Friday, December 10, 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But...

(N.B. To my friends at The Reaction, "Nobody Asked Me, But..." is a regular weekly feature at my blog, where I round up ten interesting news tidbits of the day or week and make snarky little comments on. It eases me into the weekend. I normally don't crosspost these because, frankly, it's fluff and not even particularly interesting. Today, however, I made two exceptions. The second was to share this with you, and...)
By Carl
I'm going to break with tradition here and rant on a Friday.
1) What's it going to take????
When are we as a people, we as liberals, going to finally sit up and say "I've had enough!"
When are we going to go from compromise to this? When do we finally start making our government fear us by storming a barricade and threatening the establishment, if only figuratively?
The Teabaggers are right about one thing: this nation has gotten away from we, the people, and we want it back. Or we ought to.
It's not that the Teabagger message is wrong, at its face. It's that the message has been manipulated and distorted beyond anything any reasonable person could get angry about.
Teabaggers want taxes reduced. It sounds noble, but taxes are already at historic lows and we can't afford to keep them this low. Not if we're going to pay for a war and a half. Not if we're going to keep pumping money into a defense infrastructure that has shown itself to be inadequate to the wars we face. And nevermind the burden of Social Security and Medicare, programs I think are worth paying for.
Teabaggers want the deficit reduced, and that too is a noble goal, but they blame Democrats who want to prudently cover our spending with more tax income, as opposed to Republicans who want to keep borrowing to spend.
It's not the nation that's gotten away from us; it's politics that has. We get the government we deserve and right now, we don't seem to be very deserving.
Have we gotten complacent? Have the programs liberals have enacted in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries made us so complacent, so smug in the rightness of our cause, that we've forgotten how hard we had to fight for those things? Like the end of slavery. Like the vote for women and minorities. Like the end of Jim Crow. Like clean air and clean water. Like the end of the Vietnam War.
Have we forgotten how much blood we shed to achieve these?
Four dead in Ohio. The Little Rock Nine. Jim Zwerg. John Lewis. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Dr. Martin Luther King. Sojourner Truth. Rosa Parks. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Susan B. Anthony. We can trace a line through all these liberals to our world today, great men and women, Democrat and Republican alike, yet liberal and progressive to the core.
We are placated and mollified into submission, too timid to voice our concerns, lest we be painted "liberal" or worse. We've allowed a small core of spokespeople to advocate for us, but they are too easily mocked and ignored. Too, I suspect, they've allowed themselves to be bought out with the illusion of power and influence. Yes, I'm looking at you, Great Orange Satan, Atrios, Firedoglake, and other members of the professional left.
When in the HELL are you going to start speaking FOR us, not TO us????? When are you going to go on Olbermann or, yes, FOX and instead of mocking the other side or trying to smugly explain our side in a cool logical terms, PUT UP A FUCKING FIGHT!?
We WANT this fight, goddammit! Bush said to Al Qaeda, "Bring it on!"
I say to the right wing, "I'm right here, and if you're too scared to bring it on, let me bring it to you." Bring the pain. Bring the truth. tear the veil away, and show the world how this nation is being taken from us not by the good people in the rank and file of the right, OR the left, but by the stultified ruling class.
I look at this nation this way: America is a three legged stool. One leg represents free enterprise, truly free enterprise, that enriches the nation as it serves the people. Another represents proportionate and representative government, selected by the people to protect their interests as the individual governors see fit and who make laws that both govern and encourage business under that premise. The final leg is we, the people, who provide the energy for business and the intellect and passion for governance.
So long as those three are in balance, the chair will not fall over if you try to sit on it. So long as they remain separate and equal, we have a balanced and vibrant society.
Cut one leg short, though, and you have chaos. You have a nation about to tip over. Worse, you have the other two legs about to help it tip.
We are that short leg, my friends. We are the weakest link.
I am a liberal. To me, government should be as big as it needs to be to protect me from harm that I have no control over: harm from foreign military powers, harm from those who would wish to see me illed, harm from products and services that can harm me without my knowledge.
