Sunday, August 29, 2010


This is my 500th post. I wasn’t sure I was going to make to this milestone. Lately, the crap that passes for American culture these days has so disheartened me that writing about almost anything lost its appeal.

It would be entirely too easy to give into this ennui and bury my head in the sand. After all, what can I do with this blog except rant about things that I can’t influence to people who mostly feel the same way? I don’t exactly have a huge audience. I don’t even have resident trolls to keep the dialogue moving.

It would be simpler to avoid the nastiness. After all, I’ve honed that skill to a fine art. I have relatives that “like” things like this on their Facebook page:
Crowds Mass in Washington DC for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Rally.

I mean, truthfully, how do you respond to someone you’re related to who thinks Glen Beck is on to something when you think he’s the reincarnation of PT Barnum? I can’t call this person stupid or any other of the endless list of epithets that come to mind.

So I do what I’ve gotten truly skilled at – I ignore it. After all, if forwarding an email to a family member regarding the health care debate from the White House last year can illicit a diatribe about government propaganda that devolves into a cap and trade screed and then ends with “If you want to talk more, I’m willing. Just don’t forward propaganda”, what other response is there? Rational discussion isn’t possible in the face of this much anger.

It’s not just people that I’m related to by blood or marriage either. It’s the person who works in my building who has bumper stickers on his car like this:

I have no idea who this person is. I’ve never seen him, but every time I see his car, I get pissed off. I feel a strong urge to key his car. Not very helpful, but still viscerally fulfilling, in a temporary manner at least.

In short, I cannot talk to people like this without getting just as angry as they are. Reading their emails, comments on my blog or posts on Facebook fills me with dread and fear and a physical sensation that feels like a knife to the gut. Their fear and anger just breeds more of the same.

I read about people like Beck ranting about “divine providence” or Franklin Graham talking about “the seed of Islam” and wonder how anyone can take these people seriously. The fact that so many do scares me absolutely shitless. I have no desire to reside in a post-modern Christian theocracy. I’m not the “right” kind of Christian. I’d be rounded up with all the other non-desirables - non-Christians, non-Heterosexuals and non-Whites - and sent who knows where in that brave new world.

It’s not just the Religious Right that frightens me, either. There seems to be a movement, one long standing and well cemented in our culture, that believes that everything Government run is bad and everything Private Sector run is good; that corporations deserve to make as much money as their coffers will hold without little things like morality and responsibility to hinder them.

I begrudge no business their right to make a profit but when they do so at the expense of the very people they’ve contracted with or the expense of our environment, they’re thieves of the worst sort. What we allow corporations, like BP and Exxon/Mobil or Humana and WellPoint, to get away with we would never tolerate in our elected leaders. Governments have crumbled in scandals far less than the likes of a Deepwater Horizon or Exxon Valdez.

We call politicians who screw their constituents for money corrupt. We call Michael McCallister, CEO of Humana, and Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint, masters of commerce despite the fact that their companies have routinely cancelled the policies or refused treatment coverage to people in dire need. The two of them earned a combined compensation package – including salary, stock and options, and incentive plans – of $19,617,650 in 2009. Their companies earned $95.9 billion in revenues that year.

But hey, that’s okay. After all, these are for profit companies. They have to make a profit to stay in business. Never mind that they’re all providing a product that this country literally cannot function without. Never mind that while they raise the prices of their products and keep increasing their bottom line through shortcuts and culling of the herd, they pay our political leaders to look the other way.

This wrong on a level so fundamental that I find it incredulous that everyone cannot see it.

No doubt there are those out there who would call me a socialist for even daring to think that the government might be better suited to the job of running health care. I have no doubt there are others who would call me a member of the intellectual elite based on my expressed opinions here. When did having a brain and not being afraid to use it become something our country denigrated? If having a college degree, voting Democrat and speaking out against the demagoguery make me an intellectual or an elitist then I think I’m okay with both of those terms. I embrace them even.

I know that it flies in the face of popular convention when I tell you I attend church regularly and consider myself a Christian but still believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry, that all LGBTs should be treated as full and equal members of society including being able to serve openly in the military, that health care is a right not a privilege, that we are a nation of immigrants and stronger because of that fact and yet vote for Democrats more often than not.

I tell you that those things are more Christian than what the Religious Right has brainwashed us all to believe.

We must stand up to the greed-is-good, intellectuals-are-bad, gays-are-out-to-corrupt-your-children and real Americans are bible-believing, gun-toting, Republican-voting Christians meme and shout to the world that there is another way.

If not, then we deserve whatever comes our way in November and all the Novembers yet to come.


Pseudo said...

