The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Radical, political musings for the day

Be sure your sins will find you out...

I've been hearing the word "indictment" thrown around a lot recently, and for the first time since last December (or perhaps this past January) I decided to poke my head out of my little hidey-hole and see what's been going on in the world of politics.

I didn't find out anything that I didn't already know.

And basically what I already know is that in politics, when you lie you get caught. When I had heard the supposition that Valerie Plame's name had been leaked to the press by the Bush administration as revenge for her husband stating that there were, in fact, no plans for Iraq to purchase uranium and that the Bush administration twisted his words to say that there were, I figured it was true. And whether or not what happened was legal, the fact that all parties involved have been trying to cover it up is what is going to be their downfall. (Read a little bit about the possible indictment of Libby and Rove, and a little bit of backstory on why it's happening if you wish.) You see, I believe that the high-muckey-mucks in the White House right now are dirty, rotten scoundrels (and not the kind played on broadway by John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz).

I also believe that paying attention to political intrigue on a daily basis is bad for your health.

A year ago, I was caught up in the presidential race in a unique way. I was in a long term relationship with a Kerry staffer here in Orlando. In our apartment, CNN was on television 24/7. There were many alternately stressful and passionate late nights, several parties and meet and greets, lots and lots of beer and pizza, and a general disdain for all things Republican. But I ignored most of it, because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to believe.

I had been somewhat blissfully unaware of what was in store for America when Dubya was first sworn in after the 2000 election, but slowly I realized that something was rotten in Denmark (and for all you people who don't get the Shakespeare reference, I'm talking about America)... And since I didn't vote in the 2000 election (the resulting electoral college farce made me realize that maybe my vote did make a difference after all) I had vowed to be more alert in 2004, and actually give a damn. But after all the useless frustration, the hopeless anger, the crushing depression from defeat (trust me, you did not want to be in the "victory party" room on election night), I had to stop caring. What did it get me? Squat.

I have found that the miasma we call politics is rife with lip-service, double-talk, saving face, and media spin. Just like I've always thought. And, just as I've always thought, the media facilitates a lot of this. None of this is new knowledge. It's such a part of common thought these days that the media itself will actually comment openly about it, while they're doing it. It gives me that same sick feeling that I got when I went into Urban Outfitters and saw the trucker-style hat with the phrase "Insert Paul Frank Logo Here" printed on the front. *shudder*

And, in my opinion, the Democrats are no worse than the Republicans when it comes to playing political and media games. Only the current incarnation of the Republican party figured out the ingredients of the secret sauce that causes people to believe what they say, while the current incarnation of the Democratic party have been playing out the part of the wannabe kids that go and buy whatever outfit is on the mannequin at Express. Instead of setting themselves up to be the hip, alternative choice to the neo-Republican machine, they fish around for a platform to stand on based on what the neocons deem fashionable.

But honestly, I haven't been paying attention to them recently, so if anything's changed, please let me know.

I do know that there are always going to be people who claim that they have your best interests at heart when, in fact, they're just out to fullfill their own agenda and will tell you whatever you want to hear so you will let them do just that. We must accept this fact if we are to deal with politics on a realistic level. But I'll admit, it certainly seems like there are more "faces" than people out there right now, aren't there? And all the good people, the really good people (in both of the major parties) seem to get dragged through the mud time and time again.

Ultimately the solution isn't to "play the game." That's like giving aspirin to someone with a broken arm, merely treating a symptom and not healing the cause of the problem. Instead, I propose a radical solution that not everyone is going to understand: heal the minds of the people, and the country will heal itself.

It's the same idea behind solving the overcrowded prison problem. Figure out what makes the majority of criminals become such (social issues, educational issues, etc.), and eradicate those problems instead of just building more prisons to house the growing number of criminals.

Figure out why the voting eligible population is swayed to vote for people without their best interests at heart (or conversely are apathetic to the voting process), and fix those problems instead of trying to manipulate a system that isn't working anymore. The problem with being the loudest voice in the room is that someone else will eventually be louder, which leads to a room full of noisy conversations.

My theory is that most Americans are unhappy and feeling unfullfilled in life and trying to fill the void (as the media suggests that they do) with various opiates; entertainment, food, religion, shiny objects. Deep inside, they know they're unhappy, but they don't know why. And then a loud voice comes along and tells some of them why. Since they haven't figured it out themselves, and this voice is speaking very loudly and with much authority, they go along with the voice.

