Friday, February 16, 2007

On Political Frustration

I tend to be an optimist in daily life, but a pessimist when considering man's future on this planet. That's probably because I feel some sense of control over my own affairs, but a sense of futility in trying to influence a larger sphere. To a degree, I know, my futility comes from having always viewed the world from a different angle than most folks and particularly those in authority - sometimes just because they were in authority, though I hope to have matured beyond that by now.

Yesterday I urged readers to contact their Congressional representatives even though when I do so I am repeatedly met with a sense of total frustration. My chief Congressional rep is Roy Blunt, a man whose sense of duty ends at the hand of the nearest lobbyist and whose sense of service to his constituents consists of bringing home the pork and toeing the right wing party line to the max. That strategy has brought him to the top of his party, but then what value is there to becoming the biggest turd on the manure pile?

My second target is Claire McCaskill, who just beat Bush lapdog Jim Talent out of his Senate seat in the last election and is now blazing her own trail in the footsteps of G W Bush by refusing to understand that she didn't win (Talent lost) or to listen to her new constituency when they tell her to quit kowtowing to a failed presidency.

But I digress. In an effort to sort out a question my wife and I often debate - whether humankind is inherently good or inherently evil or just inherently blinded by personal/familial/cultural prejudices - I have been reading "Politics and Innocence: A Humanistic Debate". (It's a heck of a good read in case you're interested. It's a compendium of letters and essays by some of America's great thinkers that moves right along and keeps its focus.)

My reading combined with watching Mr. Bush on the news last night led me to these thoughts:

The real question is not whether the "enemy" is bad or our side is good, but whether or not we can find a way to recognize our common ground.

Combined with this famous quote from Edmund Burke - "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - I decided to repeat my call for action today.

As frustrating as it is to beg our representatives to do the right thing time and time again only to see them go their own hoggish little party-line ways instead of seeing to the betterment of our nation and mankind in general, it really is necessary now to hammer on these paragons of whatever the hell it is they are paragons of in a last ditch effort to get them to act responsibly and back America away from its bullying ways.

If we do not act to curb the world's violence instead of fomenting it; if we do not seek to change our misguided belief in the Horatio Alger story and start considering the needs of others - both nations and individual; if we do not give up our notion that "The American Way" is the only way; if we do not become interested in becoming a part of a cooperative worldwide effort to curb our greed in order to curb our rapacious ways, then we will continue to be guilty of setting the stage for the final act.

Our government under the neo-cons is so sure of our "righteousness" that we are not only embroiled in a totally political war, we are not only using radioactive weapons in Iraq right now, but, believe it or not we are on the brink of using nuclear weapons in Iran.

There are better ways. Iran is a bit of a mess internally, they are considering impeaching their president (just as we should), and they really don't pose the threat Bush says they do. So let's see if we can't find some kind of ground somewhere between refusing to talk to them and nuking them.

So, for right now, I think we can set aside the fact that this planet is already so polluted that we are on the edge of extinction, or that we have an educational program that was put together by the dumbest president in history, or that Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland are destroying farming along with our health (for which we don't have an adequate system for care), and concentrate on trying to stop the ridiculously dangerous policies our government keeps pushing on the world.

Just pick up the phone and call somebody right now. Urge them to pull the props out from under this administration and back away from these wars before it's too late.


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