Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ignorance is patriotic!

It must be, for a huge percentage of the population of the United States to believe what they do. I just do not see how people with any sort of power of rational thought to believe what they do and to be so easily manipulated by ignorant or immoral people. I knew that many people in this country were going to go bonkers when Barak Obama, a Democrat and a black man, was elected president. I actually thought at the time that this would be rather fun to watch. A right wing meltdown! Ha! Boy, do I regret that feeling now. I have never felt less like I am having fun, ever in my entire life. This is like watching the entire country go down Alice’s rabbit hole.

I was watching a number of older Daily Show episodes last night using the “On Demand” feature of my cable television. That’s kind of nice, as you get to fast forward through the commercials. I also don’t really like watching the interviews that he does as the last segment. I usually just watch the first and second segments, as those are the ones that contain the gems. But I was getting more and more depressed as I watched these last night. Yeah, Stewart is as funny and biting as always. But the targets of his derision were getting to me. John Boehner, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, tea-partiers, on and on, ad infinitum. That’s really depressing that we have so many seemingly crazy and/or moronic people (and, in Beck’s case, add “messianic”) in positions of power and influence. After watching about four or five shows, I couldn’t take it anymore, I was so depressed.

Democrats may be resigning themselves to losing control of the House in November, and the Senate now appears to be in play as well. This is beyond insane in my rational, logic-based universe. How can anyone possibly vote for Republicans, especially of the tea-party variety, after what happened during the Bush years? I cannot fathom how this can possibly be.

My erstwhile posting partner here at Barking Rabbits and good friend has expressed her opinion, when I have made similar plaintive wails in the past, that my problem is exactly because I am looking for answers in the rational, logic-based universe. The answers are not there.

That’s really what is the problem here and why this feels, to me, to be such a hopeless situation. There are essentially two camps out there, neither one of them understanding the other’s position. To me, many of the statements made and positions taken by the right-wing these days seems to be completely and utterly insane. Yet, they think the exact same thing about me. I had a conversation, and I use the word “conversation” in the context that words were exchanged, but exactly zero understanding was involved, with an old friend recently. He has turned out to be hugely conservative and I am pretty liberal, when measured against the rest of the country, I guess. When we were younger, perhaps our worldviews hadn’t coalesced to this point, or maybe it just didn’t matter, as we were concentrating on other things. We talked, and it got a little heated. Even several weeks after, I still do not understand his position, because many things he said seem to be completely contradictory. Yet, even though he is a very logical person in his engineering career, these contradictions either didn’t bother him or else he didn’t think they were contradictory. We had no understanding of each other’s positions, and never will.

That’s why I feel the current situation is so hopeless. It seems as if the polarization will only continue to grow. I see no way out of this, except for some not very pleasant resolutions. The one that I believe to be most likely is that our arguing, infighting, trying to minimize each other, will continue to grow until physical violence becomes the norm. We are on the brink of that right now. There are many good examples, almost all coming from the anger and hatred of the rightwing. The most recent example of this is the attack of a Muslim cabdriver in New York by a drunk, angry white guy who apparently harbored a deep grudge against Muslims. This is only going to continue to escalate until this country is so involved in our conservative vs. liberal free-for-all that this country will continue its slide toward complete irrelevance on the world stage. Our rich people will continue to get richer, our middle class will continue to disappear and our poor will continue to get poorer. In the absence of a French Revolution-style uprising against the gentry of this country, our society is going to evolve into this stratified, wealth/class based system of haves and have-nots. That it what I see as a likely outcome. That is, unless the looming catastrophe of global climate change doesn’t get us first.

Enough of this maudlin attempt at prophesying a very uncertain future, and back to more current, but still incomprehensible, events. Today, Glenn Beck is holding his “Reclaim Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I won’t go over everything that has gone on to this point. I am sure, if you are reading something like this and have made it this far, you are well aware of what I am talking about. I just cannot fathom how Beck and his followers can possibly think that they are “reclaiming” the civil rights movement. A white guy with both national radio and television programs and who makes millions of dollars a year is actually comparing himself to Dr. Martin Luther King. This is the guy who said that our first black president has a “deep seated hatred of white people” and who thinks “social equality” is some sort of socialist plot. My reaction, in my rational, logic-based universe, is “What kind of lunatic is this guy? Does he know nothing of history?” Yet, he has sold this vision to thousands if not millions of his followers.

Back stated that he is not going to have a long prepared speech, but only going in with a few notes, so that if “He” wants to speak through Beck, “He will have the opportunity.” That is what Glenn Beck said on his radio program. I am presuming that Beck is saying that he is going to channel God during this rally, so that Beck will be the instrument of God’s will, or something like that. Again, my reaction is, “This guy is a messianic megalomaniac.” But hardly anyone except for people like Keith Olbermann points this out. Everyone else apparently either agrees with Beck or else prefers to just let him skate on this point. In my universe, Beck would be nothing more than one of those crazy people in need of a bath, shouting about the end of the world on a downtown street corner and a few passersby throw a few coins in the bowl in front of him. Yet, thousands of people are traveling a long way to here this guy speak.

I really thought I was overwhelmed with this insanity of this situation during the Bush administration. I didn’t realize that all these crazy people were being relatively well behaved, as “their people” were in power. I didn’t realize how much they could dial up “the crazy” when a black Democrat was elected to the presidency. I just didn’t realize how insane this situation could become.

This is why I haven’t been blogging recently. I feel overwhelmed, and cannot even begin to wrap my head around what is going on in this country. It is beyond my comprehension and therefore, I find it very difficult, as well as futile, to try to write anything about it. I am about to the point where all I am doing is hunkering down in my foxhole and keeping my head down. I am to the age where I can now see retirement from my job as a very real concern in a few years. Not for a while, but it is no longer a nebulous concept. I hope our society holds together for the next 20 years or so. After that, I suppose I can say that I had a good run and I was relatively lucky not to experience the huge upheavals that human culture goes through with more regularity than we would like to admit. I missed the Vietnam War. I was not in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century. I didn’t live during in the Middle East during the Crusades. I was not a Native American during the time that European settlers were taking their land and isolating and killing their population. No, I have had a relatively easy life. I never have had to worry about where my next meal was coming from and whether I was going to have a warm, dry place to sleep that night. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

But I am very concerned about what kind of world my daughter is going to find herself in when she becomes an adult and has to face these issues for herself.

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