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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I'm sorry for the very long absence.

The last two and a half years have been... interesting, and they promise to stay that way for the foreseeable future. I still think about you, my blogging friends.

I've looked at America, and I truly don't recognize it anymore. I love the America I grew up in, where you didn't have to fear the Blackwater-ized cops, where you didn't get irradiated, sexually assaulted, or strip-searched as part and parcel of getting on an airplane, and where corporations didn't transparently own the electoral process. I miss the America that had a respect for the basic rights of people to peaceably assemble, say unpopular but nonviolent things without fearing that knock on the door, and where corporations who send jobs overseas didn't get rewarded with a $0 income tax bill. I miss the middle class. When America had one, it was great, and we experienced unmatched levels of prosperity. I miss having a world-class education system, which was largely responsible for the creation of the aforementioned middle class. In short, I see America, and I see very few signs worthy of optimism.

I'm very glad DADT got repealed, and that the PPACA was passed. As you know, that's Obamacare, but I can never remember the long version of the name. Still, I call it Obamacare with gratitude and pride. These are very good things, and yet, the main reason Obama will get my vote in November is because the GOP is too damned crazy. I know the President has wanted to do more, yet he has been stopped at every turn by a grossly obstructionist GOP House and a truly activist Supreme Court that overturned decades of precedent in the Citizens United case and others for the benefit of their corporate buddies. Even now, the GOP and right-wing media spread lies about Obamacare and what it means for seniors, and when you confront someone who is already inclined to believe the worst of Obama with the facts, it means nothing. Obamacare is not rationing, it isn't taking away the rights of seniors to choose their medical options, and it's not death panels. Obamacare has already saved lives as the provisions extending medical coverage of people until the age of 26 under their parents' insurance, and it will continue to do so as more provisions become active, such as basic medical exams and other important and routine things will be covered without a deductible in accordance with this law. I only hope the Supreme Court rules the whole thing is constitutional in accordance with decades of precedent, though the Roberts court has shown it feels far from beholden to the most noble parts of our past jurisprudence.

These small glimmers of hope notwithstanding, I open this year with a moment of silence in memory of America. I'm in my 30s, and now, I just hope I live long enough to see her return, because I think fixing this in 45 years might be an optimistic goal. I don't have children, but I constantly worry about what kind of nation we're leaving for the generations to come. What few answers I have, I don't like, and as I look to our north, I see Canada going down our same self-destructive path. William Butler Yeats said it best in "The Second Coming."

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Snave said...

Welcome back, MC! Glad you are still around!! Seriously, I've missed you and thought about you! Go Crimson Tide! 8-)

I would be voting for Obama anyway because I am basically "moderate left", but yes, the field the right wing is giving its voters is truly pretty far out there. I hear them throwing out things like "I'm the most conservative" and find it sadly laughable as they try to move so far to the right that they are practically taking their party over the cliff... I am confident that our voters will choose candidates this year who vow to compromise and work with others, because I believe that is what voters want: moderation.

The "tea party" braggadocio will end up being for naught, I think.

Great points about Affordable Health Care. I believe it can be accomplished to its fullest without raising taxes. I believe the GOP is so dead-set against it because people like the Koch Brothers are afraid they might lose a few dollars, but maybe that's just me. 8-)

And I think the "tea party" may have been a largely-astroturfed kind of "movement"... but again, maybe that's just me. 8-)

The "tea party" has rightly focused some of our attention on the national debt, but after that, it has done more to harm our country than help it, IMO.

I don't do a lot of blogging lately, I've become more of a Facebook addict, but I do try to post something every week or so on average. J.Marquis is still posting some good stuff at Major Conflict. We have some right-wing people who come on there now and then who are highly entertaining, one in particular. 8-) Thanks for stopping by my place! I'll be back here!

And did I say, Go CRIMSON TIDE? 8-)

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I was looking at some of my earliest posts back in 2005, and I was still center-right back then. Here it is, seven years later, and I'm now a part of the moderate left... in European terms. Back then, I would have criticized President Obama from the right. Now, while my criticisms are from the left, they are at least tempered by the knowledge he's better than any of the viable options. Still, I yearn for a Bernie Sander-esque Congress. I hope the far-right people come to the same realization I did about the American right: that it is morally and ethically bankrupt and supports an unconstitutional platform.

Snave said...

Excellent points. I have always been a kind of moderate left sort of voter. It seems I can tolerate moderate views and centrism a lot more than most people lately. LOL! People who are way far to the left piss me off. Not NEARLY as much as people who are right of center or especially WAY far to the right, but they still do.

What I find unconstitutional about the modern right wing is how so much of what they propose and try to legislate seems punitive, and in a way that represents attacks on our personal freedoms. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Heh... I have doubts that too many of them like seeing anybody happy but them, and maybe the only way they can be happy is if everybody else is just like them.

I don't know if that makes any sense. I think what I just described is a condition common to both the right and the left. It just seems to me, and especially lately, that the right is a bit more rigid about this kind of thing than many left wingers are.

"Live simply so that others may simply live." And mind thine own business!

One of the best bumper stickers I have seen in years says "Focus on your own damned family." Yeah, I think it's about time more of today's right wingers did just that!

Snave said...

If you haven't read "Don't Think Of An Elephant" by George Lakoff, I highly recommend it. It offers some pretty good explanations of how conservatives tend to think.

Conservatives aren't necessarily stupid, like I used to believe. After reading Lakoff's book, I now believe that large numbers of them are quite intelligent, and I find that genuinely frightening. Some of them, like Frank Luntz, are the worst enemies of the left, using semantic tweaks to manipulate people by changing meanings of terms (like how the estate tax becomes the death tax, affordable health care becomes Obamacare, etc.) by using new terms that add meaning (often with the intent to arouse fear or anger).

Lakoff explains some of this, and how it helps the right wing to just about always frame the debate (which of course keeps the left always on the defensive... which makes the left seem weak, ineffective, "irrelevant", etc.) The left is easily just as tough as the right, they just don't know how to harness that toughness. Once the left figures out a few things, will it be too late by then?

Anyhow, I think it's a good read. 8-)