Drop Dead Cynical

I have no time for cynicism.  I keep as optimistic a view as possible.  Why?   Because to do otherwise is potentially lethal, for me in particular.  My depression gets very bad at times, about as bad as it can get.  I don’t need to poke at it like a lethargic badger, hoping for some reason that it won’t wake up and chew my face off.

I dreamed last night I attended a democratic convention and people were going hog-wild for that little weasel Rand Paul.  (With an apology to weasels for the comparison).  Anyone who’d even LOOK in his direction doesn’t have the faintest fucking idea what’s really going on in this country.  Of course, that applies to all the big ‘L’ libertarians, who have a problem with reality, and a utter lack of knowledge about history.  We tried their prescription.  We call it Dickensian Britain.

I could get into the whole liberal and neo-liberal thing, and why they’re different, and why neo-liberals aren’t really that different from neo-conservatives, and why they’re not really like modern liberals at all.  Originally, liberalism, or liberality, was about expanding freedom.  Period. And originally that meant economic freedom with those who had need of it.

But it became clear that giving them carte blanche didn’t work very well for everyone.  People were exploited, sometimes to death, and pollution became a very real problem rather quickly.  With no regulations at all, companies dumped all manner of toxins into the environment.  It’s a big planet, right?

Like I tell the right wingers–as large as it is, our planet is STILL a finite system.  Just as you can’t pee in a corner of a pool and expect it to stay there, you can’t pump pollutants into the atmosphere and assume they won’t build up, even if they DO happen to avoid directly damaging their local environs.

They’re putting out a LOT of money to propagandize climate change, to confuse the issue for the ignorant voter–or non-voter, for that matter.  Idiots without a lick of science who try to argue the point as if they actually understand what’s going on.  Because they’re spoon-fed the opinions of those who are paid to give them their opinions.  POX News doesn’t deal in facts, it deals in opinions, and our modern media seems to be fine with this.  POX is not a news organization.  No self-respecting “journalist” should act as though they are.  POX, aside from their obvious bias, makes itself part of the news and that violates every journalistic tenet I learned as a teen, back when I thought I wanted to be a journalist.  Before I realized I don’t really give a shit what other people do unless they’re hurting people.  I’m not a snoop.  As it is I tend to see and know things I’d rather not, without even trying.  I’ve come a long way from the extremely literate but socially awkward kid who didn’t understand other people.  Now I see them all too clearly and often I’d rather not.

A familiar aphorism suggests avoiding talk about politics and religion in “polite company.”  I’d say we’re way past the point where that’s acceptable.  Far too many people are frightfully ignorant and happy that way, effectively selling us and future generations down the river because they either don’t give a damn, or they mistakenly believe they’re powerless.

The only reason we’re powerless is because we allow ourselves to be.

Single-issue voters piss me off too.  We’re all fighting different heads of the same goddamn hydra.  The left in this country is far more fractured than the right.  While they have only a few sectors to concern themselves with–the profiteers and the religiously deluded, for the most part.  As long as they can get these people on the same page, or close to it, they’re golden.  Democrats, on the other hand, have to deal with a thousand smaller issues.  Environmentalism, animal rights, human rights, GMO labeling, income inequality, net neutrality, gun control, reforming the justice system by ending the drug war, etc…

All the right has to say is “Profitability, God, and Guns,” and the right lines up behind them like toy soldiers set by a child’s hand.

People are always saying there’s no difference between the parties.  My bullshit detector disagrees.  Everything the Republicans do is designed to manipulate.  There’s no real interest in discussing things or looking for genuine resolutions.  And now for the next two years we’re going to have to watch them attempt to sabotage and dismantle every decent thing we’ve ever accomplished.

I don’t want to hear this is the fault of the party.  If you’re going to pretend that they have equal access to the media, and are treated equally by the media, we have nothing to say.  The Sunday shows produce conservatives at something like three times the rate they do democrats, and very rarely are those democrats of the most liberal or progressive variety.  And given that there are roughly 90 members of the Progressive Caucus it’s telling that the only one who ever gets any airplay is Bernie Sanders.

