Saturday, July 23, 2011

Now I'm ANGRY!!

Last night the bad news wouldn't stop coming. Right now, two images are haunting my mind and weighing down my heart. On an island off of Norway, a "right-wing extremist" carrying a metallic piece of evil guns down fleeing children as though they were flies to be swatted out of existence. Their crime was that their parents were liberals. In Washington, the President of the United States, showing more anger than I am used to seeing him express - but not nearly as much as was called for - still seems baffled that his implacable opponents, acting like a pack of spoiled children, have once again walked out of the increasingly desperate negotiations to save the country.

My comparison of these two events is deliberate. In both cases, people who do not belong in a civilized society have managed to obtain power that such a society should give to no-one. In both cases, they have used it to shoot down their opponents: in one case literally, in the other metaphorically. A metaphor, though, is just another way of expressing reality. If the Congressional extremists get their way, people will die in this country just as surely as they did in Norway. They will starve or be turned away for medical care they desperately need so that the corporations can keep every single one of their obscene tax breaks.

I recently had a discussion with a friend who holds a concealed weapons permit. She needed it, she said, to defend herself. She seemed truly baffled by my response that I would not use violence under any circumstances, so the entire issue was moot for me. She's been smiling at me lately, though, so I guess she has at least accepted my point of view. Let me get a jump on the discussion of the events in Norway by saying that no, it wouldn't have been better if some of those children had been armed. A civilized society (and in my view, Norway has more right to be called civilized than the vast majority of other countries) does not make itself more civilized by allowing more people to have more weapons. It simply buckles under to evil.

By the same token, a civilized society does not make itself more civilized by trading away a century's worth of social progress in order to appease a bunch of grown-up spoiled children whose political careers are bankrolled by the very corporations whose "rights" they claim to be upholding. If President Obama has the makings of a truly great president, he will now recognize that he has no other option but to raise the debt ceiling on his own. Like Lincoln, FDR, and a handful of other presidents who have had greatness thrust upon them, he will venture into uncharted territory in order to save the country. Or he can also buckle under to evil, in which case everybody loses but the billionaires (and even many of them have pleaded with the president to raise their taxes).

This seems the appropriate place to record the fact that Congressman Bill Flores and his staff have so far rebuffed every attempt I have made to communicate with them about my beliefs. Since both of my senators did that a long time ago, I now know conclusively that I don't have a voice in Washington. That's why I'm raising it here.


  1. Well said Robin. And ironically, as angry as you and I are, as I imagine so many others are, we don't resort to violence. It has never been the way, and I won't allow it to become mine.

  2. News flash: I just received a three-page form letter from Congressman Flores's office repeating every single unconvincing argument for his refusal to vote for a debt ceiling increase that I have already heard countless times. It's all Obama's fault; the Democrats are reckless spendthrifts; the country's future depends on "cutting up the credit card" and beginning immediately to live within our means.

    In short, after blaming the Democrats for everything, Flores repeats the faulty analogy between family economics and government economics that has derailed logical discussion of this issue from the get-go. When a family cannot live within its means, it is forced to cut expenses or go bankrupt (a choice my family may soon face if the government defaults on the money it owes us). If a government takes the same approach in the middle of a recession with vast unemployment, the result will be to increase unemployment, decrease the money supply, and kill any chance of recovery.

    Cutting spending now is the surest way of making our economic situation worse. First we worry about creating jobs; once the economy is really working again, *then* we look at what we can cut.

    I have never taken an economics class in my life, but I understand the difference between the economy of a family and that of the government. How can I even begin to explain this to my congressman?

  3. Perhaps if you pointed out that, like a family, our nation will go bankrupt, and he will be out of job like the rest of us and he may not like that so well. For he will no longer live within his means, as he won't have any.

  4. Oh, our Congressman has already gone bankrupt once in his life, and he let the government bail him out. The sheer hypocrisy is one of the things that makes this so hard to stomach.

  5. If you're wondering how the corporations will benefit even without an economic recovery, here's the explanation in full.

  6. I, for one, don't believe the US government will default. I believe this whole thing is theater, geared to the 2012 election. Corporations won't benefit from default, which is one reason I don't believe there will be one.

    Yes, there are some yahoos who think trading the good faith and credit of the US hostage to the destruction of the generational contracts of Social Security and Medicare is a good idea. They are a noisy and noisome minority, but the operative word is "minority." A majority of the GOP knows which side its bread is buttered on, and the butter is provided by wealthy Wall Street benefactors whose way of life will be harmed by default.

    Thus, no default. QED.

  7. Er, ". . . who holding the good faith . . ."

    I was wrestling with the phrasing and ended up with a chimera.