Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Think My Notions on This Independence Day...

Are almost identical to those of Father Tyme at BlondeSense. Almost, but not quite. I'll explain after this:

Will someone PLEASE tell me why I should celebrate this day any longer? Independence from England and its tyrannical rule? To be thankful we replaced one tyranny with another run by craven, heartless unimaginably avaricious representatives of Corporate America?
People we elected and trusted stood by as Bush/Cheney raped the country and now the Democrats under Obama, Reid and Pelosi are denying a morning after pill.
When a fascist regime decided on ethnic genocide, we were appalled. You can’t simply kill of millions of people. It’s bad for publicity donchano? But if you deny those people food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and the basics of life with the excuse that “people have to make some sacrifices for the good of…” who; then you no longer represent the people who elected you.
In the 20s, our parents and grandparents fought to eliminate child labor and sweatshops so their children could enjoy an American Dream, and that’s all it was, a dream that disappeared as we awakened to a new century.
The party of the people has entreated Americans to a country run by corporations, for corporations and supported by callous, cold-hearted unsympathetic sycophants.
So what DO you call someone who surrounds themselves with bootlicking, ass-kissing, covetously cannibalistic, remorseless examples of the dregs of humanity? The answer seems to be, “Mr. President!”...

He goes on at length and in plenty of detail.

The late H. L. Mencken used to say that the concepts of liberty and democracy were in opposition to each other. During Bill Clinton's presidency, it seemed to me that Mencken was probably right. To me, at the time, NAFTA was the most glaring example of what the Democrats really thought of the people they claimed to be the party of, but there were plenty of other examples.

By the time 2000 rolled around, I considered myself a moderate conservative, though not (and never) a Republican, but I think now that I was then, and am now, more of a libertarian than anything else. That word gets slammed regularly by an untold number of liberal bloggers these days, often correctly so, and sometimes it begins with a "g", but right-wingers have been trashing the word "liberal" for decades (again, often correctly so), and none of it stops me from calling myself a liberal, so I guess what I've become is a liberal libertarian. (There, now everyone can trash me. :-P) Wikipedia defines libertarianism as a "range of political beliefs that advocate the maximization of an individual's ability to think and act with few constraints from large social structures, such as government, and the minimization or even abolition of the state." I stop at the abolition of the state, having never acquired the taste for anarchy.

The point I'm trying to make? Patience, i'm getting to it, and I'm way out of practice here, bear with me...

Anyway, then Bush came along, and by 2004, I'd become all but a card-carrying Democrat. I never liked the guy to begin with -- he spent way too much time talking about being a born-again Christian during his first run for the presidency, and my own experiences when dealing with such people proved unpleasant at best, more often than not. He rubbed me the wrong way. But it took an ongoing Iraq war and finally the Abu Ghraib horrors to make me reconsider my opinion of the Democrats. 2004 was the year I started up the first Medley, and I really did come to believe that having Democrats in charge would start changing things for the better. I even donated money to the Democratic Party -- and I'm probably still receiving solicitations from those bastards today at the AOL e-mail address I no longer use and cannot delete. So be it.

Fast-forward to America's 234th birthday. I'm re-reading my Mencken Chrestomathies, and it's perfectly clear to me now: Mencken was exactly right. I guess I had to live under a couple Democratic presidents to genuinely understand why, though. George W. Bush was a dreadful, dangerous fool -- it was impossible not to conflate democracy with liberty during his reign.

But while Mencken scoffed at the idea of Democracy, he also saw it as the best kind of government to live under. He believed all efforts to improve it would ultimately prove futile; on that count, I think he's been vindicated. That's pretty much where I'm at now, and where it seems Father Tyme and I diverge. I've written hundreds of posts that had the very same indignant, almost snarling tone expressed in the blockquoted excerpt above. I wrote them that way because, furious as I was, deep down I was still convinced that my government could be improved. I would look to the past and find example after example of how we as a society made advances that have benefitted nearly everyone involved. We're seeing it in action today when it comes to gay marriage, a subject I harbor mixed feelings toward (which is interesting due to the fact that I'm a gay man), but if it were all up to me, the damn thing would be legal across the country already.

Where I screwed up in citing examples of progress as evidence that our government can be improved was in failing to see that in case after case -- the Equal Rights Amendment, Social Security, the end of Abolition, the Civil Rights Act, you name it -- the government had to be dragged against its will the entire long, painful way. This same stubborn nonsense is going on with its refusal to grant gays all of the equal rights everyone else already has -- the government will finally grant them after it has run clean out of methods and excuses not to. Nothing new there, and certainly nothing suggesting that this situation can ever be improved -- if anything, it's just one more validation of H. L. Mencken's claim.

Still, I'll be voting Democratic in November. Why? Because the one alternative to having Democrats in charge is giving the government back to the Republicans. Been there, done that, moving on. At least when the Democrats rape you, they use condoms and lube. I'll deal with that.

So, on this 4th of July, no celebrating for me. No fireworks, no parades, not even a little gluttony. Just me sitting here, typing away, and as I wrap this post up, finally remembering the real reasons I took up blogging in the first place. That isn't much to smile about, but every little bit counts -- even if it's a sad one. I'm not a happy man these days. Definitely not as happy as I was on this day last year.

But I am a hell of a lot wiser. And that counts for a lot.


  1. No doubt about it, blogging sure doesn't change our distressing national trajectory. It does, however, offer the comforting reminder that others are thinking, that I'm not the only one. Maybe, just maybe, we'll figure it out before it all goes south. If not, we did the best we could.

  2. On a personal level, I just celebrated 15 consecutive years of not celebrating the Fourth of July. Societies always begin a fatal downward spiral when they seek to become exclusive on behalf of a relatively small but highly privileged minority. I suppose there's still hope for ours, but time is running out and I'm not gonna hold my breath.


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