Tag Archives: conservatives

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The enemy you know

If you wanna know where the most serious challenges lie for the Republican Party, don’t look to the White House or the offices of California senators. Instead, look to National Harbor, Maryland, specifically the Gaylord National Hotel.

That’s where you’ll find the Conservative Political Action Conference, better known by journos as CPAC, which is not to be confused with C taps or even CPAP, although if you’re anything like me, you may need the latter if you tune listen much to CPAC.

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Today was opening day of the annual confab. There’s the usual bunch of inane speakers. Current darling Marco Rubio, past darling Sarah Palin, Sir Filibuster Rand Paul, Palin’s male doppelganger Ted Cruz, Rick “the hair” Perry, Wayne “guns in schools” LaPierre, Newtie, Mittens, Sick Rantorum, The Donald and the king of krazy, Allen West.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t invited. Neither was Muslim hater Pamela Gellar, although she got un-uninvited by the Breitbart crew who was invited.

You remember Andrew Breitbart, don’t you? He died, you know. They had a special memorial for him at CPAC.

There was a gay rights panel too, not called by that name of course. “Rainbow on the Right: Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet” used enough gay dog whistles to get the point across.

The conserverati spent a lot of time talking about Benghazi. You remember that, don’t you? That’s the incident the Republicans used to keep Susan Rice from becoming secretary of state. Instead, she’s likely to become national security adviser, which doesn’t need Senate confirmation.

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Really? Weird? Considering that the main thrust of conserverati argument is that Obama is out to destroy America, I think their focus on Benghazi makes sense. They think there was some big cover-up, or some big lack of concern for the security of Americans, or something that led to the death of the ambassador. And it’s all Obama’s fault. If it doesn’t look to you like they’re looking for some reason to impeach, then maybe you need a bigger scope.

Another Republican whack job, Jim Inhofe, spelled it out, although he allowed as how the president is “charming:”

This is the same guy that is … over-regulating all of our businesses, he has a war on fossil fuels, he is keeping us from being energy independent, he is defunding the military. So he’s destroying this country, but yes he’s charming.

Isn’t that sweet?

CPAC represents everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party. The Tea Party hold-outs, the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers sucking the very life out of everybody who wants to move forward. Hell, even Rick Perry got booed. Know why? Because he said this:

Now, the popular media narrative — is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That is what they say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012. That might be true. But now we are told our party must shift appeal to the growing Hispanic demographic.

He won ‘em back though, talking about winning the Hispanic vote with a economic message and not one about immigration.

But look at what else he said there — John McCain and Mitt Romney weren’t conservative enough to win the election, because, you know, not being conservative enough causes conservatives to vote for more liberal people.

But here’s what these folks don’t seem to understand: The more conservative Republicans — and I assume he’s talking about people like himself, Mike Huckabee, Sick Rantorum, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann — they couldn’t even win a Republican primary. How the hell does he think they’d ever win a general election?

And yet, there it is, for all to see. Even Rubio knows you can’t stay at the bottom of the barrel and ever expect to get out of it. Rand Paul filibustered Obama’s CIA pick over DRONE STRIKES, which probably will guarantee he’ll never win a Republican nomination for president but almost certainly made his daddy proud.

CPAP, in case you were wondering.

CPAP, in case you were wondering.

For every step a young Republican makes toward progress, there’s two Jim Sensenbrunners to drag him back. But it’s not just the old white guys. When the two Sensenbrunners get tired, there’s a couple of Erick Ericksons or Allen Wests to do the job. And if that’s not good enough, then there’s three or for Marcia Blackburns and a Palin wannabe.

These are the guys Obama and Congressional Democrats have to deal with to get anything done — the ones in Congress, and the ones outside Congress running their mouths on Ayatollah Limbaugh’s radio show or Faux News. The same ones who have over and over and over again stopped any real progress from happening (See Obamacare, compromises of or Kerry, Secretary of State John). 

And yet, today I’m encouraged by one thing. Obama, speaking to Democrats today:

I’m not Charlie Brown with a football,

he said.

That may be true. One question remains, however: Are we?

Gimme

Dontcha just love it when all the Republicans pile on Mitt Romney over his “gifts” gaffe?

Wait, y’know, I’m sick of this “gaffe” thing. That wasn’t a gaffe, any more than the 47-percent-of-us-are-moochers thing was a gaffe. A gaffe is when you say something utterly stupid that just didn’t come out right. What Mitt Romney said came out just the way he wanted to — and just the way a whole damn bunch of conservatives wanted it to.

So when Bobby Jindal says Mitt’s comments were “absolutely wrong” or when Newt Gingrich says they were “insulting and profoundly wrong” or any number of other GOP notables spouting similar sentiments, they are lying. Just plain lying.

If they weren’t lying, they’d be saying the same thing about Rush Limbaugh (“People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus”), Bill O’Reilly (Romney was ”right on the money”), Eric Bolling (“people voted to continue to get free stuff”) and the rest of the conservative media elite. But they’re not. Listen. Crickets. That’s all there is. Just crickets. But it’s good to pile on the guy who just got his ass whupped by the black guy.

What’s “wrong” isn’t what Mitt said, but that he said it at all. This batch of Republicans has spent billions selling the ignorant masses on the complete and utter bullshit that they and only they will make sure they get to the top of the heap, leapfrogging over all those heathens who just want a handout.

But those rich assholes running things know full well that the ignorant masses they convince to buy their putrid snake oil are really the ones who get the most handouts. Oh, they’ll say they don’t, but that’s because they don’t count things like student loans or small business loans or mortgage tax credits or, god forbid, Medicare. Handouts only go to the lazy, good-for-nothing poor who won’t do anything to help themselves.

Seriously, people believe this crap. Interestingly, of course, it’s those “red states” that eat up the most federal money. The five or six states with secession petitions got 23 percent of all federal money last year. Amazing, eh?

I won’t even point out … oh, yes I will. The folks who believe the bull are by and large the ignorant white masses, and folks who are the targets of the bull are everybody else. It’s not just about race, of course. It’s also about religion and creed and national origin and sexual orientation and education and whether you listen exclusively to Fox News and the radio repugnants or actually get your information from a variety of sources.

Just so you know, here’s what Mitt told donors after the election:

What the president’s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked.

