Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Surprise

Not to be opportunistic in a time of extreme weather and no small amount of damage and tragedy, Hurricane Sandy a sign from an eternally vengeful deity, a fountain of wrath signifying that we need to stop treating homosexuals and libertines like, well, human beings? Is it a demonstration that maybe there are things for which the big bad evil gubmint serves a clear, tangible purpose, that maybe we don't really want to have our disaster-recovery services administered by Halliburton or some such? Is it a harbinger of future extreme weather events, consequences of a planet abused beyond its capacity to recuperate and refresh itself quickly, something we'll just get used to, the way we've become accustomed to weekly incidents of armed lunatics snapping and taking out everyone within firing distance?

Perhaps it's all of those things, perhaps none, or some. But all three of those ideas contain factors that we can actually affect to some extent. Having control of even some of the decisions we all face is a great thing (especially if, like me, you tend to be a bit of a control freak about certain things).

But certainly we can all decide whether to endorse or to actively repudiate groups that peddle hate and nonsense under the guise of arcane religimous interpretations, instead of just ignoring the loudmouths until they infest the school boards with their bullshit. We can all soberly assess the things government does and doesn't do effectively, and what the private sector does and doesn't do effectively, and plan accordingly, rather than just assume that Big Capitalism always and only knows best. Bottom line here is that almost all 50 states are terminally debt-ridden and understaffed in response to Wall Street's shenanigans, and if there's one thing capitalism sucks balls at, it's appropriately addressing the needs of a captive market in an emergency. So yeah, if you enjoy profiteering in the wake of the next hurricane, tornado, flood, whatever, then go for it.

And it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to see that rapidly melting polar caps, and an eighth continent of plastic and non-biodegradable packaging debris out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, are objectively awful things, and did not happen on their own, or because there was a warming trend back when Leif Erikson hit Newfoundland or whatever crap people tell themselves to get to sleep at night. These things are all empirically objective, can be observed and quantified.

Not that that'll matter a whole lot; at 45 years of age, I've been through six presidential campaigns now where I was eligible to vote (I was 17 in 1984,and thus a few months to young to give Saint Reagan another go-round), and I'll be damned if I can recall one that was characterized by a surfeit of basic common sense, rational self-interest, or even logical consistency. The party that constantly characterizes itself as the party of personal liberty and freedom sees nothing wrong with holding women's reproductive rights hostage.

I promise you, I guarantee you, that after all the high-minded "I searched my soul" rhetoric, that if Richard Mourdock or Todd Akin (or men in general, rather than women) could get pregnant, not only would abortions really be as readily available as a can of Pringles, but there's no goddamned way we'd allow women to "help" us decide on it, or make laws about it. It just wouldn't happen. Ladies, don't take my word for it, go ahead and ask your husband, your guy friends, your dad, your brother, whomever, and you tell me I'm wrong.

Roy (nice site redesign, btw, Roy) makes a point that he and many of us have made in the past about self-styled "conservatives" and Republicans -- the problem with them is not that they're sore losers (though obviously they are). It's that they're such sore winners, it's that because they are dogmatic and unchanging in their views, unswayed by facts, evidence, reason, or even changing circumstances, they cannot countenance the idea that other people might have experienced life just as much as they have, and still arrived at another conclusion about the most utilitarian outlook -- that is, the greatest amount of "good" for the greatest number of people.

The assumption that things always just "work out" for most people, because Capitalism, is at once one of the most pernicious and yet most easily debunked of the modern mythos, right up there with the idea that sanctimonious assholes like Mitt Romney, or Donald Trump, are self-made men, having no advantages of birth whatsoever. If you believe that, then maybe you deserve exactly what you'll get for your troubles.

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