasten the global [outer] evolution.

I’ll leave further ranting to wordsmith and spiritual wonk Mark Morford, who has a gentle touch even when he tells the truth. There’s links in here for the seriously pissed, the best rants out there if you need to motivate yourself or exorcise yer demon. Think of them as the Purge. Then, last link is Bernie Sanders, Socialist Dem, with suggestions for going forward — the Motivator.

Breathe.

Jude

Thank You, Dick Cheney, for Giving Me the Proper Words
David Sirota, Smiking Chimp – November 5, 2010

The Last Gasp of Aging White Power: But Time Is Not on Your Side
The “Leave It To Beaver” days that Tea Party voters yearn for are about to be swept into the dustbin of history.

Tim Wise, AlterNet – November 5, 2010

America, Land of the Free to Be Stupid
What people are angry about, if they only knew it, is that social mobility in the US is over and their economic future screwed

Elizabeth Wurtzel, Guardian/UK via CommonDreams – Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Laws and Policies of the United States Are Now Openly for Sale
Johann Hari, London Independent via HuffPo – November 4, 2010

Of Irony and Implosion
David Michael Green, CommonDreams – Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where do we go from here?
Senator Bernie Sanders – November 3, 2010

Letter to a whiny young Democrat
Mark Morford, SF Gate
November 3, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh, now you’ve done it.

See? You see what happens when you young liberal voters get so disgruntled and disillusioned that you drop all your party’s newborn, hard-won ideas about HopeT and ChangeT, without any patience, without really giving them sufficient time to mature, without understanding that hugely foreign, anti-American concept known as “the long view”?

See what happens when you wallow in hollow disappointment, trudging all over your liberal arts campus and refusing to vote in a rather important mid-term election, all because your pet issues and nubile ego weren’t immediately serviced by a mesmerizing guy named Barack Obama just after he sucked you into his web of fuzzyhappy promises a mere two years ago, back when you were knee-high to a shiny liberal ideology?

Well, now you know. This is what happens: The U.S. House of Representatives, the most insufferable gaggle of political mongrels this side of, well, the rest of Congress, reverts to GOP control like a brain tumor reverts to a more aggressive form of cancer, and everything gets bleaker and sadder and, frankly, a whole lot nastier.

What happens is: Many kinds of fragmented, muddled, but still constructive Democratic progress might get stopped quite nearly dead, and even a few pieces of legislation we actually did gain get slapped around, threatened, stomped on the head like a scientist at a Rand Paul rally. Happy now?

Check it out, kiddo: This is not just any Republican party you allowed back into power; these mealy folks are not anything like the war-hungry, Bush-tainted army of flying monkeys and Dick Cheney moose knuckles you so wonderfully helped bury in the history books last election.

No, the GOP of 2010-2011 is even weirder, dumber, less interested in anything you even remotely care about; this GOP is infused like a sour cocktail with a bitter splash of the most cartoonish, climate change-denying Tea Party dingbats imaginable — most of whom think you’re an elitist, terrorist-loving, gay-supporting threat to “real” American values, btw — all led by a guy named Boehner who wears a bizarre, shellacked tan so fake and creepy it makes Nancy Pelosi looks like a supermodel.

And you made it all happen. Or rather, you failed to prevent it from happening, by not voting, by turning your collective back on Obama’s tough love, by getting all whiny and dejected like some sort of sullen teen vampire who can’t get laid.

Do you deny it? Did you see the polls and studies that said that most fresh-faced, Obama-swooning Dems like you are now refusing to support our beloved Nazi Muslim president because he didn’t wish-fulfill your every whim in a week? That he was, in fact, not quite the instant-gratification SuperJesus of your (or rather, our) dreams?

Of course you didn’t see any of that. Hell, I bet you’re not even reading this column right now. You’re probably back on Twitter, raging into the Void about, hell, who knows what? The Wolf Parade concert. Angry Birds. The People of Wal-Mart. Anything but politics, really.

But hey, whatevs, right? Screw it. Screw him. After all, the prez let you down. Conveniently “forgot” to include you in the dialogue, after a major election that you helped him win. Where were the outreach programs? The campus speaking tours? Weekly appearances on “The Daily Show”? Legal pot and gay marriage and discounts tickets to SXSW and Burning Man and Coachella? I want my goddamn political perks, and I want them now.

