Showing posts with label Obama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obama. Show all posts

09 October, 2013

Gator People Live In The River: October Score Card (For Those Not Keeping Up)

 Politics have no relation to morals. -- Machiavelli

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists. - John Kenneth Galbraith

I've been watching the shutdown with interest and looking for those thin spots in the large story through which one gets a glimpse of what is really going on.

Trans-oceanic trade deals. Billions to the corporate-military complex prior to the shutdown. Military incursions into Libya and Somalia. A Utah GOPer exploring the possibility of selling public land (the parks) to private companies (land rapists) so that the government doesn't have to be saddled with the responsibility.The GOP taking full blame for the shutdown -- or credit depending on which America you happen to live in. Even the piranha at Fox News have moved away from their compromise of calling it a "partial shutdown." Guess no one wants to watch it, anymore.

But I suppose no one suffers like the middle class*... right, baby?

I digress.

The significant and most important thing for people to remember that in spite of the government shutdown, business is still being conducted. If you follow the money carefully, you can see that our corporate overlords are doing fine. Just fine. No worries there. So you can let loose that sigh of relief.

It was said of Mussolini's Italy that, at the very least, he kept the trains running on time.  Franco oversaw a genocide driven cultural reboot that unified Spain ... more or less.  And no, I'm not comparing Obama to Hitler. Hitler, for all of the atrocities he was responsible for, was a lousy political leader over the long run. He was tall on rhetoric and short on sanity.

Actually, he was just short. So, so short.

Our political system is designed so that every four years, we get to elect a new lobbyist-in-chief. The Beltway Bozos can run for office until someone pries their entitled executive washroom keys out of their cold dead hands. The Machination -- otherwise known as the bureaucracy -- keep the wheels moving... even if they can't keep the buses running on time. (And let's be honest: they don't want to. Only the poor ride buses and this country has proven consistently that it does not care about the poor.) Bureaucrats are not elected. The upper level eaters of children are appointed. The rest are hired to take the flack.

With all of this uncertainty and potential for stagnation, though, there is one constant upon which we, as the American People, can rely.

That's right. We can always depend on our multi-national corporate overlords. They aren't going anywhere. They have the process completely under control. The lights will stay on. The idiot box will continue to give us Duck Dynasty updates. Move along. There is nothing to see here.


*Middle Class as defined by the concept of negative space. While there are some compelling arguments to suggest that being middle class is largely an identity concept, keep this in mind: it began with easy credit. Also keep this in mind: if you are two paychecks or less from not being able to pay your bills, you are not middle class. You are the working poor. That you may have a really nice flat screen tv and the NFL Ticket from Directv does not make you otherwise.

11 September, 2011

The Three Tenses: Some thoughts on 9/11, Football, and The Sacred Long Memory

I rolled out of bed this morning to get some work done before the Cincinnati Bengals play their first regular season game against the Cleveland Browns -- because, in fact, all work does stop for me when there's a football game on. I realize this relegates me to a stereotype, but I don't really care. That I was never an athlete doesn't change the fact that I enjoy being a spectator. That the Bengals are trying to recover from a lousy season, the departure of a whiny quarterback, and an owner who's head is permanently planted up his own ass doesn't change the fact that I'm wearing orange and black today. In spite of the past, in spite of everything, life and faith goes on.

After feeding the cats and taking a shower and making coffee, I made my way upstairs to my desk. The weather is starting to cool off enough that I will be able to spend more days up here, writing. (Old house, the physics of heat, and the inability to afford an air conditioner all played a role in what I am now thinking of the Ennui '11: The Summer That Nearly Killed My Soul.) I need this space -- some kind of space -- where I can simply sit and write and be alone with all the muck that goes on in my head. This morning, part of that muck means doing the day job. Tomorrow morning's newspaper deadline is looming already, and there are public officials to expose, lampoon, and embarrass into doing the right thing. (Save all your objective media bullshit, please. The Fourth Estate is rarely objective. And when it is, no one reads it, listens to it, or watches it, because it's as dull as the list of contents on the back of a box of Hamburger Helper. You want your journalists to be honest, ethical, and merciless, not objective... which means that Fox News is not really a news outlet, but a well-funded propaganda machine -- since they've proven they are neither honest nor ethical.)