Um, I kinda thought that was the strategy for most elections … promise folks shit and then get them out to vote. But this thing about “extraordinary financial gifts from the government” …

Yeah, the only moochers I know are the rich folk who don’t want to pay their share of taxes and go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it, who lie through their teeth telling us how they are the job creators when the truth is they sock all that cash into off shore bank accounts and cut employees’ salaries when they think they might have to treat them like actual human beings. Those guys are the moochers. As Andy Serwer put it:

Political parties reward their constituencies, and Romney would have pursued goodies for GOP backers had he been elected. Financial institutions would have been very happy with a Romney administration that repealed Dodd-Frank, military contractors would have been delighted with Romney’s plan to raise military spending to astronomical levels, and Romney’s wealthy donors would have been delighted with his tax cuts for high earners. These are all “extraordinary financial gifts,” and unlike student loans or health care coverage, they do nothing to help ensure that being born into a family of modest financial means doesn’t prevent a person from succeeding. Help with student loan debt doesn’t mean you didn’t have to work hard to get good grades. A better example of an unearned “gift” is being born the son of a wealthy, famous politician so that you’ll never have to worry about student loan debt.

Yeah, these folks get rich off everybody else’s backs, and we’re too damn scared to point out that they are the cultural and political descendants of the robber barons and the plantation owners from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

And by we I mean my colleagues in the “mainstream media,” really just the Washington press since media long ago forgot that anything outside the beltway actually exists.

If that weren’t true, we’d all know what these Republicans know: that they prey on gullible people who want desperately to believe that some day they, too, can be rich and powerful, and that for the vast — and I do mean vast — majority, it’ll never happen.

But here’s the real kicker. We don’t have to be rich and powerful to be happy, or even comfortable. There’s more to life than amassing material wealth, and life is much more satisfying when we work to bring us all closer together rather than push us further apart with unrealistic fantasies.

Too many of us have forgotten that the American Dream was never about bank accounts.Wrong

 

Hail and farewell, Andrew Breitbart

The crazies are already accusing President Obama of having Andrew Breitbart killed, much like they accused Hillary Clinton of having Vince Foster killed way back when. Insane conservative radio dude Michael Savage called Breitbart’s death an “assassination.” I’m thinking it was just too much cocaine for the heart.

A “suspicious package” near the home of Rush Limbaugh that brought the bomb squad running and my lovely colleagues making immediate connections to Limbaugh’s foul contraception comments probably cemented the idea that the liberals are out to silence conservative voices, at least by the Twitter reponses I’m seeing. The liberals, in case you’re wondering, are tweeting either ridiculous jokes about what the package might be (forgotten Chinese take-out, a blow-up doll, more Viagra) or cautions that we shouldn’t be wishing anyone dead, which no one save a couple of losers is doing.

Turns out it was an electronic plaque commemorating the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth (assassination?) sent by a fan who was offering the fat guy a “business opportunity.”

Still, these conservatives will go to their graves believing Breitbart was killed. Why? Because Breitbart himself, and people like him, poisoned them. They believe that liberals, progressives, Democrats are the most vile, wicked, evil, dangerous people on the planet, who will stop at nothing to impose their will on the poor helpless masses because that’s what Breitbart et al have told them.

And Breitbart goes to his grave unrepentant because, as we don’t seem to want to believe, it’s the conserverati who will stop at nothing in their fight to return the United States to We, the White Christian Straight People.

Now, some say Breitbart really wasn’t a white Christian straight supremist, and maybe he wasn’t. They say he just delighted in the fight, was single-minded in his hatred of Barack Obama and used every tool he could gather to attack him, including the racist ones. They say he’d use different tools if it were somebody else.

I say if you use racist tools, you’re a bigoted asshole, just by virtue of your willingness to do so. Or, you’re just a run-of-the-mill soulless asshole of the first degree. Which would you prefer?

Either way, Andrew Breitbart was an asshole. And because he went after Obama and the Obama administration with racist attacks, he gained the support of the racist right. They heard what he said. They knew what he meant. And they agreed, just like they agree with Rush Limbaugh, another soulless asshole of the first degree, says the same type stuff.

Or perhaps you’ve not heard Limbaugh’s latest. He’s going after Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who was barred from speaking at Rep. Darrell Issa’s hearing on contraception. Fluke subsequently spoke at a Democratic House Steering Committee meeting. Women who use birth control are sluts, Rush says. But Limbaugh, like Breitbart, doesn’t generalize like that. Limbaugh, like Breitbart, makes it personal.

What does it say about the college [sic] co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

He kept it up a day later, demanding that Fluke post sex videos online.

Here’s what makes this kind of behavior so very bad: They make it personal. Breitbart didn’t slam the Department of Agriculture, or the Obama administration, or even the NAACP as racist when he ran edited video of remarks made by Ag Department employee Shirley Sherrod to the NAACP. He painted HER as racist. Trouble is, the full video revealed that her point was the complete opposite.

ACORN. Again, Breitbart with James O’Keefe and edited videos. ACORN was screwing up by paying people to register voters and not putting in place any safeguards to prevent their registrars from sitting at the kitchen table and filling out all the forms, but it wasn’t voter fraud. It was registration fraud — and it was stupid and preventable. But Breitbart/O’Keefe/the Right went after ACORN anyway with lies and distortions and the only organization in the country that actively works to register poor people to vote was decimated. And afterward, no fewer than three investigations, complete with views of the entire tapes, revealed that no one had broken any laws.

In both cases, here’s what happened: Breitbart made a big push with his edited videos, Republicans ran with them and started calling for heads to roll, and Democrats served those heads up on a silver platter. Then we found out it was all bullshit. A triumvirate of wrong, with the driving spark provided by Andrew Breitbart.

I could go on and on detailing Breitbart’s crimes, but there’s no reason. Breitbart targeted the innocents. Some of the innocents may not have been all that smart, and he got plenty of help from both sides of the aisle. But none of that detracts from what he did, repeatedly. And the results were invariably damaging to individual people who lost jobs, lost valuable services provided by organizations, lost the willingness to stand up for anything out of fear something like this could happen to them.

OK, so he was right about Anthony Weiner. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

It’s all part of the conservative game plan. Smear, lie, distort, ruin. Fast and hard hits that make it highly likely there’ll just be some sort of reaction before the truth comes out. The attack on Planned Parenthood didn’t work out as planned.

But that hasn’t stopped the Republicans from running with the lies, nor has it stopped their Democratic enablers from cowering and looking for fresh heads to offer as sacrifices. Hence, contraception is now controversial, and conservatives have gone all out in their once underground war to bring women back under the thumb of the patriarchs, back to the good old days when men were men, women and children were property and queers were something that only existed in pulp magazines and true crime stories.

