Thursday, May 03, 2007


A Parting Shot

My work here is done.

That's what I've increasingly come to realize. After 107 posts of varying substance and quality, I think the time has come to put an end to this little endeavor. Mainly, I'm just too busy. On top of my regular teaching job, I'm taking six hours of graduate classes and keeping busy in my church. It doesn't look like my schedule is going to change soon, either.

Also, I've come to realize that lacking the time to write well-thought-out, well-researched, well-reasoned posts, I've increasingly resorted to hastily scrawled, sometimes-flimsy entries. At times recently, I think I've bordered on the shrill and strident, something I never intended. As angry as I am about the current state of affairs in America - and I'm pretty damned angry - I always hoped to present a more thoughtful approach. Pointed and blunt, yes. But never loud and obnoxious. The talk radio guys on the Right are so much better at loud and obnoxious that I could never even hope to compete.

Besides, I think I've said what I intended to say. I think you get the point. In case you didn't, let me pound it into you one more time, in a not-so-subtle fashion:

1) Conservatism has been a destructive force in America. Not completely without merit, the conservative movement is destroying (perhaps unintentionally, perhaps not) any notion of the common good, fair play, justice and equity.
2) The champions of the conservative movement - the Limbaughs and Hannitys - have cheapened public discourse into an ugly, hateful quagmire of deceit and lies and riven a huge divide across America.
3) George W. Bush will quite possibly go down as the worst president in American history. He got us into this nasty, unwinnable war, and damaged our nation's global esteem. He zealously pursued tax cuts for the wealthiest while ignoring the rest of us. He took us in a matter of four years from a budget surplus to our largest defecit ever. He consistently turns a blind eye to the environment. Never before has a president so actively pursued such a malignant agenda to America. And he and his administration are a bunch of nasty, arrogant bullies, to boot.
4) The middle-class and poor are in big trouble. While the Dow reaches record highs, wages remain stagnant and such necessities as housing, college tuition and healthcare spiral into inaccessibility for so many. Meanwhile, income inequality widens to gaps not seen since the Hoover administration. Yet, the Republicans can only wax gleeful about the booming economy. And to what end? That maybe we middle-class folks won't get laid off this week?
5) Corporate America is out of control. No accountability. No responsibility. CEOs make eight figures while average workers are let go for earning too much money. Customers and consumers are often shortchanged and mistreated. Jobs are shipped overseas. Again, how does this benefit the vast majority of us?
6) The almighty dollar is turning our democracy into an oligarchy. Government increasingly exists only to serve the interest and whim of those with the big contribution checks.
7) The Christian church, the one organization that should give us hope above all others, has largely sold itself out as a cheap political movement. The teachings of Jesus Christ have been mowed down by the rhetoric of Jerry Falwell.
8) The average America is fat, lazy and stupid, uninformed, apathetic and interested in little beyond material goods and pleasure. There's virtually no empathy for others, too little concern over maturity and responsibility, too much focus on having fun and being cool.
9) We're destroying our planet, paving it over and heating it up. And as usual, it's all about making money and pursuing lifestyle.
10) We're engaged in the worst, most-unjust war in our nation's history. President Bush lied to get us into it, bungled it from the beginning and hasn't a clue how to get us out of it. Our nation's esteem has collapsed around the world and we're probably at even greater danger from terrorists.

Pretty dour, I admit. But I won't condescend to you with some crap about morning in America. No, I think we're in some pretty tough times. Our nation has been highjacked by ideological bullies who think the majority of us should bend to their will. And their will is pretty frightening.

But I do have hope. Last November's elections show us that the spell has been broken, that the conservative revolution is dead. To folks on the Right, time stood still in 1968, with Jane Fonda and hippies burning draft cards. The rest of us have moved on and wish to pursue something more constructive than the Nixonian wedge of us vs. them. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are ready to talk about real issues constructively, matters like healthcare and education. Finally there's a fair shot that we can repair this damage wrought over the past six years (and really the past 26 years) and move ahead to better times.

Adios, folks. It's been fun.

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