Monday, February 06, 2012

The Ultimate Real

When I was still enrolled in the University (many years ago now) I had a roommate for a time named, shall I say, John. John was very bright. One Autumn day John was raking leaves from the sidewalk in front of the large house where we shared a room, maple leaves, they were very thick and difficult to rake. John’s Philosophy Professor passed by and asked, “John, what are you doing?” John was very quick witted, certainly enough to know not to insult his Philosophy Professor by pointing out the basic idiocy of his question, so he replied, “Well Sir, I’m searching for the ultimate real,” an answer sufficiently philosophical to avoid the obvious and also indicate the depths of his commitment to the profundity of the subject matter of the course which he was currently taking, which I believe was Aesthetics.

I feel that is precisely what I have been searching for these past two or three years when it comes to the Republicans. What, if anything, is “real?” I do not wish to get involved in a definition of the term “real,” or the “really real,” or even the “really, really real.” Suffice it to say I will use the term to mean whatever I wish it to mean at the moment, consistent with the use of the English language when it comes to politics.

So, for example, are the Republicans for real when they say the solution to our economic dilemma is lower taxes and fewer regulations. They must certainly know by now that is a program that has already failed…miserably. How about when they claim President Obama is a “failed President?” Is that real? Has he really failed or is that just a meaningless Republican claim? What about “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme? Is that real? Mitt Romney is said to make $57,000 a day but still wants tax reductions for people like himself. Is that real or merely a talking point to amuse his peers who make as much or more? How about Ron Paul who insists we should return to the gold standard and people who don’t pay their health insurance premiums should die? The first doesn’t seem very real, the latter seems really real (I think). Then there is Newt the Odious, not yet even the Republican candidate, let alone the President, who is talking about a colony on the moon by the end of his second term. I must say that seems to me much more unreal than real, actually more surreal than unreal. Rick Santorum, seemingly obsessed with other people’s sexual behavior, wants to annul all Gay marriages, undo DODT, and incarcerate doctors who perform abortions. Is that real (perhaps I should say realistic)? All the Republican candidates are all for doing away with “Obamacare,” that they somehow believe is government mandated health care or, even more awful, socialism. Is that real? Do they really want only the wealthiest to have health care? They are against Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, minimum wages, unions, and so forth, how real is that?

Where is the locus of reality (the real) when, having announced their most important goal is to get rid of President Obama, and also having announced they would be the party of “no,” and blocked every attempt he has made to create jobs, and then ask everyday “Where are the jobs?” I guess you could say they really did that, but is it really real? Sometimes they say things or make claims that are so divorced from the real you have to wonder if they even believe their listeners are real. For example, Romney announced with absolute conviction that if Obama was re-elected Iran would have a nuclear bomb, whereas if he, Romney were elected, they would not. How could he know they would have a bomb if Obama was elected, or would not if he was elected? Of course he couldn’t know that, but real has no meaning for Republicans. Nothing they say has to be real, realistic, or even within the range of human knowledge. Apparently a majority of Republicans do not believe Romney is for real and have done everything to find an alternative. None of their proposed alternatives have been real, not Pawlenty, Trump, Palin, Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Paul, Santorum, or Gingrich. I don’t believe it is at all far-fetched to say their entire campaign to date has been basically unreal with little or no chance of unseating Obama. They have put forward no real platform (other than lower taxes, fewer regulations), have passed no legislation to create jobs, have not been able to agree on a suitable candidate, and seem to believe that being virulently anti-Obama for reasons that are not very clear (but smell of racial prejudice), will be enough to usher them back into the Executive office. Try as I might I have not been able to find any ultimate real in their strategy, or even any real, but it appears to me that unreality and even surreality is a more apt description of their rather pathetic performance to date. If they cannot get real before November I cannot see how they can possibly defeat Obama. As Romney is so obviously divorced from anything real about American life and culture, and also even devoid of either empathy or insight, he should be about as helpful as all other wooden soldiers.

Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.

Dean Koontz

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