Thursday, August 25, 2011

Outrage Overload

I started writing this back in April, but before I finished, the power was flickering, so I shut down the computer, intending to resume after the power stabilized. Unfortunately, that was when the massive tornado system blew through the state, and after six solid days with no power, I managed to forget this entirely until now. Nevertheless, even though the article was so long ago, I believe the issue is still relevant.

Obama is destroying the country fatigue” – how apt.

The problem is not that people want to stick their heads in the sand and wait for it to go away. Certainly there is some of that, and I admit to feelings in that direction myself, but that’s largely due to our perception of powerlessness. What people want is for someone to tell them what to do to make it better.

Countless people and groups are blaring the news, riling us up and making sure we know about the excesses and violations. Many of us ignore the regular media entirely; I gave up on them years ago, and I’m not (quite) yet 35. I don’t listen to radio or TV, and our local paper is just as leftist as the blue states’ papers. I prefer text to audiovisual media, so I focus on text-only web and email sources.

Frankly, I can’t take the bombast which is most conservative personalities' shtick, so I get news through email, web, and two magazines: National Review and the too-thin Limbaugh Letter, to both of which my father subscribes. Since I attended CPAC, I receive more email news than I can read in a day, mostly repeating each other.

Yes, he’s destroying the country. Yes, he’s doing it on purpose. Yes, we agree that this is bad. Yes, we’re frustrated and angry.

What are we supposed to do about it?

Nobody’s giving us an outlet for that energy, and it can only be sustained for so long before we get too tired of being angry. The march on DC was an attempt to get the politicians’ attention and make them listen to us, but with the collusion of the media, they ignored it. Several groups keep trying to repeat it, as if it will be any different. “Let’s have another rally!” What good is a rally if all you’re going to do is wave signs and talk? What good are petitions and fax blasts and phone calls?

THEY ARE NOT LISTENING. We need action, not protests, and most of us have focused on living our everyday lives, not on political activism. We don’t know how, and suddenly we really need to know.

The Democratic Party was taken over by the hardcore fascists many decades ago; FDR and Mussolini adored each other, and while Coughlin was an offensive bigot, FDR’s use of the FCC to silence him (for daring to criticize FDR – he could spew all the venom he wanted as long as it was pro-FDR) was a blatant violation of the First Amendment. The Green Party is even crazier than the Democrats. The Libertarians are too scattered, welcoming everyone from Constitutionalists to Anarchists, as if we truly belong in the same group, and refusing to focus on anything because every subset of the group wants something different. The Free State Project just wants everyone to move to New Hampshire – good for you, but what about the rest of the country? Planning to secede? That didn’t work so well the last time. The Republican Party has taken the position of "at least we're not as bad as they are!" and asks for time (mostly phone banks and sign-waving) and money (oh, always) and loyalty, but will not heed our input. The Constitution Party is probably the best option available, but what good is it if no one ever hears about them?

A while back, my brother attempted to contact the local Republicans through their website about running for the state House of Representatives. Not only did they completely ignore him, the Democrat ran unopposed last November. The websites were worse than useless; it looks like they’re making some changes, but not all of them for the better.

I can’t give money – I don’t have any. Time and loyalty I might consider offering, if there were any sign that they will do what I believe is right, but most of what I see is demands, pushy political “professionals” giving orders they expect us to obey for no other reason than that they are the politicians and we merely citizens. They expect us to form up and follow, waving the Republican banner and dragging along our friends and colleagues, even if we're not convinced they’re headed in the right direction. Why should we be loyal to them when THEY walked away from us? They chose to betray us in hopes of winning over the media, despite the fact that the media will never accept them. We elected them to stand up to the socialist-fascist infiltrators, but so many of them keep caving to the peer pressure.

Being the outcast is miserable, as anyone who survived it in high school can tell you. It is also survivable, as anyone who survived it in high school can tell you. It is a supreme irony that success in winning elections requires the ability to be popular, like the high school "in crowd," but success in doing the job after the election is over requires the thick skin and "I will be myself whether you like it or not" nature of the high school "out crowd." God, give us high school outcasts willing to run for office and stand up to the bullies!

Political office was never intended to be a profession. Citizens were expected to make a successful career of something, then take time out periodically to serve in politics because someone has to do it. Payment was, similarly, intended only to offset the cost of being unable to practice one’s normal profession while occupied in political service.

Over time, we grew accustomed to allowing those who wanted political office to take it. That is our downfall. I realized this a few years ago, while reflecting on a couple of things that happened during my college years. At my first university, where I attended two years before transferring out, I was a member of the concert choir. The second year, when elections were held for officers in the choir, only a few volunteered, so the director opened the process to nominate others. She herself nominated me, and to my surprise, I was elected. After serving as an officer for one semester, I transferred.

At my second university, where I did graduate, there is a system of dormitory authority in which each room has an authority who reports to the hall leader (who reports to the dormitory supervisor, and so on). My second year there, I had a visit from the dormitory supervisor, who asked why I had not attended the meeting for those who had been recommended for this role. Frankly, I had not expected to be nominated, as my relationship with my roommate/leader was not good, and I did not participate in enough of the requisite extracurricular activities. I said as much, and the supervisor pressed further, wanting to know if I wanted to be one. I shrugged and said it wasn’t like it was my life’s goal, and since there are a lot of others who do want it, I might as well let them.

This, precisely, is the problem. I have since realized that this is exactly why the wrong people are in power. They wanted it, so we let them, only to find later that they wanted it for all the wrong reasons, and now we have to figure out how to pry them out when they’ve already barricaded the door. They are entrenched in both the Democratic and Republican parties, and our attempts to make changes are being repelled.

The conservative media are sounding the alarm, sure, but all the sirens in the world won’t help if no one knows where the fire hoses and hydrants are. Some of the Republicans are batting their coats at the flames, but the building is too far aflame for such minor attempts, especially when there are more arsonists hiding in their ranks.

We the People are Pissed. We want our freedoms back; we want the traitors out of office, out of the schools, out of the media and out of our country. We want the government to leave us alone. We want men and women who will stand up to the fascists and say, “This is the Constitution, and this is law. You shall abide by it, whether you will or no.”

If it takes creating another party, so be it. Don’t tell me a third party can never win, because if that were true, we’d still be arguing over whether to join the Whigs or Tories. What it takes is enough people agreeing on which party to join, and the party that both matches the people’s views and manages to get that message out to them is the one that will win.

Right now, there isn’t one, and that’s why people are discouraged. Trump made a pretty good lightning rod, and Ron Paul is frighteningly effective at creating the Republican equivalent of Obama-zombies, but we want our Constitution back. We’re looking for a real leader, someone who will stand up and say, “This is right, and this is what we’re going to do!” Palin is refreshingly straightforward, and, indeed, was the only reason I could hold my nose long enough to vote McCain, but her family needs her, and a married woman’s duty is first to family. So, let her continue to write and speak, because she does it well and with a charming bluntness we have come to miss in the political realm. For that matter, if it doesn’t pull her too far from her family, let her be a party leader, whether the Republican Party, or whatever Party has the guts to stand up and be what we need it to be. From what I’ve read so far, I like Michele Bachmann and John Bolton, but it’s too soon to tell much for sure. I can say that if we end up with another John McCain-style nominee, there will be disaster.

We’re not ostriches. We’re an army trying to find a real leader before we’re too worn out to fight.