Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Future

Mr. Chair is correct about political blogging – it’s an unsavory pursuit. Politics heats people up like little else, and it’s an easy subject to write (or rant and rave) about. For my own part, I stuck to the politics too much, and it took a long while to get over. The embedded cynicism in political writing crosses over too easily to daily life, and the overly analytical eyes can see politics in everything. In many ways it corrupts day-to-day existence. Plus, being honest, it’s a lot more painful to lose than it is to win and after November I just couldn’t take it anymore.

But Hurricane Katrina isn’t politics. It’s world history and it’s going to shake this country’s foundation. There’s anger in the masses like I’ve never seen – anger primarily at the government in general, and rightly placed.

The Bush administration’s callous approach to the relief effort and its even more galling approach to trying to weasel out from under the mounting blame and criticism has rightfully enraged everyone but the president’s most staunch supporters.

All the details about botched preparation and immediate response are well enough known (certainly by these readers). I want to know what will come. And I’ve got a few thoughts.

If nothing else Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath should force every American to tear down his her own thoughts about poverty, charity, leadership and the fundamental role of government in the society. It’s time for a complete re-evaluation and a whole new set of rules in this country. And I doubt we’re going to see much of a damn bit of support for the overall philosophy and direction Bush has been leading the United States.

If there’s ever been a time since the Great Depression that the common American was demanding a populist leader it’s now.

We need to add the War on Poverty to the top of the list of goals in this country. If the U.S. military is equipped to fight two wars, it’s people can damn sure add a war on poverty to the ill-defined war on terror.

Politics is what follows all this, but for a top-of-my-head pick, I’d say John Edwards looks like a hell of a president right now.

His realistic description of the Two Americas looks prescient right now.

Thousands of people died in this natural disaster for no other reason than they were poor and their government failed them. There certainly would have been a death count in this hurricane regardless, and the scary fact is that under some other set of circumstances it may have been even worse.

But every step of the way – starting years ago when the Bush administration decided to shift crucial levy restoration funds to his fool’s errand in Iraq and in all sad likelihood continuing indefinitely – the federal government has stranded its neediest citizens when they needed help the most.

This whole scenario makes the right wing’s sneers about “welfare moms” all the more cruel. It starts with their attitude, their disdain of government, their love of power and their crusade to dismantle everything that helps their fellow citizens.

Their use of “welfare” as a dirty word is among those first cancerous cells that spread to choke all of New Orleans, leaving people to use roofs as islands, food-less, staring as bodies swirled around them, unable to defend themselves against the storm.

For years the gap between poor and rich has been expanding in this country as the shining goal of equal opportunity for all has been left to rot and rust, ignored in favor of a host of right-wing causes: prayer in school, outlawed abortion, Middle Eastern oil crusades, the demolition of science and our natural world and the abandonment of civil rights.

There will be a dramatic leap in the politics of this nation soon and it will destroy the political career and the legacy of President Bush.

The driver of Wrong Way America will be booted out the passenger side door as a real leader takes over with a true American agenda: bringing our troops home from Iraq, working to restore the good name of the United States overseas, correcting corporate crime, restoring ethics and honesty to Congress, developing a tax code that closes the loop holes and dodges for the wealthy, delivering quality health care to everybody, protecting the environment and educating, educating, educating our children, each and every one, from the youngest age until they’ve achieved what will put this nation ahead of the world once again.

Government is the people of this country, not a dirty word, not something to be drowned in a bathtub.


Eats With Face said...

Moving post. I wish I could agree that this will spark a political sea change. Your argument suggests that because of the way the Gov't reacted in New Orleans people will embrace a new leader who speaks for the people. And maybe. But couldn't Katrina also remind people how precious the security/wealth they have is? Republicans hoard there wealth, lock themselves behind gates and pray evil stays away. Katrina could bring out those tendencies instead of the war on poverty you hope for. I find it difficult to talk about politics these days -- helpless. I'll vote for John Edwards, but I'd rather vote for Hillary. Cheney pushed around Edwards in the debate, but you can't push Hillary around. She'll beat the boys at their own game, because they've never played with a girl like her before. Hillary 2008! If I get any anit-Hillary bullshit from liberals, you'd better have a good reason.

JLC said...

it'd be nice if we found someone who spoke with cv's hope and promise, but i can't think of anyone with both the balls and the ability to win.

coming from a family of irrationally religio-conservative types, i think the goddy-god voters/press/politicians would rally too strongly against hillary clinton. her zany "right to choose" and "expand stem cell research" ideas would start us down a slippery slope. plus, she was rated 0% by the christian coalition on family issues.

hillary could certainly kick some ass around the hill, but there ain't no way. i like god and all, but those jesus people don't listen to reason. and they've taken over.

finnergain said...

I think an important thing for 2008 will be redefining the debating points concerning family values and "values" altogether. It's quite arbitrary, when you think about it, that the right-wing nutters got to come with a. b. and c. as to what goes for family values. Taken to its ultimate argument, it seems to be about giving life and giving hope to microscopic forms of life and all-but-dead forms of life. Maybe in 2008 the rest of us who are actually in the midst of living can garner more rights for ourselves.

I mean after all, in a fight with an embryo or a respiration-device-vegetable, I know I would win. So why do we always lose to them on political issues?

I think the left will be provoked into fighting mode by 2008 and, if so, they can fight for their power on their terms, not on the right's, who owns the tilt of the playing field right now.

But then again, what do I care? I live in France, so it's not my problem.

Woo-hoo. Good luck, suckers.

Eats With Face said...