I’m not one to gloat over a death, not even someone like Breitbart. He was, after all, a human being. I think he had children. I’m sure they loved him. But when your life is infused with such poison, well, what you do will eventually come back and bite you, sometimes really hard.

Why Breitbart and not Limbaugh, who’s been so full of the poison for so much longer? I can’t answer that. The hows and whens and wheres and whos of karma are beyond me.  All I know is what goes around comes around. You reap what you sow.

That’s not to say that Breitbart was punished for his deeds by death — because death isn’t a punishment. But what you do comes back to you. Always. Somehow, somewhere, some way, sometime. Not on your time or my time, but when it should. Breitbart is dead. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And for those of you who think we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, who’s speaking ill? I’m just speaking the truth. Besides, Breitbart had no qualms about speaking ill of the dead. He called Sen. Edward Kennedy a “villain,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick” on the day he died.

I’m more than willing to go off decorum to ensure THIS MAN is not beatified. Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it.

Destroyed lives. Sounds like he was talking about himself.

 

 

 

 

 

The chains that bind us

You didn’t really think all that brouhaha over funding the government back in the summer was the end of it, did you? Of course it wasn’t. Super Committee aside, this Republican Party is going to take every opportunity it can find to strangle the government and force it to bend to the will of its rich benefactors.

And Democrats seem powerless to stop it. I suppose that’s only natural, liberals being prone to compromise in a way that conservatives are decidedly not. But what it’s done is leave us with a far right party and a center right party, while the nation as a whole — its people, that is — keep moving forward.

All this talk of a third party, something in the middle, is completely ridiculous. Democrats are already there. What we really need is a truly progressive party. We’re out of balance because we’ve accepted the right-wing meme that they represent the true position of Americans and Democrats are far to the left, when in the opposite is actually true.

Yes, boys and girls, the wishy-washy Democrats are pretty much the party of moderation, the party that represents what most Americans are looking for. The Democratic party we have now — wholly unsatisfying to progressives — is America. But my beloved colleagues are too wrapped up in their beltway bubble to see that or even understand that things might not be as their Republican overlords tell them it is.

This is frustrating. It’s so fucking obvious to most of us and yet so beyond the grasp of those who tell us on the nightly news, and 24/7 on the cablers, what it’s all about.

What they, and conservatives, don’t understand, is that the center moves. It progresses. The center used to be in that backwards-looking, archaic place the Republicans thrive in. It isn’t now, and no amount of wishing it were so will make it go back.

But we’re stuck in this ugly place until my colleagues learn to tell the truth, until they know that the Republican party in general, and the tea party specifically, are behind the curve and will soon be left to the mites of history’s dustbin.

And journalists will be left there too, if they don’t wise up soon. Americans are unhappy with the direction government is going, not because it’s led by Democrats in the Senate and the Oval Office, but because those Democrats consistently forego their positions of power to give an old way of thought fresh power. But in the black and white world of Washington, it’s all an either-or proposition. Either you go with the Republicans or you don’t.

Frustrating, and sickening. How far back will this regressive suction pull us before the line finally snaps and we are jerked into a new world wholly unprepared?

When that happens, and it will, we’d best be prepared to help our new arrivals understand where they are and why. They’ll need it.

It’s hard now, but keep this in mind: The pull of progress has left the Republican Party dragging its heels in the past. It can decided to move itself forward with the rest of us, still representing a conservative viewpoint, but one grounded in reality instead of a drive to survive.

That’s where we are now. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have the leeway to consider the rest of us anymore. Their decisions are wholly based on what they think will get them elected or re-elected. And since our storytellers keep telling an old story that no longer has any basis in reality, too many people remain caught up in that polarizing position. Either-or. This or that.

This is the way things work. Conservatives resist change. They drag their heels. They dig in. They hunker down. And they fight back with the viciousness of a cornered dog, one that realizes its entire world is about to change completely. Liberals and progressive pull us forward. It all works quite well when conservatives inch forward, bringing up the rear and discarding the outworn ideas that no longer have any purchase on the real world.

Right now, though, those outworn ideas are still holding on, and the Republicans are giving them voice. Be gentle with them, my friends. It’s going to be a shock when the change finally comes, as it must.

Republicans are stuck, and Democrats can’t move forward without them. Republicans are entrenched in an extreme ideology that has no place here. Their good ideas are tarred with the bad from the past.

Until they let go of that, we’ll stay right here, caught in an uncivil war of someone else’s choosing.

Miscalculation

What? We’re still here? Well, hell’s bells. I guess Harold Camping was wrong about that end of the world thing. I’m sure he’ll figure out where he went wrong, though, and come back with the real date for the end of the world. But unless he comes up with something a few million years from now, we can be quite certain that he’s wrong again.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t blow up the place ourselves before Earth’s natural end comes about. We’ve sure got the capacity to do that, and our own politicians seem to have no problem edging us in that direction whenever and wherever possible.

But now that we’ve dodged this bullet, maybe we should all take a deep breath and another look at what we’ve wrought here.

Harold Camping isn’t the only one to fuck up his calculations, y’know. The Republicans do it all the time, and the Democrats too,  just not as badly. Paul Ryan, for example. He calculated that he could propose gutting the security net for the elderly, and nobody would raise a stink about it. He was wrong. He doesn’t admit it, but he is wrong, wrong, wrong. Not that that will stop him and his buddies from trying again.

That’s the plan. Conservatives want to shrink government, and the best way they know how to do that is not the logical, smart way. They won’t raise taxes on the filthy rich, who can afford it. They won’t get us out of ridiculous wars. They won’t stop proposing defense contracts that even the Pentagon says they don’t want (just so they can bring the pork … I mean, the money, to their districts). And they won’t do a damn thing about creating jobs, which, as the rest of us all know, is a sure-fire way to bring more money into government coffers to pay for things we need.

And that’s the point. They don’t want to bring more money in. They want the aforementioned filthy rich to get filthier and richer. And how? Why, at the expense of the rest of us — and especially anyone who might need a helping hand. Conservatives want to strip every single piece of social program out of the government. Why their sheeple don’t see that, and why my beloved colleagues refuse to call them on it, I have no earthly idea. But since the earth didn’t end, we’re still gonna have to deal with the problems we’ve created.

There’s a lot of hand-wringing going on about the deficit right now. It’s pretty steep. But the interesting thing is that in the past 30 years, it’s only been Republican presidents who’ve left us holding the bag with a deficit. The one Democratic president left us with a surplus, which was quickly decimated by the next Republican, one George W. Bush.

