Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Enough Already!

The blogosphere has been exhausting me lately. Petty partisan bickering has infected even the most intelligent blogs as otherwise highly intelligent people quibble over the innocence and noblesse of politicians. While arguments break out over whether the tides will rise 3 feet or 20 feet or whether the death of Zarqawi actually has any bearing on anything, America stagnates in its own idiocy.

Reading "A People's History Of The United States" by Howard Zinn did not help. It was an informative, incredibly important work that endeavors to tell the story of American history from the persepective of the people, not the rulers. It is a must read for anyone who cares about history and its impact on the present. The sentiment I was left with, however, was one of frustration. Since the founding of the nation, the uber-rich have divided the lower classes among class, religious and racial lines to keep them bickering among themselves while they are robbed and deprived of rights promised by the Constitution.

Nothing has changed. With all our technology, we are still bickering along class, religious and racial lines. The Republicans create echoingly hollow euphemisms in an attempt to mask it, but the result is the same. Democrats, like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, create the illusion of giving a shit while, behind closed and not-so-closed doors, they accept donations from the same corporations who fund the Republicans. And I am supposed to think there is a difference?

Frankly, I am bored with the idiocy.

Democrat or Republican, 3 feet or 20 feet, we are in fucking trouble as a society and I do not want to hear any more partisan nonsense.

Each day, I spent an hour and a half with the masses each way to and from work. There are kind people I have met, familiar faces who take the same route and we chat daily about whatever is going on that day. Then there are the bottom-feeders who confirm why I am not a "liberal" and never will be one. It takes every ounce of energy not to tell the teenage mothers that if they opened books instead of their legs, their lives wouldn't be so difficult. A few days ago, the filter between my brain and mouth completely shut down as I listened to some fat chick beg the bus driver to drop her off half a block before the designated stop. I thought she was lost, so I said "hey, the stop isn't very far, you can see it right up ahead." She shot back at me with a snotty tone, "I know, but I didn't want to walk." Before I could catch myself, I replied "well, it's not like you couldn't use the exercise."

Yesterday and then again today, there were two different teenage boys, with the same uniform of thuggery - sagging oversized pants, T-shirts 100x too large and headphones on, mouthing the words of the foul, disgusting music they were listening to. For 20 minutes, those of us on the train who could not block it out listened to a young man repeat "what nigga, what, mutha fucka, bitch what" in a loop. That is what MLK and Malcolm X gave their lives for?

This is America and no amount of religion or compassionate conservatism is going to fix this illness. The following quotes from the humorous book "Affluenza" sum up America today and illustrate the hollowness of two parties who waste endangered brain cells debating whether the war in Iraq is good or great rather than addressing real issues plaguing this society:

More than ever, we have big houses and broken homes, high incomes and low morale, secured rights and diminished civility. We excel at making a living but often fail at making a life. We celebrate our prosperity but yearn for purpose. We cherish our freedoms but long for connection. In an age of plenty, we feel spiritual hunger.

Psychologist David Myers

People don't need enormous cars; they need respect. They don't need closets full of clothes; they need to feel attractive and they need excitement, variety and beauty. People don't need electronic entertainment; they need something worthwhile to do with their lives. People need identity, community, challenge, acknowledgment, love, joy. To try to fill these needs with material things is to set up an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to real and never-satisfied problems.

Donella Meadows, Beyond The Limits

24 Comments:

At 12:26 PM, June 21, 2006 , Blogger Crankyboy said...

If I said everything in my head during the day to people I'd be killed. The world isn't crazy it's the people inside it who are.

 
At 1:13 PM, June 21, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Tell me about it. If only I was a foot taller and weighed 100 more pounds, I might be able to get away with it. :-)

 
At 1:47 PM, June 21, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

II, don't sell yourself short (pun intended). I know you well enough not to piss you off.

Too many Americans are fat, dumb, and unhappy.

We lack leadership. The Wingnuts are selling us down the river for a pot of gold. They know what they are doing.

All this hollow BS about America being great, blah, blah, blah. The wingnuts feel strong as long as we have a strong military. We are losing the economical battle, then is where the war is really being fought.

