But let’s get this out of the way right at the outset: EBOLA! EBOLAEBOLAEBOLA! Holy shit, we’re all going to die EBOLA! Obama brought EBOLA from Kenya and is using it to spread an epidemic of Ebolonated socialism across the country. First symptoms are: you have compassion for the poor and then your eyes bleed and you die. E-freaking –bola! According to the former head of the South Carolina Republican Party, anyone with Ebola should be immediately SHOT. It’s the only way to save the rest of us.
Out’a my way! I got’a go buy a gun! Oh, wait, there aren’t any guns because they were all bought out by people protecting themselves from their rogue police departments! Cops gone f’ing wild in our streets, dragging people from their cars and beating the Ebola out of them.
Jesus Mouse, what is wrong with people?
Sorry. I just had to get that out of my system because, well, holding it in would probably give me Ebola. What CNN called the ISIS of biological agents! Obama’s curse on mankind. God’s judgment on gay marriage sweeping the country like a viral plague and a sign of the apocalypse at our doorstep followed by frogs, locusts, and death of all the firstborn! Never mind that over 1500 people have died from gun violence since Thomas Duncan was diagnosed in Texas. That’s not news anymore, ‘cause now we got EBOLA!
Life has been complicated this past year.
I got hurt. I would say that I hurt myself, but I had help, so… I got hurt.
Everyone at the hospital just said, “You broke your hip,” but to be precise, I broke my femur right at the greater trochanter (that big ball part that goes into the hip socket) and it took three titanium rods to put things back together again. There were some bits and pieces left over that they didn’t bother to put back together again because, well, “they’ll knit back sooner or later,” and some of those had muscles attached. And of course they haven’t knit back together again as yet, and I still have trouble walking. That was last December.
That’s one of the good reasons.
A week later, my mother died.
And then- according to some sources – I became depressed.
And that, if true, is one of the not-so-good reasons. But it is really important to what I need to say today, so you are going to have to indulge me for a few paragraphs.
Whether or not the word “depression” is accurate, I did manage to mostly shut down. I quit watching TV. I stopped reading. I stopped writing. I didn’t even listen to jazz on the radio in the shop. Intellectually, I knew what was happening to me. People would ask how I was doing and I would say, “fine.” “Shit happens.”
But I wasn’t fine. I went to physical therapy for my leg and progress was painfully slow with emphasis on the painful part. Weird little things reminded me of my mother. I had lost control of my own life.
And then my wife’s mother died.
She fell and broke her femur right at the greater trochanter (that big ball part that goes into the hip socket) and it took three titanium rods to put things back together again. But she wasn’t strong enough to recover from the operation. She died the next day.
I’ve talked about cognitive dissonance in the past. That’s where you have two ideas presenting themselves that are contradictory in some way and you cannot accept the newer one without suffering extreme mental anguish, so you won’t even admit it exists.
Lately I am even more intrigued by the concept of deliberate ignorance. They go together.
And I was indulging in both. I knew that I had to get my act together, pull myself out of “it,” and get on with my life, but that idea meant I had to start thinking again and doing something again and I couldn’t bear that. I turned on the TV and the world was still there and if anything it was in worse shape than when I dropped out and I didn’t want to know about that so I shut it off.
And it hit me then that this is what’s wrong with America today.
This self-imposed exile I was wallowing in to avoid the reality around me was what is destroying America. Too many people have decided, like I had, that they have no power, that things were being done to them, and there was nothing they could do about it. They are depressed – with reason- and they just want to be left alone. They want it to all go away.
I had known this intellectually, but this past year I learned how deep that feeling can go first hand. I suddenly understood inaction in a way I had never understood it before. There is a mass depression in this country and it isn’t the economic variety that I am referring to. There is a point at which deliberate ignorance seems to be the only way to survive, and people have taken refuge in it. Particularly liberals.
In less than three weeks there will more than likely occur what can best be described as a catastrophic event. There will be a national, off-year election, and the US Senate will be turned over to the political party that has done more in the last six years to tear this country apart than even most liberals are willing to admit. And that means they will control both houses of congress.
The do-nothing party will be in control. The party that will shut down the entire government to get their own way will be in the majority.
The magnitude of this really cannot be overstated. It’s not the end of the world as we know it, but it is going to make things more difficult than ever at a time when difficulty is the last thing we are in any shape to handle.
It’s a crime against the people of this country. And the people will do it to themselves. All of us. Particularly liberals.
We will do it because we are indulging ourselves in deliberate ignorance. We will do it because there is a depression among those who have the education and the intelligence for right thinking. There is a sense that we can’t make a difference. There are so many problems that we are shutting ourselves down so we don’t have to deal with any of it. We are weary of the struggle. We just want to be left alone.
There are problems, a great many problems. And you won’t solve a single one of them by “liking” a post on Facebook or sharing another meme or sending another #bumblefart. You won’t do it standing on a street corner holding up a sign, either. The corporate plutocracy has invaded our lives, commandeered our government, degraded our educational institutions to keep people ignorant, and made sure that the wealth gap continues to widen. They have an agenda and they are pursuing it diligently. And they would like you think that you cannot do a thing about it.
But they are scared to death that you WILL.
That’s why the republican state legislatures that got gerrymandered into existence in the first place have passed “voter fraud” laws to keep people from voting. That’s why 40,000 voter registrations in Georgia seem to have fallen through the cracks. Conservatives and the corporate plutocracy are afraid that for all their money and all their supposed power, people will vote to replace them in the government. People! Ordinary, everyday people. Because people… at least so far… can vote.
But they don’t.
Here is the simple solution to the mess we have in Washington and at the state governmental levels: get 75% of all liberals to vote. There won’t be a conservative politician left in office. It’s that simple.
Don’t be an ass, you say. That’s impossible.
Simple. Elegant, I say. The way the founders designed the country. As an American citizen everyone can vote, if they are not kept from it by those who abuse their power.
There are two ways that our major problems can be solved. One involves guns, dead Americans, and the loss of our heritage and way of life. The other involves the ballot box. I’m sorry folks, but those are your choices. The first one is not as unlikely as you might like to think. (That’s a topic for later.) The people in the government now have shown they have no interest in solving problems. They have to be voted out of office and replaced by people who will work to solve problems.
And we have to solve the problems. Not the sensational bullshit you see tossed at you left and right by the media in their perpetual campaign to keep you afraid, but the real problems. Problems including political parties working to disenfranchise American voters in order to stay in power.
I realize that I am preaching to the choir here. Unless something unusual happens with this blog, those of you reading this will vote. So you’ll have done your part, right? I mean, what else can you do?
The 1969 comedy show “Beyond the Fringe” with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, contains a routine called “The Aftermyth of War.” There you will find this gem, delivered in a haughty dowager’s English accent:
“The weekend war broke out, I was at a house party… and after Mr. Chamberlain’s moving words to the nation on that fateful September Sunday, I turned to my husband, as he then was, and said, ‘Squiffy, this is the end of an era.’ But I did not feel then that all was quite lost and immediately afterwards I got on the phone to Berlin and tried to speak to Herr Hitler who had been so kind to us last summer on our visit to Germany. Unfortunately, the line was engaged and there was nothing I could do to avert the carnage of the next six years.”
Your Humble Servant,
The Willowbrook Curmudgeon