Tag Archives: Politics

Escaping the Frustration of the upcoming Election With…More Frustration, From the NFL of All Places

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So who’s frustrated?

America is suffering right now in more ways than anyone cares to admit. Unemployment is rampant, the housing market hasn’t rebounded in a meaningful way, it has been reported that nearly two thirds of mortgages are upside down, our national debt is skyrocketing out of control, entitlement programs are verging on bankruptcy, mass murders and hostage crises dominate our news every other day, we still live in a country where every citizen does not share the same rights as their fellow Americans, our young brothers and sisters are forced to continue to fight wars (by their hawkish politicians who somehow are not mandated to sacrifice their own progeny in these never-ending, meaningless and frustratingly ill-conceived bloodbaths) in remote corners of the globe with disturbing accounts of lost American lives seemingly every day, and perhaps most telling, some pudgy redneck child named Honey Boo Boo and her troglodyte mother have a frighteningly large following (and the phenomenon that is her rise to “fame” has surprisingly made its way to people like me, and I can tell you I am shaking my head this very second as I type this).

You would think that the fact this is an election year would be good news for millions of frustrated and struggling Americans. At last, the greatest benefit of living in a democratic society is within reach, appearing almost from nowhere, like a posh oasis in the middle of the scariest desert imaginable. Yay. We can vote out the scourge that got us into this mess, OR…Alright! We can keep this regime, which has nobly tried to help a horrible situation in the face of an unimaginably horrific starting point and starkly uncooperative opposition across the aisle.  Either way, unfortunately, our recourse at the polls in five weeks will inevitably reveal that oasis to be a mirage.

Why? Because the ridiculous emergence of a dominant farcical two-party system relegates every American to literally elect the worst party-influenced caricature imaginable into office every two, four and six years. I am not sure why we only ever have two realistic choices in any political race, and also why those two candidates have to represent both the best AND worst of their respective parties (I would rather cast my vote for an actual elephant or donkey than the human candidates). It ensures every voter has to make some awful choices come election time, basically subrogating rationality in order to choose what they hope will be “the lesser of two evils.” At least that’s how I envision educated people pulling their respective levers. And don’t get me started on the millions of…let’s just say educationally challenged…people.

Why can’t I walk into a voting booth and attempt to elect a candidate who is liberal socially but somewhat conservative fiscally? Why can’t I manage to find a candidate that has a non-hawkish outlook on foreign policy, and who guarantees good relations with Israel, America’s only true ally in the Middle East? Why can’t I ever find a candidate who swears to end America’s dependence on oil and fossil fuels…and MEANS IT?

The real issue boils down to money, as usual. And that is the essence of what really grinds my gears. Our political system has been hijacked by the highest bidders, and what’s worse, those bidders aren’t even allowed to vote. Why not? Because they are corporations, not people. And all of us (or at least the overwhelming majority), the voting public, suffer as a result. Perhaps worst of all is the brash manner in which billions of dollars are flushed down the toilet, mocking all of us – particularly those in need – as ridiculous party venom is spewed all over our homes and neighborhoods through every media outlet imaginable.

The democratic system, designed to help the common man shape (or at least have a say in) the world around him or her, has become a game dominated by mercenaries, where policy and policy makers are sold to the highest bidder(s), leaving all of us worse off.

We have no recourse as voters. And the politicians and the two parties know this. So they play the game that has emerged, benefitting from it however they can no matter what the consequences are for their constituents, as only opportunist politicians can. They all have us by the short hairs. But like lemmings, we all continue the charade that we actually have power, that we still live in a democratic society and that we can affect change through the polls. The thing is, until campaign finance reform is amended and until the two nausea-inducing parties are eliminated from a position of influence, we will all suffer increased polarization of our populace and leaders as well as the whims and fiscal agendas of the most powerful companies in the world.

Despite a crippled economy and growing political unrest, however, if you ask most men (and to be fair, some women too) in America right now what their biggest gripe is, and their answer might just surprise you – though after last night’s debacle, all bets are off. Unfortunately, I am referring to the current NFL lockout of its referees.  The mega-billion dollar monopolistic behemoth that is the National Football League, or “the shield” as it is referred to by its most loving fans, is playing hard ball right now with its crew of 120 well-trained officials over pension funds, back-up officials and a few other negotiable points, and insodoing, is jeopardizing the health and safety of its players as well as the integrity of the game that has become the de facto American pastime, with all due respect to baseball.

As frustrating as this is for fans, both die-hard and casual, to stomach, there is virtually nothing any of us can do about it. And the owners and commissioner of the league know this. They have us by the proverbial short hairs: television ratings are as strong as ever as is attendance at most stadia. And that despite the folly that unfolds on most fields with what amounts to replacement officials seemingly qualified for nothing more than middle school or peewee league football. Some of these replacements have been caught with Facebook pictures openly showcasing their NFL team allegiance, and at least one scab official was reported by an NFL player to have approached said player pleading for a good performance to “aid his fantasy team.” I couldn’t make this stuff up. Nobody could. Well maybe Orwell, but nobody else.

