Monday, November 22, 2010
I'm Tired of America
I think I watch too much ‘news’. I feel guilty if I don’t try and keep up with what’s going on in the world around me - specifically the United States and what we’re doing, what we’re not doing, what we should be doing but can’t muster up the balls to do - and yet, I feel this gnawing sense of dread when I do.
I know that I’m tired of America, but I don’t want to lose faith in Americans. If we are to believe everything we watch in the national media, you’d think we as a society are a festering pustule bent on infecting those around us; we’re a sociological version of the swine-flu and we’re catching.
I refuse to believe that. I have neighbors, good ole’ beer-swilling boys with tractors who would be the first to stop and pull you out of a ditch if you slid off the road in a snow storm. Lovely men and women who are compassionate and kind to one another in their dealings. People who have hope for the future.
But I’m not seeing so much of that on television news coverage so I’m starting to have my doubts.
I’m seeing political rallies and campaign ads where the signs and sound bytes have crossed from rude to racist; violent and incendiary. I’m seeing talking bobble-heads on every news program who seem to think they know what’s best for me and my family and are bound and determined to make sure we get it, whether we like it or not - via less than meaningful reporting and the hawking of blatant lies.
I’m seeing people who should know better pervert the Constitution in a way that suggests if they don’t like how things are going, it’s perfectly appropriate for them to pull out their guns and bust a cap in the ass of anyone who disagrees with them. (Second amendment remedies for those of you who don’t watch the news channels with morbid fascination like I do.)
I’m seeing senators and representatives who treat their jobs like a political chess game with no thought for how their partisan wrangling and manipulation is going to pull a country that’s already teetering on a precipice into a vast chasm from which we will not be able to escape.
I’m tired of newly elected politicians saying ‘America has spoken’, even though it’s abundantly clear they think we’ve said something we haven’t. Just because people overwhelmingly said ‘no’ to one thing, doesn’t mean that gives policy maker’s carte blanche to tick a little ‘X’ in the YES box next to everything on their own agenda - not to mention propagandize everything the other side says to the point of absurdity.
No, I do not think the rich need tax cuts, because of some sort of misguided assumption that certain people espouse, which presumes jobs will miraculously trickle down like powdered sugar on the doughnut that is America. That’s just not going to happen. How do I know that? Because small and large businesses have tightened their belts and happily learned how to work with less manpower since the rise in unemployment. If consumers aren't consuming, there isn't the demand there once was. So until such time as the demand rises, I don't see businesses taking that kind of risk - and if they do take that gamble, I'd be concerned about the viability of that business. To me, it's common sense.
To politicians, not so much.
We’re in an altogether different economic time than we’ve ever had to endure and it’s hard to cure all that ails us when there are powerful forces bent on heading backwards and hoping it’ll all come out in the wash, simply because they don’t have any practical solutions.
We might as well consult the Magic 8-Ball* at this point because I’m not seeing much in the way of real and lasting solutions that will ever come out of a congress bent on logjam.
*ANSWER: Outlook not so good
I find myself wondering how Obama’s message of HOPE and CHANGE suddenly translated into: I WILL FIX EVERYTHING IN TWO YEARS AND WE'LL ALL BE DANCING IN THE FUCKING STREETS. FREE McRIBS FOR EVERYONE!!!
When did he promise that? And how, pray tell, did we come to the untenable conclusion that it would only take twenty-four months to clean up the steaming pile of guano that was left in the Presidential inbox by the last Oval Office tenants? I’m here to tell you - as someone with a vast knowledge of everything scat related - it takes a butt-load of disinfectant to clean that kind of mess up.
Is it just me, or have we become an impatient and unforgiving lot, incapable of understanding that not everything is drive-thru ready? That we’re going to have to dig our heels in for the long haul - that life is not Twitter, where you can tickle out 140 characters and move on to the next topic. Where our future health, security and well-being aren’t instant gratification kinds of things. There is a lot of heavy-lifting, compromise and fixing to do in America. It’s not going to happen overnight and we should understand that, but it’s not going to happen at all unless we start listening to one another, instead of SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS, trying to shut down the debate coming from the other side.
I wish everyone would just simmer down and listen for a minute so that, perhaps, clearer heads can prevail. As a famous song says… you can’t always get what you want…but you get what you need…
What I’m really afraid of, though, is that we’re not only not going to get what we want, but we’re not even going to get what we need. Particularly our children; the beneficiaries of the mess we’ve all created. And make no mistake - we’re all guilty. We’ve all participated in one way or the other.
The state of our Union doesn’t exist in a vacuum. So while the greedy banks, mismanaged car companies, shady, self-involved politicians and partisan media have all done their fair share of fucking up, we’re not exactly blameless. The fabric of our collective society is sewn with many individual threads. Each thread represents one of us and when one thread weakens or breaks, a hole forms. A hole can cause a tear.
From my perspective, Old Glory’s in need of some mending.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as anyone. So let me proffer a supposition, and you can assume the following applies to the ‘royal you’:
If you didn’t get out and vote and instead chose to sit and yell at the TV on election night - if you took out a loan you knew was not within your means or charged those credit cards up to the hilt - if you said things like nig—(insert racial slur here) or fa—(insert homophobic word rhyming with maggot here) in front of your kids, or even subtly disregarded who someone else is, all out of misguided fear and/or ignorance, allowing the hatemongering to spread like an insidious disease - if you’re happy to blog, Twitter or Blackberry your life away, or watch hours of reality television instead of helping your kid with his homework (or reading to him) because his school is severely under-funded and he’s not getting the attention he needs, but you justify not taking that extra hour with him because you’re just too tired and, anyway, that’s his teacher’s job (and she should be happy to have one in this economy) - if you think those people over there on unemployment are just lazy and don’t want to work - if you think your religion is THE religion - if you think because you make a certain amount of money and have health care, but that other guy, over there shouldn’t get quality medical attention because he can’t pay for it—
…if you did or said anything causing that little voice in your head to whisper in your ear, you might be contributing, however little, to the huge mess we’re in now.
If you are one of those few people who doesn’t have that little inner-voice, well then you’re just a sociopath and probably beyond help. But, if you’re the average American who can’t plead insanity in a court of law, and find it easier to blame the person who has a different outlook on things, so be it. But I’m here to tell you we’re ALL to blame. You can take that to the bank. (Just don’t try to get a loan because you’re screwed in that regard.)
We’re all either actively doing it or doing it by default, because every day, in every way, if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem. We’re all to blame. Except our kids. They’re not to blame…yet. But one day, they will be. They’ll be the ones making the choices and decisions based on how we taught them - and the way it’s looking right now, it won’t be long before they’ll be looking for someone to blame.
One guess as to who they’ll be looking at.
When future generations don’t have those things called Medicare and Medicaid because they’re effectively non-existent - and when we’re ninety and find ourselves homeless because the well of Social Security has run dry - who will we look to then?
Who will we blame?
I suppose it will be easy enough to rely on tried-and-true habits; to blame it on the media or politicians or the guy down the block who doesn’t agree with us. But in the end, it won’t matter who we blame because it won’t change reality - we’re giving our kids the shaft and we’re doing it blatantly and knowingly and there is absolutely no excuse.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just tired. Maybe I need a Xanax…or five.
I have to believe America's better than how we appear in High-Definition TV - or I might as well not even bother to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe I’m wrong. God help me if I am. God help us all.
God. Yeah, that’s a topic for another day, so I’ll leave you with a little video. Feel free to address all hate mail to Jeni. There’s even a convenient little clickable e-mail link at the top of the page.
God Bless America…or something like that.