Monday, March 10, 2014

In Which paleo Is Bugged And Wishes To Stand On A Soap Box For A Few Minnows

The other day I was shooting the shit with an acquaintance. He’s in most ways a genuinely decent guy, devoted family guy, outdoorsman, stand-up type, I’d have no issue trusting him.

You are hearing a ‘but’.

But, he is very conservative. Constitution/Libertarian party. He knows I am a raging liberal, and we try to avoid politics. The exchange the other day was, inadvertently, my fault. I was laughing at news from CPAC when I ran into him, Paul Ryan lying his ass off about liberal parents and brown bag lunches.

(all quotes are paraphrases, best I can, and making me look fantastic and smarter than I am)

Naturally, he was curious. Then defensive. Big Lyin’ Ryan fan. “Oh, those are liberal sites.”

Wevs. PaulieDude has already apolo-lied, and liberally spread the blame with a bit of a perimeter around himself.

Then “you got your liberal president, and Hillary Clinton running the next time”. Followed by me metaphorically beating my head against a wall – “Bullshit. I voted for Obama, and occasionally like the guy. He is not a liberal, by any stretch. Clinton is not a liberal by any stretch. I’d kill to vote for a liberal.” “Obama is the most socialist president we’ve ever had-” “Again, bullshit. I’m a socialist. Obama is a lite republican on a good day. I voted for him because the alternatives by the time of the general campaign, Romney and McCain&Palin, or any republican clown, were too horrifying to contemplate. I am a liberal. I like freedom, dammit.”

This surprised him a bit. “Freedom?”

“Yeah. You cannot be a republican and believe in freedom.”

“Well, what do you mean by that?”

I terminated the conversation at that point, no upside for me to be engaging in open political warfare with this dude, and besides his dreadfully confused political views, I like the guy.

What I would say given the choice, however?

The United States as a whole is far and away the wealthiest country on earth. (And as I was writing that I started to spell “company”, which is the clear goal of the CPACBaggers. Paging Doc Freud?)

We can afford health care, unencumbered by profit corporations and the real death panels, and the whims of religious sociopaths who don’t believe in the science that gave them their jobs as pharmacists and doctors. Under most circumstances, a bankruptcy due to medical costs is a sign of a morally bankrupt society. You want innovation? Take some guy, formally educated or just interested in a topic, thoughtful, who needs to keep a full time pathetic-wage job to keep insurance, or several full-time minimum-wage jobs to afford insurance, and give him a chance to invent, create, play, learn, and you’ll see some damned innovation.

We can afford infrastructure. This may be the only crisis in the United States greater than the health care crisis. (In neither instance do I use ‘crisis’ lightly.) More and more people cannot trust their fucking TAP WATER. The way-y-y-y too many being poisoned by corporations (who, if they are ‘people’, need some damn jail time) are a drop compared to the number of people whose city water supply and sewage disposal are more and more sharing the same waterways. The people driving to work about to do the Minnesota Shuffle on some bridge that has been condemned for 30 years. The schools that don’t really need a new Vikings stadium so much as having the asbestos removed, and perhaps some environmental controls, hell, a window air conditioner if nothing else. Freedom from fuckin’ TB, for chrissakes.

We can afford education. I would dispute that schools are necessarily top heavy in personnel, as many of the ‘vice principals in charge of fryer oil’ go by other titles as well, such as 5th grade social studies teachers and maybe see another $500 a year for that principleship. Teachers are trained and educated and need to be paid like it, and worked a helluva lot harder in college than some damn cookie-cutter frat-fuck MBA. We can afford gym class and arts education – if something has to go due to budget constraints, might I suggest the league sports, waste of time and space. Teach the kids. If the NFL wants a farm system, let them pay for it. Freedom to have a chance. It’s not a hard calculation to do.

