A while back, Patrick Rothfuss reluctantly talked about politics on his blog:
So I said, “Well, here’s the thing. I really shouldn’t talk about politics. Professionally speaking, it’s just not smart….”
Then I talked about politics.
There’s no real excuse for it, except to say that I was operating on one hour of sleep at the time. And I have an odd compulsion that when people ask me honest questions, I feel compelled to give them honest answers.
I can’t remember exactly what I said. I remember talking about what the true purpose of government is. About what’s wrong with the country. I went on for about 3-4 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I swore more than just a little. At one point, I remember pounding on the table.
At the end of it, folks applauded.
Despite the fact that it seemed to go over well, I felt guilty about it. Like I’d done something irresponsible. It bugged me all night.
But after thinking about it all weekend, I realized a few things.
1. I like saying true things.
2. If I say true things, and it makes people angry. I think I’m okay with that.
3. We can’t be afraid to talk about politics. Talking is the only way that we can make things better in this country. And things need to get better. Our country is teetering on the verge of the howling abyss, if you haven’t noticed.
I noticed. It’s not limited to our country, it’s the entire world. And I agree: if we don’t talk about it, the politicians win.
I don’t know anything about Wisconsin politics. In fact, I admit that I don’t know much about politics in general.
Here’s the thing. I avoid talking about politics, too. On this blog and in person. But beyond that, I tend to avoid paying attention to politics at all. Mostly that’s because a ridiculous percentage of the information available about politics is bullshit. I don’t feel comfortable making important decisions with nothing but bullshit as a basis.
However, there are some significant things happening lately that fit a different connotation of bullshit. That is, whereas political campaigns are full of misdirection and lies, these are facts which incite outrage.
I don’t want to argue about this stuff. I’d rather avoid the potential of being the target of ridiculous personal attacks. But I feel a moral imperative to say something. I have been quiet. Now I need to speak.
I’ve read some of Glenn Greenwald’s blog on Salon, since I found out about the existence of his book With Liberty and Justice for Some and added it to my wish list. I don’t know what you think about the guy, if anything. To me he seems to be less aligned with a particular political party and more a proponent of basic human rights. Anyway, much of the info to follow came to me by way of his blog.
Basically, Obama’s campaign this year seems to have started out with bragging about his flaunting of basic human rights, and his killing of a bunch of people in the Middle East. He’s redefined “militant” to include any adult male we happen to kill. We are gradually being lulled into accepting the unacceptable, from assaults on freedom of speech to the idea that the President has the right to order the assassination anyone of his choosing. Regardless of the specific crimes of anyone on that list, this sets a precedent. And the splash damage is already significant. Former President Jimmy Carter even wrote an op-ed for the New York Times calling out and condemning US human rights violations. Oh, and Obama is the reason no one in the financial industry has been held accountable for the extensive fraud that led to the financial crisis.
All of these things are being done in my name, since I am a US citizen. I certainly didn’t vote for any of these things to happen, but they are happening anyway. And the worst part?
Romney wouldn’t be any better.
There is no real choice in this upcoming election. Not about some of the things that matter most, like human rights. Maybe some independent candidate I haven’t heard of is running on a ticket of stopping the bullshit, but does it really matter? Is there a real candidate for the 99%? I don’t know.
I stopped writing in the middle of this post and ignored even Greenwald’s blog for over a month because it’s just depressing. I don’t see a solution. But I needed to say something, I needed to finish this post, so here it is. Maybe you can figure it out.