Recently, amidst the grueling quotidian activities beguiling your average graduate student at a top institution, I was struck by just how…utterly draining…political debating really is. I’m sure this revelation correlated somewhat with the midterms I was stuck (read: drowning) in concurrently. But regardless, in addition to an academic spring break, I took a political spring break this past weekend, avoiding all heated political discussions and opting for only the most mindless activities.
I have returned, briefly, to disclose my latest decision: I will delve into some particular thoughts of mine on the politic war machine, and once this entry has reached its conclusion, I will not sacrifice any further space on this blog – at least, not entire entries – to the rabid rabble of ravenous realpolitik. I will occasionally venture an inquiry on other blogs, and will post a tidbit here from time to time, but my biggest concerns, and the area of effect over which my decisions exert maximal consequence, is not the political arena. Simply put, I have bigger fish to fry.
Let me begin, then, by presenting everyone with the following:
Ahh, Dick Cheney. The VP that wasn’t. The true power and motivation behind the last abominable eight years.
I know conservatives right now are taken aback by the ferocity and passion of the supporters of Obama -“Obamatons” one of the more notable and derogatory terms I’ve come across – but they need look no further than the man in the picture above for a very logical and very real explanation for this fanaticism.
Newton’s Laws, dear readers, are inescapable in any realm of the physical world: for every action, there is an equal and opposing reaction. Singleminded fanaticism breeds nothing but reactionary fanaticism.
That said, I have no patience for zealots on either side of the political spectrum. Their lack of propensity with which to be reasoned, negotiated, or otherwise compromised, is what I believe to be the core reason behind the ideological deadlock in Washington and, subsequently, throughout the United States. Putting fire and brimstone and obscenities into our lawmaking results only in further fire, brimstone, and obscenities, both in the legislation passed and its effects.
Allow me to throw a little bit of objectivity for your viewing pleasure by defining a few key terms.
It’s the form of government most western European nations, in addition to our Canadian friends, employ. It is a very broad term that cannot be explicitly pinned down to one particular implementation, but its most common definition is a system in which the government has ownership in a great deal of the country’s capital, including the means of production and distribution of goods. Depending on who you ask, this may encompass a country with government-subsidized health care, or a country with a truly classless society. There are as many branches of this overarching socioeconomic philosophy as there are grains of sand, so classifying one republic as “socialist” and another as “not socialist, but communist” is akin to saying “I’m not Christian, I’m Catholic”.
And everyone in American shivers involuntarily. For purely historical reasons, both this term and its superclass above have become synonymous with evil. They are not. Communism is a very specific form of socialism (every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square) in which society is truly classless. In its ideal form, there is no government, no private property, and no division among citizens. Everyone would participate fully in the functioning of government; really, not unlike a true democracy. Unfortunately, this ideal government assumes people will truly work toward a common goal…hence Communism’s inevitable demise.
On the completely opposite side of the political spectrum, we have Fascism. This is essentially a monarchy built using the tools of fear, violence, oppression, and division between groups with superficial – often race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc – differences. It empowers a single or few individuals to push their agendas on the rest of the nation in the interest of national progression, with no regard for dissenters. Often, dissenters are dealt with in permanent fashions, usually as a means to “convince” the rest of the populace to keep their own mouths shut. Ever seen V for Vendetta? Yup.
Term: “The Obama Administration”
After nearly two years of campaigning, Obama became the 44th President to take office. He was elected by the majority – 53% if memory serves me right (though by a landslide in the Electoral College) – and has been passing bills left and right since taking office six weeks ago, attempting to jumpstart the sluggish economy that still continues to slide. He is a member of the Democratic party (traditionally liberal), and among the bills he has passed so far, they include increases in spending unlike anything this country has seen since the days of FDR. These expenditures include bailouts to failing corporations, investments in renewable sources of energy, tax incentives to companies employing people locally, grants to higher education and research facilities, and investments in development and improvement of public transit and roads across the country, to name only a few.
And what, dear reader, do all these terms have in common?
(Well, technically speaking, Communism is a specific branch of Socialism…but like I said before: all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. As such, Communism and Socialism are NOT interchangeable. And neither are any other pairwise arrangements of those four terms)
Do not delude yourself into believing any of the zealotry you come across these days (of which there is plenty). Obama is not Jesus, he is not a Savior, and neither is he Satan. Obama is not a Socialist, not a Communist, and certainly not a Fascist. He is an American, and our President. He was fairly elected by the majority, just as the other 43 Presidents before him were, and as such at least deserves the respect we have for the position, if not for the man in the position. He is not perfect, not any closer to perfect than anyone else is. But he is certainly not out with the singular mission to destroy the Constitution and our inalienable rights or whatever other drivel the zealots have come up with today (I’m looking at you, Rush Limbaugh).
Oh: and the reason why we have to bail these failing banks out of the giant craters they’ve blasted for themselves is because we haven’t been a true capitalist country since the United States was founded over two hundred years ago. The existence of monopolies litters our corporate landscape, something which Republicans and Democrats alike have not-so-secretly benefited from in the form of campaign donations and favorable tax loopholes. If we truly had a fair market, things like Net Neutrality wouldn’t be an issue; companies like Microsoft wouldn’t exist; Social Security would be something we only read about in UK-related Wikipedia articles.
I’m not advocating Socialism or true Capitalism one way or the other. My point here is that those conservatives arguing against the bailouts and for the “free market” need to recognize the reality: we haven’t had a truly free market in centuries, and suddenly letting it free now would send it spiraling for years to come before it ever once again found equilibrium. Hence the need for the lesser of the two evils: bailouts.
And one more thing.
“IRREGARDLESS” IS NOT A FREAKING WORD. “Irrespective” is a word, yes, but regardless, “irregardless” is one of those filler words we hear everywhere and wrongly assimilate into our vernacular, further perpetuating the reputation we Americans have constructed for being UTTERLY CLUELESS MORONS.
*pant pant slobber*
See why I don’t like writing about politics? It turns into this mush of anger and spite, and so often is disgustingly less eloquent than an entry on, say, Hidden Markov Models would be. So this is it. If you have any comments about my political leanings or thoughts, this is your chance to do it, because while I will mention politics here and there in the future, I won’t devote entire entries to it. So I’ll probably ignore comments that point out the sentence or two of political satire I write about. 😛
I need one of these for my apartment: