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, February 22, 2006

A Non-Thinking Interlude

I struggle to recover balance. I struggle to recover balance in myself from a brain overwearied and a heart scraped raw. I struggle to recover balance in a country made frantic by a danger which hovers somewhere between real and imaginary. There are days when the two merge into one.

In the post on Political Conversion below I spent a lot of personal time wandering around in the mind of someone who I do not agree with.

It is interesting to do so, but disorienting. To make the next post in that series I have followed the track of a mind that I also did not agree with to an end that I shudder to think of, an end where that mind simply and willfully decided to forget that we live in a time of any danger at all. Which is horrible.
What of danger? Several posts below, Baron Bodissey, a gentleman whom I wronged and for which I have apologized, both here, and over at his blog. the Gates of Vienna, wrote an impassioned letter defending his fear of members of a fundamentalist Muslim group in the United States, who have many African-American ex-convicts as members, who have a decidedly questionable history, and who have bought land in various rural areas in America, including one near him.

He links this group's continued existence, and its future danger, to political views such as my own, in the guise of Political Correctness and Multiculturalism. And he has visions of these people in their rural compounds as part of a Muslim terrorist jihad which will exploit an American race war.

This is unbalanced.

And what isn't, pray tell?

This is unbalanced for several reasons having to do with fact, history, politics, and philosophy. As to fact, five or six groups in the stone boonies, where people are playing at imposing shi'ra by force on this country, have no more probable chance of acting this out in the real world than I have of going to the moon. He tells me the authorities are aware of them where he lives, and, to a mind consciously striving for balance, that should be sufficient to quell any idea of a serious threat from them to the country as a whole, however intimidating they may be to their immediate neighbors.

As to history, I suspect that Bodissey is young enough not to remember the Black Panthers, who were the bugaboo in my youth of armed, disenfranchised young black men in a time when America was torn by real, and acute racial conflict. Where are the Black Panthers today, when racial friction still exists, but where the accepted presence of African-Americans in all walks of life, including the highest government offices, is an accomplished fact? They are gone. And they departed in a way which was not very pretty. You can Google the history if you don't remember it personally.

As to politics, Bodissey, like so many of my Conservative friends, live in a world of their own making where the people who disagree with them--particularly when they do not know them, particularly when they become nebulous abstractions like The Left or Liberals--are next door to demons, at once stupid, pigheaded, and feckless for our country's safety, for which they do not care a jot.

This is simply not so. The people who disagree with him care about our country very much, we have views which may be wrong [as any views may] but which are rational to any reasonably balanced reader, and we are as ordinary, particular, and fallible of human beings as any other.

We are not faceless and demon-eyed abstractions beginning with the letter L.

I cannot stop writing but I must. I would like to post this but I must wait. And you must wait to see it, too.

But beyond these there is matter of philosophy. A prudent man prepares for danger, but a wise man does not allow danger to disturb his balance. I lived for a number of years in the Rocky Mountain West and, though it is not well known, there are still pockets out in that country where the State Police will advise you, privately, to go armed, if you go at all. When you encounter this advice, it changes your perspective on American life considerably.

Safety is a relative thing. We are never wholly safe, and we are never wholly sure exactly how safe we are. We must make judgments about this, judgments can be wrong, and if judgments are going to be right, they had better be level and balanced. This is particularly the case if you decide the danger warrants you going armed.

So if you live in the backcountry and your neighbors are questionable, be circumspect in your contacts with them, tell the authorities about them if you choose, and carry arms if you need to. But don't let such things prey on your mind where you contemplate "hate crimes"--which will "condemned by the craven politically correct"--merely out of your fear of what might be going on. I think it can be safely said that Bodissey has done exactly this.

It really does not make you any safer, and it may easily lead you to do things which increase your danger, and bring it nearer to you, rather than the other way around.

Balance is as balance does, when I wobble who is there to catch me but myself? This post got blown about in my mental wind, lost in a flurry of ordinary business, shuffled in a deck of potential things to write to fill the time, while I procrastinate on the things that will require real thought.

Tonight I am falling, falling, falling off the central point, with this stream of consciousness chattering under the rational arguments, the marshalling of evidence, the summarizing of examples. The stream of consciousness is always there. The stream of consciousness is what I balance on and what I fall into tracelessly when I fall.