And George W. Bush left us in such horrid shape that even a Democratic president, particularly one who spends so much damn time giving away the farm, isn’t likely to give us a surplus this time.

But two things will cure this deficit: End the wars, and tax the goddamn rich. We already know that cutting taxes on the rich doesn’t do anything but make them richer. So why the wait?

And a third thing will seal the deal. Sink some money into public programs, like, just to draw something off the top of my head, infrastructure. Our roads and bridges and power grids and all are crumbling. The Republicans don’t want to fix them, because … well, I don’t know why. They’re just idiots, I guess.

But I’ll tell you this — if we don’t start fixing the problems we have, we’ll certainly see the end of the world as we know it, if not the end of the world entirely. Harold Camping won’t get it, but jeez, the guy’s gonna have his own private rapture before the real end comes about.

The end isn’t near — but change is. And this is a calculation we cannot afford to fuck up.

Right and wrong can’t be measured in political polls

Morality. We liberal/progressive types get a lot of flack for allegedly have loose or bad morals. We know that’s not true, but the reason we get that label is, I think, a skewed idea of what morality is, and, more importantly, what it isn’t.

In my book, the one I haven’t written, morality is a universal trait. And because it’s universal, it has nothing to do with what any man or group of men decide.Cultural norms and customs aren’t morality. Morality is knowing the difference between right and wrong.

It’s not about who we have sex with, or when or how. It is about how we treat other human beings. Most of us have an innate ability to treat other human beings with respect and dignity, to do what we can to help out. The problem lies with those of us who don’t see the rest of us as full human beings.

The Founding Fathers, for example, didn’t quiet see blacks as full humans. Three fifths of a human was the best they could do, and unless you were five fifths of a human, you could not have the same rights, if any as, as those who were whole and completely human. In the eyes of other humans.

It’s an old, very old way of thinking, and it’s on the way out. Those who still cling to that archaic outlook are backed into a corner these days, and, since they believe their very identity is threatened, they are willing to do anything at all to stop the march of progress, the march of morality.

The Founders weren’t really immoral men. It’s just that morality, in the 18th century, was a tad more narrow than it is now — for most of us, anyway. Morality, progress, they grow. Sometimes there are steps back, but never for long. Always forward, ever-expanding. Even Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves himself, had an inkling of the true meaning of morality.

Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality.

Self-interest. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Dred Scott decision, in which a slave, Dred Scott, sued for his freedom — and that of his family — in 1847. The case went to the Supreme Court, where, sadly, he lost in 1857. He died the following year, after he and his family had been returned to their original owners — who by that time had become abolitionists — and were freed. But here’s what Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote in that infamous decision, hoping to send the legal questions about slavery once and for all.

Consequently, no State, since the adoption of the Constitution, can by naturalizing an alien invest him with the rights and privileges secured to a citizen of a State under the Federal Government, although, so far as the State alone was concerned, he would undoubtedly be entitled to the rights of a citizen, and clothed with all the rights and immunities which the Constitution and laws of the State attached to that character.

no State can, by any act or law of its own, passed since the adoption of the Constitution, introduce a new member into the political community created by the Constitution of the United States.
(The authors of the Constitution viewed blacks as) beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.

It would give to persons of the negro race, … the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, … the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

And, my friends, therein lies the very source of the conservative drive to delegitimize the first black president of the United States. Y’see, the Supreme Court never got around to overruling the Dred Scott decision, although the court did note that the 14th Amendment had overturned one part of it, making the ruling in 1873.

The first observation we have to make on this clause is, that it puts at rest both the questions which we stated to have been the subject of differences of opinion. It declares that persons may be citizens of the United States without regard to their citizenship of a particular State, and it overturns the Dred Scott decision by making all persons born within the United States and subject to its jurisdiction citizens of the United States.

But back to morality. Taney’s opinion that blacks were inferior to whites exists today, full and strong, within the ranks of the conservatives. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room, at least as far as my colleagues are concerned. They cannot, they will not, say definitively that racism is at the heart of the birther movement.

Of course, the conservatives react this way to any non-conservative president. Democrats are socialiasts, traitors, immoral, evil, out to destroy the country. Delegitimizing all the way. Because we’re not real Americans, and, as we all know, only Americans are full and complete human beings.

Is it moral to favor the rich over everyone else? Is it moral to deny what’s obvious, like, say, that tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs? Is it moral to vote to end the safety net we created for the elderly? Is it moral to cut funding for housing counseling as we continue to let banks make their own rules about mortgages? Is it moral to allow the destruction of the environment — which we depend on for our very survival, the air we breathe, the water we drink — for the almighty dollar?

In that book I haven’t written, not much promoted by the TeaPublicans is anywhere near morality. Far from it. It’s downright immoral.

We live in very ugly times. That happens on the cusp of change. That change may not be completed in all of our lifetimes, but it will be completed. And then even our ideas of morality, of right and wrong, may seem as old-fashioned and wrong-headed as the so-called morality of the right seems to us today.

Let these be guidestones to an age of reason

Conservatives don’t seem to think much of the New World Order, whatever it is. In fact, they hate the idea so much — check that: the FEAR the idea so much — that for decades they’ve completely controlled the message about the New World Order — what it is, who’s behind it, what they want, how they’ll do it.

To hear them tell it, it’s some nefarious something or other funded by billionaires who want to control everything about our lives — how we live, what we read, who we marry, what we do with what little money they allow us to have, how we vote. Who can vote.

Mmm. Project much? That’s sorta been the conservative modus operandi for a while, though. Blame liberals and progressives for what they do. You know, like how godless and immoral we are, Newt Gingrich. David Vitter. Chris Lee.

Glenn Beck is the current Konspiracy King. Unless you want your head to ache as much as mine, don’t try to figure it out. Glenn and an awful lot of Republicans like to hang out with the original conspiracy monger, a dude named Alex Jones. There are others. Of course there are others.

They’ve all got dozens, if not hundreds, of New World Order conspiracies, no small number of which conflict with others. I guess if you’re gonna go all Konspiracy Kook then it’s a good idea to have as many as you can, that way when one doesn’t work out, you’ve got a failsafe.

On the other hand, if you’re a good conspiracist, then nothing anybody can ever say to you will change your mind, because, of course, the proof against their nuttiness is, to them, proof of the conspiracy. Don’t ask me. I don’t get it either.

Anyway, all of these hideously awful things are designed to Control Us and Make Us Do The Bidding Of The Evil Masters. And be vewy vewy careful — because our would-be masters are so sneaky, the bastards make it sound like a good thing! But it’s not! Don’t buy it!

