Surprise! The bridegroom
announced, then shot his
bride, best man, and himself.
What does one do when outrage becomes virtually unbearable and there seems to be nothing one can do about it? At the moment I am outraged that Republicans, who just insisted on billions of dollars for tax breaks for the richest 2% of Americans, that did not have to be paid for, are refusing to allocate a relative pittance for health care for our heroic 9/11 police and firemen who are suffering health problems as a result of their brave acts on that date and thereafter, financial aid that is, in fact, paid for. I can see no valid reason for their recalcitrance on this matter other than their usual “no” vote for everything and anything Obama tries to do. This is so outrageous as to leave me almost speechless, so outrageous as to be virtually unbelievable, and in fact so outrageous as to make me wonder if these Republicans are even human beings. How is it that Republicans appear to be completely devoid of empathy, understanding, decency, or any sense of justice and fair play? When you couple this refusal with their stands on unions, unemployment insurance, health care, Social Security, Medicare, and any other program that actually benefits ordinary working people, you have to wonder if they are not just ghouls sent from the underworld to gleefully promote pain and suffering on as many people as possible.
After managing for the past two years to vote “no” as an impervious block, it appears that at least some Republicans have finally realized how un-American, stupid, and unproductive that was. Thus we had a few crossover votes on DADT and it appears there will be even more tomorrow on the START treaty. Even though I will never entirely forgive Obama for continuing and even escalating the “war” in Afghanistan, and failing to investigate the obvious war crimes of Bush/Cheney, and surrendering on the tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy, I have to admit that he and his administration did accomplish a great deal during the first two years of their administration. The fact that this was accomplished in spite of overwhelming opposition from the party of no at every point makes it even more impressive. I believe it is true this two years of accomplishment probably rivals or surpasses that of most other previous administrations. I think it is also true that Obama has not received the credit he is due for what he has done.
I have to admit that my outrage over the above pales into insignificance when compared with my outrage over the general condition of apparent ignorance that seems to prevail in our nation. I saw a brief notice today that, according to a recent Gallup poll, fully 78% of Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. I have no idea how accurate or inaccurate this poll might have been, who, precisely, was polled (perhaps only a sample of fundamentalists), or what the actual questions were, but even if it is only half right (or even less than that), it represents an immensity of ignorance staggering in its potential for disaster. It indicates not only a failure of education but a level of ignorance so profound as to virtually guarantee the eventual collapse of our nation. It is one thing to question evolution as perhaps not exactly right, or lacking in certain respects, or potentially amenable to improvements, and so on, but to reject it in favor of the alternative fairy tales and accompanying nonsense about the age of the earth, the presence of dinosaurs, biblical creationism, and etc. is just plain suicidal from the point of view of a nation that will have to compete in the contemporary world.
When you couple the above with another report that claims fully 25% of our population of young people cannot pass a basic test to enter the military, or are otherwise unacceptable because of obesity or other physical imperfections, I believe there is true cause for alarm. Join this, in turn, to another report that says our college graduates leave the University with substantial debts that may well turn into a credit default of monumental proportions, and you have to wonder if (1) education is of any national importance at all, (2) do we value our young people and their futures, (3) are we truly interested in surviving as a nation, (4) is democracy worth having or even possible without an informed public, and (5 are we absolutely out of our minds?
In general I am appalled at the condition of our country, and equally appalled by the quality of our leaders, particularly in the Senate. I have always been a supporter of the Senate, believing there is something to be said for the representation of smaller states and so on. Recent years, however, have made me begin to question the utility of this institution. With only 100 Senators I think they individually have too much power and also too much ability to abuse it terribly. When a lone Senator has the power to do so much damage to the country, even on a whim, I think the situation is not in the best interest of the country. Perhaps if there was some test of basic competence before one could run or be elected to the Senate it might help. Perhaps if Senators had to retire while still in control of their minds, it would help. While it is true there are also a number of basic “loonies” in the House, there are at least so many other members of that body their influence is diluted. This is not true in the Senate, however, where even one stupid, ignorant, senile, or insane member can wreak untold havoc with the national interest.
Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet.
When Thomas Wolfe died in 1938, William Faulkner said Wolfe was the greatest writer of their generation.