I am having a bit of a crisis. Mediocre complaining to no-one-in-particular about what dreadful f--kups run things is garden variety, no not even that, is a weed of discourse to be heard in every barroom, truckstop, writhewing talk show or anywhere ignorant gossip and insecurity flow unchecked. I berate us all and myself in particular for getting angrily self indulgent rather than engaging as personally as possible all the wrong headed persons who have assented to the several poisonous lines of policy this administration follows. I did not want to waste any more time chiseling sentences out of feckless anguish. I went back to using my spare minutes to design software and buildings and fix up the house as I did in days gone by. I never had time for blogging, I stole it. I am not a blogger, just an old guy with a job, a family, a house and too much to do. I quit reading TPM and Atrios and well, just about everything.
As this silence wore on, I came to feel vaguely estranged and disconnected from life. Though my role and station in life do not require me to voice anything, not outrage, not insight, nor drivel, something about me has changed so that it feels natural and necessary to bear witness to the folly of our nation and join those who speak against it. I know in my bones I only exist so that my children will succeed me. To let my country lose its bearings and to let our economy and our ecology fall apart for the benefit of a few thousand very wealthy and selfish companies and individuals and their media lackies is to leave my children a hopeless and impoverished world. I cannot detach that much no matter how distasteful involvement in politics may be. Making phone calls to strangers is the last thing I would have imagined doing...yet I do it now. Blogging too is a way to reach a few more people so it is back on my rioting to-do list. Not only is my disengagement from determining the leadership of the US unacceptable, NOBODY has an excuse even though it is a dirty and trying business. The alternative is to leave it to yet dirtier and more selfish parties. The alternative is to abandon your own future to the entropy of greed.
And then I voted in the primary election. I am so lucky. I actually had some choices.
And I still read my science magazines. Even from that corner, I feel scorn for my apathy. Screw Bush and all who go about on his behalf saying scientists are cassandras in search of a budget: There is so much to know and it will help us slow the damage we do if we learn how the world operates. Yes, I grow angry. So what?! I am angry because common sense and simple ideas of right and fair are being systematically violated and I am less of a good neighbor, less of a human being for shirking my job to not let the world remain broken. I am damned if I will let it get more broken than it already is.
Back on the 21st of Sept, when doubts quite unplugged my keyboard, accidents of timing and miscued car repairs put me in earshot of Open Source. Lydon was wrapping up an interview with Niall Furguson. It was so easy, so unhesitatingly easy for this historian to run down a checklist of why empires lose wars...their military equipment hardly matters, but "legitimacy" of the claims made to support the war, the causes, is paramount. Why is it so hard for so many of my fellow citizens to see what others can see so readily? Why are we in Iraq? Well, if we had only understood Bush's campaign promises, we would have known why from the very start:
I promised a series of homespun white papers on all the issues I personally found important. That is forthcoming. I have been supplied with a constant stream of what is wrong with the polices and practices of the currently powerful...more difficult to suggest what would be right but I will take a stab.