"We must stand up to the greed-is-good, intellectuals-are-bad, gays-are-out-to-corrupt-your-children and real Americans are bible-believing, gun-toting, Republican-voting Christians meme and shout to the world that there is another way."

Amen True Blue.

I have come to a point where I don't get worked up like I used to. Easier here in Hawaii though, not too many lame ass narrow minded heads up there asses folks, politically speaking that is.

I feel that not giving any energy at all to that craziness is sometimes best.

Glen Beck is freak show to be sure.

And a very happy 500th to you.

LeftLeaningLady said...

Happy 500th to you! I am glad you are still plugging along.

I think we are related to the same people. A cousin-in-law posted one of those Facebook polls, "Do you think it is ok that Obama thinks building a mosque at Ground Zero is a good idea? Yes No"

I (politely, respectfully) said, "He never said it was a good idea, he said it was LEGAL and it is at least 2 blocks away from Ground Zero." No response.

The car I want to key has a bumper sticker that reads, "If you want to burn my flag, wrap yourself in it first."

Maybe one day, in some small way, you have/are making a difference. Maybe 1 person will read this 'blog with an open mind and heart and think, "Hey she has a point." You are raising your children to have a brain. You are TRYING. If I figure out anything else, I promise to let you know!

Aliceson said...

Reminds me of some of the conversations I had with people around here about the new Islamic worship center in our county. Some of the things they were saying about other Americans was downright hateful, and most of those people were using the local churches to spread the word that Muslims would be bad neighbors.

Congrats on your 500th post!

Ted McLaughlin said...

Congrats on reaching the 500 post milestone. Hope you make it to 5,000.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Happy 500th and many more to come. Your name says it all. I was so happy that I missed Beck's "re-march" in DC since I was there the Saturday before and therefore able to see the Lincoln in all its glory WITHOUT history being rewritten right behind me.
John has a little icon on his computer which has Obama's face and the words "not my president" along with a ticker counting down his days left in office. Funny how literally ironic it is. If you're a citizen, he IS your president.

Reya Mellicker said...

The Beckies walked past my apartment on their way to the rally last Saturday. It was depressing. Then I started getting angry. I thought about getting out in the front yard with my big ole shamanic rattle and harrassing them. But then I remembered that there is so much antipathy in this country right now that probably I don't need to add to that energy. So I hunkered down with a second cup of coffee instead.

Friends and relatives who love Glenn Beck? I talk about something else. The weather, for instance. It's not possible to engage in any way except in anger which helps nothing.

Sending soothing vibes in your direction.

Chris said...

500!!? How cool is that! Haven't been in blogland lately, so was nice to come on your site and read this usual, you usually say what I wanted to say, but better articulated!!! I have not had the time or energy for formulate words lately, so thanks for doing it! We also deal with relatives who are clueless, and I just don't know how to handle it any more....I stay away, how sad is that?

Wild Child said...

True Blue, you aren't the only one in this boat, and your worries are my worries. I have in-laws who claim they are Christian, but do not believe in GLBT rights whatsoever. They watch Fox News, but yet sit blind to the fact that large corporations rob the regular people blind and pillage our nation. It is hard to visit with them because our views are so opposite. But I hear you on the anger. I just get so angry. I can't even be rational because what's being spouted is so ridiculous in my eyes and yet people I know believe it. And I can't understand that. I will go to the polls in November and I am praying that reasonable, sane people will also go to the polls and keep this madness at bay.

Loulou La Poule said...

We are all tempted by despair these days, wondering why we write, why we research. And then somebody new turns up and it all becomes a little more worthwhile.

It's kind of like opening a shoe store in a town that has 499 shoe stores. At 500, maybe the town reaches a tipping point and all the residents begin to believe they really do need another pair of shoes. Rule #1 of marketing: The more, the merrier.

Steven said...

Thank you so much. I feel alone in my worldview so often that I sometimes wonder if there are others that think as I do? You answered the question.

Vagabonde said...

I just found your blog and read this post. Congratulation on having written 500. I was truly astounded to read your post – someone from Texas! but so very pleased. I was in Norway on vacation and was feeling sad to have to come back to the US where everyone fights and so many people enjoy being ignorant and bigoted. But there you are – this is what will save America – to have people like you. I understand your feeling about the bumper sticker. I am French (dual citizen now) and when I was at work, during the beginning of the Iraq war, people placed a poster next to my cubicle saying “first bomb Iraq, then Paris” then someone had a “Bomb France” sticker on their car. Here in Georgia people were to the right of George Bush – in my county, Cobb County (Newt Gingrich’s county) they are proud to be Tea Party members. That is why I was sad to come back home where we have no one to talk to around us.