We can afford basic nutrition, especially for our neediest, kids, the elderly. The lunchroom admin in Utah who threw away kids lunches needs to be beaten a lot. The MN legislators who applauded and cheered after cutting Meals On Wheels in MN need to be beaten with the lunchroom admin from Utah. And yes, there are healthy adults who, from no fault of their own, who need and deserve food. And yes yes, there are healthy adults who, from fault of their own, need and deserve food. Yeah, there can be conditions, but those conditions must start with feeding the people. Then job training, then job help, then education help. I don’t care that Marcus Bachmann complains that it will cut into his brie and KY budget for his Thursday poker nights, because first of all, he’s lying, and second of all, he’s really lying. Again, you want to see innovation? Take some kid who’s a damn genius but can’t think at school because the cheapest way to get him breakfast is ramen, and turn him loose with some energy, let him thunk about learnin’ as opposed to how many days in a row he’s had Corn King hot dogs for supper. Freedom from suffering. Life can be hard, life can occasionally be cruel. But we don’t need to increase the cruelty, and we can afford to assuage it somewhat. Read the RED WORDS, conservatives.

Women are different from men. Yep. Also, men are different from men. Women are different from women. And, some men and women are similar. Take your gender bullshit and shove it up your gender-specific orifice, righties. Women get birth control covered. Women get to control their bodies, including the choice to terminate a pregnancy, and the choice to keep a pregnancy, and don’t you ever minimize their agency. If she wants to be a housewife, good for her. If she wants to be a CEO, good for her, and beat, with the MN legislators who applauded and cheered after cutting Meals On Wheels in MN, anyone trying to obstruct her way to either destination.

There are people who are not white men, and not only are they not like white men, they are sometimes not like each other. And, sometimes, they are like white men. Or act as a bloc because they are like each other. So fucking what. Let them pick their own destination and shut the hell up.

Never be under the illusion that a corporation gives a damn about the United States, you, their own grandmothers (They're people right? Must have grannies.) The owe your community a return on the commons provided that allows them to make money. Don't poison people. Don't run your workers through a bandsaw. A little community investment wouldn't suck. The commons owes them infrastructure in return, roads, cops, educated workforce. All they owe you is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. All you owe them is a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Either of you may negotiate terms, both of you must live up to agreed terms. The best way to do this is the union structure, with healthy government enforcement, but I’ll listen to other ideas. Just in my own experience, unions are the proven way. Some unions need internal cleanup, some quite a bit of cleanup, they are made of people, same as soylent green, but that is yet another reason for workers to get organized and get active. Most corporations are completely corrupted by greed, need extensive internal cleanup, and are incapable of it. They must be brought to heel by the consumer, as an individual entity, and as a commons represented by government, and the workforce.

Eh, maybe 7 cents worth of dimestore philosophy, but I wanted to write it. There’s more, but it frequently involves Sasquatches and a mild messianic complex, so I’ll leave it there.


  1. Replies
    1. I genuinely do not understand how anyone can look at him with any sort of intellectual consistency and even call him liberal, much less a socialist. On a handful of social issues, and those ain't'nt nothin, yay! But fiscally his agenda is a Koch's wet dream.

      (SWIDT? Eh, whatever...)

  2. I wonder how this guy has come to his conservative mindset. Does he have an anti-minority animosity? Is he a religious nutter? Is he a plutocrat? What's up with the guy?

    1. I bet he used to be a liberal until 9/11 made him outraged about chappaquiddick.

    2. He is quite religious, one of those basement churches, and a homeschooler, but not especially hatey. Carries almost everywhere.
      He has swallowed some koolaid at some point, welfare/taxes/right to work. But basically, he 's not that different from anyone I lived around when I was living up in the boonies, maybe a bit more political than some. Or, maybe everyone has gone teabagging, I've been in the Cities for a while.
      I can't really answer the ?, but also don't care enough to find out. I like and I'd trust the dude, but he has ODS bad...

    3. Liberal until Monica Lewinsky and Vince Foster killed those guys in BBBBEEEEEEENNNNGGGRRAZZZIINNNGGG! To burn the Whitewater Travel Agency. Vince didnae make it back.....

  3. I am sooooo glad I don't know anyone in meatspace.