Our country has lost our edge. We have to be hungry and fight to survive. We need to galvanize this country.

Our wingnut friends someday will say "I didn't see this coming". They will call foul. Claim betrayal. It's not my fault. BS. Consort with Devil and you will get your just desserts. The irony is that those who supposedly embrace the moral/supiritual highground, don't recognize Satan is within their midst (figuratively). They are coupling with the Dark Master. Their Spawn is ruining our Nation, while we do our best Don Quixote impression. I am not a Fatalist, but time is running out on us.

I'm too stubborn to give up.

Have a nice day :)

 
At 3:05 PM, June 21, 2006 , Blogger Noisette said...

Brilliant post. I, too, am bored and depressed by the complacency of the average American. It would be nice to think that we will effect actual change before, say, LA is underwater, but I think we will be true to human nature and not do a damn thing until our personal everyday lives are affected (and by we, I exempt the disenfranchised- they're already suffering but don't have the wherewithal to effect change). Ugh.
This is sort of related- did you watch the Daily Show last night? A WaPo reporter was discussing her book called "Political Fight Club" or something, which details how BOTH political parties have done so much redistricting that the House now has a 98% incumbency rate. NO WONDER these people don't adequately represent us- they don't HAVE TO. What to do about this? SCOTUS has already declared partisan redistricting constitutional, and try convincing state legislatures to pass laws that will lessen the chances of their own party members being reelected. Ugh.

 
At 7:10 AM, June 22, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

I heard a quote on the Daily Show the other day that made sense to me. Something to the effect that "America is being run by extremists because the moderates have sh*t to do."

An old biker buddy of mine (well, not really a buddy - I met him once) said that anyone who tries to get re-elected should be shot.

If we could get everyone to pay attention, think rationally, and take an interest in their future for two days, we'd come up with a third party and kick the bozos and loons outta office.

 
At 10:44 AM, June 22, 2006 , Blogger Craig DeLuz said...

II,

This is a well written piece; though not at all inspiring. And while I will not dispute your assessment of the American political landscape, I will humbly disagree with your view of the role faith can play in transforming this country.

And before you get into your “There is a difference between religion and faith” discussion; let me assure you that I’ve already heard it. And I get it! However, I don’t agree with your selective assessment as to what constitutes faith and what constitutes religion.

 
At 11:12 AM, June 22, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Crankyboy is right on!! As far as America goes, it's been taken over. The media operates in a completely irrational universe. People, the poor and the rich, are pumped full of b.s., violence, sex (gay and straight), war and materialism. There are days when I seriously want to move my family to the Carribean or Africa just to have a little sanity.

II, you betta be careful out there. . . You've got a sharp mouth . . .

Blogging is getting tired. I note a lot of the blogs I read are shutting down because the people are burned out. But I don't have shit else to do at work! :-)

As for those boys that were on the train with you, that breaks my heart 1000x per day.

 
At 11:54 AM, June 22, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Craig,

Perhaps you can explain how 70% of black children are born out of wedlock when the black community is a strong church-going community.

The problem isn't that there is a lack of God. It's that there is too much materialism.

Perhaps someone can explain how evangelicals and prosperity preachers tell their tv audience-sheep followers that it entirely consistent to be a devoted Christian and a faithful consumer.

 
At 10:54 PM, June 23, 2006 , Blogger squawpeak said...

First, interesting post, and some good points II. The "People's History..." observation that the uber-rich keep the rest down by divisions of class/race/etc...isn't my experience though.

E.G.: Take the boys lost in their headphones & BS music. It is heartbreaking. I see more people keeping THEMSELVES down by thinking a set of rims, a big-screen, or some other gadget du-jour is all they need in life. They never pick a goal, a dream, and commit to it, and they get nowhere. Less because of fatcats at the top, and a lot more because they have no focus, no willingness to pay the price our dreams demand for fulfilment.

You oberved, "The problem isn't that there is a lack of God. It's that there is too much materialism."

