Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cities of Lonesome Fear

Ignoring reality at your own peril - an old story, I know. I grew up in the world of Baptist churches, and that was a constant theme. Religion was a kind of salve, an elixir to soothe the troubled brows furrowed in fear and angst about the evils of this old world. More and more, I sense that fervent bloggers/pundits/politicians opine that the "right kind of government" can stave off all ills, chills, fevers, and maladies of the world itself, offering up an old time religion spirit -- yet another advertisement for snake oil.

The belief that a political system can chart a course of Moral Value is negated by the obvious reports of Time and History itself. For most all of my life, I've known the folks who founded this country knew full well that neither the political nor the religious systems could provide what a person needed most. They knew two things were more important - Freedom from oppression and reliance on self-determination.

But somehow the concepts of Morality and Politics have become married, as if some 1950s sitcom Mom and Dad Know Best has staggered out of the corrupt cultural mists to lead us all to glory. Mom and Dad would always make sure the kids were alright.

What's been the effect of this union? It's a kind of lunacy, not only in this country but in other emerging world powers and wannabe powers: "If you are not part of our politics or morality, you are an immoral animal."

The current trend of bloggers/pundits/politicians have been playing a deceptive game of We'll Make A New Law and All Will Be Well. The Mom and Dad answer to all problems begins with "From now on ....." and all is well by the end of the 30-minute episode. Until next week's episode, when Mom and Dad must straighten it all out again.

A result of such a capitulation to the Mom and Dad political worldview has now provided us with a myriad of problems which the founders of this country knew too well and had experienced for generations within Europe: corruption and incompetence can thrive in that kind of environment. The Moral/Political blend has but one purpose - to continue it's own existence at all costs, despite the peril to the populace.

I'm not witty nor wise enough to craft the words needed to explain all this. Some of you know it already, and some so embrace the Moral/Political Mom and Dad that words or wisdom may never re-engage their minds. Some are incredibly bored by the requirements of maintaining Freedom and Self-Reliance, much less reducing incompetence and corruption, so again no words or wisdom contain enough Spectacle to capture their attention.

I did read something today by the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois which does lay out a well-written assessment of how incompetence and corruption have done damage which will take years to correct. Most recently, Rep. Emanuel was "in the news" for advising colleagues not to appear on "The Colbert Report," so it's not that I have lofty opinions of the man. I am not one to elevate a politician to a pedestal anyway. But I do think his article is worth reading. Some excerpts:

As Jim Hightower has noted, [the Bush] Administration eliminated the middleman. The corporations don't have to lobby the government, because they are the government. This cronyism transcends the regulatory agencies.

There were early signs, not heeded, that this Administration would be driven by partisan politics, not public policy. In Ron Suskind's book The Price of Loyalty , former-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill complained that he couldn't interest anyone in policy discussions at the White House, because it was populated with political operatives rather than policy experts.

Even the President's highly touted faith-based initiative turned out to be a purely political play. The top two leaders of that new office both quit in frustration. John J. DiIulio Jr. left after being forced to work in a White House that he likened to “the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.” Former Deputy Director David Kuo later alleged that then-White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman knowingly participated in a scheme to use that government office to mobilize religious voters in 20, targeted congressional races—of which the Republicans won 19.

The Bush Administration has redefined the famous challenge of President Kennedy's inaugural address. Instead of “Ask not what your country can do for you,” it has become “Ask what your government can do for our party.”

That's one of the most obvious scenes being played out on blogs and campaigns and talk radio and television and on and on - that one party not only has the all the right answers, but to even consider other views is the same as being a Godless, treasonous, anti-American and anti-Mom and Dad monster.

I know it's embarrassing to admit you've been duped by your political party or poorly chosen heroes. (See yesterday's post for more on that.) However the continued adoration of the incompetent and corrupt is the most 'defeatist' move we could make.

Like it or not, it's like that old songwriter sings - we live in a political world. And to politicize all things will only serve politicians best, first and last.

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear
Little by little
You turn in the middle
But you're never sure why you're here.
We live in a political world
Under the microscope
You can travel anywhere
And hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope.

1 comment:

  1. OXYMORON8:48 PM

    I am on the finished side of "Jefferson: author of America" by Chris Hitchens. I have to recommend it to everyone. It really makes your post resonate with his history fresh in my mind.
    The corruption of Bush's regeime but has creation of a near of not defacto police state akin to something Orwell imagined that disturbs me the most.
    Did those guy that said that you had won a trip to Cuba ever find you?