So they think a group called the Bilderberg Group, about 140 influential politicians, businessfolk, military and media folk that meets once a year to talk about the state of the world and brainstorm ideas to help, is plotting to take over the world. It’s all so secret, you see. Actually, the only thing that’s secret is what they talk about — the attendees are quite public. And the reason what goes on in the meetings is kept secret is … well, just take a look at, oh, say, CNN’s Political Ticker and count how may pieces of utter bullshit have been strung up there with no context whatsoever in order to stir up controversy. If I were invited, I’d want to be able to talk openly without Politico asking Sarah Palin what she thinks about what I said.

Same with the Trilateral Commission, which is an organization that fosters better relations between Europe, the United States and Japan. Barry Goldwater had a hard time with them.

In my view, the Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power: political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical. All this is to be done in the interest of creating a more peaceful, more productive world community. What the Trilateralists truly intend is the creation of a worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved.

Gee, what’s the problem?

Well, it’s actually pretty simple. And I’m gonna ‘splain it all to you. Well, some of it anyway. And I’m gonna use what people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck call “Humanity’s Tombstone” to do it.

On a low hill in eastern Georgia, not too far from the South Carolina state line, there stands some gigantic slabs of Georgia granite — four of them, with a capstone on top and a central stone. They are inscribed on each side, with the same thing, but in the eight modern languages — English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian. There’s also a shorter message, written in four ancient languages — Babylonian cuneiform, classical Greek, Sanskrit and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

And boy, let me tell you. These Konspiracy Klowns really pull out all the stops to make the Georgia Guidestones the most evil thing on the planet.

What do they say? Here ya go:

  • Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature
  • Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity
  • Unite humanity with a living new language
  • Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason
  • Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts
  • Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court
  • Avoid petty laws and useless officials
  • Balance personal rights with social duties
  • Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite
  • Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature

Oh my fucking god! It’s the fucking end of the fucking world! Let’s see what’s so horrible about them.

Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

The New World Orderists wasted no time telling us exactly what they plan for us on this one. They’re going to commit genocide and kill 6 billion people. That’s what this means. No, really. There are 6.5 billion people on the planet now, which you and both know is far too many, and the only way to get it down to 500 million is to KILL US. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I planned on killing 6 billion people, I’m thinking I wouldn’t make it the first thing I carved into stone for everybody to read. But if I were living in, say, the late 1970s, when the Georgia Guidestones were put up, I might be a little worried we were all going to kill ourselves, what with all the war and all, and maybe I’d like to think that if we survive, or some of us do, maybe we’ll get our shit together and realize we cannot feed 10 billion people on this rock. Perpetual balance with nature and all, y’know.

Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity

Eugenics! They’re going to create a fucking master race!!!!! Arrrghhhhhhhhhhhhh! Stop them!

Have you ever seen puppies from a puppy mill? That’s where they keep the momma dogs in perpetual pregnancy and nursing. The puppies, bless their little hearts, suffer for it, too. They’re weaker just from the fact that they’re moms are at the point of exhaustion all the time. That’s kinda what we do here on this planet. Yay! Go ahead, have all the babies you want (or in the case of an awful lot of women, you DON’T want but are forced to have). If we were to actually use our big brains — “wisely” — we probably would be creating a much more fit and diverse population. But that’s telling us what to do! China! Be fruitful and multiply! Yeah, and overcrowd the fucking planet with morons. See above.

Chill, little frightened humans. You just ain’t that important.

Unite humanity with a living new language

Now, this one is downright funny, because some of the Kornspiracists think that the Georgia Guidestones are some kind of modern Tower of Babel, you know, what with saying the same thing in eight languages. I was thinking more along the lines of the Rosetta Stone myself, but let’s go along with this. See, according to the Only Religion That Matters, the Judeo-Christian one, the big sky father, jealous of humans who could actually build physical towers and were trying to build one to reach him — hey, I woulda been honored they wanted to come see me — and so handed out a gazillion new languages so they couldn’t talk with one another anymore and had to stop work on the tower. I don’t think I have to go into the preposterousness of that particular biblical story. But anyway, here, the authors of the guidestones say we should go back to that one language, that maybe if we all didn’t have so many nuances and complete and utter fuckups when we try to translate each other that maybe we’d get along better.

Of course, if I were a Konservative Konspiracy Kretin, I’d probably still want the langauges to be different because I wouldn’t want people to understand each other — good grief, how can we exploit fear and anger if we don’t need Men In Suits to tell us what the other people are thinking and saying and doing?

Rule passion — faith — tradition with tempered reason

Now what could possibly be wrong with that? Huh? Be reasonable about our passions, our faith and our traditions. Not too hard to figure out, really. If you’re gonna be reasonable, that means you’re not gonna get to shout down the people who know what they’re talking about with your outlandish superstitions and mythologies. Now, nobody says you can’t have those — you’re welcome to believe whatever you want, to have faith in a fucking monument in rural Georgia or whatever. But reason would tell you that you cannot possibly know shit and all your attempts to force everyone else to believe as you do says but one thing: that you are so insecure in yourselves that you cannot bare for anyone to disagree with you.

And that’s why Konservatives and Konspiracy Kreators hate reason.

Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts

Whoops! The Guidestone creators screwed this one up for the Konspiracists. “Protect people and NATIONS” … kinda defeats the purpose of a one world government, doncha think? But this is a bad thing because … because … SHARIA LAW! Who’s gonna decide what’s fair and just? And what if we think those people or those nations don’t deserve to be treated fairly and justly? I mean, what if they’re terrorists? Or or or heathens! Communists! Socialists! Black people! Oops. Never mind that last one. We’re not racist. But illegal immigrants!

Fair and just. Fair and just.

Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court

OK, seriously, again, the “nations” thing. Personally, I don’t have a problem with a one world government. It cannot possibly be worse than what we have now. But if we can’t, then this isn’t so bad — nations, do you’re own thing inside your borders (being reasonable, and all that) and if you have conflicts with each other, then we go to a world court instead of shooting at each other. It’s like neighbors, you know. My neighbor and I may be having a dispute over who actually owns the tree that fell on my car. But we don’t start shooting at each other. We go to court, or to mediation.

Ahhhh … but we can’t do that on an international level, now can we? Because we might lose. And if the world court says that Israel needs to fucking stop building settlements in the West Bank, then we can’t just go along with that! Israel! Terrorists! The Holy Land! Armageddon! Ooops. Forget that last. That was a slip. We’re not waiting for the End Times here.

