Saturday, October 25, 2014

Are You a Finished Product?

I was up late the other night trying in vain to fall asleep for an early morning wake-up. Unable to sleep, I sat up and took out my Droid Maxx and began scrolling through the years of accumulated history on my Facebook wall; something I'd never done. I got to one of my earlier posts from October 2008 where I spoke of seriously considering voting for Obama. I remember that moment well because it was a turning point in how I'd begin to view the players in the political arena. It was also a point in my life where I felt a sense of weight being lifted from me as I finally broke free from a dysfunctional ideology that had had its grips on me for much too long.

It's been 6 years and I haven't looked back.

Reevaluating all that you believe to be true can be a very soul-searching endeavor but one that's a must from time to time. Turning on its head all that you've supported and embraced can get messy but in my case once I began to reassemble the pieces an entirely new picture came into focus for me. That image was one of a party whose unwavering support was for the most successful among us while they offered nothing short of disdain for those in society who hadn't been so fortunate.

Where there was once support from me for all things Republican, it had been replaced by questions and concerns and a feeling that I'd been hoodwinked.

We were being told that supply-side (or trickle-down) economics was going to lift all boats but it was becoming apparent that that was a sham. The tax cuts for the wealthy pushed through by George W Bush never created a sense of generosity among those who were benefiting from them. They didn't trickle-down. Our financial sector was in ruins thanks to a lack of regulation on Wall Street (something both parties are to blame for but something much more fully a Republican issue today as they attempt to water-down any attempt at regulation through Dodd/Frank legislation). The war in Iraq had also become a fiasco with no easy way out, say nothing of the lives lost or scarred and the trillions of dollars added to our national debt.

And yet, Republicans today are so quick to criticize Obama for not enough fixes to the problems they in large measure foisted upon us as they now sit on the sidelines and offer absolutely nothing but obstructionism. If you're supporting these people I have to wonder why? What is it about their actions that you agree with? Oh, they're Christians you say? Sorry, but you couldn't be more wrong.

If you're one who believes the Fox News propaganda that Obama is to blame for the obscene-ness of our national debt, do you understand what the drivers of that debt are and who's mostly responsible for them? Here's an article from a year ago that may be of help to you.

Let's say we go all-in and embrace the hard-right agenda that so many are salivating about. Where will that take us? More wars; more tax cuts for the wealthy; less regulation on Wall Street and elsewhere resulting increased potential for more calamity; escalating health-care costs if the Affordable Care Act is repealed in addition to all those who would lose coverage due to preexisting conditions. The list goes on. What is it about this agenda that is at all attractive to any thinking person? I don't get it.

I'm hesitant to get too political here or on other social media lately because talking to walls appeals little to me but occasionally I'll slip up. I got a refresher lesson about why I avoid such discussions earlier this week as I engaged one of my tea-party-republican friends in a discussion about politics. Big mistake. I was attempting to open John's eyes to some of the larger ills that ail us rather than his myopic focus on illegal immigrants, food-stamps, welfare and other social programs that are often the go-to red meat for those who tune in to the likes of Fox News and other right-wing outlets. I asked him a few pointed questions designed to cause him think outside the bubble he's trapped in. I received no response other than a suggestion a few hours later that I go fuck myself before he deleted the thread from his Facebook wall. I tried.

I know I don't have all the answers and that I'm a work in progress but at least I'm a work in progress and not a finished product which is the sense I get from too many with no desire to consider another way of looking at this social experiment we're all immersed in.

How about you, are you a finished product?


Brett Holzschuh said...

Very well said, Kevin. I'd like to know more about your conversation with your friend who deleted the thread.

I have these conversations with people from time to time too, and I can't seem to break down any walls to get people to look at things a little different. It sounds like you must have hit a nerve with your friend, if he deleted the thread, so I would like to hear more.

My wife and I lament the lack of historical perspective Americans have, and with that lack of perspective they can be easily swayed to repeat an almost identical blunder of the past. Jim Jefferies, the comedian from Australia, says it so brilliantly, as only someone outside of a culture can sometimes do. He says Americans are one of the poorest educated peoples of the First World, but ...we are number one in confidence! Sounds like a horrible mixture for a successful society.
With news media we have today, I see no way to improve the average person's historical horizon. We are, as Gore Vidal said, "The United States of Amnesia."

Recently, I was re-watching Neil deGrasse Tyson's new "Cosmos," series and in Season 1 Episode 7, at just after 27 1/2 minutes into the episode they play an advertisement for Dutch Boy Paints, I think from the 50's, advocating the use of LEAD in children's toys and other household items. Dutch Boy Paint was originally the National Lead Company founded in 1907. They knew lead was poison, humans have known since the Greek and Roman dynasties, so there's no mistaking their desire to profit at the health of others. I bring it up as a history lesson which I feel parallels exactly what they are doing today with the climate dangers we all face.

Like John Maynard Keyne said, " Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest men, for the nastiest or reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all."

Knowing history could save a lot of future misery,...and lives.

Kevin Gilmore said...

Brett, thanks for your comment.

I'd given John the link to the CommonDreams article about Reaganomics and asked for his thoughts about it. I also asked him what his understanding is for the reasons behind our country's economic collapse and the recession that followed. The typical right-wing talking point is that because of democratic policies banks were giving out loans to minorities who couldn't afford to pay them. End of discussion. I wanted to shed some light on that fallacy for him. He was also blaming Obama for ISIS/ISIL.

I told him I'd like to touch on each of these individually and see if there was another way of looking at them other than the simple talking points he was working with. Like I said, I got nowhere.