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This Too Shall Pass?

madamab's picture

I am now going to say something odd: The actions of government actually matter to the citizens of that government's country.

This is an odd thing to say these days, because our media culture seems to feel otherwise. The talking heads, instead of talking about policy, harp on alleged "winners and losers," as if we're all playing some amusing game together, or drone on endlessly about some mythical creature called "bipartisanship," as if anything the Republicans proposed would be reasonable rather than actively harmful to the vast majority of Americans. Do we really need MORE evidence, after eight years of Bush, that Republican ideology is bad for America? Why must we pretend otherwise, over and over, ad nauseum, ad infinitum? And you certainly wouldn't know it from the way Obama and Congress do nothing but try to score political points off of each other, rather than pass legislation that might actually help their constituents.

But every time our leadership lets us down by refusing to move society forward into a more peaceful, just and socially enlightened place, people lose their jobs, their homes and their lives.

I can't believe that "liberal" people defending the Democrats or "conservative" people defending the Republicans still don't understand this. Maybe something has to happen to them personally before they get it. Maybe they have to lose their jobs and not get them back; have a family member get sick and go bankrupt because of it; drive 50 miles to get emergency birth control, be denied, and get pregnant with a baby they can't raise, then die in childbirth or have their child die, or both; have a family member or a friend join the National Guard or the Reserves, only to get killed in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen or wherever the hell we're currently at war.

I am not wishing these horrors on anyone: I don't have to.

They're already happening.

What will it take before people finally stand in the street and scream ENOUGH! ENOUGH! The whole fucking building is burning down, and our government is standing outside at a safe distance, carrying thimbles of water and debating over whether or not to use them! Use them or don't use them; they are worthless! We need firehoses and bucket brigades and helicopters dumping fire extinguisher on the roaring flames!

How dare they. How dare they do this to us?!

Our country is morally bankrupt enough to natter on about "risk pools" and "Cadillac plans" instead of recognizing that health care is a human right and that no one deserves to die because they can't afford it. We are killing our own people and the world's people by the millions through warfare, both class and military in nature. We are doing nothing about climate change or moving towards sustainable energy; the latest global energy summit in Copenhagen was as pointless and unproductive as yesterday's Health Whatever summit.

I can't help wondering: Can we even survive the next three years of Obama? Or the next seven years? Or if he is a one-term President, can we survive whomever succeeds him?

And then, when I get too upset and angry, my husband reminds me that he felt the same way...in 1970. And here we still are, clinging on by our fingernails.

This too shall pass, indeed. But how? Our Republic is so young compared to the democracies of Europe and the Netherlands. They have seen so much of this before, and have somehow overcome it and found themselves again. Will we find the wherewithal to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, with that famous American ingenuity, and somehow force our corrupt, bought and uninterested oligarchy/patriarchy to make real, effective change? Or will we follow other Republics and descend into fascism, the way Italy and Germany did in the first half of the twentieth century?

I don't know what will happen. I do know that I am stunned and reeling from the sheer awfulness of what happens in politics every day. (They call it "The Shock Doctrine" for a reason.) That's why I write about things we can do, some little, some big, that may jostle something or someone, have a butterfly effect that is infinitely greater than its actual intent. And I do try to posit solutions that have either worked in the past, or bring up ideas that may be new and controversial; something, anything that might help the desperate situation we are all in. We are all living hand to mouth in this country. The slightest thing can bring us down. We may not realize it, but that is the Goddess' honest truth.

If we want to go in the direction of positive, not negative, change, I believe that we have to keep having these discussions. We must get beyond the narrow framework of our stagnant political discourse. No, Obama is not a socialist, and no, tax cuts are not the answer to everything, and no, for the last time, we don't need a "public option." We must think outside the box; hell, we have to walk outside the box and around the box, and see what it's made of, and then decide if we want that box to be a table instead, or a rose, or a kumquat.

Let's all do whatever we can to ensure that our current hell will pass away, and a new era of social consciousness, peace and justice will arise from the ashes.

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JLA's picture
Submitted by JLA on

I'm hearing more people saying the same kind of things. I am not hopeful, but I agree we have to keep pushing, doing what we can, looking for more things to do.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

Yeah, I also felt that way at several points along my life history. Very vividly during the Reagan presidency when I was a struggling single parent and traditionally stable, well-paying jobs were being lost in droves, and we really, really thought the world was close to nuclear war and the President joked about it. (Remember "The Fate of the Earth"? "We begin bombing in five minutes"?)

Yeah, we survived. Most of us did, anyway. But damn every single person responsible for the pain and the suffering and, yes, the deaths. Damn them. When it could have been different.

(And of course, one of the most galling things about the Reagan years was the fact that those men who lost those autoworker or whatever jobs and ended up miserable at home being supported by their wives, NEVER put the blame for their predicament on Reagan and his administration, not for anything.)

So yeah, we'll get through this one too, most of us, probably; but I'm not going to sit passively by while even one more person suffers for something that we could have prevented and knew how to prevent and just didn't do what was the right thing to do. Sing it, sister!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

I know we're all going through a process, but sometimes I get really frustrated and impatient with it, and need to vent. Appreciate the support.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

I'm not one that wants to physically live forever. It makes me appreciate life more, I suppose. But given that 100 years is probably the most I want to live, I have an appreciation for history and its immensity. As I read more and more about US history, it seems that almost every generation is in the most important struggle in the nation's history: Federalists versus Jeffersonians, Jackson Dems vs others, GOP v pro-slavery Democrats, reconstructionists vs Dems, etc. etc. etc. A little perspective in our woes should always be in order.

That said, complaining and commiserating and congregating are important. Important to bring out the problems in a public manner. Important to find solace and real hope (as opposed to "Hope"(TM)). And important to provide a spring board to action. In almost every case in our short history, we eventually went in a positive direction and we will do so again.