Tag Archives: change

Oh, evolve

The great evolutionary changes of this epoch are in the mind. No, I don’t meant you’re imagining them. I mean they’re taking place in the extraordinary workings of the nerves and synapses of the brain.

It’s a little like growing up. Kids start out with no ability to reason. Gradually, they learn. They learn that hitting their friends to get what they want isn’t a good idea. They learn that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. They learn that everybody’s parents aren’t just like theirs.

Some kids take longer than others to learn. Some kids never do — they get stuck somewhere, for some reason, and never become wholly adults. You know the type. You’ve seen them at 40, angry at the world for not giving in to their every demand, blaming everyone but themselves for their ills.

They’ve never grown up, never evolved past that time in the distant past when their parents gave them everything because they were too small and helpless to fend for themselves. And now they see anything good and decent happening to and for other people as a direct affront to themselves, to their own deep-seeded feelings of inadequacy.

Society, humans — we grow up too, as a group. But since we’re made up of individual humans who are all at different levels of growing up, the group doesn’t mature all at once. The group has to wait for its individual members to push it to the next level. Kinda like how sometimes, when we’re younger, some parts of our bodies grow faster than others. Look at kittens, with their giant ears. They’ll “grow into them” the way a human child might have exceptionally large feet at 8 and “grow into the them” by 12.

We humans are “growing into” a new (for many), more cooperative and compassionate way of looking at the world. We’re evolving, becoming more human.

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer says firefighters in Tennessee, who stood by and watched a house burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee, did the “right thing,” the “Christian thing.” If that’s the Christian thing, or even the right thing (which it most definitely isn’t), then I want no part of it. It’s not the human — the humane — thing to do.

Fischer says critics “have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.”

Really? I say the firefighters who just stood there — and the fire chief who ordered them to — have fallen prey to a cynical, inhumane version of humanity that is only about having no virtues at all and not in any part about the very human virtues of compassion and a desire to help out your fellow man (and woman).

Those firefighters, and their chief, are still children. Their decisions weren’t about “individual responsibility and accountability.” They were about screwing the guy who didn’t play by the rules they set up. And that takes us to whoever it was who devised this system. Those guys are nothing but playground bullies. They turned their backs on Gene Cranick when he said he’d pay them anything if they’d save his house.

The firefighters responded to the call in case the fire spread to any neighbors who did pay the fee, which it did, and that fire they doused. That guy had given them his lunch money, bought into the protection racket the other children of Obion County put in place.

The right thing? In whose world? Oh, right. The conservatives’ world. The one where everything should be privatized because wealthy businesspeople know best how to run the world. And if you don’t agree, well, you’ll lose everything you own when your house burns down.

Kinda like not voting for an extension of unemployment benefits in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

More evolved people would never have set up such a system. They know that society functions best when its individual members band together. In smaller groups, order can be easily maintained with consensus decision-making. But as the group gets larger, some kind of governing structure needs to be in place.

The founders of the United States put in place a pretty good system. Sure, it’s flawed, as were the founders — although they were the most evolved people of their day. But now the less evolved have grown up enough to learn how to circumvent the protections put in place by those men. They’ve learned how to convince other unevolved people of the “wisdom” of their ideas, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

We, on the other hand, can’t stoop that low. We just can’t. Once upon a time, we could. Once upon a time, the left had no problems lying or instigating violence to get what it wanted. But we’ve grown up since then. We can’t do that anymore, because it’s wrong. Just like standing by while some poor schlump’s house burns down.

It’s evolution, plain and simple. Cro-magnon man won the race with neanderthal man. Progressives will win the race with regressives. But there’s no reasoning with them — they lack the ability to reason. They can’t see what we can see, just like somewhere out there are people who see far more than we can, who have evolved beyond our comprehension.

It’s a small world for the unevolved. Every indication of change is a threat. They band together tighter and tighter while we expand our horizons and look beyond the immediate. They look to myths and legends to answer questions we know have answers in science and knowledge.

Humans have progressed and still are progressing, always will. But every human society must contend with those too fearful to go forward, those who would much rather go to back to times they think would be easier — when answers came from some higher place and humanity didn’t have to think for itself or look beyond immediate families or tribes for protections. Because other families, other tribes, were too threatening.

We don’t live there anymore, and we’ll never go back, no matter how hard they try. They can only make things harder for themselves — and for us.

No wonder they don’t believe in evolution. It’s the one constant thing, the one thing they can’t bear to contemplate.

Next up, I take on the New World Order, and the NWO wins.

The fall of the American empire

This country is fucked up, man. I’ve seen a lot in my rather lengthy years here, and I’ve never seen it like this. I know, I know, there’s some song out there that says something about “Every generation thinks it’s the last,” or some such. I hate that fucking song. And yeah, we’ve been pretty fucked up before. The Civil War comes to mind. But tell me when we’ve ever before had this harmonic convergence of stupidity, cowardice, cruelty, corruption, hatred, lies and obstruction. You can’t do it, because we’ve never had it.

And that’s just Congress. Never mind the corporations, the Tea Party, the militias, the states, religion and, of course, the people who create those monstrosities.

Maybe it has something to do with the bird we picked to symbolize our greatness, the bald eagle. Magnificent bird, but awfully lazy. They won’t leave their evening roost sites, usually on cliffsides, if there’s not enough wind because they’d rather not flap those enormous wings. And they’d much rather whack you over the head with those wings and steal the fish you just caught than catch one themselves. Ben Franklin was right about the wild turkey. Not a very attractive bird, true, but industrious and not a mugger.

Something needs to happen, and soon, before we end up crushed and broken like the Roman Empire, shattered into tiny pieces and living in a modern version of the Dark Ages.

But what the hell can we do? We elect people we think will do the right thing, and as soon as they get into office they become the same old politicians. And why not? They know which side of the bread has the butter, man, and it ain’t us.

So on this July 4, Independence Day, maybe we oughta be thinking about what kind of country we want.

Now, I know what kind of country I’d like to live in, and I’ll bet it’s pretty similar to the one you envision. But there’s an awful lot of folks out there who don’t share our dreams and hopes. But maybe they would, if only they could cut through the bullshit and understand the truth about who we are and where we come from.

Online, we largely talk to ourselves. While it’s good to know there are others as distressed as we are about the current state of affairs, we get nowhere in terms of making change happen. So start talking. Talk to your family, your friends, your coworkers. Let them see how you feel about things, not your strident ideological viewpoint, because they really don’t give a good goddamn about that. They only care about how they feel, which is why the Teapublican conservarati are so fucking successful. They play on feelings — on the scariest of feelings. But most of what the conservarati want us to fear is made up shit, or maybe exaggerated shit at best.

I don’t want to live in a world where I’m terrified to leave my house or frightened of a terrorist attack that is bound to strike where I am at that time or the coming takeover of our government by a hostile enemy. I know that bad things could happen at any time, and I know that the hostile enemy that is trying to take over our government is the very group that pretends to be the only ones who can save us. That’s a common movie plot, people. We oughta be able to recognize it by now — and that includes your family, friends and coworkers.

Michael Steele, the Republicans’ attempt to prove they aren’t a bunch of racist bastards, is a freaking idiot. And a liar. Or maybe he really believes his lies, I don’t know what’s in that guy’s head. He said last week that Afghanistan was the “war of Obama’s choosing,” that “this is not something United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

Christ, Steele, on what fucking planet? And yet, my friends, can you even imagine how many people out there now believes exactly that.

Steele forgot, apparently, that it was George W. Bush who started that war after 9/11. Of course, Bush too quickly forgot about it, preferring instead to wage a real war of choice in Iraq. Just a few short months after he started that war, loudly declaring we’d smoke al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden out of the caves where they hid, he was telling reporters he didn’t think much about bin Laden, that bin Laden didn’t concern him. Of course not. He was working on what had been his plan all along — the invasion of Iraq.

Is that the kind of country we want? Where our leaders can’t make up their minds what the fuck they’re doing and blatantly lie about it?

Do we want a country where the party with the majority in Congress repeatedly caves to the minority on important issues they were elected to address? I know I didn’t cast my ballot for Barack Obama in 2008 so we could still keep prisoners at Gitmo who have not been charged and probably tortured, or conduct electronic surveillance on anybody we choose, American citizen or no, just because.

I don’t want a country, in fact, whose people think torture is OK. Waterboarding. It wasn’t an unknown technique when we suddenly learned we were doing it. It has a long and ugly history, and for that entire history it’s been labeled torture. Right up until George W. Bush admitted we did it. Then suddenly it was just a “harsh interrogation technique that some consider torture.” Really? Fuck that. Waterboarding is torture.

Actually, watching our government implode is torture. Watching Teapublicans get everything they fucking want in a bill and still refuse to vote for it is torture.

These guys started out Obama’s administration saying they wanted it to fail. They’re doing a great job of making sure that happens. Is that the kind of country we want? I don’t think so.

And it’s only gonna get worse, I tell you. We’re on a rapid slide to a catastrophic failure, and we’re getting awfully close to the point of no return. Think it’s bad now? Put the Republicans back in power in Congress. Or elect more Blue Dog corporate slave Democrats. See what happens then.

The Republicans want a government that caters to the rich, that makes them more powerful than they need to be. They don’t give a shit about you and me, and they especially don’t give a shit about the poor or anybody not white. Except Michael Steele, apparently, and maybe Alberto Gonzales.

That’s why they go on and on about socialism and Nazism and terrorists and Muslims and immigrants. It’s why they destroyed ACORN. It’s why they’re doing everything they can to save BP and nothing to save the Gulf Coast.

And a lot of people who are not completely destitute or unemployed buy into their crap. Know why? Because they still cling to something that was never true — that elusive American Dream of someday being one of the rich guys.

Not gonna happen for most, because what they don’t understand is that to become one of those guys you have to sell your soul, or not have one to begin with.

I don’t want to live in a soulless country. It sounds to much like late Victorian England, with debtors prisons and despicable orphanages and health care provided by Jack the Ripper types if you can get it at all.

No, I want a country that cares about its people, not its profits. I want a country that sees despair and bends to lift it, that educates its children in the ways of science and history, that encourages innovation and invention and gives those children the means to create.

Instead, though, we have a country that devalues education, cuts funding and then wonders why China is leaping ahead of us economically.

We have a country that values killing people more than it values saving lives by keeping our own infrastructure in good repair.

Some Republican last week lamented that our economy was going the way of the Roman Empire, blaming Obama and Democrats for that, naturally. He was half right. Our economy is collapsing, but it’s 30 years of conservative fuckery that’s cutting the legs out from under it.

How quickly we forget. Obama entered his presidency in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and Republicans have screwed up every single thing he’s tried to fix it.

It was going to be a long, hard road anyway, but now it’s gotten longer and perhaps impossible to travel.

I’m angry as hell at the Republicans for that, and angry too at Obama and the Democrats for letting them do it, for not countering their scary rhetoric.

So if they’re not gonna do it, we have to. Not just to ourselves, but to everyone. It’s our last chance to turn this ship of state around. It’s hard work, and it will take a long, long time.

But the alternative is just too painful to even imagine.