Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And the Wurlitzer plays on...

I consider myself a pragmatist in most respects; I like to find something that works and doesn't screw people over and implement it. I think my interest in politics is akin to most people's fascination with celebrity trainwrecks - the sniping and grandstanding, the fighting over ideologies that have been found wanting over and over's all wonderfully entertaining. It's just a shame that this happens to be the group of people that happens to, you know, control our country.

Full disclosure: I have no delusions that I could do a better job. While I've learned to craft a pretty good argument, my PR skills suck. I couldn't hold public office because I can't be trusted to not make an ass of my self during a night out on the town, and Lord only knows what would happen if evidence of my activities in the UK were to surface. I like to sit in my lab, picking through large data sheets, running statistics, and pretending that my work has tons of value and will change the world. I don't run the country; I vote in and pay people to do that for me. I like to think of it as delegating.

But everything one party supports, the other one is against? Really? Everything you say is correct and everything your opponent says is wrong? Pardon me if if sounds like I'm choking, it's just that the aroma of your bullshit is so...stanknasty.

Don't get me wrong, I like a good argument, and there are plenty of issues that group naturally together. I just think that voting against something because someone who happens to have the same opinion as you on abortion doesn't like it. In fact, I'm going to rank that right up there with getting a blow job in the oval office in the "stupid political moves" category. I suppose it doesn't really help that I don't fit neatly into any political category - I'm about as far left as you can get socially and somewhere in the middle economically. I like social safety-nets, but I want the fucking budget balanced and view corporate bailouts as a hemorrhoid on the ass of civilization. I couldn't give a rat's ass how you fix the health care situation, just as long as it's affordable and doesn't fuck me over when I need it. Ultra-Libs piss me off, Ultra-Cons piss me off even more. I don't need your causes reduced to moral imperatives; it's your job to convince me they're worthy in rational terms, just as it's mine to convince you similarly of mine. If you ignore tons of evidence and require some amazing flexibility to pull off your mental gymnastics, I laugh at you. And sometimes I point and make obscene gestures.

At any rate, this rant has been brought to you by this man who is living proof that all you need to get a column at CNN is tons of money and an axe to grind. Yeah, yeah, he's got quite the employment pedigree listed there, but I've yet to read any set of sentences that he's strung together that bear even the slightest resemblance to novel thought worthy of a paid column on a national news network. In today's doozy, he takes a look at the 60 vote super-majority that Senator-elect Frankin gives the dems in the Senate.

There are plenty of good reasons why this is not a good thing (sorry my liberal friends, you know I vote with you most of the time, but let's be frank), the first and foremost being that a super-majority inevitably leads to one party pushing its agenda with little to no argument or reason to reconsider some of their more laughably ideological blunders. It also ensures that corruption will be rampant and that the party in power will be bought by every major special interest group under the sun. This is why the pendulum of political opinion swings so violently in this country; once one group gets power they run amok and do all sorts of stupid shit. Kudos to Mr. Feehery for actually addressing this.

But F--- for the analysis. I should have realized from the first paragraph where he rags on the metric system that I should have stopped reading (Really, dude? I use that shit everyday, and so does the rest of the world.). For the last couple of commentaries he's written, his advice has been for Republicans to sit back and wait for the people to get sick of the Dems, and then magically they will be back in power. There's plenty of precedent for this type of thinking, and I can't argue that it won't happen, because it IS inevitable. But Jesus Christ on a cracker, is this what is passing for paid political discourse these days? Don't bother coming up with something new, don't bother trying to appeal to more people, don't bother making up an actual alternative budget, just slap together a string of numbers with some figures that my cat could have drawn, wait until the other side fucks up and then continue to ram through an agenda that people have already voted down once?

This is stupid. Really, really stupid. For the love of god, come up with an agenda that isn't based on voo-doo economics, stop fucking over your constituents in favor of big business (this is a biggie, as Dems have proven they that won't), and make some effort to reach out to minority communities that you've alienated. If the Dems can remake their image from the damage inflicted by the Dixiecrats, surely you can too. Make an effort to pull your head out from your anus and get back to your small government roots in a way that isn't completely offensive. Why is there never any discussion of this? Do you really not understand that myself and many people like me feel that a rational debate about the expansiveness and efficiency of the government is well worth having, but are so turned off by the racist, sexist, and classist antics of the GOP that we clench up every time we see one of them on a talk show (seriously, if I had stood up the last time I watched Pat Buchanan on TV I would have taken the couch with me), even when we agree with some facet of what they are saying? My conservative friends don't talk this way, why do their leaders? I have more in common than not politically with the conservatives I know, and yet I am so turned off by their politicians that we're always surprised when we agree on things. (I'm certain they have more than a few things to say about liberal politicians having the same effect on them, but I'm not qualified to write that because I voted for the weaselly bastards, so I'll let them have the honors.)

It all comes back to the "my side is right, yours is wrong" mentality. Everyone wants to claim that the founding fathers were on their side. No shit they were - the two parties have divided and pilfered everything that was laid down in writing in an attempt to have some claim on history. Here's an especially hilarious example, courtesy of Glenn "will I start drooling on air today?" Beck pretending that Thomas Paine, the man who advocated over two hundred years ago for a progressive tax system, welfare, and estate taxes, wants us to rise up against the government for implementing...a more progressive tax system, welfare and estate taxes! Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or beat my head against a wall. And, while it's really tempting to sit here and argue that Thomas Paine was a liberal based on this, I'm not going to, because the word "liberal" as we use it has absolutely no bearing on his political affiliation 200 years ago. 200 years ago the man was undoubtedly a liberal, today, we've cut and crafted his philosophy into both our liberal and conservative political ideologies. Yay! Everyone wins, and for everyone who doesn't win, Glenn Beck has rewritten Paine's Common Sense to suit your bat-shit insane, revisionist Id.

And so it goes. We're too consumed with the "us vs. them" mentality to actually work through our challenges as a nation. The likes of Olbermann, Limbaugh, and Beck have pushed eliminationist rhetoric to a point where all we do now is demonize eachother and pretend that either the Dems or Repubs are destroying the country. Fuck that noise. I don't mind paying taxes, but seriously, for what I'm paying I want better representation. I'll hold on for the ride, but don't count on me holding my breath.

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