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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Run Your Own Life

You know, it truly seems that the time of the people to run their own lives has come. This opinion does not make me a Glock-toting anti-government tea-bagging fascist wing nut. Nor does this opinion make me a godless communist save-the-whales gay abortionist. In my mind, it simply reflects what anyone can see if they look at what's right in front of their eyes.

When I think back on the presidential elections since I've been eligible to vote, they've pretty much all been exhausting. On election day I'm usually as disgusted with who I voted for as I am their opponent. True, I was as proud as I've ever been on Barack Obama's inauguration day - that we had finally elected a black president - not because I thought he'd do much better than anybody else would have done. I said it over and over again: "This man faces the biggest uphill battle that any president's ever faced, and it's going to take him a long time to get anything done." I'll also go so far as to say that it seems there's more than enough evidence to convict somebody in the George W. Bush administration of war crimes - even if I'm too ignorant or too chicken to say who that might be - and I wasn't unhappy to see him and his cronies go to pasture.

Still, as a good friend of mine says, "I always predicted that the first black president would be a Republican, and I was right!" I voted for Mr. Obama, and I'm going to vote for him again. But I'd be a fool if thought there was anything more than a superficial difference between him and Mr. Romney. Sure, Obama's probably a bit more socially liberal than Romney, and it's possible that might ultimately result in some social change I'd like to see. But my experience seems to bear out that those in power are always going to work for those who put them there, and that don't mean the voters, folks. Follow the money, and you'll figure it out in short order.

It is also my opinion that there are some things that are so big, so complicated, and so important to us as a people that (despite its apparent incompetence) only a federal government can handle. There ought to be federal laws that apply to us all. There ought to be a federally-controlled military. There ought to be federal oversight that my rights as a citizen won't be trampled. And so on. But maybe it's time to chill the hell out, stop whining, and take control over the aspects of our lives that we can.

I bitch all the time about having banged my head against the wall for twenty years in the arts and still I haven't "made any money" or "gotten the recognition I deserve." What a crock of shit. First of all, I'm living pretty damn well and have no right to complain. Second of all, I sit on my fat ass two-thirds of the time when I could be (at the very least) making still more art, not to mention learning how to market what I've already got. Again: it may be my right to bitch all I want, but it's everybody else's right to ignore me. I think the same thing applies to us and our government.

You'll never hear me say that we should universally abolish the federal government - re-read the fourth paragraph in this essay - I stand by it. However, there's so much we could do to take care of ourselves if we just would. Here's just one example: Evidence suggests that the early-to-mid-1970's beginnings of the downsizing of America's middle class might have been due to collusion between employers and credit card companies. (I'm not - really - claiming conspiracy theory here... but think about it.) You can hear 'em now... "Hey! They're saving too much money that could be in our pockets! Let's pay 'em lower wages, but extend 'em credit so they can buy stuff... then not only will we have more money, but they'll owe us! Yeah, bitches! Who's buying the drinks?!" You see? It's only logical. Those who have the money don't want to share, they want to keep it!

Well, we could "solve" this "problem" with all kinds of regulations and laws and riots in the streets, and maybe that's not an entirely bad thing to do... if I read the "Occupy" movement correctly, that seems to be what they are, in fact, doing. But we could also solve it by just cutting up our credit cards and never using them again. The problem is that a) we'd have to do without cool stuff for a while and b) we'd all have to do it. This is hard to do on both counts. We all like cool stuff, and the moneyed establishment has us all so scared of each other that the likelihood that we'll cooperate on something so big and important is almost nil. But still... there is a way to put 'em in their place, y'all.

Whether it's dumb-ass brainwashing or legitimate patriotism, I'm voting come November. I truly don't know if it means a damn thing, but I'm doing it anyway. In the mean time, I'm still a gun-toting long-haired rock-n-roll atheist (well... agnostic anyway) Civil War re-enactor, and I'm gonna be as compassionate and patient and fearless with my neighbors and myself as I can. It's scary, but I'll bet we're gonna make it. See you on the other side of the shitstorm, y'all.


Blogger thistlethorn said...

personal responsibility=personal freedom

6:49 PM  

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