Or they don't believe any voice at all, and feel overwhelmed by all of those who do, so they give up altogether.

What has made America so unhappy? We, as a nation, are so unhappy with ourselves that we project our problems onto other nations, trying to "fix" them instead of taking care of ourselves. And we have been taught to be so wrapped up in ourselves that we refuse to see the larger effects our actions have on life as a whole.

The smallest thing can end up affecting the whole of society. For example, there are a lot of high-speed car crashes in cities and residential areas. Most people tend to drive only as fast as they deem "safe" subconsciously. But roads are built wide enough these days that 30MPH is really just an unheeded recommendation. So wider roads lead to more high-speed car crashes. But why are the roads so wide? Because of a mandate that all roads need to be built so that a large firetruck can turn around on them, and all firetrucks are now large. But why the large firetrucks? Because the firefighter's union claims that they must have a certain number of men on each truck, and this number reqires the large truck rather than a smaller one. (I got this example from Suburban Nation by the way. It's more specific than what I have given here.)

Because of short-sighted and selfish decisions caused by our various thoughts and beliefs, our mental, social, and physical environments are deteriorating, which causes fear, anger, and despair, which causes more short-sightedness and selfishness, which deteriorates our lives further...

Plots and plans to overthrow a government that were scrapped and caused an enlisted group of foreigners to be left hanging in an unfriendly climate ultimately led to the destruction of the World Trade Towers.

Be sure your sins will find you out.

And the smallest thing can affect the entire world.

I choose to first understand and improve myself, to get my life on an even keel. (I think I've been making tremendous progress.) And then I will fully be able to do good things for the world. And by these actions, perhaps those whose lives I touch will begin to improve themselves and their surroundings, and then they, too, will do good in the world. And the next people whose lives are touched will continue the cycle.

This is my current modus operandi, and this is why I don't do much in the way of political commentary in my blog, or even pay attention at the moment. Why say things that everyone else is already saying? Why speak the obvious problems when I would rather speak my mind about social issues I feel need to be addressed, or present unique solutions to my own life's issues that others might find interesting. (And yes, I enjoy posting about "mundane" matters as well. Can't be serious all the time.) But I would rather people take away the message that they can find genuine happiness and fullfillment, that they are not alone or unusual or "broken" just because of who they are. That things we consider common in life are actually problematic and/or serious.

And if I can reach out to at least one soul and inspire them somehow for the better, then I've accomplished something incredible.

That's my hope anyway. Writing for an hour or so during my lunch break doesn't lead to much in the way of focused, well-thought-out posting. (This post has actually been written over two days, and taken a little more time than it should have...) I suppose I'll have to back to college for something other than a BFA eventually...


  • At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I guess I disagree with much of your premise. Often people say the political process has gotten so terrible, yet a true historical outlook, in my opinion, shows this just isn't the case. Politics has always been a dirty, sleazy business, and I would submit that it's far less sleazy than years past when there was much less oversight from media/information outlets. I mean Henry Ford and the rest of the robber baron's make Halliburton look like mother teresa.

    Much of this strikes me as the same sort of thinking that drives people in every generation to think "these are the end times for sure!" We like to think we live in particularly unique times for whatever reason. I think it's also not clear that Americans are so unhappy. Unhappy with the gov't, etc, sure...unhappy with life in general though? Every survey I've seen has shocked me by just how happy people are, I guess because I'm not always that happy. I think we tend to project our own feelings, or those of the people we know, onto the population as a whole, even when the data would suggest otherwise. I guess it depends on what you think is happy enough, but to me this is higher than I'd expect:

    Anyway, didn't mean to sound like I was pooping on your post, just thought I'd offer a differing (and quite possibly incorrect) opinion.

  • At 6:14 PM, Blogger The Fabulous Miss Rose said…

    Quite possibly incorrect? Feh! I'm glad for the dialogue. This is just where I stand. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. :-)

    Now, I do believe, that the happiness thing is bull, but that's based off of personal, non-scientific observation. Slight projection, perhaps, but more based off of what I think happiness is vs. everybody else.

    But no, I don't think that times were better before necessarily. I just think of "shining examples" of presidents past. The ones that I liked, that I thought were good honest people who did more beneficial things than harmful things. There sure were some shitty ones in between the good ones though.

    And yes, the robber barons were absolutely abominable. But don't you think that some of today's equivalent companies would do the same if not restricted by the laws we put in place because of the deeds of corporations past?


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