Somehow, I suspect the Georgia Guidestones may have been written for after the End Times. And maybe it’ll all work out all right if that’s the case. After all, our religious zanies will have all been raptured and we can finally relax.

Avoid petty laws and useless officials

You can probably sort out for yourself why the Konservative Konspiracists would be a little upset about this one. Most of them would be on the “shun” list. And where would America be without petty laws?

Balance personal rights with social duties

This one should be pretty obvious too. Just look at Congressional Republicans. This one goes against their entire philosophy, which, if it were on the Georgia Guidestones, would say, “Me first and fuck you.”

Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite

This is another one that would seem awfully good to me. But remember, according to the Krazy Konspiracists, the One World Orderists say things that sound good so you won’t know how evil they are. Like, who’s gonna decide what truth, beauty and love are? And seeking harmony with the infinite? That’s some New Age hokey pokey that’s they’re gonna use to make us all have the same religion, right?

“The infinite” — I have an understanding of what that means to me on a spiritual level, and frankly, it makes much more sense than any of the crap I’ve heard out of the world’s religions. I really don’t care if you believe what I believe — but if you can, just imagine that “the infinite” is what might be called “god” or “allah” or any kind of supreme being that is neither supreme nor an actual being. Seek harmony with the infinite. Isn’t that what the religions are supposed to about, seeking to become one with god, however god is understood? Or … just simply to seek harmony with the earth, very easily done after death but taking a little work before hand. The earth is pretty infinite. Oh, sure, someday it’ll blow up, or crash into the sun, or get hit by an asteroid or something, but the building blocks of this planet ain’t goin’ nowhere.

So to my way of thinking, this one’s just a reminder that we are far from what we humans really should be doing.

Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature

Seriously. Be not a cancer on the earth. In typical Konservative fashion, the Krazies think this one ties in the first one. They believe this one shows that the evil one worlders believe humans are a cancer on the earth and need to be considerably culled. Well, to be honest, some humans are. And if we weren’t so busy trying to pretend that selfish bastards are anything but selfish bastards, we’d realize that. They don’t need to be culled though. They just need to be treated like the selfish bastards they are. Same goes for companies that pollute. For governments that think pouring more concrete is progress.

There’s a reason it says “leave room for nature” twice.

Well, there you have it. The New World Order, the One World Government. The evil that will be foisted upon us if the Tea Party doesn’t gain control of the Senate and the White House in 2012.

We need a new world order, and soon. The Tea Party would have us go back to their delusional visions of a past that never was when I — we — want to go forward to a vision of a better world that we can have if we drop the pretenses of being masters of the earth — and of other people.

The Konspiracists don’t like things like the Georgia Guidestones because they scare the bejesus out of ‘em. It means they need to change their entire view of everything, and for most people, that’s just too damned frightening. But they can’t admit that either, so they play the straw man game — the evil billionaires want to tell us what to do! Individual rights! The second amendment!

Such short sightedness. So sad. When I read something like the Georgia Guidestones, a little spark of hope for humanity flares. It’s not much, but it gets me through the next barrage of hate and anger and selfishness that passes for humanity out in the real world these days.

It is a little spark of truth, there for all to see, if only they have eyes unfettered by the ugliness of those who would keep us enslaved.

The way forward

I had every intention of writing a scintillating review of the State of the Union and the dueling GOP responses to it. Really, I did. I had plenty of time to read the president’s speech — the National Journal published a draft copy someone leaked to them, which may or may not have forced the White House to do the unheard of: It released the “as prepared for delivery” text more than an hour before the speech and with no embargo. Last year, we got the “as prepared” text at 8:52 with an embargo for the start of the speech at 9:01:30.

So I read the speech and pronounced it nothing the Republicans could whine about without looking even more idiotic than they usually do, not that that would stop them. I watched the speech, comparing the “as prepared” text with what was actually said so my staff could get the words right (not much difference, in case you’re wondering) and pronounced the speech not very well delivered.

But still, I wanted to write about it here. I wanted to tell you how John “Orangeman” Boehner scowled and didn’t applaud when Obama mentioned things like not being careful, as we cut unnecessary spending, not to do harm to our “most vulnerable.” Guess Boehner doesn’t give a shit about the most vulnerable. He also didn’t seem to care for Obama asking for millionaires to “give back their tax break.” Quelle surprise.

I watched neither the Paul Ryan response nor the Michele Bachmann response because, frankly, there is nothing new they could say. Ryan repeated the same Randian bullshit he usually spews and Bachmann, well, as a friend of mine says, she makes Sarah Palin look like William F. Buckley. And honestly, who has the time to rebut the lies, misinterpretations and just plain ignorance that seems to be her cause celebre.

But alas, when I arrived home last evening, I had no Internet! The horror of it all! And since I was dog tired, I watched an episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded (Confederate gold, if you must know) and promptly fell asleep.

And now that my Internet has returned, I find I really don’t care anymore. I glanced through a few blogs to see what my fellow conservatives were saying, and it was mostly “he’s no better than a Republican,” “Obama calls for a return to the glory days of 50 years ago” and my personal favorite “SOTU was the speech of a man who has given up.” That’s my favorite because, ironically, I thought most of these blog posts were the blog posts of poseurs who have given up.

One blogger even said that s/he didn’t like the speech but it will probably be “well-received” by the public.

And that’s a bad thing? It made my head spin, and frankly, I have not had enough coffee yet for head spinning.

Others condemned it as a “motivational speech.” Excuse me, but I think we need one about now. The lunatics have taken over the asylum, and the rest of us are inclined to bury our heads and wait two more years before we come out and see what damage they’ve caused, and that’s the exact opposite of what we need to do.

OK, so I think a 5-year freeze on non-war spending is a stupid idea too, but there are places to cut waste. Let’s start there.

The president spent a lot of time on education and innovation — and believe me, these are the only two things that will save us. In fact, here’s my favorite bit from the entire speech:

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.

Now, asking is just too nice. We should take it back. They. Do. Not. Need. It and it doesn’t create a single job. Educating our children does. Innovation does. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure does. And those are all things the president promised to fund. We must keep our eyes on the prizes and hold his feet to the fire. Even if Republicans continue to obstruct — we must make that obvious and not let them grab the national narrative for their lies and half-truths.

