A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This July Was A Very Long Time Ago

And the bouts of darkness of a bipolar like myself come upon one suddenly, gripe one's soul persistently, and take much time to flush the toxins of them out of the system.

The darkness comes as weariness of any effort and a nausea at even looking at those pleasures you have taken up to then.

I write for pleasure, and, in July, the pleasure of writing abandoned me.

This fact, and other developments in my Buddhist practice, have drained me of much of the anger that informed my political writings here. The anger may have had some point a few months ago, but it no longer has a point now.

The serious damage done to this country by Republican control of Congress and the Presidency has already been done, the clear limits of George W. Bush have already been established, and matters must play out to their end before any attempt can be made to put the pieces back together.

It's nice that some concrete official acknowledgement, in the form of an indictment, of the heinous outing of Valerie Plame has finally taken place. It is good that the malfeasance of Tom DeLay will finally be put to a test in court. And it is fine that the odor of corruption surrounding Bill Frist will get an airing out by the Securities and Exchange Commission. These things are potentially useful for the future.

Two thousand plus American troops have died in Iraq and Condoleeza Rice has spoken airily in terms of a U.S. involvement of "decades". Approximately 58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam in a war where US troop involvement lasted twelve years, our longest war ever. That works out to fatal casualties averaging 4800 yearly. So far in Iraq, we are running at a clip of about 750 killed a year, so a war lasting 12 years, or well into the second term of a president elected in 2008, would give us perhaps only 9000 casualties. This is a fine tribute to the all-volunteer army, better field medical care, and the development of personal body armor.

Of course, US casualties in Vietnam increased exponentially, but, since 79% of Iraqi voters have just approved a new constitution, such an exponential increase in Iraq appears unlikely. It will be a slow drip, drip, drip of American blood rather than the massive hemorrhage of the late 60's and early 70's for whatever duration "fighting terrorism" and "spreading democracy" demand.

Of course, development of an Iranian nuclear capability will invalidate all bets. It's too bad that we're too busy to effectively put a stop to it.

We are still "fighting terrorism", as well, with secret, possibly effective, CIA prisons abroad, an open sore of continuous bad publicity with no more real purpose down in Guantanamo, and the first concrete actions of our fledgling Secret Police confiscating library records and gagging anyone in the library involved in the matter. How effective all this will be is anyone's guess.

Of course, we still have a completely porous set of borders, unguarded urban chemical plants that are a disastrous terrorist attack, with deaths far beyond 9/11, waiting to happen, and a training ground for up and coming bombmakers in and around Bagdhad. We have, as I have said, plumbed the limits of George W. Bush.

So anger is pointless. We have all the time there is to repair the damage and fight our enemies with good sense instead of flatulent, repetitive rhetoric, and ill-applied military force. We have all the time there is, but no immediate leverage to create the sensible alternatives. So we must simply be patient.

Under those conditions, since my pleasure in writing is starting to return, A Straight Shot of Politics seems a little beside the point. I have considered simply shutting it down officially and for good, and starting up a new blog called something like The Bipolar Buddhist. But since my good friend The Anchoress, has still been kind enough to still list Straight Shot on her blogroll despite my dereliction of duty, I will wait until after this November's election to make that decision.

By then I may have a very nice surprise from Ohio to report, which will be this state's first contribution to the long road back.


Anonymous Shawn said...

Welcome back.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Concerned Muslim said...

Ditto! And thanks for sharing such personal feelings & perspectives - it makes such a huge difference in understanding the issues you talk about.

3:34 PM  

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