Thursday, January 21, 2010

turning off the news

I'm speechless with rage at the seemingly unlimited uselessness of the Democratic Party. I had hoped that after the cowardice of the BushCo years, once taking power the Democrats might actually govern. And Obama embodied that hope: I didn't buy into the messianic thing that so many people did, but I did believe very strongly that at least grown-ups with a shred of human decency might finally be in charge.

But no. The spinelessness of Congressional Democrats seems to know no bounds. I had always thought you could at least rely on politicians to want to get re-elected, since it's too much to ask them to care about human beings per se, but they're not even doing that calculus: they seem ready to commit mass political suicide by letting health care die, because...I'm not sure why, exactly. Because they don't have a Senate supermajority? As Jon Stewart points out, President Shrub never had one, and he ran roughshod over everything anyway.

It's like all the cards are on the table, and it turns out that
  1. Democrats never wanted to pass health care reform anyway, and this is their excuse to bail on it, and
  2. the only thing the Democrats really want is for Republicans to like them, which is like sucking up to the school bully in the hope he won't punch you and steal your lunch money like he has every day for the past sixteen years.
It's pathetic. The Republicans are grasping amoralists, but at least they have ambition. They want things to happen, badly enough to ignore the rule of law and basic ideas of human rights and welfare. Democrats, it seems, don't want anything. Nothing motivates them; they just stumble around in a moving sea of mediocrity and then squeal like panicked cowards if anything difficult comes up.

The BushCo years were tragic, and that orgy of criminal incompetence made me angry, but this...this is the first time in my life I've ever seriously considered giving up on the American experiment, which I've loved ever since I was a kid and Dad taught me how it worked, in all its glorious insanity. But democracy requires ambition, and better yet, competing ambitions: people who want social justice, more powerful corporations, fundamental civil rights, warrantless wiretapping, all making their arguments, and out of that comes the direction of the nation, for better or worse. Now one party is batshit insane, ruled by fundamentalists insisting the President is secretly a Kenyan Citizen Muslim Fascist Communist Atheist, and the other party is rocking back and forth, curled up in a puddle of its own urine in the corner. Democracy can't function like this.

I've stopped reading political news, because I don't need the heartbreak or the rage, and I have plenty of packing to do and other things to keep me busy before I leave town for a little while. Especially after this week, I could use the time away.

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