Saturday, April 09, 2011

Government Shutdown - The Lament of a Tired American

As the details of the near government shutdown come filtering in, I am reminded of the words of actress Kathrine Hepburn in the movie The Lion In Winter. In this movie she portrayed English queen Eleanor of Acquitaine and was explaining to her sons why it is so hard for leaders to do their jobs:

 . . . we are the origins of war: not history's forces, nor the times, nor justice, nor the lack of it, nor causes, nor religions, nor ideas, nor kinds of government, nor any other thing. We are the killers. We breed wars. We carry it like syphilis inside. Dead bodies rot in field and stream because the living ones are rotten. For the love of God, can't we love one another just a little - that's how peace begins. We have so much to love each other for. We have such possibilities, my children. We could change the world.

Hepburn’s assessment reverberated through my mind when watching and reading overpaid pundits deconstruct the so-called winners and losers of the budget crisis with the frenzy of a horde of George Romero zombies.

“Boehner won because he held his factions together and got more than he asked for.”

“The Democrats won because they managed to hold fast against the $61 million demand, save Planned Parenthood,  climate change legislation, NPR and revealed the Republicans to be extremists”

“President Obama won because he showed calm leadership and stayed above the fray.”

“The tea party won because they didn’t completely show their asses.”

And then came the armchair responders with their annoyingly rude but predictable names for President Obama - President chimp, Obozo, Barry Sotero.

They were rivaled by angry progressives whining about how the president sold them down the river, how they will never vote for him again, how he is secretly a Republican, or how the Republican party has been taken over by the Koch brothers in a way which rivals Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Who really gives a shit? The entire thing was a damn disgrace. I find it hard to believe in the richest country in the world, where some folks repeat the phrase “American exceptionalism” like it’s a magic word which will open a cave of riches, that the people we elect  to hold our interests bickered like the women on an episode of “The Housewives of Beverly Hills."

And what makes it worse is the mentality shown by us Americans. The nasty words, the taunting poses we throw at each other. This isn’t the damn Superbowl. It isn’t the World Series. This was a possible government shutdown where many lives would have been negatively affected. Yet we treated it like a game, rooting for the “home team” when both sides should have been considered as the home team worth rooting for. I'm tired of politics being a bloodsport. And most of all, I'm tired of folks just allowing this to be the case with comments  like "that's how it's always been."

We don’t have anyone to blame for this but ourselves.

Let’s face it. Washington is a guilded sewer which yields riches for those who don’t mind the smell of the filthy cash they are collecting through their side deals. I'm intentionally not being nice here. In the olden days, folks used to throw the contents of their slop jars in their backyards. Now we have gotten to the point where we elect the contents of slop jars to public office.

And then we expect them to act any different than the contents of those slop jars.

But we help them along by being so naïve.

The American voter swoon over whatever new face which is foisted on us by the overpaid media, who will come to us with a hackneyed slogan about “newness” or will wax philosophical about his or her faith and values, making sure to trot his or her family out center stage while secretly hoping that no one will discover that they are getting a “piece” on the side.

Then, as expected, we swoon over them like the bobbysoxers used to swoon over Frank Sinatra. Only no one is paying us to do it like Sinatra’s handlers paid those folks. We do it on our own stupid volition.

Then, when the person doesn’t turn out to be Superman or the Second Coming of Christ, we sharpen our swords, arm our pistols, and fire verbal barbs at them talking about how we have been betrayed or screwed without the courtesy of a reach around Then something else happens which changes our mind and we go through the entire cycle all over again like a predictable yo-yo.

If Americans is angry or embarrassed over this near shutdown or disenchanted about what’s to come, then we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because we are so damn gullible.

We don’t recognize the ugly realities of the American political system:

  • Where he who has the goals generally makes the rules,
  • Where our media has subscribed to the philosophy that there is no money in “trying to save the world.”
  • Where the loudest, most outrageous voice repeating the same lies over and over again gets more credibility than calm, rational discussion of the truth.

Nor do we recognize that we have the ability to change all of that.

But between you and me, I really don’t think we have a desire to make a change.

We'll just kick our legs up and get information fed to us in tubes like hospital patients who can't take care of or think for themselves.

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