Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I am afraid

I had a lot planned for the coming days. I've been putting together a rant about Louisiana going for Huckabee and the ridiculous influence of Protestants in this once Catholic state. I had a whole bunch of research done on the constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the questions, "Do a people who will choose democratically to subjugate their own rights and the rights of others deserve democracy? Who gets to decide this and what are the alternatives?" I had a nice thing going related to this about that poor bastard in Afghanistan who may be put to death (probably not) simply for questioning women's rights under Islam.

But none of that matters. I just had a revelation, if you will, while watching a Barack Obama commercial that ran Friday night (Yay Tivo!). I had an acting teacher who called this sort of thing "startling realization of the obvious," and he wasn't saying that disparagingly. But if it's so obvious, then why can't anyone else see it? That's one of the reasons I started writing things down to begin with. If these ideas are so clear, then why is no one smarter than me having them?

We are headed for a revolution in this country. Bear with me. I don't mean to say that lines and swords will be drawn, but you never know these days.

A line in the Obama commercial was about universal health care. I hate the idea of universal health care. Universal (national, socialized, whatever) health care will not work in this country. The only reason it works (sort of) in Canada is that they run a closed system. Doctors cannot not accept public money from patients in the system and private money from those without. You're in or you're out. Period. That won't fly here. People are used to their choices. They are used to being AMERICAN with all the privilege and entitlement that implies. A universal health care system, closed or otherwise, would only widen the disparity between the rich and the not rich. I don't say poor, because that's not who I'm talking about. The victims of universal health care, the victims of the carbon tax, the victims of the AMT, the victims of the war in Iraq, the victims of September 11, the victims of tax rebates and housing bailouts and every single program from the right and the left are the middle class.

The American Revolution was not started by the aristocracy but by farmers and shopkeepers. The French Revolution was not sparked by the starving poor but by the merchants being taxed into starvation. The Glorious Revolution was not started by the rural poor but by the urban professionals. The National Socialists rode to power on the backs of dissatisfied teachers, public servants and small business owners. In all of these cases, it was the middle class (or what passed for it at the time) that felt the worst pressure and helped drive these events. The poor were enraged cannon fodder, the self-important, jockeying upper class provided the money, but the middle class provided the thinking and the organization that toppled regimes and overturned social order.

The same paradigms exist today. The poor are always going to be poor and, quite honestly, they get better off every year. We have the richest poor people in history living in this country. The majority of them will always be poor and all the pandering and social programs in the world will not change that. The rich are always going to be rich. Barring catastrophe, the wealthy react to all change with adaptation that is only possible through means. They have to pay a little more? Whatever. They may gripe about it but, ultimately, they'll survive and continue to prosper. More taxes on the rich and more money being thrown at the poor will not change either's situation. It is the middle class that is caught in this crunch and is shrinking all the time. It is the middle class that will break.

All they need is a reason. All they need is a villain. They have that right now. Godlessness. The Christian middle class is being told every day that they are under fire, that they are being oppressed. The architects of their misfortunes and struggles are the atheists, the heathens, the heretics and the infidels. The Christians are fighting their war, their revolution, already. They fight it in the classroom, the courtroom, the council chamber and on the village green. Science is their enemy, rational thought is their oppressor, Satan is in everything secular and they are suffering because of it. The godless liberals and activist judges allow homosexuality and abortion to cripple them. The loss of Christian privilege will soon result in a new Coliseum, complete with lions. Every rumor is a roar and never quieted.

I used to say that when the revolution came it would come from the left, from those who would protect us from ourselves and regulate even our language and thoughts into total obedience and compliance. This is no longer the case. The revolution will come from the middle class; they will have God at their helm and all his righteous fury behind them.

We would not be in the situation in which we find ourselves if everything was ok. If they did not feel disenfranchised and marginalized, these people would not be turning to religion for answers. The fault of this lies where it usually does - in the ruling class and its greed and lust for power.

Right or left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, the labels don't matter anymore. The political parties exist now for a singular purpose - the accumulation of power and money. If the Democrats really cared about ending the war that's bankrupting the nation, they could in an instant. They are simply served better by a war going poorly than a defeat. If the war was going well, if the people still supported it, the entire Democratic party would be behind it, just as they were in the beginning. By the same token, if the illegals in this country could be counted on to vote Republican, they would have already been pardoned and naturalized. The Democrats use shame and the Republicans use fear. Both are used to further separate agendas with the same end. Power.

I am talking about parties, now, not people. The Clintons have already shown their lust for the big chair and aren't even trying to conceal it this time around. McCain wants to be liked. Huckabee thinks he can ride Chritianity to the Vice-Presidency, regardless of his actual belief in his Dominionist rhetoric. I cannot find an ulterior motive or insidious agenda in Obama, but I do believe that the Party will use him to further theirs. I also believe that what seems too good to be true usually is. As it turns out, even John Kennedy wasn't John Kennedy.

I have nothing to cite. No studies or data to back anything up. I only have my own observations and knowledge of history. Both, to be sure, are somewhat deficient. But I am, for the first time, afraid of what might happen in my lifetime. I don't think there will be organized and armed conflict or a sudden coup or anything that interesting, sensational or apocalyptic. At least, at first. I do see the possibility of the destruction of the Constitution and the failure of the American experiment. I see the possibility of "one Nation, under God."

My wife thinks I should speak out. Run for office. Try to effect change. I have no idea how to do any of that. I have no idea if my business, my marriage or my family would be able to withstand the strain of forever tilting at the windmills.

I am too old for idealism, yet I cannot stop believing. I have faith, yes, FAITH, in the Great Experiment. I have faith in the possibility of a New Enlightenment. I have faith in the American ideal, the Declaration, the Constitution, life, liberty and the pursuit.

But I'm afraid.

6 comments:

bullet said...

Does this sound crazy?

Ugh - I need some City of Heroes to quiet my head.

the chaplain said...

You asked, "Does this sound crazy?"

Sad to say, it doesn't, actually. My outlook is not quite as gloomy as yours, but I understand all too well how you've arrived at this point.

You also said, "The Democrats use shame and the Republicans use fear. Both are used to further separate agendas with the same end. Power."

I've never been a political apparatchik, but I once harbored the notion that the Democrats differed from the Republicans in more than their name. This current Congress has demonstrated by its inaction that my optimism was not grounded in reality. In addition to having different names, the two major American political parties differ only in the tools they use, guilt and fear, to reach the same end - power.

The Exterminator said...

The theocrats will see their power expand during the next administration no matter who gets into the White House.

That's why I believe atheists should absolutely refuse to vote for anyone who uses the words "faith," "god," "prayer," or even the veiled "belief" as part of his or her campaign message.

And that's also why I'm running for president under this slogan: Are You Better Off than You Were 2,000 Years Ago? Perhaps your wife would like to be my campaign manager?

bullet said...

Ex: Stay away from wife, you sicko.

Pockets said...

I once saw Richard Dreyfuss on the panel on Real Time with Bill Maher. I didn't know he'd gone back to school to earn a degree in teaching civics. I can't remember whom he'd quoted, but he brought up the rather frightening point that all it would truly take to sink this great experiment we call democracy/republic would be one solitary generation uneducated in civics in the U.S. Dreyfuss went on to point out that that's our generation, clock ticking. He noted that with the very small exception of certain minors here and there amidst other courses of study in the post-secondary arena, what was once a mandatory focus in most high schools is now next to nonexistent except for a chapter here or there, say in Social Studies class.

bullet said...

Maybe that's my problem. I had a whole year of Civics my senior year. Civics, not Social Studies. I had Social studies in grammar school.