Too much materialism, by definition means too little God. Not, obviously, God's existence but openness to God, to the spiritual. It has been observed that we humans are psychologically "wired" to serve something; God, country, materialism, etc...so it follows that if one is busy serving materialism, one is using available time not to focus on God, good, etc...but on things. We each excersise our choice of which "master" to serve, but all serve.

 
At 8:40 PM, June 24, 2006 , Blogger Birdy said...

This is a fantastic post.
You're absolutely right in that we spend to much time debating about the debate and not about the actual issue. And even then, we debate the issue instead of acting on it. And more often than not, nobody cares anyway.

Even what I just said doesn't sum it up as well as your post.

 
At 4:08 PM, June 25, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

Craig, II... religion: you know my thoughts. It's a crutch used in place of rational thought.

The simple fact that most people are "faithful" in the religion that they are born into/is dominant in their society tell you a lot... Religion/faith isn't about "truth", "values or morals" ... as exemplified by the divorce and spousal abuse rates in the bible belt, the violence in the middle east, etc.

For the individual, it provides a feel good "i'm part of something bigger than myself and god thinks I'm special" kinda thing... For the elite it provides a mechanism of control based on fear (for some) and the appeal of "absolute truth"...

All of it is hog-wash and the world would be a better place without it.

And please spare me the "faith makes you a better person" argument. If you need to believe in heaven/hell, reward/punishment to do the right thing you're simply inferior to someone who needs no such crutch.

 
At 8:22 AM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

RoR,

Thank God for your opinion. It is the Ying and Yang that makes the world go around.

People have opinions, but opinions don't change fact.

Those of us who believe their is a Creator, love the fact that there are those of you who don't.

Without Cold we cannot know hot, without evil we cannot know good.
without those who don't believe in God, we would not know the other view.

Your view assumes the view that there is no God. It is an opinion, but that's all it is, an opinion.

Is it Hubris? Who knows? Many people on both sides think they have life all figured out....and then they cease to live and find out if "death" is the final goal or if there is something more.

A pessimist says death is it, while an optimist says, there must be something more.

Thank God for pessimists, as they keep the brain thinking about new opinions and life instead of focusing on death being final.


II,

Great post. One of my favorite quotes is "Nobody on their death bed ever said...'I wish I would have spent more time at work'".



:)

FAR.

 
At 8:40 AM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

For those with an open mind and are asking for something to read that could influence you about studies of the possibilities that there may be more after life then take the plunge and discover what research of 100 people who experienced "Clinical Death" had to say and how near impossible it is to have those people recount the almost "exact same experience" of what happened to them..."Looking down at their body, etc, etc"

If it were any kind of dream, then why was the dream the same for all 100 of them.

Yea, Yea, skeptics will feel pain reading this book, because it will challenge their worldveiw and believing a lie is comfortable, while the truth hurts. So, if you can read it without pain, then maybe you have an open mind and are ready for the possibility of a new perspective.

Why did they all have the same experience after being declared dead?

Read the book..."Life After Life."
by Dr. Raymond Moody


:)

FAR.

 
At 9:59 AM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

RoR,

You have a very limited view of religion. You're just ignorant. You point to the Bible Belt to condemn all religion. C'mon dude.

 
At 1:07 PM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Squawpeak, fair point. I think I should say that more God (as opposed to more religion) might be a good thing. Since people have a myriad of understandings of the nature of God, there can be goodness in the idea of God. It's the religion part that I have trouble with. But that begs the question of whether it is possible to have God without religion.

 
At 6:13 PM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii and Squawpeak,

When Jesus said " No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." - Matt 6:24

Mammon means treasure, which has a different connotation to it than just money, but rather attachment or worship of money.

The most misquoted verse in the bible is not that "money is the root of all evil" but rather "For the love of money is the root of all evil...." - 1 Tim 6:10

There is nothing wrong with religion per se, it's purpose is a way to have a vehicle to help perfect ourselves by allowing fellowship and organizations for "ministering to the sick and shut ins" and to a place to hear uplifting sermons and be renewed in our efforts each week. Why are we given pastors and teachers, i.e. (Churches/Religion?)

"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" - Eph 4:12

And why is it important to have them?

