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.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nausea, Diarrhea, Ennui, Disgust

Over the past few days I have been forced to confront how chronically ill I really am. There is a period in after-surgical convalescence when you no longer are in obvious pain, but when the subtle disorder of a violent intrusion into your body lays on you like a lead weight.

In someone such as myself--bipolar, hyperlipidemic, hypothyroid--whose consciousness is constantly battered with a neverceasing round of pharmaceutical intervention, the effect is like the set piece of an old Warner Brothers cartoon where a wall of nebulous industrial dials are insanely twirling both clockwise and counter-clockwise. For now, in addition to all of the above, a heavy-duty antibiotic [one of the "last line of defense" sort] is diligently mowing down all my symbiotic intestinal digestive flora, which I will soon have to replace with eating tubs of yogurt to return some order to my bowels.

The world is not very much help at the moment. I am fast losing words to describe the totally random and incoherent way in which the press, the blogosphere, and the public are responding to events in this country and the world.

Witness the post below. Almost twenty years have passed since the downfall of the Soviet Union. And the news that the covers of 2,600 CIA agents have not only been blown, but that all the knowledge about them is readily available to anyone on the planet who can use a computer, has passed through the global public consciousness with hardly a ripple.

It hardly seems to matter what happens any more. No event has any developmental relation to any other event. All is coincidence. Nothing is cause and effect. We are going globally nowhere and getting rapidly warmer doing it. Bombs and death squads in Iraq, videotapes by Osama Bin Laden, motions to censure the President, the Israeli knockover of a Palestinian prison, diplomatic tail-chasing over Iranian nukes, the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, Republican panic over an administration rapidly coming apart from its own self-indulgent refusal to treat politics as something you have to work at--all these have equal weight, equal impact, equal priority, and therefore no impact, no priority, no weight.

There are a few bright spots; a few newsmakers, movers, and shakers with their head screwed on straight, and more to offer than utter pliancy to what they think will make them the least number of enemies among the voting public--Al Gore, Russ Feingold, Howard Dean--people who still believe in cause and effect and are trying to view the world that way, people who still believe in responsible and responsive government and are trying to make it happen.

But everybody else has a bad case of Hillary Clinton. Perfect name recognition, but not the least indication of what they actually believe in, or what they will not say for temporary political advantage. This is, of course, when they do not have a bad case of Tom DeLay, and add to the above an incoherent and personal mean-spiritedness that would make you cringe at having them as a next-door neighbor.

That's actually a pretty good rule of thumb test for the sane American voter: Who among our politicians would you really welcome as a next door neighbor, based on their public persona and actions? Bill Clinton? George W. Bush? Joe Lieberman? John McCain? Bill Frist? Rich Sanatorum?

It's a homey sort of test and fills me with a pre-Internet nostalgia of neighbors chatting over the back fence as they rake leaves or mow lawns. All of that now seems like the tiny winter snow scene in a tacky glass paperweight. Or maybe a boy's winter sled with the brandname of Rosebud, back when there were real Citizen Kanes and politics was a public-minded profession.

I had good cause to be reminded of it in a comment I posted on one of my regular and contentious forays on certain blogs of people who wouldn't care for me as a next door neighbor:

My parent's generation had seen real economic misery, real danger from fascist or soviet tyranny, real horror of millions of people's lives snuffed out, and real peril from global thermonuclear war.

This largely left their heads screwed on straight, and made for a common bond that produced conservatives of rhetorical restraint and personal substance: William Buckley, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush. These were men whom anyone could respect, largely because they respected the peers who disagreed with them. And pursued politics with a sense of inclusive public purpose.

The shriveled midgets who have inherited the mantle from them don't even deserve personal mention, except--as in the case of the broadcast commentators--where they have so rudely forced those names by broadcast into the workplace, the rush-hour car, or the private home.

After-surgical convalescence lies heavily on me as mental nausea, emotional diarrhea, intellectual ennui, and just plain old-fashioned disgust. I have to blog in order to bridge this gap. It is therapeutic. But I can't really say that I like to blog at the moment. It is merely foul-tasting medicine, with no sweetener to mask the taste.

I hope reading this is better than writing it.

2 Comments:

Blogger The probligo said...

I am minded of a small sf story that I read some while back, of the man who invented the perfect waste disposal unit.

It worked by "pumping" the waste "somewhere else".

What happened then of course was that the "somewhere else" became able to return the compliment... including the dead cat.

Perhaps that is a primary function of blogs - to return the crap and nonsense that we get served, with a little of our own added for good measure.

Oh that it might have the physical effect of returned garbage.

7:01 PM  
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