4/19/2017

Out of Patience

When I was a kid, in the 50’s, Eisenhower was President and Nixon was Vice-President (heavy on the “vice”). For a brief moment, John Kennedy was elected president in 1960, when I was twelve and assinated when I was fifteen. A marginal Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, followed that until he was chased from office (by actual Democrats) over his expansion of the Vietnam War. Nixon and his band of merry assholes and war criminals followed. After six and a half years and even more expansion of the war, Republicans stuck the country with Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller after Nixon and his VP, Spiro Agnew, were chased from office for corruption and various crimes against the nation. Ford was the 1974 version of Paul Ryan, with about the same lack of patriotism, with the same collection of corrupt corporate and 1% owners, and the same distain for justice and honor that has been typical of Republicans for my whole lifetime.

For an incredibly brief 4 years, a competent businessman, experienced engineer, a reasonable politician, and decent person, Jimmy Carter, was president. Carter made the politically fatal mistake of attempting to explain the situation Americans had placed themselves in with those years of  expansionist war, Republican, and near-Republican misnamangement (Remember the “malaise speech?”). Reminicent of the more recent words of Bernie Sanders, Carter told us, "In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns." He called American lack of faith in the country’s future, “a crisis of confidence.” The truth may set you free, but in Carter’s case it cost him the 1980 election to a Republican con man and a collection of right wing crooks and traitors who haven’t yet left the stage. Carter was right, though, the post-Reagan USA became one “defined by . . . what one owns.”

So, with our heads in the sand or up our asses we elected Ronald Reagan, followed by George Bush Sr., and the country drove itself off a cliff of international debt and some kind of weird celebration of anti-intellectualism and greed that resulted in a habitual deficit spending and a vicious love of imperialism and militarism. Twelve years of regressive, corrupt, and incompetent Hollywood executive and mediocracy—inspired congressional idiocy followed. Somehow, brainless and lazy Americans decided to convey political sainthood on Reagan instead of admitting that they’d been conned and the country had been robbed by the B-movie actor and failed California politician.

Bill Clinton could have been a Democrat, but he chose to be an “Eisenhower Republican” and he only moderated the government’s incompetence during his eight years in office. Even Republicans don’t like Republicans pretending to be Democrats and the last four years of Clinton’s administration was taken up with “did he or didn’t he” bullshit about Clinton’s blowjobs. Republicans tried to conjure up real impeachable crimes, but being Republicans their success was limited by their lack of competence and their own massive corruption issues. Clinton might have been an easy target if Republicans still had an intellectual base, but by 1992 every intelligent Republican had left the building and their space was filled by the uneducated, racist, tools of the Koch brothers we suffer today.

Then eight years of G.W. Bush and a bunch of Reagan and Nixon cronies finally led us to the Great Recession. Obviously, the Party of Borrow and Spend borrowed and spent to the tune of increasing the deficit every year while the 1%, the conservative media talking heads, and the Marching Morons pretended that was a rational alternative to Democratic “tax and spend” policies that at least attempt to pay for their policies. 2008 through 2010 were budget years where the federal government attempted to spend its way out of what looked like the Second Great Depression. I guess it sort of worked, but prosecuting the financial criminals, recovering their booty to repay the trillions they cost the country and world, and taxing the 1% would have worked far better. Barak Obama was more of a Democrat than the Clintons, but not enough more to convince the Marching Morons that democracy is better than idiocy or mediocrity.

Trump, of course, will be the worst of Reagan and the Bush’s combined. He had no skill as a “businessman” and his mental instability has led to a collection of right wing idiots in the executive branch who are guaranteed to make life miserable for working people. The best we can hope for now is that Republicans and the inbred 1% will be stupid enough to crash the country and the resulting chaos will break up the oversized and overarmed US military and not cause the insane religious right, who now dominate US politics, to fire off their own perverted version of Armageddon. Today, the world’s most pressing problem is surviving the end of the empire known as the United States of America.

