Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Now I Get It

When I got home from the grocery store last evening, the Grandmother was all aglow with Right-Wing Rhetoric, palpitating with love for John McCain, who had just finished speaking. I'd brought home Chinese food, and she asked if we could eat in the living room so she could keep watching the RNC. I was too tired to express my true feelings about the Republicans (that they stand for social recidivism and economic exploitation but call it "morality" and "prosperity," that they talk about "freedom" but they really mean "freedom for straight white midle-class Christian Americans who think like us"), so I just told her that she could go ahead and eat in the living room but I didn't want to watch TV.

Anyway, since she was in the living room instead of her bedroom (with only a wall between us instead of a stairwell, a bathroom, and two closets to buffer the sound), and since she's been a little extra deaf the last few days, I heard a lot of what was going on while I was here in my room trying to write in Worst Luck (I wrote one word... "brusqueness") and downloading two albums from iTunes (Barbara Cook's Broadway and Great Cabaret Performances).

And from what I heard, I finally figured out why the GOP was so hot to have their convention in Manhattan: to capitalize on the World Trade Center tragedy... to remind us to be afraid of terrorism, to remind us of how great George Bush is and hopefully veer his approval ratings back toward his post-9/11 highs. It seems that everyone who stepped up to the podium gassed on and on about 9/11, and then segued to the War on Terrorism; I heard people focussing on how cool it was that we slapped the shit out of the Taliban and how great Iraq is now that Saddam is captured, singing the praises of a strong commander-in-chief but "don't look at the casualties and fatalities, all our dead and maimed. That's not important: our might is important."

It made me pretty sick. But then, I expect Republicans to make me sick, that's why I won't watch them on television, not even to find out what the sneaky little shits are up to.

But from what I saw of the Democratic National Convention, the Democrats make me sick, too... all that empty rhetoric, all that fence-riding on the issues, all that "we're not going to lower ourselves to talk smack about our enemies" and not even mentioning the name Bush or this stupid life-wasting war... the main gist of what I heard from the Democrats was "we'll believe anything you want us to believe, we'll do whatever you tell us, just please vote for us!" But as sick as this wishy-washy begging makes me, it doesn't make me as sick as the Republicans' incipient Nazïism, so I'll have to vote Democrat just to try and help keep the nation from spilling too far into the Right.

I believe in Democracy, and I believe that our Constitution will keep things from getting too bad; but friends, the USA is entering a very dark time. There is no moral center, there is no common vision anymore; I see so much corruption, so much demagogy, so much misdirection and center-seeking in one party and a strong fascist trend in the other. We'll weather through, but it's going to get scary for a while. It's so ugly, I can't bear to watch; but it's my duty as a citizen to keep my eyes open — and, despite what the Republicans would prefer, keep my mouth open too — no matter how grisly it gets.


Deep breath. The above bothers me more than usual because I'm really not feeling well today. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, and then I had nightmares, and I woke up several times, and so I only managed to cobble together about five hours of unsatisfying sleep. And I should be heading out to the office right now, instead of writing this, but it was on my mind so I figured I'd better get it off my mind so maybe I can get something done.

So my dears, I hope you're feeling better than I am; and remember, we can keep the world from going to crap around us by being kind and good to each other. Yesterday in my "AA Thought for the Day" email, I got this really great quotation that gave me heart about the state of the world:


Throughout the entire world today we are witnessing the breakdown of "group conscience." It has always been the hope of democratic nations that their citizens would be enlightened enough to manage their own affairs through chosen representatives. But in many self-governing countries we are now seeing the inroads of ignorance, apathy, and power-seeking upon democratic systems. . .Consequently many a land has become so helpless that the only answer is dictatorship. Happily for us, there seems little prospect of such a calamity in AA. The life of each individual and of each group is built around our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. . .An even greater force for AA's unity is the compelling love that we have for our fellow members and for the principles upon which our lives today are founded.

(c. 1962 AAWS, Twelve Concepts for World Service, p. 8.)

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