My other favorite lines were these:

We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Boy howdy, that’s true. Maybe this year, instead of inviting the Super Bowl winners to the White House, Obama can invite the science fair winners.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in our nation, if you want to make a difference in the life of a child — become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Boy howdy, again. Notice a theme here? Education. Our lousy education system and damage already done to it by conservatives is the major cause of our decline. It has produced large quantities of people whose knowledge base is severely limited in every subject. Only the very motivated student gets past that. And that’s on purpose — believe me, the conservatives would like to stop the motivated students from advancing, but so far they’re doing a good job of getting them labeled as crackpots instead of the congresswomen who think that John Adams ended slavery.

Sure, the president said some things aimed to appease the not-so-crazy Republicans, of which I think there are probably only 2 or 3. But that’s not the point. He wasn’t speaking to you and me, the peeps who know the score and want to get on with it. He was speaking to “the public” that blogger derided.  And I for one hope that public got the message.

If not, we really are doomed.

Forward thinking

I spent most of last week increasingly withdrawn, on the verge of tears. I knew the source — my job. But not in the way we’re normally beaten down by our jobs.

I’m not oppressed by the man, or underpaid (although I am overworked), or even undervalued. I do struggle with my boss, but my coworkers are the best in the business and I’m quite honored to work with them. Doubly honored since I’m their supervisor and they actually listen to me.

But my job requires that I see and hear all the stupidity mankind can muster, day after day, for eight solid hours each day. It’d be OK if I were one of the masses, one of the millions who can’t or won’t see beyond their own insular universe. But I’m not. Neither are you, most likely.

And because I’m not, I fret and worry about our future. Our Future. The Futures of All Of Us. We, the People. Even so, if the indifference, the complete lack of empathy, of any type of sensitivity that characterizes so many these days weren’t constantly being rubbed in my face, I’d probably be all right.

But it is, and I’m not.

It took the entire week to get beyond the depression, the tears, and to open up to the anger, the profound disappointment I feel toward our government, my fellow citizens.

But I got there. I am there. I’m likely to be here for a long time. And because it eats away at my ability to enjoy life — and the only way I’ve ever found to ease that pain is to write about — you may be hearing much more from me than usual. I can’t shy away from this any longer.

All around us are the vestiges of our — humankind’s — earliest existence. Those long, long ago days when we understood nothing about the world around us except that there were an awful lot of things that could and would kill us. Security was Job No. 1. Security for us, for our families. For our tribes.

We don’t live in caves anymore, though. When I walk out my front door, I don’t have to look around to make sure a tiger isn’t crouched and ready to eat me. If it’s cold, I turn up the heat. If I’m hungry, I check the fridge or the pantry, and if I don’t find something I want, I head out to find it. No tigers, no enemy tribes will block my path.

I’m safe. My family is safe. My town is safe, my county and state are safe. So is my country. But when I leave my house and my little town and travel to the inner city, ride the escalators up to my newsroom and put the headset around my ears, I’m immediately bombarded with the voices of those who would have me believe I’m not safe, not at all. The terrorists — the Muslim ones — are out to get me. The Mexicans are stealing my job and my right to go to school and get health care. Taking care of the poor is going to bankrupt me. The gays are going to ruin my marriage.

Oh wait. I am gay, and I’m not married. Yikes. If that one’s not valid, does that mean the others aren’t either?

Two of my supervisor colleagues are Muslim. So’s one of my copy editors. One of my staff is Mexican. None of us are poor, but my little group just raised more than $700 so a family could have a Christmas. And my family took the name of a little girl off the Salvation Army tree and made sure she’s having one too, with warm clothes and shoes and even a few toys. I just hope they’re all OK after the holidays are over, when none of us are paying any attention to them anymore.

It didn’t bankrupt me to do what little I did. And it won’t bankrupt the government to help them the rest of the time. But the cavemen who make up the conservative movement in this country think it will. To them, it’s every man, woman and small child for themselves. No health care? Get a job and pay for it. No job? You lazy bum. I got mine, fuck you.

It’s a mindset I cannot understand. Most of these cavemen have more than enough. Way more than enough. And it’s still not enough. They must have more tax cuts. Hell, they’d prefer if there were no taxes. They’d create jobs then.

Except they won’t. If businesses and their owners have extra money from tax cuts, they don’t hire more people. They only hire, they only create jobs, when they have more customers than they can take care of with what they already have. Then they’ll create jobs. Begrudgingly, but they will create them.

But they don’t have customers right now. Because their customers don’t have jobs. Catch-22, right? Not really. There’s an easy way out, and it calls for government spending.

Our infrastructure — bridges, roads, sewers, the electrical grid, all that sort of thing — is in terrible condition. If it’s left to continue rotting, it’ll soon be useless. I suppose the conservatives think that “business” will then pitch in to rebuild, the way they pitch in to help the poor. Even if they do, they’ll charge us for the right to use it. More money we don’t have, because we don’t have jobs.

The real answer is for our government to give us jobs, to create a project to fix these problem, and to move us fully into the 21st century, with things like broadband and high speed rail, clean energy and clean machines to run on it. Then businesses will have customers again, and they’ll hire more employees, creating more jobs.

Simple, isn’t it? You wouldn’t know it from the News, though. And that’s what’s killing me. The News would have us believe we’re actually arguing over whether spending money to create jobs is a good thing, or giving people who can’t find jobs a little money — way less than they were making before they lost their jobs — is a good thing. Or whether the filthy rich, who have had the Bush tax cuts for almost a decade now and done absolutely nothing but line their own pockets with ‘em will now, suddenly, create jobs.

They haven’t, and they won’t. And I just cannot fathom why that isn’t obvious to everyone.

I have a job, and for that I’m grateful. But it hurts, having this job, seeing and hearing people so completely clueless. I feel very alone some days.

But I know, as I’ve said many times, that progress can’t be stopped. It’d just go so much faster without prehistoric man trying to drag us by the hair back into some dark, dank cave.

Sources

I have spent the weekend in the belly of the beast, in one of the reddest of red states, with two of the reddest of red voters.

My parents.

It wasn’t always like this. The place where I come from is small, rural. I can barely bring myself to call the nearest town a city, although technically it is. “Urban,” however, it is not. But this place, while not particularly welcoming of Things and People Different, was always tolerant. Even if you’re not from around here, if you carry your weight, you’re OK. We’ll still look at you funny, and eventually, we may even come to like you. But you’re not One of Us. Sorry ’bout that.

Can’t say as I blame ‘em much though. Outsiders tended to be, oh, I don’t know, people like mine owners out to steal their land and then send ‘em into death traps that, if they didn’t kill them quickly in a mine collapse, killed them later of disease.