It’s why Liz Warren and Bernie are as important as they are.  They’re the only progressives the corporate media bothers to pretend even exist.  And so the bitch becomes “Why aren’t more democrats like them?”  Well, there are.  You just don’t hear about them.  It doesn’t serve the agenda to give them a voice.  It’s bad enough they have to occasionally showcase Bernie or Liz.

I’m in love with our language.  It infuriates me to see it used to convey bullshit instead of information.  When the purpose is the obfuscation of the facts rather than illumination, it’s a betrayal of everything we should stand for as a culture.  Accurate information is vital to the continued existence of a democratic nation.  Feeding the people disinformation is what our new media is doing.  The fifth estate was supposed to safeguard our backs, and, thanks to deregulation and media consolidation, it is now the most likely wielder of the knife.

The right wing clings to their guns, thinking that those guns will help keep them free, all the while they stand there and allow the chains to be clamped to their flesh.  Chains of willful ignorance, of anti-intellectualism, of greed and baseless fear of “strangers.”  Manipulated by the simplest levers, they charge forward without bothering to question.

On the other hand, liberals question everything.  Back in the days of AOL, I once used the “Question Authority” as a signature, which drew snark from the right wingers.  Many honestly don’t grasp the necessity.  Of course, these are the people whose children are molested by authority figures because they assume power, wealth, and prestige are granted to those who deserve them, when the case is often quite the reverse.

Power attracts the corruptible.  It is not an earthly reward for holy behavior or thought.  It rewards ruthlessness.  And as long as you keep your ruthlessness within the bounds of the law, or, at worst, below the level of a retaliatory lawsuit, its rewards are far greater than the risks.

I’m not all that angry at the Democrats.  Sure, they were a bit spineless, but it’s not as though we’ve made sure they know we’ve got their back.  We don’t.  Well, some of us do, but too many folks are fair-weather friends and allies.  When the going gets tough, many liberals get weak in the knees.

And for all of you who complain about the massive deluge of campaign ads in the two weeks before the election (quite aside from the fact that they’re negative, since that’s been proven to work despite our alleged hatred of such tactics) I can tell you how to end that.  Educate yourself.  If people were actually informed about the candidates and issues, they’d stop shoveling steer manure every election season for those who can’t be bothered to get off their ass and do their own due diligence about such things.

You know how many campaign ads I saw?  One or two.  That’s it.  Why?  Because I already knew what was going on, I FF through the commercials, either by going strictly from the DVR, or by giving myself a ten minute window before watching something live on TV, allowing me to pause it and then use the slack to jump commercials later.

I’m generally optimistic, despite my growing misanthropic tendencies.  I don’t think all people suck… just roughly half of them.  And then mostly because they’re sleepwalking with little concern with how their behaviors and choices affect the people around them.  It’s especially ironic when people are screaming about someone they don’t even know having the right to an abortion while ignoring several tons of toxic garbage dumped into our rivers.  Their priorities stink.  Worry about something that only affects a few people, yet ignore something that can affect millions.  Where’s the sense in that?

I’m personally sick of people who can’t tune in and turn on.  We’ve got a problem with foxes in the henhouse and we’re going out and buying Purina fox food rather than chasing the damn things out.  Doesn’t say much about us, does it?  We lived in what could have been the greatest nation in the history of mankind, but we’re throwing it away out of selfishness, greed, and an inexplicable fondness for ignorance.

I’m disappointed in a LOT of people right now and it’s really hard for me to “be nice.”  I don’t want to “be nice.”  I want to make it perfectly clear what the stakes are here, how the last thing we need is another gilded age and it’s damn well time for us to stand up and stop being polite about it.

It’s one of the few things I judge people on.  Are you hip to the machine?  Are you working against it somehow?  Are you politically aware and active?  Are you tuned into the world and people in general, even those who aren’t like you?  Does humanity trump profitability and justice trump law?

It does for me.

We’ll know we’re getting somewhere when we no longer spend billions to re-elect a congress with a 10% approval rating.  Until then I’ll be biting back snarls and snaps.  Except when I don’t.

I don’t have time for pessimism or cynicism.  Either help us fix things or get the hell out of the way.  People standing there telling us that it doesn’t matter or that we can’t do anything can go take a long walk off a short pier.  And keep swimming.