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Sunday, June 17, 2012

“If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention.”

That’s the tag line of David Michael Green at his blog, “The Regressive Antidote”.  I’ve been reading his stuff for a while now and have posted links to several of his writings at The Agonist..., here and here and here and here..., and on my blog.  If I have to read political commentary, I don’t just want to be informed..., I want to be entertained as well.  I have read most everything written by Hunter S. Thompson.  He was the only political writer that could hold my attention with his acerbic and sometimes bombastic wit.  There was quite a dry spell until I found Joe Bageant and his tell it like it is, no holds barred assessment of what was wrong with the political process in America.  Sadly..., Joe is gone now too.  But David Michael Green combines a style and vision that echos both HST and Joe B.
In his latest piece, “Broken Shards of the Heart”, he examines the recent failure of the recall election of Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  He provides us with a bit of perspective on how we got to that point over the last 30 years with lines such as:
“Over the course of our adult lives:
We watched in shock and horror as the country turned to a Hollywood washout, who was literally a national joke candidate five years earlier, and made him president, following him down every path of joyful self-destruction and absurd deceit.

Our jaws dropped in the 1990s at the visage of New Gingrich, the most overtly petulant and destructive piece of self-loathing to ever occupy a human body, as he was elevated to the highest position in the United States Congress, and pioneered the basest politics and the shattering of our government that remains our inheritance today. As if that weren’t shameful enough, at the same time Gingrich’s buddy down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue was destroying the meaning of the Democratic Party, aping the Republican sell-out to corporate thieves and the abandonment of the public interest – especially the poor, the first to be thrown under the bus. 
And, despite the fact Bill Clinton deserves to rot in hell for the damage he did in exchange for his personal joyride in the White House, we were nevertheless forced to watch in horror the relentless and destructive lunacy of the president’s impeachment for the high crime of lying about a blow-job. 
We had to endure the travesty of Bush versus Gore, one of the most egregious tramplings of democratic practice imaginable, then watch the sickening product of that judicial rape: the swaggering wars based on lies, the torture, the doubling of the national debt, the environmental depredations, the economic melt-down, and the raison-d’etre for it all: the radical shifting of wealth from the 300 million of us to the one-tenth of one percent who own everything in sight. 
Perhaps most emotionally devastating of all – Et tu, Brute? – we’ve suffered the betrayal these last years of another Democratic sell-out, a supposedly liberal-if-not-socialist president actually so conservative and so sold-out that he couldn’t even bear to pursue his own personal interest sufficiently to produce a successful presidency, but has rather continued and amplified the worst characteristics of the open sore that was the Bush presidency, even in the midst of crisis opportunities not seen since the 1930s. 
So, no, by this time, my heart was not really broken when my former home-state, Wisconsin, voted emphatically to commit suicide this week. But only because there’s so little of that heart left to break. Shards here and there were crushed and extinguished, to be sure, but I am becoming rapidly beyond caring about the country I live in, a place and a people so determined to get it wrong at every juncture imaginable. At some point, don’t you just have to stop trying and let the substance-abuser finish the job on their own? 
This country is dying, let’s be clear. It may live yet. It may survive for decades in slow decline. It may find a way in utter crisis to throw off, before it is too late, the fat slimy boa which is squeezing every last cent of value out of it. Its political class may invent a devastating foreign crisis with massively grim consequences in order to deflect public attention from its manifest failings. Maybe it will even be some combination of all of the above. 
Who knows? What we can be sure of, however, is that what was once a great and promising idea as much as a nation is now decrepit to the core, and rapidly rotting away, and that these wounds are entirely self-inflicted. That, for me, is the kicker. The Soviets didn’t invade and take us over. We didn’t succumb to some raging virus like the Black Plague. A meteor didn’t blast a hole in the middle of North America. 
We just killed the goose ourselves, through a toxic mix of greed, laziness and stupidity.”
Green goes on to describe a hilarious little aside of America seeking admittance to Heaven and being grilled by St. Peter.  He then analyzes just what went down in Wisconsin.  How Walker gave away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy, causing a budget shortage that he tried to cure by clawing concessions from public employee unions.  Who agreed to one hundred percent of those demands.  “But Walker and his fellow Koch-class acolytes are not satisfied with having to take yes for an answer, because their real project is to crush the unions into political insignificance, if not to terminate them altogether.”  That prompted the recall election..., but the dark money of politics enabled Walker to convince the masses to vote against their own self interests.
 “That’s the America of today, and it’s a glimpse of the very near-term future. The formula is pretty simple, really. Wealthy elites who have spent the better part of a century chafing under the unbearable burdens of the New Deal and Great Society (where they are rendered mere billionaires instead of zillionaires) have finally found a way to steal back ‘their’ money. Buy whole political parties, buy the media, buy – therefore – the entire mindset of the country, buy the Supreme Court, dumb down education, especially the study of history, make college prohibitively expensive, repress dissent, create distracting enemies abroad (towelheads) and at home (fags), replace jobs with machines and cheap overseas workers, squeeze the economy so that money is scarce, and divide and conquer the 99 percent, so that those who miraculously still maintain a vestige of decent wages and benefits from an ancient civilization called 20th century America will be resented and torn-down by those already drowning.”
Green goes on to describe the conditions we are suffering in America today..., and the illusions sold to us that cause and perpetuate that suffering.  Then he sums it all up thus:
“In short, time after time there is no better antidote for regressive government than regressive government itself. That’s why the right always and endlessly pays homage to a ridiculously distorted version of Saint Ronald of Reagan, a guy so long departed from the White House that he might as well be James Buchanan as far as most contemporary Americans are concerned. Hmmm. Why not talk about the joys and wonders of George W. Bush, instead, who after all, was far more Reagan than Reagan, and who happened only just yesterday? Perhaps for the same reason that governments pursuing austerity in Europe are falling like dominoes. And also for the same reason that the sweep of regressive state governors brought in by the Obama debacle of Election 2010 are proving so unpopular, including even Scott Walker, who, despite surviving the vote, is only the third governor in all of American history to be subjected to a recall. 
Thus, as much as it sickens me to say it, perhaps the best thing that could happen to us could be the election of a Mitt Romney, especially one, as this one is, so completely straightjacketed by the insane elements (that is to say, all of them) of his party. Unless Romney turns out to be very, very lucky, his policies will not only not turn the economy around, but they will saddle the country with vastly more debt than the right has managed to do so far already. It’s possible this could be the tipping point, once and for all, in the race between good demographics and bad demographics, between sanity and insanity. Maybe people will finally get what they’re buying, and start looking for a refund. 
On the other hand – and be honest here – wasn’t that just what you were thinking after eight years of Bush and Cheney, the entire last four of which spent with the president’s job approval ratings in the toilet? 
I sure as hell was, only to see Republicans (with a lot of help from Obama) win a crushing victory only a mere two years later. 
In the end, there may be no bottom to the depths of self-destructive stupidity of which Homo Americanus is capable of stooping. 
I’m pretty sure we’re gonna be finding out here, real soon."
If you want to be informed..., and entertained..., do yourself a favor and read David Michael Green.  If you’re not outraged, you’re not  paying attention.

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