I was looking down my page of unfinished monthly drafts (and realizing they surpassed my actual post amount in number), and I feel like I’ve let myself down. More than half my drafts were either directly about politics, or on a politically relevant subject. And that’s just not cool, because there are a billion political blogs, and another billion blogs about political blogs. And also, I hate politics. Some might say, “Well, if you’re that interested in it you may as well just embrace it”, and to those people I’m giving a big “fuck you” and a certain digit. No, this probably won’t be the last time I hit a political theme, but I’ll try my damndest not to. Meanwhile, here’s where I stand on things.
I count myself outside the political spectrum, because misanthropy is its own thing, and also because I was blessed with a very high intelligence score, an amazing intuition, the ability to see a problem from multiple sides, and a whole lot of common sense and empathy. That said, I would fall in the ‘liberal’ category on most of my issues.
The media is not ‘liberal’. At this juncture, media is noise filtered through opinions, and those opinions lean whichever way the readership majority does (or is perceived to). And the more a person absorbs news, no matter the outlet, the less inclined they are to think critically about it. Thus news becomes rhetoric; meaningless, abstract phrases of self-identity. And yet, we still desperately need to be informed- because what happens outside our personal spheres is so difficult to see, and yet has a greater, faster impact on us all.
I’m for social equality with the caveat that, as a white heterosexual male, most of the hot button social topics- gay marriage, equal treatment of women, minority issues, etc.- affect me indirectly and thus I don’t have a personal dog in that fight. It doesn’t mean I’m apathetic about those things, but it does mean that if I have to pick my battles, those things aren’t going to be at the top of the list.
I am, however, desperately poor. I’m in college through two things: a college fund from an uncle who was making amends, and grant money for being too old to be in college. I haven’t had more than a couple thousand dollars in the bank in almost six years. I can’t afford a car, much less gas and car insurance. I can’t afford health insurance. I can’t afford my medications. I’m 31 years old, and my parents have to pay my medical bills, which fortunately aren’t frequent. I haven’t been to a dentist in four years. In the dozen years since I graduated high school, I’ve only ever had one job that paid more than 10 dollars an hour and could afford to give me a full 40-hour week with benefits. Incidentally, that job caused me constant health problems. So discussion about trickle down economics, abolishing minimum wage, or hearing that “it’s easy to find a job if you look hard enough” will piss me off.
The last half of the century has seen the balance of power between the states and the federal government has shifted in favor of the federal, and part of that I believe is due to the rise of national television broadcasts. Seriously, who can name four legislators in their state? And who can name four federal legislators? As the media focus has shifted from local stations to national broadcasts, the coverage of national offices has broadened while information about state-level government and especially local candidates and issues has tipped like a broken seesaw. Lack of information, lack of general knowledge and a lack of interest in what we aren’t spoon-fed has led us to forget, more or less, about things closer to home.
Corporations aren’t inherently evil. The trouble lies in that they operate outside the bounds of the government as nearly sovereign entities, and have been allowed to grow more and more unchecked in the last century. The two biggest mistakes that began the problem were the granting of individual rights to corporations and the encouragement of the military-industrial complex after the second world war- which set precedents for unreasonably large loopholes and disappearing regulations. The end result of this is that many of our biggest corporations have been allowed to run rampant over federal laws, operate here as “overseas” or global companies, ignore the monopoly laws, pay no taxes, and become powerful enough to buy favors from our government. These are entities headed by groups of people- and thus their only interest is self-serving, and that’s to turn profits– and that’s what drives much of the anti-capitalist talk at the moment. But it’s the natural circumstance given the position we’ve allowed corporations to have, and it’s our fault.
I’m not a joiner. I’m not a group person. I don’t subscribe to ideas and theories solely because they’re popular with a subculture/demographic/personality type that one might define themselves as part of. This goes for either either side of the political or social spectrum- if you’re beholden to any group, their agenda will tint your views whether you intend it to or not. And the more you believe a doctrine, the harder it is to empathize with the oppositional view. And yes, the amount and type of groups a person joins deeply affects my opinion of them- and yes, this topic is worthy of its own post sometime. But I’m leaving it here for now.
My political bottom lines: 1) Politicians, by the nature of the job, will suck. 2) In one sense, we’re on the verge of an actual social movement; but personally, I don’t think anything less than an armed revolution and restructuring of out government will have any long-term changes. 3) On the other hand, the willful disbelief of global warming and the host of environmental crises it’s bringing, and the blatant disregard by world powers to curb the causes will probably do at least as much damage. Provided it doesn’t wipe us out. 4) My allegiance to this country only reaches as far as the people I know and care about. The definition of American freedom has been stretched to fit a culture, and if you bother to pull your head out of the sand, you’ll start wondering why we still bother with the word.