Thursday, November 12, 2009

It’s not polite to talk about politics.

Politic. Anytime there is interaction within a group of adults, politics are involved. People have their own interests they hope to promote. Self-interest. I got into a discussion with a libertarian recently, and while I found it very frustrating, it enabled me to pin down what my disagreement with libertarians are. One: the idea that everything is motivated by self-interest. I say, let’s define self-interest, because on one level it’s true. I found a box of kittens in the park once, I don’t particularly like cats, but I felt bad for the kittens, so I took them with me and cleaned them up, fed them and found them homes. Self-interest? Those kittens cost me time and resources, but doing it made me feel good, so in that way, yes it was self-interested. But to the libertarians who banter about free-market principles and its Darwinian social repercussions and call it self-interest, what they are really talking about is greed. And a line from the upma-lumpa song goes through my head: if you’re not greedy you will go far. You will live in happiness too, like the upma-lumpas doop-a-de do.
Back to politics, and to follow, other taboo topics. I think I’m done censoring myself and plan to unleash my insanity. Maybe it is my thinking I’m crazy that makes me normal. More on that later. Can there be a good government? A government is only as good as the people who make it up. I’m worried about our government, for many of the same reasons that I am worried about the future of the human species. I’m about to narrow that down to corporatism. Corporations who only answer to their shareholders and next quarter’s profits and are so short-sighted that they do themselves long-term harm, e.g. the auto industries. But I’m not completely there yet.
So, I voted for Barack Obama. And all things considered, I think he is doing OKAY. Let me qualify that. First, I think our system is so corrupt that in order for a person to reach the level of president, they themselves must be corrupt. You can’t walk through fire without getting a little scorched. Second, a president is not a king with a scepter, or a magician with a wand. Our system of government was set up to be slow. Third, there are very minor differences between the two major parties. The same corporate interests are lining the pockets of both. (democrats tend to be more liberal socially, which I like). There are some minor parties that try. But can you take grassroots to a national level? Or does a national organization result in a loss of street-cred for the grassroots origins? Fourth, there is a LOT of CRAZY BAD STUFF going on. And really, there is only so much control over life. I have no answers for you.
So what to do? You see, there is no storming the castle. The powers that be will shoot their neighbors to maintain its structure. We saw that in 1970 in Ohio. Like Tiananmen Square to follow, and any other government crackdown. They have bigger weapons than we could ever imagine. I say, wait for it to collapse under its own weight. It might be slow and painful, but it’ll happen. And in the meantime attempt to do what you can to promote the causes you believe in. We have few options, we can vote, and we choose what businesses we patronize. I’ve started to follow up voting with writing letters to my senators and my congressman. I bookmarked their contact pages. I send quick messages of causes I think they, as my representative, should support. Like the Local Community Radio Act and a Public Option. But I don’t think they listen to me. When I sent a letter to Jon Kyl, I received a form letter back saying thankyou for your opinion, but here is why a public option is bad.
So I keep trying.