Hey, I understand. We’re an instant gratification culture, and you’re an ADHD generation. Who wants to hear that serious enviro legislation might take a decade or two to fully come to fruition? Who wants to hear about Obama passing rather amazing student loan reform? Or even financial reform? Or health care, the Iraq drawdown, saving a million jobs at GM, or all the rest of his rather astonishing achievements to date? Dude, so boring.

Of course, you’ve now learned the hard way that the hot flush of a major election is far more electrifying than the gray n’ meaty grind of actual governing. Obama flew into office on gossamer liberal wings, but the real halls of D.C. are a goddamn pigsblood slaughterhouse, brutal and depressing, full of gnarled legislative compromise. Screw that noise, you know?

And you know what? You’re right. Well, sort of. The Obama administration sure as hell could’ve done more to keep young activists inspired and involved. It’s an opportunity squandered, no question. Then again, dude was sorta busy unburying the entire nation, you know? And the twitchy Democratic party has never been known for its savvy cohesion. Maybe you can give him/them a break? Whoops, too late.

Look, I’m sorry. I know I’m being far too hard on you. Of course it’s not just you. It’s not completely your fault these dimwit Repubs were allowed to ooze back into a bit of power so soon. As many analysts have pointed out, this wasn’t a vote for the Republicans, but against the limp-wristed Dems who didn’t step up and lead with more authority and clarity of purpose. Truly, libs and independents of every age are frustrated Obama isn’t governing with the same kind of magical, balls-out visionary zeal that fueled his campaign.

And let’s not forget a shockingly unintelligent Tea Party movement that stands for exactly nothing and fears exactly everything, all ghost-funded by a couple of creepy libertarian oil billionaires — the leathery old Koch brothers — who eat their young for a snack. Who could’ve predicted that gnarled political contraption would hold water? But hey, when Americans are angry and nervous, they do stupid things. Like vote Republican. It happens.

Just did.

But here’s your big takeaway, young Dem: It ain’t over yet. The 2012 election is just around the corner. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that two years whip by insanely quickly. Anything can happen, and usually does. You’ll have another chance. And probably another after that. Maybe more.

So here’s what you need to know, right now: Barack Obama is, and will continue to be, a bit of goddamn miracle. He’s simply as good as we’re going get for an articulate, thoughtful, integrity-rich Democratic prez in your lifetime. Period. To hamstring his administration out of spite and laziness is childish and sad. Check the accomplishments. Understand the process. Deal with the messiness.

It will never be perfect. It will never be giddy liberal nirvana, because it doesn’t work that way. Politics is corrosive and infuriating, de facto and by definition, even with someone as thoughtful as Obama in the Big Chair. Understand it. Deal with it. Get back in the game. If you don’t, we all lose.

Your choice, kiddo. ++

Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours
Mark Morford, SF Gate
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And now, hot on the heels of our recent letter to whiny young Democrats, a loving shout-out to all those moderates and independents, confused conservatives and hard-line Repubs who went just a little more than slightly insane this past election.

To all of you who either flip-flopped your wishy-washy ideals and switched your vote from bluish to reddish this past election because Obama and the lukewarm Dems failed to solve all world problems in 700 days, or because you got yourself so emotionally riled up/mentally watered down by the sexy caveman grunts of the Tea Party that you actually bought the BS line about being “mad as hell” about nothing even remotely coherent.

Here is your grand message: You are hereby wonderfully, thoroughly screwed.

Oh darling, it’s so very true. The fun-filled news is, despite all the bluster and rhetoric, thinly veiled racism and rampant Islamophobia on display, the new army of jittery, anti-everything GOP bobbleheads that you just voted into office doesn’t care a single iota about you, or your haphazard values, or what you sometimes occasionally stand for. And what’s more, deep down, you secretly know it.

Are you slightly offended? Are you scowling and mistrustful of the notion? I’m delighted to hear it. Also: It doesn’t really matter.

You don’t have to believe me. Just wait until nothing at all is done to service the Tea Party non-agenda, because it’s ridiculous and impossible to service. Just wait until you note how there is no actual shrinking of government, no restoring some bogus sepia-toned idealism that never existed, no saving of your job. There is, of course, but one GOP agenda: furthering their personal stranglehold on all things powermad and avaricious.

