Did you ever have an older relative who used to wax poetic about “the good old days?” You know the one, cause we all have at least one. I so distinctly remember listening to mine when I was in my early 20s. Good God, were those rants depressing, not to mention annoying as hell.
Well, boys and girls, my transformation into that older cranky relative appears to be complete, cause right now, right here, Imma unleash some words about the “good old days” as our country hovers over the cliff of default and remains in partial shutdown.
America, America, God shed his grace on thee
And if you don’t know about things like raising the debt ceiling and why our government is currently shutdown, WHY THE HELL NOT? You should. This is about you, my disinterested friend. That disinterest, that apathy you wear like a badge, is part of the problem. We’ve got some rogue politicians running amok in our capital these days, brandishing machetes and hurtling towards our well being. Do yourself a favor, your kids a favor, your neighbors a favor, and your favorite blogger a favor and spend a few minutes Googling. Start slowly with phrases like, “government shutdown,” and “debt ceiling.” Go ahead, the rest of us will wait for you.
You done yet?
Something I like to do first thing in the morning is scan the headlines of a few favored news outlets along with my Facebook feed. I’ve got some friends on both sides of the political spectrum, so typically get a fairly broad, albeit biased, selection of headlines. With a newborn now, I have mastered the one hand bottle hold, leaving the second hand free to swipe and scan. It’s not enough, but it keeps me informed.
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea
This morning, among ever more posts about how stupid conservatives are, and others about how stupid liberals are, I had just about had enough. Enough. I wrote a barbaric yawp and posted it on the Facebook. (Please tell me you know what a barbaric yawp is. If you need to Google again, yes, we’ll wait. That is important information to have, cause you never know when you will need to sound your own barbaric yawp. That shit is therapeutic. You should try it sometime.) Anyway. This morning I sounded my own barbaric yawp and it went a little something like this:
A few words about our government: What happened to the concept of the greater good? When did Americans, left or right, red or blue, stop acknowledging they serve a people and not a party? We call ourselves the greatest country on earth, and yet are acting like we can’t wait to self-mutilate, self-destruct, and implode, wreaking havoc not only on ourselves, but those around the globe who used to look to us as an example, a guiding light, an ideal. It is a damn shame.
What I forgot to write is the line, “We are better than this.” But now I think I didn’t forget to write that line, I simply think it is no longer true. We used to be better than this, but now I’m not so sure.
Confirm they soul in self-control
More and more it feels like we only want to hear what we want to hear. We only tune into media sources that confirm our already solidified sense of the world, namely, we are right and they are wrong (or, conversely, we are left and they are wrong). Doesn’t matter which way you vote, cause that particular sin is absolutely bipartisan. We take glee, glee, in stories or headlines that tout how wrong/awful/horrible the other side is, accepting no responsibility for the issues and problems that our own party brings to the table.
It takes two to tango, you know?
As soon as one side, one party, is absolutely right and the other side is absolutely wrong, there will be no progress. And this whole no progress thing is becoming increasingly dangerous. Not just for the poor or vulnerable who have no voice and are easy to marginalize, but for the middle class, who whether they know it or not are completely dependent on a healthy operating government, and for the corporate class, who may be laughing all the way to the bank right now, but will rue the day that they chose not to trouble themselves with things like health care or retirement benefits for their workers.
O beautiful for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years
Has anyone stopped to consider what happens when huge swaths of people don’t have health care or retirement benefits? It ain’t pretty, folks. But with patience, we’ll find out soon enough, cause that is the direction we are headed.
Greater good, people. We need to put our differences aside for the greater good. We need to take an interest in how a handful of politicians, liberals and conservatives, are hijacking our futures for the chance to say, “We won! The other side cowered under the pressure! We are the champions!”
Truth is, right now, every single American is losing, and come later this week, many more global citizens will be losing, too, all at the hands of a very few fanatics in Washington, D.C., full of pride and self-import, and greed, and hubris.
And if you need to Google hubris, well, I’m not waiting any longer.
Til selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free