So, I went through the Vietnam War years, watching my friends die, be mentally or physically disabled, and being alienated from my family and community because I wouldn’t “get onboard” with an immoral war. Again, I was on the opposite side of the majority during Reagan and Bush I’s reign of world terror and imperialism and again with Bush II. After spending most of my 69 years suffering with the incompetence of Republicans and the stupidity of Republican voters, I’m tired of it. I have no more energy or motivation to put up with 4 or 8 years of a pack of Trump morons than I have with chemotherapy and a long “fight” with cancer. In fact, the moral character of my country feels disgustingly like a cancer infection/infestation.

4/01/2017

Always Visitors, Rarely Visited

When my wife and I were young, we lived in a variety of hell-holes from Dallas and Hereford, Texas to mid-sized and small towns in Nebraska. When none of our family or friends visited us in those places, it was no surprise. We didn’t want to be there, so why should anyone else want to visit? However, when we moved to Omaha in the early 1980’s that should have changed. But it didn’t.

Omaha had more recreational resources than any of the places we’d lived previously and dramatically more than where our friends and family lived. Still, we did the visiting and no one came to visit us . . . ever. We moved to southern California and had three visitors in ten years. Part of the SoCal problem was that our $1600/month apartment was tiny and we had no room for anyone other than us. We moved to Colorado and my brother visited a few times and our daughter, once, but we were pretty much left on our own there, too. As always, we travelled to visit my family. Next, we moved to Minnesota which is a world more interesting than Kansas, Missouri, or Texas, but we’ve pretty much been left alone here, too. Even our daughter’s family, who live less than 10 miles from us, rarely make the trip to our place. Instead, as always, if we want to see the kids and grandkids we travel to see them. I’m not sure what that means, but I think it means my wife and I are hermits. Maybe not by intention, but certainly by lifestyle.

When my parents were alive, we'd make the miserable pilgrimage to western Kansas, often fighting out way through blizzards during the holidays. After we'd been "home" for an hour or two, my parents would settle back into their normal life, as if the effort we'd made to visit were inconsequential and expected. After a few years of that, my wife decided to quit travelling to Kansas. I should have wised up sooner, but I didn't. I guess I wanted my kids to know where I'd come from and had wild hopes that my parents would want to get to know my children. We were always from different planets and that was never going to be likely, though. We're not much for visiting these days. Travel, yes, but travelling to see family or friends, not so much. And, as always, no one travels to see us. Even as old fucks, we're expected to go to them, whoever "they" are.

So, in the fall of 2014 Robbye and I are moving to Red Wing, Minnesota, where we know no one and would be starting life over at 66 and 64. It could be intimidating, but it is only a little because we’re not giving up much. We’ll be leaving the city, but that’s no real sacrifice. I’ve had all of the urban noise and traffic I need for a lifetime. We’ll be moving about 40 miles further away from the kids, but since we see them once or twice a month that’s no big obstacle. Their visits to us are so infrequent that we won’t notice any change in that area. The grandkids won’t be staying overnight or on weekends during school months, but they don’t do that much now, anyway. Most of the good friends we once had in the Cities have left or drifted away. It's not unusual for us to go for a month without seeing anyone but strangers in stores. With that in mind, we might as well be where the cost of living is lower, somewhere quiet, less pointlessly busy.

I am curious as to why we’ve always been visitors and rarely visited. Maybe we’re not good hosts? Maybe our home is not comfortable. When I worked at the school, we had a fair number of parties during the summer and, sometimes, people came. Often, they did not. More often than not, I’d have enough food prepared for the party that we’d be eating on the leftovers for a week afterwards. I never thought much about it at the time, but in retrospect it seems to be part of the story of our lives.
I’m writing all of this, of course, in the fall of 2014 and I expect to be long dead when Google “publishes” this addition to my blog. Of course, I might live longer than two more years but it seems unlikely at this moment. Google might not be messing with Blogger in 2016, so maybe no one will ever read it. Maybe people will be so involved in basic survival in 2016 due to climate change, revolution, or societal collapse that even if Google still pukes out scheduled blog entries it will be unnoticed. No problem there. I’m used to it by now.