Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Give Me a Damn Break

I don’t vote for Popes. I don’t vote for Saints. I don’t vote for ethereal, mindless demigods with a pronounced inability to mind their own business. I vote for Democrats when they stand four-square on the Democratic platform. That platform used to be firmly grounded in the idea of a social conscience. The God of the Christians said it best, "Whatever you do for the least of them you do for me."

The Republicans and their “Christian Base” long ago gave up the charity, humility and decency that Christ spoke of in favor of the symbolic stoning, judgment passing and ritualized hate that He abhorred. The Democrats on the other hand seemed to have lost their taste for the social and economic justice that He appears, at least to this Pagan, to represent.

They are terrified of the word that used to identify the best of us - Liberal. Even more terrified are they at the possibility of being perceived by the Republicans and their “Christian Base” as doing for the least of us. For the Republicans have hung the word Socialism on the best wisdom of the religion they have usurped, and the Democrats hide from that word like hookers hiding from the Vice Squad on Saturday night.

It takes courage to speak truth to power. It takes dedication to fight money armed only with morality. I no longer believe that the Democrats have either, and I grow tired of spinelessness passing for compromise. I grow tired of moral cowardice passing for righteousness. I grow tired of the double-speak and slide-of-hand that passes for accountability. Mostly, I grow tired of being told that if my Democratic President or my Democratic Party fail to behave like Democrats it is my fault for noticing.

I am sixty-one years old and have followed the Liberal ideal all of my life. I come from good Liberal stock. My father was first generation Italian, working poor. My mother was Irish, working poor. They were union organizers. I am proud to say that I am a child of the ‘60s. I went to college at a time when a premium was placed on the intellectual life and the activist lifestyle. At my age and level of commitment I don’t whine. I shout. Crawl out from under your rock, pull your head out of your ass and act like Democrats – Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson Democrats! If you are Democrats.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Day in Stupidville

We no longer have a body politic in this country. We have a bloody circus. There are lions and lion tamers, clowns and hawkers, freaks and trapeze artists flying high above reality with nothing but a thin net of lies below. Dogs dance, horses prance and monkeys chatter throwing peanuts at the crowd. We have become Barnum’s quip – the one that is born every day.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a man – if you can call it a conversation – in which I quickly realized that his idea of common cause, of finding the middle ground was to simply scare hell out of me and then engage in verbal battery. I am old now and after having seen many scary things in my life I don’t scare easily anymore. My vocabulary is six or seven times the size of his so it was difficult for him to land a punch. Finally, in desperation he lobbed the only insult he had left in his arsenal. He informed me that I am a far left Liberal. Well gee sparky, da-ya-think? That is when I realized that I was talking to an imbecile, and that I was an even bigger imbecile for talking to him. But, if we are all imbeciles and can’t talk to one another how do we solve our big, ugly, mutant problems?

Anthony Weiner’s penis is not one of those problems – it is a diversion. Don’t get me wrong his behavior was asinine. When Teddy Kennedy died several people had to pick up his mantel – it was too heavy for any individual. The raging Liberal, Anthony Weiner was one of those people. I did not expect him to drape it over the end of his organ, sending that image slip-sliding down the electron highway to Internet immortality. Still, Anthony Weiner’s penis is not our problem, and we are drowning in diversions.

It has been coming for a very long time in a vague and nebulous way. Yesterday’s trip to Stupidville – a place I know but slenderly as the Bard said – gave it form. I am losing my faith in humanity and in happy endings. I am having trouble believing in the a priory principles of right and wrong, honor and dignity, justice and truth. I don’t know how to be a Liberal without them.