I don't bungee jump. I don't expect the government to protect me from bungee jumping, but I do expect them to establish safe standards for bungee jumping that ensures some reasonable control over those who enjoy the activity, and who, by staying out of the hospital, help contain my medical insurance premiums.
That's not a fucking lot to ask, is it? IS IT?
I am a liberal. To me, government ought to be big enough to keep up with Big Business, whose amoral capitalism is practically designed to harm those weaker than it is. Competition is good, but it forces companies to focus on economic return at the expense of being a good citizen.
And ever since government has colluded with business to determine that, indeed, it is a citizen of the United States, business ought to be forced to obey the same laws in kind that I am.
First, harm no one's quiet enjoyment of their lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness. Second, keep things clean around you. Third, pay your taxes.
Since Big Business has chosen not to behave in a neighborly fashion, government ought to step in and punish it, and not with "just a fine" but with real and effective criminal penalties.
I am a liberal. To me, no one should have the right to make obscene profits or take home enormous bonuses just because I was sick. If that means government provides for my healthcare coverage, so be it. I'm willing to pay a little more in taxes to them than a enormous unaffordable premium to some HMO.
I am a liberal. To me, the government ought not to declare war on any nation unless that nation has proven that it intends to do us harm. The responsible use of force is a sign of maturity. We train our policemen, and apart from a few yahoos, we train them very effectively, in how NOT to pull a gun on anyone. Our government ought to be that mature, too.
I am a liberal. To me, government's first and major concern should be the citizenry and the people living under it. We are the powerless ones, the ones who created a government to represent us against all enemies, foreign and domestic, real or a legal construct. Unions arose in this nation to battle the ever-growing Corporate Entity. That entity successfully colluded with friends in government, mostly Republican and exemplified by Ronald Reagan, to defang, deconstruct and destroy unions, which were the only obstacle to raping the American people.
I am a liberal. To me, it's an absolute atrocity on the order of slavery to realize that wages over the past thirty years, since that Reagan administration, have declined against purchasing power. A buck today does not buy as much as it used to, and that's OK, but that your salary hasn't even kept up with the devaluation of that dollar is hideous.
I am a liberal. To me, it is horrendous that all (wo)men are not created equal in a nation where that very phrase is the quintessential self-evident truth. We would deprive significant portions of our populace the God-given right to love and be loved by whomever they choose without harm or repercussion. Without having to hide it in a closet.
I am a liberal. To me, government ought to be just big enough to knock down illegitimate barriers to the rights and blessings we have secured for our progeny. No one's asking for a hand out, or even a hand up, but dammit, sirs, level the playing field! And if that means that, temporarily, someone is given an extra special chance at a job above me because of the hardships his ancestors endured in this nation, I choose to remain in this nation and abide by that history. It's called "patriotism". I love my country, and looking around me, I love my country more than those who would slam doors on immigrants and the poor and deprived because they fear for their own security.
To my friends on the right who oppose DREAMing or affirmative action, I say this: up your game, or up yours. Period. It's called "competition" and its what this nation was founded upon and if you think it only works for you, you are sadly mistaken.
I am a liberal. To me, religious freedom and tolerance means that we must not fear those who bring new ideas to the table, new traditions and new ways of describing God (or the lack thereof). It is government's job, just as it was in Selma and Birmingham, to remind the Christian majority that they are not being particularly Christian.
I'm sure there's more, a lot more inside me to rail about, but I need to close this and not monopolize bandwidth. I could rant for hours, days, and still not get to the heart of the matter here: government no longer expresses what I feel in my heart.
I leave you with this:
Man, I'm losing sound and sight
Of all those who can tell me wrong from right
When all things beautiful and bright
Sink in the night
Yet there's still something in my heart
That can find a way
To make a start
To turn up the signal
Wipe out the noise 
        - Peter Gabriel Signal To Noise
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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