Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Profits! Not people!
I think the most disappointing thing about our current political state is that we are living in the 21st Century and acting like it's the 19th Century. In the 1800s, the Robber Barons - Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt - were setting the tone for throwing away human capital by valuing profit over people. Then, child labor was a legitimate industry and education was basically a privilege.
Fast forward two centuries and the exterior might have changed, but it is still the privilege of the Political and Corporate Robber Barons to de-value people over profits. Shorthand here: Halliburton, EPA, global warming, the unfunded No Child Left Behind, school vouchers.
The proletariat are supposed to be wiser and smarter in my view. We're supposed to see through things like compulsory sentencing for SELECT drug offenses; we're supposed to see through things like the Patriot Act; we're supposed to see through things like (the very scary) Judge Alito confirmation process.
Actually, we should be wiser, because smarter hasn't been cutting it. We have a lot of very smart conservatives who have cornered themselves with their own intellect. By separating themselves from their fellow humans, conservatives (by dint of better education, better jobs, better-looking wives) have made themselves into androids who are able to consider those OTHER humans in the abstract. 'Why waste taxpayer dollars on those dark-skinned kids who just can't seem to learn?' 'Why not accept war as a fact of human nature -- and maybe make some money on it?' 'Life isn't fair and it isn't government's role to make it fair.' 'If we cut out that one percent of government spending that goes to welfare, I can fill up my SUV's tank one extra time over the course of a year.''We are guaranteed no rights by our system of government, so any rights they take away aren't really ours, anyway.'
You know what? I'm tired of being told by smart people that I need to be scared. I have a new mantra -- 1919. Why 1919? Because America and the world was in sorry shape - a world war, a flu epidemic that killed millions (more than the world war) and we survived. We didn't shut down the Constitution. We didn't spy on Austrian or German citizens. We didn't have the president tell the populace they were too stupid to understand his need to become a dictator rather than first among equals.
Hell yes, it is hard being a liberal today and watching people on different journeys make mistakes that can be pretty boneheaded. But, that is what liberals do -- they value the journeys because that process has gotten us amazing things -- democracy, technology, jurisprudence (read your history books and tell me any of these things sprang from a conservative system.)
Conservatives are on a journey that has been serving as an anchor to slow down societal progress.
A better analogy might be that they've slowed progress down just enough so the political lions can separate them and kill their ability for human connection.
Hey. Here's a radical idea. Maybe we should try and engage EVERY element of our society because we can't afford to waste anymore lives. Maybe we should overhaul a system that sharpens cynicism so that only the most cynical white man in America is elected to lead us every 4 years into some Robber Baron abyss.
It doesn't have to be this way, you know. Women won leadership postions in Germany and Liberia. Evo Morales -- an indigenous person -- won in Bolivia. Come on conservatives, try something new. You might like it. After all, a person is a terrible thing to waste.
link | posted by Jae at 5:37 AM |
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