Nobody has actually asked me that, but I have an answer prepared in case somebody does: “I dunno. Shit changes, man.”
In a generation or two, Latinos will be the largest American ethnic group. There’s really no way around that, unless we start building concentration camps or something, and I honestly don’t see that happening. That probably means a lot of Spanish-speaking people in your neighborhood. I don’t really think that’s a bad thing, like some people do.
I am reminded of my hate for conservative radio hosts. It really doesn’t take much to remind me of the Quinns, Hannitys and Limbaughs – it just sort of happens when I least expect it. I’ll be driving down 65 and see somebody with a rancid, pealing “W” bumper sticker and light a cigarette and say: “You fucking douchebag. He won, alright? Thanks for rubbing it in.”
107.9 here in Pittsburgh has a Limbaugh commercial wherein a woman, who has apparently called into the radio station to record an ad hoc commercial for them, describes an exchange she had with a friend of hers. The narrator has told this friend that she’s just not satisfied by television news coverage. “Well, if the bias on the news is bothering you,” this friend told her. “Have you given talk radio a try?”
Right, talk radio is the place to go for news. Talk radio hosts are liars. Ok, maybe not outright lying, “the sky is red” kind of lying, but they don’t tell the truth. A radio host’s job is to get you to react emotionally to the things he is saying and to call in or at least to keep listening. They make grandiose, inflammatory statements to their audience. I actually heard Bill O’Reilly admit that on his own radio show once, in almost those exact terms. I hate the man, personally, but his honesty was surprising since all talk radio hosts are liars. It’s in the nature of their black, evil hearts.
Jim Quinn is a major douche. I have a vague idea of what he looks like, but I still imagine him as a cross between Mr. Burns and Joe Don Baker. He has classic Conservative swagger, so utterly convinced of his righteousness that “moonbats” and “wackos,” frequent subjects of his ire, are sniveling, wormy pansies to his flag-wearin’, shit-kickin’, God-fearin’, ass-bustin’, gun-shootin’ rural American sensibility. He’s a DJ from New Jersey, people. That’s two strikes already, and he hasn’t even opened his mouth yet.
He blames communists for everything, and is convinced that everybody who doesn’t go to church on Sunday is one. It’s the spirit of Joe McCarthy, tickling his testicles and giving him fits of ecstacy when he can reach far enough across the table to connect that dot to that dot all the way over there and circle it with a red pen and say “See! Commie!”
He also hates liberals, which has somehow become a bad word, or at least something to be ashamed of (by some people – most liberals I know don’t mind the appelation). I don’t understand how that happened.
I’m trying to figure out how I fit into the political strata. Bear with me.
These are some of the devisive political issues these days that I think are used to define how we should vote in Novembers.
The War in Iraq. Conservatives think we’re doing a good job, that we’re helping the people of Iraq, that either 1) it doesn’t matter why we went there in the first place, so they’ll just kind of ignore that controversy 2) there are WMD in Iraq, just like the Prez said, but we either just haven’t found them yet or Saddam & Co. moved them somewhere else or 3) we went in to liberate people from an oppressive dictator. They also think that anybody who diagrees with the war, or who questions it in any way, has something personal against our “troops” and is probably committing some kind of treason (at worst), should shut the hell up before we ruin the morale of the soldiers and seem like a divided populace.
The liberal view is essentially the opposite of that. Some of them think that Iraq was a ploy by the oil men in the White House to secure the oil supplies and to put money in the pockets of big business. Some think that Bush is signed-a-pact-with-Satan evil, and wants to destroy the country, and that he doesn’t care about any of the soldiers and doesn’t care about what anybody thinks and is so wrapped up in Jesus that he believes that America is a crusader against the heathens of Islam.
Me. I don’t have any fucking idea how I feel about it. Penn Jillette wrapped up my opinion on the war: “Before the war in Iraq is over, I want to know how I felt about it.” I’m utterly torn in half by it. Here’s why I think we went in: Bush wanted to establish a friendly Islamic nation in the Middle East, and Iraq was a battle we could win. Nation building? You betcha. I also think that it was a kind of Roach Motel strategy: if we put an army in the middle of the Middle East, we’ll attract all sorts of unsavory elements that we can assemble in one area to kill them more effectively, also possibly diverting those unsavory elements away from launching terrorist attacks against domestic targets. I think that whole WMD thing was an excuse, and seemed like a good bet: Saddam had used those things against his enemies before, and was probably going to at least have some Sarin gas or something lying around somewhere. It’s not a big deal to me that he didn’t.
We’re there, now, and yes, we have to finish the job. Cut and run? I dunno. it seems like a bad idea. I do think we got in over our heads there – it’s a nice thought expressed by the administration a while before the invasion: we’ll be welcomed as liberators, spreading freedom that everybody wants and needs and they’ll all come together and see how much better a republic is than a dictatorship.
I don’t think Bush is evil. I cannot accept the idea that any man in Bush’s position wouldn’t want what he thought was best for the country. It just doesn’t jibe. It may be naive, but there are very few Presidents in American history (or none as far as I can think of) who acquired the office purely for personal gain and for the benefit of his rich cronies. I don’t think Bush is stupid, and I don’t think he’s a figurehead for some vast conspiracy of oil barons and weapons contractors. Is he an incompetent leader? Maybe. I think it takes a few generations to really know what kind of effect a President has.
I believe in dissent. That’s what makes tour country great: that we can vocally disagree with the actions of our leaders and not worry about reprisals. We can call for the peaceful overthrow of the man in charge and not be tossed in prison. Sure, the defenders of the man in charge might call you a traitor for doing so, but that’s free speech, too. They’re not going to hang you by your neck for saying it.
So to everybody who calls Cindy Sheehan a traitor: fuck you. She can say whatever the hell she wants to. The First Amendment isn’t there to protect popular speech.
Also, a lot of conservatives are very vocal about their hate for Islam – they wouldn’t call it hate, of course, but they sure act like that’s what it is. I have a generally low opinion of religion in general, so I’m not the best guy to ask. Sure, I don’t like Islam, but I don’t like Christianity either. I do have to say, for the record, that if I draw a cartoon that depicts Jesus in an unflattering light, I’m not going to die for it.
I think Islam is a fine religion, and that the followers of it have actually given a lot to the world. But come on, people – the institutional murder of homosexuals? That shit is wrong, no two ways about it. Forcing women to walk around in birkas? Also wrong.
I think the middle east is going through a dark age, much as christendom did a few centuries ago. All-encompassing reliigous doctrine with a very powerful religious movement? Check. A few very rich monarchs abusing and dominating the vast, poverty-stricken masses? Check. A near-total lack of forward intell
ectual movement and a stagnation of art, literacy and free-thinking? Check.
I don’t know what it’s going to take to get things over there moving again, in a cultural sense, but we can learn lessons from the European dark age. Islam needs a Renaissance of its own, and maybe some pissed off Martin Luther types. Things can change there, but the people have to want them to.
Yeah, this started out as something and ended as something else. I have to move furniture, so it’s going to stay that way for now.
I’ll be back later with more boring shit about politics.