That’s not to say they won’t try to tackle some issues. Boehner & Co care very much about nailing down enormous tax cuts for wealthy people, preventing education reform, gridlocking Congress at every turn, denying the fact that seven billion rapacious humans have an effect on climate change, and blocking as much newly available health care for 30 million Americans as possible. And so on.

But truly, the issues themselves don’t matter. For what Boehner & Co value most is not so much making any sort of significant change in American culture, but rather, in keeping the anger, the dread, the paranoia alive.

In other words, they care most about keeping you in the lower, plebian castes all riled and blind as long as possible. This way, power lies. This way we find war and military expenditure and all manner of misprision, torture, environmental rape, WMD and homophobia, you name it. Just ask Karl Rove. Hey, it’s a platform. It worked for Dubya. Well, sort of.

Perhaps you secretly agree with this assessment, understanding that the Repubs are indeed mostly shmucks, but at least they’re shmucks fighting in your corner. Maybe you think the Dems are no better, and it’s all a matter of lesser-of-two-evils, a needful balancing of power, that the nation’s new rightward tilt serves Obama right for — what was it again? “Overreaching”? For daring to accomplish in two short years more than any president in six decades? Right.

One thing’s certain: the populace remains angry and scared about, well, what we’ve always been angry and scared about: jobs, a massive deficit, war and terrorism, taxes and drugs, gangs and goons, evil bumps in the night.

But these days, one source of anger trumps all others. We are perhaps most furious about our dysfunctional political system, one that cherishes acrimony over cohesion, backstabbing over unity, bickering over a calm and respectful, unified vision. (Which is a little strange, considering how much Pelosi and the Dems accomplished in two years. It might have been acerbic, but the output was actually sort of stunning. But never mind that now).

Are both parties to blame for this hateful, acerbic tone? Are they equally responsible for the ongoing divisiveness? Sure. To some degree. Then again, no. Not really. Not by a long shot.

Let’s be perfectly clear: The modern Republican party has one masterful, godlike skill unmatched by any other org in this century: Its leaders are geniuses at deceit, at leading throngs of blind believers into rabbit holes of war and fear and factual inaccuracy, often using an aggressively dumbed-down form of Christianity as a trump card. Sexual dread, mistrust of youth, of women, of gays, foreigners, of the ever-changing cultural landscape? It’s in the DNA. And the Tea Party chugged it like Coors-flavored heroin.

And the Dems? The Dems wish they could be that masterful. Progressives are just terribly weak in fearmongering. There is something about the liberal spirit that values independent thought and self-determination, that defies screaming eye-glazed megachurch groupthink dread. This makes it tough to hold power for very long. It’s so much easier to rally around sameness, conformity, institution, fear of the Other. Right, Karl?

Proof? Look no further than the GOP’s leaders and mouthpieces: Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, O’Reilly and Fox News and even newly minted Senate demigod Mitch McConnell, et al. There are almost no liberal equivalents to these professional liars, warmongers, kingmakers and overlords. In the category of media and message manipulation, the libs have proven disastrous.

I take it back. Not all red-leaning voters this election are hereby screwed. If you’re tremendously wealthy and/or run a very large corporation, you’re feeling damn good right about now. Wall Street is giddy like Charlie Sheen in a Bangkok brothel, eager for more deregulation, bigger bonuses, less oversight. The CEOs of every oil company in the world are positively orgasmic knowing that their GOP breathren will now asphyxiate all attempts at new environmental legislation and regulation. And so on.

But if you are a lower to middle-class Republican, Tea Partier or flip-flopping indie voter, you are now in the most delightfully ironic position of all — you think you just voted yourself more voice, when in fact you voted for far less. You think yourself a lion; you’re actually the meat. You actually just voted yourself an even lower position on the food chain. Congratulations.

But don’t worry. There is a bright spot ahead. 2012 is nigh, and a dramatic new vote simmers and looms, as it always does. Soon enough, it will shift and mutate all over again, and we can kickstart the eternal debate once more. Something to look forward to, no? ++

“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington … I’m asking you to believe in yours.”
~ Barack Obama

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One Response to A message to The American People™

  1. Ethereal Spirit says:

    HOORAY! I have nothing more to add.
    Great rant and post. Made me feel good to see my own thoughts in print and know others feel the same.

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