My parents were the same. And I lucked out in one regard. The one source of true intolerance in our isolated and very rural area – religion – was largely absent from my country home, ironically because of its intolerance. My parents came from different “One True Way” Christian denominations, and they canceled each other out. Their respective churches rejected them for marrying outsiders. Without the hellfire and brimstone every Sunday, I had very little religiosity to fight against as I grew older.

I did attend every Vacation Bible School known to man, but they generally keep the hellstone and brimfire out of VBS, lest they frighten the little children, many of whom are not members of the church. They reserve the fearmongering for their members.

But everything’s different now. Everyone’s fearful, everyone’s intolerant, and now they’re even less welcoming than they were a half century ago, if that’s at all possible.

And strangely enough, everyone is very, very angry, at pretty much everything and everybody.

I spent the first half hour of my visit listening to the parental units angrily complain about the drugstore, the doctor’s office, the company that provides my mother’s scooter chair and the cell phone company. All of them were incompetent and had no idea how to do their jobs. The cell phone company, an international firm to begin with, took extra hits for having someone with an accent answer the phone.

The rest sounded more like impatience on my parents’ parts than actual incompetence. The drugstore hadn’t filled my mother’s prescription, which was apparently because the doctor’s office had yet to call it in. My parents appeared not to understand that doctor’s offices typically have a set-aside time of day, near the end, to call in prescriptions lest they spend their entire days stopping whatever they’re doing to call in the latest prescription demanded by impatient and non-understanding people. I’m not as certain about the scooter chair people, but knowing my mother’s penchant for not following up on phone calls, not always understanding instructions and such, I suspect she never made herself clear to begin with.

My sister, the purported Democrat, has the answer to that, though. The company is going to “fool around” until after the first of the year, she says, and then Medicare is going to change and won’t pay for it. I don’t know if that’s true, although I suspect she meant Medicaid, and since the Republicans have done their best to screw the states out of money they need to actually help people, she could be right.

Later, I’m out with my dad when an ambulance blows by, sirens blaring and lights flashing, followed  by a police car pulling out of a nearby parking lot. My dad complains that “they” (meaning the cop) all “have to go when anything happens.” I try to explain about dispatchers, but give up. There is an accident just up the road. We can see it, and it has slowed traffic as we all have to move into the left lane to get by. I say to my dad that when there’s an accident, they often need extra officers on hand to do things like direct traffic. He scoffs. “They don’t do that around here,” he says.

As we near the accident, I point out a police officer directing traffic (there are actually two). “Must be a fireman,” he says. Then, as we move into the other lane and pass a police car on the right, he complains because the cop has blocked the whole lane, apparently unable to see the two mangled vehicles in the lane in front of the police car.

It’s almost too much. Although my parents and I generally avoid political discussions, we’ve had enough for me to know that the only other time they let out this much anger (aside from the abuse I endured at the hands of my mother, but that’s another story) is when they talk about Barack Obama. I half expect to hear them blame Obama for the traffic accident. It’s right under the surface, palpable there, very much alive, and, I fear, could erupt at any time.

My dad, whose second best friend when I was very small was a black man, told me he didn’t want Obama to be president because he didn’t want no black man to be president.

And my parents don’t have cable and don’t listen to the radio unless it’s a country music station, so I can’t blame this attitude on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.

No, they seem to have come by it honestly, but from where? Their age? The rural nature of their existence? The unwelcoming tolerance and suspicion itself? Did too many new things and people come into their lives that they couldn’t keep up?

This is a very changing world, and lately, it’s been changing incredibly quickly. Just ask my parents. The Mexicans are taking over everything, and you just can’t trust ‘em. But these are simple people. In addition to their lack of cable television, they don’t have a computer. They now have a cell phone, not, as I tried to convince them, because my mom can’t get around and they needed some way to communicate when my father is out of the house, but because “they” (presumably the Mexicans) might cut the phone line and then they’d be unable to call for help. They feel much safer now with the cell phone.

I try periodically to convince them to get cable, but my dad refuses to pay for television. And  I had enough trouble teaching them to use the simplest cell phone I could find. No way I’ll try to teach them a computer. Hell, they not only never figured out how to program their VCR, but they never used it, and now they’re ignoring their blu-ray DVD player with the same blithe lack of awareness.

Is this what’s happening all over America? All this anger, is it just being given a focus, a direction by Fox and the lying Republican agenda?
Know the real difference between Fox and the rest of my colleagues? My colleagues just let the liars lie. Fox tells the lies itself.

These people here in my rural paradise – they’re scared. They see the world changing around them, differences encroaching on their “always the same” world. And Fox and Rush and the Republicans are right there, more than happy to exploit that discomfort for their own benefit. Hell, even my purportedly Democrat sister falls prey to these things. She worries a lot, all the time, just like our mother. She once told me she couldn’t vote for Obama because she heard he was a Muslim. And she has cable.

And there’re my colleagues, eager and willing to mistake this for populism when it’s really just those being left behind by the wheels of time and those willing to lie and take advantage of their fears and uncertainties.

The elites who make up the conservative leadership are more than happy to to exploit those people who aren’t prepared to step into the 21st century, just like they were once more than delighted to do the same to those who weren’t prepared to step into the 20th century. And it’s utterly unconscionable that my colleagues allow that kind of low-life sleaze to breathe the same broadcast and print air as the rest of us.
It’s just too easy though, as my brief stay in redland showed me. They are ripe for the exploitation. And they’re in that position because the rest of us have largely abandoned them. When they were unwelcoming and untrusting, we left them alone, confusing their natural reticense to engage the new and strange with intolerance. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy, in a sense, because now they are as entrenched in that intolerance as is humanly possible, thanks to that abandonment coupled with the easy embrace of a conserverati that agressively courted and gave them answers – however incorrect – to their confusion.

There are many other reasons for my discomfort here, most having to do with personal family dynamics and the dysfunction of a generational mismatch. Plus I’ve always suspected the possibility I may have been a changeling, swapped at birth perhaps with the purpose of easing the transition between yesterday and tomorrow. If that’s the case, then I have failed, and my failure (and that of others like me) has made this task of ours – to move forward – all the more difficult.

But just that – more difficult, not impossible.

It’s gonna get ugly, much uglier. But progress happens, despite the best efforts of elites who think of nothing more than enriching themselves at the expense of others.

We’ll prevail. Eventually.

And the one saving grace for my parents lack of cable television is that I don’t have to beg them to put on something besides Fox so I can breathe.