Observations And Confessions

Wanna balance the budget?  Fine, as good as done!  Wanna eliminate that pesky little deficit?  Sure, no problem!  Our good President is about to throw those key issues back into the faces of the GOP this week as he unveils a budget that will call for cuts in Federal Spending, mostly on programs that don’t work; and taking more of that money we’re wasting in that sandpit known as Iraq and using it for the American people.  Oh yes, he is going to raise taxes…on the rich; and that means couples earning over $250,00 a year.  Ladies and Gentlemen…your free ride is over, the Revolution has begun!

Never before has there been such a disparity of wealth in this country, and although it’s not on par with the misery of Russia in 1917; the way things are going, it might very well end up that way.  Especially when your friendly State Governor refuses to take the funding to help his constituents; funding for the homeless, the unemployed and food stamps.  Funding that could be used to start or complete infrastructure projects that would put people back to work.  Funding that means a LOT to PEOPLE as opposed to just saying no on principle in order to defend an ideology.

Governor Charlie Christ of Florida gets it; he even introduced the President at a rally FOR the stimulus package.  Gee, a pragmatic Republican!  That’s almost as rare as seeing a dodo, because quite frankly I thought they were an extinct species.  Leave it to Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to turn down the funding…an act of pure genius, considering he has New Orleans still in a state of disrepair (and that’s an understatement) not to mention other parts of his State that were hurt by Katrina.  This is the act of a selfish ideologue, one who clearly stands on politics rather than helping people.  It is this type of Republican that has dominated that party for the past thirty years, and you think that after the drubbing they took in the 2008 Elections, they would come to their senses and say to themselves, “Gee, we might want to go in a different direction”.  With Charlie Crist; they would be, with Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin they would just be getting the same shit with a younger (and more diverse) face.  Gee, we have our token woman and minority…hey, we even have our very own African-American running the Grand Old Party!  See, we’re not a bunch of misogynistic white Southern guys after all!  You think they would learn that obstructionism and ideology just don’t cut it anymore…people are hurting, the long-suffering and almost non-existent middle class is strained to the breaking point, our Financial Institutions and cherished Auto industry are going by the wayside.  Go ahead guys, keep up the good work; because once the economy starts turning around, there won’t be anything left of the Republican Party as we know it today.

Here’s the confessions part of this post: I actually voted for George W. Bush the first time.  I consider myself a Pragmatic Progressive these days, but back in 2000 I was part of that elite class of folks who were living high on the hog.  My wife and I were both working, we had one child at the time, and we owned our own home.  We were pulling in six-figures with no problem, and any guy that wanted to cut my taxes was just fine by me.  Not only that, I had an aversion to Al Gore because he tore apart Bill Bradley (a politician I absolutely loved) in a debate for the Democratic nomination.  I really couldn’t forgive him for that one, it really just stuck in my craw…and back in 1988, I actually supported his candidacy for the nomination even as Tipper and Frank Zappa were jousting.  He just didn’t seem genuine this time, and I thought GWB was a regular kind of guy.  OK, so he fumbled over his words for a bit; who doesn’t?  Hell, he might have even been a little dyslexic; but that’s fairly common and no problem with me, so long as he could read the nuclear codes correctly.  Toward the election though, I was sitting on the fence as to which of these guys I was going to vote for, and apparently so were a lot of folks.  Well, I pulled the lever for him and to this day I will say it was one of the greatest regrets and mistakes of my life.

After I was caught up in the 9/11 Attack on the World Trade Center, I was all over the map politically; in fact, I was just all over the map PERIOD.  I was doing a lot of investigation on-line into what happened, the obvious conspiracy websites, reading through the various pieces of information that were out there.  I started to slowly come to the conclusion that my Government failed me; that the oncoming war with Iraq was a set up and something that Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and the rest of the Neocon Follies wanted all along.  I began to have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that was made even worse by a Presidential Press Conference GWB held on April 13, 2004 (the transcript of the entire Press Conference- just so you can read the madness- is here ).  It was after that Press Conference that I knew we were being led by either a madman or a puppet or both; and that the entire United States Government had become this big evil machination of world domination.  It was at that moment, I knew that whoever the Democratic Nominee was going to be that I would be voting for them…and not HIM.

One month later after thinking that the President was a madman, I had a nervous breakdown; 3 years of working next to Ground Zero had taken its emotional toll on me.  And call me crazy, but I voted proudly for John Kerry in November 2004.  It’s ironic that after that presser that it all came crashing down on me, and two years later my family and I would be in dire straits financially and in a hole that it seemed like we would never get out of.  I got sober, and got disability shortly afterward.  The pieces of my life started coming back together again; and the parts that I had jettisoned YEARS ago like a belief in the common good, helping to raise up those less fortunate, and a genuine concern for others more than myself returned to me.  It was one step on the road toward Grace and Redemption (and I am by no way there yet), but it brought back the person who was really underneath that Corporate Veneer; the Social Darwinist who didn’t give a damn.  I had gone from one part of the spectrum in college (as a crusading Socialist), to another in my 20’s and 30’s, to coming full circle in my late 40’s…although I have been somewhat tempered by certain beliefs I have in Libertarianism.  Like a massive distrust of the Government in most things, except when things have become to out of balance that it is necessary to level the playing field.

So go ahead, and enjoy your tax cuts upper middle and upper crust…because they are going away.  And so is YOUR war.  And so is YOUR Political Party.  All gone, like the ashes I had to walk through on September 11th, 2001…gone, but NEVER forgotten.

“Hell is yourself and the only redemption is when a person puts himself aside to feel deeply for another person.” – Tennessee Williams