I accept that I’m an odd duck. I like literature more than balls, bats, or goalposts. I prefer art to genetically engineered anything. Music makes me much happier than guns or hunting.
I used to think that ideas mattered — I think that there was a time in history when that was true and when men and women were willing to really take a stand to preserve the good in society. I used to think that there were others like myself in high places; that they would lead the battle with clarion cries for right, for justice, for human dignity. But alas, it seems the only crying out for rights that matter anymore are those of the 1% — because they are the only people that our representatives in Congress seem to think exist.
Yup. The last couple years have disillusioned me of all my false illusions.
We no longer have a government that wants to govern. What we have are greedy people in government who want to enrich themselves at the expense of anyone. This isn’t about Republican or Democrats. It’s about the fruit born by a mature Capitalist society.
A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. Of course it’s no longer acceptable to talk about people that way. That’s being judgmental and we are all too sophisticated to do that, aren’t we?
I’ll be honest. An awful lot of the time I feel like I’m surrounded by barbarians. I know that may be a very politically incorrect thing to say, but so much focus is given to the ugly, the cruel, the hateful, and so little attention is paid to the beautiful, harmonious, and the inspiring that folks have lost touch with what humans can be. It sometimes seems that the culture is no longer seeking to be better, more civilized, kinder to one another; it seems that the goal is not the lowest common denominator: to accumulate more than anyone else.
I know “barbarian” is just a word, but words are how we communicate with each other and the things we no longer talk about are just as important — sometimes more important — than the things we DO talk about. Wealth does not give rise to greater beauty. People with a lot of money seem to want others to know how much money they have — they give money to artists in return for credits to their generosity. They give money to communities in return for naming rights. So much of their awesome “philanthropy” has to do with tax credits and saving even more than they are giving away that public philanthropy is tainted by greed. So often it’s the average guy, or the poor family, who do things for others that no one sees, that they can ill afford, but solely for the benefit of the recipient.
There is something fundamentally wrong when a society has so wandered from it’s origins that prosecutors can’t get real crooks convicted and punished but we can imprison more poor than any other ‘civilized’ country.
I keep waiting for some politician from any party to stand up and strike an argument that his or her fellows will hear. Oh, we have Bernie Sanders who’s standing up and making a lot of arguments but for some reason no one in office is paying the least bit of attention to him. To those who share power, he has no credibility and not enough support to worry about. Go ahead, complain and campaign all you want, you won’t hurt us. The rest of them are grandstanding. It’s all soundbites and TV cameras for all the progress they are making.
I guess the most troublesome thing to me is the way in which is has become acceptable for one party to behave as if the other party is illegitimate: they don’t have to consider their views because they don’t matter, they aren’t one of “us” so they don’t count.
In that kind of atmosphere there is nothing civilized at all. It’s all about brute power; about raping and pillaging.
I’m not even going to comment on the government shutdown. The wantonness with which people in power are acting is criminal. To the powerful who move in marble halls and grab doorknobs polished by “help” that make a pittance of what they do for many times more work — to them it’s all fun and games. They get paid anyway. They enjoy insurance most of us can’t afford and we are paying for it. And I’m not even talking about the abuses of the Executive Branch.
Perhaps it’s all about retiring for me. Maybe now I have more time to actually realize what our inferior representatives are saying and doing. When I was working I had my nose to the grindstone; I was too busy — although I did make a point of voting — but I didn’t participate in the campaign scene. And I’m sure I’ll not do that now. I have other causes that to me are within reach of accomplishment; reforming the government is not within my reach, and there are people far more able and effective than I in this area.
But that does not mean that I don’t grieve for the loss of civility, for the loss of humanity, for the loss of compassion in government.