The thing I am faced with when I get online, however -- because I have to check my email and Facebook before I can do anything... damned digital age -- are people's thoughts, remembrances, and tributes to 9/11.

And while I remember precisely where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the planes flying into the World Trade Center Towers, I will not pine about that here. Any attempt on my part to insert myself into a momentous and tragic historical event would be pointless.

The focus of such remembrances should be on the people who died, their families, and the subsequent  responders and Ground Zero workers who have and continue to sacrifice a decade after the event. The focus ought to be that even though it has been 10 years, that we shouldn't lull ourselves into junking the events of September 11, 2001, into some kind of convenient decade package -- which is what pundits and pseudo-historians tend to do. Decade packaging is a myth. The events that shape us as individuals and as a society do not stop and start at 10 year intervals.

Remembrance is not a word I use lightly. The very word itself has a kind of religious resonance for me. It reminds me of the religious zealotry I hid behind in my youth. "This do in remembrance of me," was what Jesus said, according to Luke 22:19, as he ate with his disciples at Passover. And while I have since rejected the metaphor for God and spirituality I was raised on, that specific word retains a particular resonance that never fades.

For me, though, remembrance continues to take on a larger, longer, and deeper view. Responses to the 9/11 attacks are a part of what I have come to think of as The Long Memory. This collection of stories, songs, and poems provide the permanent under current that keeps humanity moving. The Long Memory exists above, beyond, below, and outside of history. History is an abstract collection of events that are generally told with a specific narrative in mind. The Sacred Long Memory -- indeed, it may the one and only sacred thing -- ties together the past, the present, and the future. This Do In Remembrance Of Me. That is the purpose and the meaning: ensuring that the past stays with us and informs our present, and takes us into a better future.

The tragedies and travesties that have occurred as a result of the those horrific events are as much a part of the event as the planes flying into the towers and into the Pentagon and the crash of United Flight 93. Wars and rumors of wars. Torture, the silencing of dissenting voices, the xenophobia and all too familiar brand of Nationalism (think Hitler and Mussolini) that some people mistake for patriotism and "defending democracy." The soldiers who have sacrificed life and limb to keep Halliburton in business and to maintain the high price of a barrel of oil are just as much a part of those events as well. Gitmo Prison, Abu Graib, and the various crimes against humanity committed in our name are a part of those events, too.. and they continue to this day. President Obama has managed to continue most of the same war tactics that horrified rank and file Democrats during the Bush II regime. We're still fighting an expensive war in Afghanistan that no one talks about. We're dealing with a lingering recession here -- that, admittedly, Obama inherited -- but given the intransigence of the GOP, the tomfoolery of Tea Baggers, and the sheer spinelessness of the Democratic Party, there's no end in sight that doesn't hurt the poor.

And when I speak of remembrance, I also speak of the fact that 3000 + people died on 9/11 as a direct result of years of hawkish and exploitative American foreign policy. (Don't forget, Osama bin Laden was CIA trained to be our proxy during the Cold War to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Also, maybe one of the reasons the Bush/Cheney regime was so sure Saddam Hussein had WMDs was because WE GAVE HIM SOME when he was our proxy against Iran, which was backed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.)

These things, and the stories and songs and poems that have come as a result, are all a part of the Long Memory.

There are those who would make 9/ll a national holiday, and I can see their point. But it's not an idea I support.  How many people really know why Memorial Day is a holiday? Or Labor Day?  Did we immortalize December 7th, 1941 with a day off of school and work? (The answer is no. After all, it's too close to Christmas, the high and holy day that celebrates consumerism and egg nog.)

Remembrance means moving forward and carrying the Long Memory with us every single day. Adding to it every single day. Passing it on every single day. This Do In Remembrance Of Me. Part of engaging in Remembrance means that life and faith -- faith that some good can still happen -- must go on.

And the last time I checked, "to do" is an active verb. It means to perform a specific act, as in DIYDS. (Do It Your Damn Self.)