Oh is life better for you because you live in France? Do you have more rights, a better life...what, more dignity? They won't even let you work. You can't vote. You are pretty much a second-class citizen in France. I'd take a troublesome political scene anyday.

fingergoon said...

well, it's quite interesting, for I would take second-rate citizen in France over first-rate citizen in a land of mass hysteria. i fear for the future here. and the more entangled one is in the life here, the harder it will be to escape over time.

really, it's not the political scene that bothers me. the political scene is a syndrome of the real disease.

a nation of people possessed by greed.

and yes, france isn't perfect, but there are lines in france that the people will not cross. those lines are crossed in america. cutting off people from health care. refusing medical service to those without insurance. in arizona, they just passed a law allowing hospitals to refuse foreign nationals. even bleeding and dying.

now, without getting bogged down in abstract things like law and philosophy, I can just say that in France I live free and happy days, in the U.S. I felt confined and pervaded by that free-floating anxiety that permeates the atmosphere.

in the u.s., money is the only cure from free-floating anxiety. i just don't care that much for money. i don't. it's not important to me and i don't believe it solves all that many problems.


Keep fearing. I don't care. I fear nothing. I don't fear poverty. I don't fear homeless people. I don't fear terrorists. I don't fear the french government. they kind of suck, but I don't have any reason to fear them. I'd have much less reason to fear them if I could get a visa again, but in any case, i don't fear them like i fear the u.s. gov't.

Eats With Face said...

Certainly, with less responsibility comes less anxiety. While American materialism is a unique beast, there is a strong form of European materialism not to be taken for granted. Sure, maybe people in France doen't worry about money as much. Poverty is not as rampant, and they have a fine welfare system. But the French are ambitious too. They strive for good jobs and high levels of education for the same reason Americans do. A sense of accomplishment, security, enough money to travel where they want and buy all the peculiarly expensive things that define Frenchness: foie gras, Bordeaux wine, saucisson.(Pardon me if I spelled anything wrong, it's been a while.) Paris is a city of high fashion. Style is held on a pedestal there like no other place in the world. Sometimes it seems that everyone in Paris is a model. They dress great and take care of themselves. And that costs money. Paris is, to me, the most amazing city in the world. But damn it's expensive. I don't know how you do it Finn. Paris without gourmet food, fine wine and polished shoes...that's like music without lyrics, food without taste or sex without an orgasm.

Freaktown said...

I think that when liberal Americans can get past the unwarranted sense of shame and guilt that has been imposed on them by both Europe and the conservative Right that everyone will start to have a strikingly different view of what it is to be an American and a different view of what the United States of America can be. This is all growing pains, and Finn someone living in France and loving it should be well versed in the struggles that countries with a longer history than the U.S. have had to go through to be able to sit atop perches and look down with such wisdom. Fear, mass hysteria, greed, cutting people off from healthcare, these are all things that have happened in France over the course of its rich and proud history. All evil things pass as long as there are people around who care enough to change what is wrong. It is when we don't care to change that negativity finds persistence.

Finnlyfoo said...

Growing pains. I don't believe it. That's super abstract. "The growing pains of a young nation." No offense, my friend, but that's bullshit. First, you unfortunately have the example of Canada experiencing far less "growing pains", and growing essentially in the same fashion as the entire rest of the Western world.

America is in fact not following anybody's else's path and is not experiencing any kind of similar "growing pains" that France or Germany or Prussia or Italy quote-unquote "went through." I suggest you remove the concept of growing pains from your vocabulary as it relates to nations because that's just excuse-making.

The problem is not growing pains. The problem is greed. Greed is the only direction that this country is growing. Greed and waistlines are growing.

And there is no such thing as this newly invented concept of national growing pains. Iraq's democracy. Growing pains. America's civil unrest. Growing pains.

The only growing pain is the growing pain of the bullshit alarm ringing in my head.

Eats With Face said...

Some people call it the "American work ethic," and others the "American dream." You call it, greed. All I hear is insults and generalizations. In the end we all need healthcare. Who's paying your's?

catfishvegas said...

For someone who got to enjoy a weekend in one small corner of the United States and experience dozens of groundbreaking bands and share that joy with thousands of fans to suggest greed is the only driving factor in this country is a little fishy.
This is a vast land with 300 million people and an untold myriad of problems, but to focus on just those problems and ignore the good, which comes just as frequently as the problems, is just, well, ignorant.
The U.S. has an incredibly variety of lifestyles, cultures and people, thanks in large part to being so willing to take in folks from all over. Find your own little corner and love it, or don't . But don't tear the whole place down because you didn't find a corner to love.

Finn said...


You totally changed my argument into something I didn't say.

I didn't say greed was the driving factor, I said it was the direction we're heading. So, let's make an metaphor for better understanding.

I was saying, greed is the road we're on. You're saying that I said greed is driving the car. Driving the road of greed does not imply that greed is the driver. The significant difference is that I believe we can take another road. (Though it doesn't look like we're going to.)

Also, I don't know where the argument about healthcare came from. It doesn't seem connected to the rest of the issues. But since you're curious, I don't have health insurance and I've been happily living with my sore throat for 12 months, thank you very much.

Also, my concept of greed is not related to "American Dream" or "American work ethic". Those are both fantasies and don't exist. Greed is a temptation.

Also, I don't see what my seeing bands play music has to do with a counter-argument concerning greed. Total non-sequitur as far as I'm concerned.

Also, how did the conversation get so far off topic? My first rebuttal was simply to state that we should redefine the nature of the debate over "family values."

At the end, I tagged it with a comment that I live in France, so it's not my problem. All subsequent comments to me dealt solely with that.

I take that to mean that you have a problem with my living in France. In fact, all comments display a hypersensitive insecurity to a nation you perceive as superior (except from catfish). I don't think France is superior. I just think the US is slowly becoming unliveable for me because it is developping in a manner that is in such contrast to my values.

finn said...

I should say, quickly becoming unliveable.