Beleaguered on All Fronts, Losing Steadily, and Still We Fight Among Ourselves.
Sour Daily Noodling, Absolutely Free
This blog I write is seldom the place to go for happy talk. It’s just all bitching all the time. But, in a phrase I borrow from my wife, “I don’t blame myself.” Still, if I were so inclined, I could fuss around and find positive things to celebrate with my perceptibly declining language skills. I could watch the Hallmark Channel, perhaps, and if I did it long enough, I could come to see the world as a place of really nice homes, decorated by Martha Stewart, with mostly upper middle class white folks living in them, rosy cheeked and warm against the cold, where minor understandings are cleared up in less than two hours.
Or I could just spend my time flipping through the AARP magazines with most of my attention on the pharmaceutical ads, all of them featuring happy oldsters riding bikes or going fishing with their Opie-fied youngsters.
And, if I wanted to reassure myself that things have really improved for black folks, I could read The New York Times, especially the arts or sports section, where I’d find news about rappers, hip-hoppers, and sports heroes who seem to be doing very, very well.
Then, too, I could choose to just watch local news, most of which leads with someone dying, but then reassures its audience with happy talk from the truly resilient news readers who entertain one another, and us, with a feature story or two about firemen saving kittens, or a homeless family being treated to a free dinner.
But no, I don’t do any of that. Instead, I’m a year-round Grinch, stoking discontent daily from way out west, where seldom is heard an encouraging word, at least from this quarter. I’m always complaining about politicians or the general state of things, a relentless doomsayer sharing thoughts with an audience of lefties and cranks much like myself, though there is a sprinkling of homebound crazies and shut-in kooks with “issues” of their own. Some of them seem to have decided that I’m the worst of their worries, avidly trolling me about as consistently as the spammers do who want to brag about how much money they are making without leaving their homes, something they assume I’d like to do, too, or if not me, my hundreds of faithful readers looking for a little extra income on the side.
Still, I must plead guilty to being a fairly consistent and constant purveyor of doom and gloom here in the monkey cage, though I mostly don’t trouble readers with much in the way of personal trouble or sorrows, especially when there is little if any connection between my woes and American politics, global warming, or pandemics.
For instance, the widow of my long-departed best friend died this week, a woman with a great laugh and a raucous sense of humor. I refrained from mentioning that because no Republicans were involved in her demise, though the more I think about it, her last years were filled with worry, stress, and tension caused in some part by the constant efforts of Republicans since Reagan to make sure most people dependent on Social Security were living on the knife edge of subsistence. My mom, dead now a dozen years, was one such victim of the misplaced priorities of the right wingers who won’t be satisfied until the top 1 or 2% of Americans have all the money and the rest of us will rely on food banks.
Now I suspect the usual handful of folk who lurk and smirk here are likely to add a comment after they post their persistent ratings of 1, anxious to remind me of the times I wrote about losing our house to the fire, or the high cost of my diabetes meds. I’ll head off that complaint by saying that I always try to confine my more personal grousings to matters of public policy.
But, be that as it may, the thing about blogging is that it is meant to be personal, a bit of commentary intended to make those who agree with the expressed opinions feel a bit less isolated or alone in their anger or pain about how things are run and the often venal and dishonest people who are running them.
At least a time or two each week, I have to ask myself why I bother with this when I could be sitting in a rocker muttering to myself. Knowing how small the voice and the audience, nearly nothing would be lost to the world if I just decided to shut the fuck up.
But then I remember that I’m mostly doing this for myself. I’m an old man now, and I know a lot of things I didn’t know when I was younger. I saw through Trump at a glance, something I’m not sure I would have done when I was younger. I also saw what was happening in the Republican long game well before Trump loaded the Supreme Court with right wing religious crazies intent on sticking their noses into other people’s uteri. Hell, I saw it coming plain as day when I watched the Clarence Thomas hearings when Dubya’s dad was president, saw it clearer than our current POTUS who chaired that committee and, though he’s even older than I am, didn’t seem to see it himself.
Age is supposed to provide wisdom, a dubious proposition when the Fox “News” audience tends to looks a lot like me. Apparently, a great many of those folks want to leave this world damn near as ignorant and as gullible as when they came into it. For those of us who continued to learn even after we knew how to use the toilet and then to tie our shoes, the accretion of knowledge and experience made it easier for us to see grifters and scammers more readily than some of our peers who were less curious or less observant. Many of us, for instance, figured out that the war in Vietnam was bogus even when we were subject to the draft that seemed intent on seeing us dying in a rice paddy there.
Some of us white guys, even those who grew up in very bigoted communities north and south, figured out the hustle of pitting whites against blacks, knew pretty early that our real foes weren’t guys our own age who were darker-skinned. No, the people who were going to skin us shared our skin color, clothed in very expensive suits.
It’s also true that there were a number of us old guys who have read newspapers, magazines, and books most of our lives. There were things we learned there, along with the stuff picked up in that college of hard knocks where the only barrier to admission is having more money than most. Money can serve as a shield against taking severe hits, protecting guys like Brett Kavanaugh from suffering consequences for their entitled and more misguided actions. For much of our lives, we’ve known that us working class kids, and especially black kids, would go to jail for smoking a joint while the wealthier members of our age group could get away with rape, if it came to that, and still start their climb up the ladder beginning on a much higher rung than the riff raff below them.
If the Smirking Chimp, with its “vast left wing conspiracy” motto, is truly representative of the vast left wing, it any wonder then that the fascists are kicking our sorry ass all over the place, coming at us from all directions in a patient and entirely united attempt to have their way with “our” women, while we, men and women, gays and straights, along with the whole alphabet of sexual identities and orientations, causes and crusades continue to bicker, unraveling coalitions while forming that circular firing squad we seem to like so much.
The struggle will go on forever, but we surely could coalesce and plan ahead as well as those who oppose damn near every good, needful, or decent thing that rises to the surface.