Our only recourse is to not watch and not go to games. But we love our football so much that this really isn’t an option, right? NFL brass knows this. And we all suffer. Hmmm. Sound familiar? Well it should. This exact scenario is playing out concurrently in our nation’s toxic political atmosphere.

Oh well. At least we live in America, right? Greatest nation on the planet…in many ways, I suppose. I am too young to be so frustrated. So I won’t be.

Plus, I (and most of you…actually, all of you. Who am I kidding?) don’t live in Green Bay. You know what goes really well with that sour taste you have in your mouth? Cheese. So at least you have that going for you.

Happy New Year everyone.

IDROS

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Was Darwin Wrong?

I know it is said that worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen, and to a large extent, I agree. So I am not sure where to file this:

Charles Darwin was a great man, and I am a firm believer that he pretty much nailed it with most of his theories and rhetoric.

Two of my favorite quotes of his follow:

The issue I have, however, is that by everything I see in our world, Darwin’s logic above, and pretty much throughout his oeuvre, seems ironic at best, and flat wrong in our worst case scenario.

My logic, if you will permit me to ascribe it with such a flattering term, is rather simple.

Our world is flooded with intolerance, prejudice, violence and ignorance. Those who hold dear to any and all four of those horrific schools are not a waning minority by any means, but rather a growing scourge on society.

Please consider the following examples of my troubling hypothesis below, and these are all symptomatic of the American populace:

A large and vociferous population refuses to believe in evolution, does not want it taught in public schools and feels that the bible trumps all in terms of the law and basic human rights;

Many continue to subrogate females in our society for no apparent reason other than archaic behavior patterns that evolved in a world that admittedly was once dominated by men, and refuse to wake up to the misogynistic and ludicrous reasoning that continues to cast an ugly pall on society. This manifests itself most egregiously in: a government of men continually trying to stick their hands, minds and influence into the bodies of women; a refusal to enact serious legislation and better educational programs for the far-too rampant plague that is the assault, battery and abuse (physical, mental and sexual) of women; and double standards that still find women earning considerably less than men in most industries, with far fewer women in positions of power than men.

The absolutely mind-boggling fact that homosexuals are treated as second-class citizens in a nation that boasts liberty and justice for all, not some, or most.

That someone with views like Rick Santorum (see all of the above points) can actually get as close as he is to a nomination by arguably the most powerful political party in our nation, and that Sarah Palin did get the nod by the same party, albeit as a running-mate add-on;

The tragedy that is Traymon Martin, and the countless other racially charged senseless murders and crimes that continue to occur way too frequently.

And America is far more tolerant, just and educated than the rest of the world…by leaps and bounds (maybe Americans aren’t more “evolved” than every single nation and society around the globe, but we are among the crème de la crème, overwhelmingly).  Unfortunately, the goal is not to be less awful than everyone else. A child whose hands and face are covered in dog shit still smells, even if less so than a child covered in feces from head to toe.  America still has a long way to go, even if it is mere miles compared to the light-years the disgraceful global populace must journey toward enlightenment.

So what does all of that have to do with Darwin?

Glad you asked.

From my vantage point, the populations increasing most rapidly in our country, and throughout the world, are the ignorant and the religious zealots, many of which, unsurprisingly, overlap.

I realize Darwin’s theory that the fittest will survive rings true in the near term as the poorest people, who tend to dominate the ignorant and zealous populations, do have the shortest life expectancies.

But long-term, these ignorant and zealous peoples will continue to multiply and thrive, further eroding the evolution of our society as a whole as backward ideas become or continue on as consensus by the growing masses. And unlike in prehistoric times or even a few hundred years ago, mankind has made such incredible technological and medical advances (whether the ignorant and the faithful choose to believe it or not), that even the poorest, most ignorant and most fearful of science benefit.

As a believer in democracy, I can’t help but see stormy weather up ahead for those who cling to the hopes that tolerance, justice and enlightenment will eventually win out over ignorance, prejudice, violence and intolerance. As our global population continues to grow, unfortunately, it is the intolerant, ignorant and overly faithful that are multiplying at exponentially faster rates than the rest of us.

And so, the reason I fear Darwin may have been mistaken, at least in terms of our own human society, is that I am not sure the most responsive to change will survive. And it does not seem likely that those who have learned to collaborate or improvise will continue to prevail, either. In fact, our fastest growing populations seem to be those who refuse to change at all and are completely anti-collaboration and/or improvisation. Ignorance, bliss or not, is multiplying like Danny Zuko’s chills.

I am not sure our society will ever evolve in a positive direction toward enlightenment, but rather it seems far more likely to devolve into darkness and anarchy. Or perhaps humanity was never poised to survive long-term in the first place. And if things don’t change on a grand scale, we probably won’t.

I apologize for being so bleak. I really am a cheerful person with a positive outlook on life. Just trying to stir the giant pot of crap that is simmering on the back burner.

Hope you are all well.

Thanks for reading. I promise more upbeat, positive, and likely trivial entries to come.

IDROS

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