Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two gripes: Simplified solutions and Obvious political bias

This blog has covered a diverse array of topics. Tonight, I'm frustrated about two things: I'm calling them "Simplified solutions" and "Obvious political bias". My right-leaning friends no doubt see me as a knee-jerk "liberal" whereas I see many of them as knee-jerk "believers in the religious right wing". Whatever labels we choose to use to vilify each other don't really matter.

1. Simplified solutions. If we lived in a totally rational world (which, by the way, would necessarily have to exclude religious faith, since it is by definition irrational - i.e., based on faith rather than evidence!), then solutions to many problems would be trivial. Moral dilemmas over abortion and adultery, as well as concern for STDs would vanish completely and instantly if everyone lived by the rule of having sex only within the context of wedlock (apparently, an option that doesn't include homosexuals, so they must abstain entirely!). That's obviously the right thing to do and, as a side benefit, it takes care of all those nasty side-effects of sex outside of the institution of marriage. What a terrific solution! Now why didn't I think of that? It solves everything and keeps everyone inside the lines regarding sexual mores. O.K. - those troubling issues are solved! On to the next problem.

We as a nation are dealing with the consequences of drug use in this country, which involves the expenditure of billions of dollars and the tragic destruction of many, many lives through the use of drugs. A logical solution? Simple. "Just say no!" We needn't bother with all of the complex issues associated with prohibition of some drugs while at the same time permitting the free and legal use of others. If everyone just looked over the situation and decided not to use any drugs of any sort, then our problems with that would disappear. O.K. - another problem solved! Let's move on.

Got a war somewhere that's turned into a morass of complexity? Americans dying in the fight and billions being spent without any results? Simple. Just nuke the shit out of them! To heck with the concerns for "collateral damage" - let the missiles fly and leave it to God to sort out the good guys from the bad guys. When our enemies are cowed into surrender by the prospect of their nation being turned into a nuclear slag heap, that'll fix it! We can do it. Problem solved! Next!

Dealing with environmental issues is another thorny problem. O.K. - before we get involved in saving the world, or some stupid endangered fish or bird somewhere at the price of changing human lifestyles, let's just put it to a vote. Us or the bird/fish/lizard? Whattya know? I guess we prefer us over that critter. The future is someone else's problem. We have to deal with the threats in the "here and now". Oilfields in a protected area? What's more important - your right to cheap gas or some caribou or whatever? No problem. Trample on those nature preserves - just keep our gas prices down, thanks! That was easy. Environmental problems vanish when we put it to a vote! On to the next problem!

I could go on, but hopefully, I don't need to. These "solutions" are grotesque oversimplifications. The real world is complex and nonlinear. Simple ideas fail to grasp the subtleties - but subtleties are lost in a politically polarized world. Slogans and simplicity are preferred. Please, don't ask me to think!

2. Obvious political bias. The right-wing dominated media - yes, that's correct, the media are now dominated by right-wing "pundits" who use the guise of journalism to transmit their political agenda - these guys (notably, the Fox "news" folks) are currently suggesting that the Obama administration has been slow to respond to the recent (failed) attempt by a Nigerian terrorist trained in Yemen to blow up a plane. This righteous (pun intended) indignation by these anti-Obama politicians is deliciously absurd, given that the Bush administration ignored numerous warnings from their own intelligence community regarding the impending 11 September 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. These slip-ups by the GWB administration are forgotten in their haste to condemn the Obama administration. Hypocrisy is rampant, but apparently unrecognized by the right-wing apologists.

Incompetence is incompetence. I don't care who's responsible. But the notion of these folks being indignant over the shortcomings of the Obama administration actuallyis quite amusing in light of the shortcomings of the GW Bush Crime, Inc. administration. These right-wing pundits seem to be pining away for the ecstacy of a neocon in the Oval Office, the memory of a happier time (for them!). The notion that roughly half the nation is repulsed by the very notion of the GWB administration is lost on them. It is indeed a checkerboard world (see my earlier blog)!

We are a nation totally divided. Half the nation sees the world through the biased eyes of the apologists for GWB and his cohorts in crime. Half the nation sees the world through the lens of unabated hatred for everything that GWB and Cheney stood for. America is mired in a multitude of problems defying simple solutions and all we (the two halves of America) can seem to do is pour vitriol on each other. We stand still, paralyzed by bitter political bias, unable to act at a time when action seems especially important. The right-wing pundits, during the GWB administration, supposed that we should be united in support of a "wartime president" and then pour derision and act to prevent any actions by his successor, who has inherited wars initiated by his predecessor. Do they see the hypocrisy in this? I doubt it.

I mourn for our nation, which is more divided than ever at a time when action is most needed, but is prevented by political opposition. I don't see Obama as the savior of our nation - he is, however, our President, at a time of great crisis. Should he be given carte blanche? No. But neither should his every effort to take action be blocked along purely political lines.

Sad, sad, sad ...