I haven't found the energy or motivation to write much lately, and I'm not sure that I'll be writing much more in the future, but I do have a few things to get off my chest. First I'd like to address the critics of this administration. The politics of absolutism are bound to result in disappointment. Citizen Barack Obama would surely be on the side of those calling for this administration to take more aggressive stance toward the Republicans and to push a more progressive agenda. Perhaps even Senator Obama would be a voice of agitation for this administration. However President Obama does not have the luxury of dealing with absolutes. There is no black and white in politics, only shades of gray. The politics of absolutism, on the right or the left, demand everything and criticize anything short of that goal. There is no middle ground or compromise in the politics of the absolute. And while the need to push our elected officials from safe and entrenched positions is necessary, there is a point at which reason and some understanding of reality should kick in. However in the politics of absolutism, that point is never reached. Nothing is ever good enough or quick enough or comprehensive enough. If a goal is accomplished, there are numerous criticisms that are leveled because in the eyes of absolutism, the finish line is a constant moving target. Perfection, especially in something as imperfect as politics, can almost never be attained. The absolutist would have railed against the Emancipation Proclamation because in reality it freed no one. The Civil Rights Act would have been considered too little, too late. These are extreme examples, but I think they are valid. I have been reticent to express my opinion of late because I simply have no patience for the politics of absolutism. There is simply no politician who given the weight, responsibilities and limitations of the presidency would act they way they would want him or her to. In our fractured political system, the best that we can hope for is some kind of fragile consensus. That consensus cannot be built without compromise and reasoned debate. As soon as an intractable position is taken, any attempt at moving forward is doomed to failure. So please exercise your right to criticize this President and this administration all you want, but remember that if by some miracle your desired candidate were to hold the position, they would be subject to the same problems, limitations and complexities of the office that this President is subject to.
Next I want to talk about the "revolutions" in the Middle East. The successful removal of the Egyptian president has led to copycat movements all over that most explosive of regions. The Libyan situation has provoked the most response from the people and from politicians all over the world. NATO and the UN are considering what they can do in response to the uprising in Libya. People in the country are calling for us to help those who would try and get rid of their dictator. I would like to ask the question of when the last "revolution" in the Middle East led to a better life for the people in that country. Do the families of the upwards of a million dead in Iraq feel their lives are better after their dictator was overthrown? Did the Egyptians feel like their lives were better after their previous President was assassinated? Do the Iranians feel that their lives are better after they got rid of the Shah? Egypt is now run by a military commission. Does that sound like an improvement to you? Frankly I don't care about liberating the countries of the Middle East from their dictators and neither does NATO, the UN or the US government. The only issue at stake is oil. A month ago, Qaddafi was tolerated and supported with arms and money from the same governments who are now trying to figure out ways to help remove him. Those governments don't care about the "liberty" of the people, they only care about stability in the region and keeping the oil flowing. There are calculations being made now about what is most likely to happen in Libya, so that the correct side can be supported. It's all about which side will get things back to normal as quickly as possible. Qaddafi's latest offensive push is without a doubt causing quite a bit of consternation in the rooms of power. Also isn't it amazing how quickly the world rallied to the aid of those poor citizens of Libya who were being killed by their own government. How long did that take before everyone was freezing assets and threatening "no fly" zones and possible military intervention? A week? Maybe less. Isn't it amazing that just a few miles to the south in Africa where there is no oil, the systematic murder of tens of thousands can go on for years without an international outcry. It takes George Clooney and other celebrities to bring attention to genocide in Africa after hundreds of thousands have been killed and yet we have one week of civil unrest in a major oil producing country and our politicians and people are up in arms and willing to consider the severest of actions. Apparently the world doesn't really value the lives of Africans without oil or who happen to have a little darker skin pigmentation. So really, I don't want to hear about how worried we are about humanitarian violations, because a month ago no one cared and the world still doesn't care about what goes on below the oil line in deepest, darkest Africa.
My last point in this probably pointless rant is probably the biggest reason why my output has basically come to halt (I'm sure some are probably not particularly broken up about that). It comes down to the futility of the effort. We all know (even the most optimistic among us), that this country is run by and for a very privileged few. We haven't experienced the disparity in wealth that now exists in this country since before the depression. It seems (certainly with the Wisconsin example, and many states ready to follow suit) that we are rushing headlong into a time when the working people of this country will be once again be at the mercy of the whims and whimsy of their bosses. The scary thing is that this time we're gonna get there with the approval of a large vocal minority. The Republicans and their town criers at Fox News have managed to convince a large percentage of the people that the reason we are in such economic straights isn't the unbridled greed on Wall St., but the hard fought gains of those lazy civil servants. The teachers, the fire fighters, the cops, the sanitation workers, those bastards are the ones to blame. The fact that unions helped to create the middle class in this country is lost on those people whose grandparents probably built their legacy on the backs of those hard fought gains of the very unions that they are now demonizing. Outside of a full scale revolt by the people, there is nothing that can stop the current wave from becoming a tsunami. The problem as I've stated before is that half of the people who are being adversely affected have been convinced to fight on the side of their masters. A slave revolt doesn't get very far if the slaves fight each other.
I think I've always tried to be a voice of reason in any political debate I've taken part in. Occasionally I've let my temper get the better of me (sorry, Tim). The problem is that reason doesn't get you very far in today's climate. To an absolutist, I look like a sellout (or from the right, a commie or worse) and to the ruling class, I'm a non entity. I can't say that this going to be last foray into politics, but it probably will be for a while. So to all of you still fighting the good fight, I wish you good luck and God speed.