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

Above is Christ talking about those who are so hubris that they try to deceive people with their sharp wit and crafty way of saying, "lo, there is no Christ."

The Jews were the first religion and they were taught by prophets who communicated with God, and they had weekly services in the Tabernacle.

If we don't have our weekly "dose" of refresher, we tend to drift away from the things that we need to stay on track, such as improving ourselves. If we improve ourselves, then we are improving the world, one person at a time.

Can others hijack religion, yes!

Can people use cars as weapons, yes! Does that make the car bad? NO!

When people hijack religion they become leaders of an ideology, and it is no longer a religion. Witness those who are trying to hijack Islam. They are not the true believers of Allah, they are criminals and murderers.

:)

FAR.

 
At 6:24 PM, June 26, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

One final thought on the need to be refreshed each week.

There are two forces in the universe, good and evil. They are battling for the souls of men and women and if we rely on our own volition to attempt to resist the one and give in to the other, we will loose the battle and drift towards the bad.

Why? Because the carnal man is usually stronger than the spiritual side of man, and if left to our own devices, we will naturally drift toward the carnal pleasures and all the while claiming superiority of our "arm of flesh" and stifneckness, that we don't need to bend our proudful head and give thanks and ask for help to overcome our desires toward excess.

We are moving in one direction or the other, we are not standing still.


:)

FAR.

 
At 9:54 AM, June 28, 2006 , Blogger Noisette said...

Wow, FAR. I agree that religion is not PER SE a bad thing. I think we evolved to it, actually- we've created sets of regionally "moral" standards to keep us all from killing each other.
Which is good. There are those of us, however, who are capable of leading quite a good life without religion. As mankind has evolved into greater self-awareness and understanding of phenomena (the discovery and understanding of Darwinian evolution is a good example), we can also understand religion's importance and place without actually having to buy into it ourselves.
Re: refresher course every week- don't need it, dude. Sorry. I have a perfectly good and correct understanding of how I should act vis-a-vis my fellow man, and how to be a productive member of society, without any weekly reminders.
Finally: "There are two forces in the universe, good and evil. They are battling for the souls of men and women and if we rely on our own volition to attempt to resist the one and give in to the other, we will loose the battle and drift towards the bad."
WOW. Ok, President Bush. Please keep in mind that this "truth" of yours is relative, and that there are equally valid, quite different worldviews.

 
At 10:35 AM, July 02, 2006 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Noisette,

Said: "Please keep in mind that this "truth" of yours is relative, and that there are equally valid, quite different worldviews."

I respect all worldviews, and understand that there are valid points on both sides.

However, the problem of Atheism is that it presums that truth is relative and subjective, and that is a problem indeed.

Someone can say that they are doing what they think is right by beheading someone, when we all have this "law written on our hearts" called a conscience, that starts off perfect but is changed without a good unchanging "rulebook" by rationalizations.

Some people can function without religion or a belief in God, and I respect that, but in general, most cannot.

The real problem is that there is a possibility that there may be life after life and it may be a good idea to try to prepare for it since this earthly existance may be our "final" exam and it may be a good idea to not skip the test.

People may get points for being a good person, but what if we needed to at least study for the test to get better score?

What if as in life there is more than just heaven and hell? What if there are degrees of rewards in each one?

:)

FAR.

 
At 10:10 AM, July 14, 2006 , Blogger Possum said...

I laughed out loud in cube world reading your comment to the fat lady!

Burnout? Maybe we all have some of it. Thankfully it appears that Free Agency is keeping you straight for me II while MrSleep responds to rhetoric against politics with rhetoric of politics. That's what is burning us all out.

Do what I did. Take a month or two off and do something else. It is refreshing. Of course, mine was involutary but that's another story. Also, I'm not exactly back full time yet...

Aside from the Ford family here in Tennessee, I'm going to focus more on some other topics of interest besides how stupid the individuals who choose to display the "I Miss Clinton" stickers are. I too have a lack of energy to point out the failures of mere mortals and want to look for hope.

While it seems we are beating our heads against a wall, sometimes people do learn something from the effort. Even if you are never aware of your impact.

 
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