Wednesday, November 11, 2009

'how's that hope-y change-y thing working out?' you ask

Back on the bike again today. Safety conscious, except I generally am safety conscious (with a permissive approach to stop signs etc). In fact, most mornings I commute to work, I remind myself to be aware of ... everything. We never leave the house intending to get hurt.

Stopped in at Twin Six HQ to pick up some gear. Stuffed my three-pocket backside with swag and pedaled away happily. Wended my way through the paths of the city, again, happily and safely (whatever that means: twigs spell disaster if rolled at correctly wrong angles). Midway around Calhoun, I felt something spill from my back. Stopped and collected the bag, checking behind to see if anything else had dropped. Finished my ride and found a deliciously cool, speed- and stamina-improving pair of socks were missing. Orphaned! They must be so scared, out there all alone, I worried. Some nice person likely saw them--perhaps got entangled with them as they were blading along: again, we never PLAN for accidents--and took them home to their family.

It bugged me, though. Damn, a new pair of socks lost stupidly. 'Patience & Persistence' is my motto, so I perseverated about the lost socks (plus I hate wasting more money than I've already wasted.) Wave-particle duality & Shroedinger's (sp) cat: they might be laying on the side of the bike path, or they were long gone. Could be either; couldn't be both. So I took Shrike and drove back to Calhoun, parked, and retraced my route.

Reader, it was fruitless. Luck was a scorned bride, or merely scornful of my weak rescue attempt. We walked a couple miles, noses to the asphalt and leafy grass. Shrike's nose is longer and stronger than mine, but he didn't know which socks I meant when I commanded, 'Find the socks! Fetch 'em!'

I was lurking a bit close to the edge of the path, but aware of on-coming cyclists, bladers, and a posse of teen long-boarders. Some folks were disgruntled nonetheless; I'll steal from bsnyc and call them nonplussed. Still, the pup & I covered lots of ground. Even w/o sock rescue, it was a glorious day for a walk.

Someone made a comment that I inferred was a snidery at my t-shirt, which got me thinking of the faux-debate on health care and politics in general. My shirt? (see below) A gift last year from Francis Metcalf, wonderman extraordinaire. Barak Obama done in the style of Bad Brains' Banned in DC (okay, music heads: BB's seminal Banned in DC). I've seen a couple of the 'how's that hope-y change-y thing working for ya now?' bumper stickers around. I resist smashing in the windows of those cars to engage in sincere dialogue about the politics of stupidity.

How offensive was my shirt? It was horrible. I had the audacity to still support the president, rather than hiding my head (and stickers/t-shirts) in contrition and shame.

I wanted to say that, actually, my hope and change were doing damned fine. My faith in many of the people filling the streets and airwaves was gravely wounded. (Who am I kidding? My default mode is despairing idealism, with messianic demagoguery as a baseline; like all capricorns, I believe the world would be fine if people just understood why my way is preferable.)

The petulant hostility, entitled scorn and effrontery directed gratuitously toward Obama (ignoring the outright racism and homicidal creepiness) is so bankrupt and divorced from actuality that it OUGHT to be silly, a lampoon of shallow reactionary paranoia--except it's the lingua franca of the fucking country.

Our health care system was a hostile, insurance-industry driven, doctor-pimping labyrinth before Obama was sworn in (fewer than ten months ago). Tea Parties? Get fucked. 'I'm about to go on Medicare next year. I don't want the socialist government to take my money for their socialized medicine programs!' Yeah, socialized like Medicare, you tumor.

Seriously? The entitled anger is so depressingly infectious. We have minor social mishaps (bumping into someone's unsupervised child on a sidewalk while heeling one's dog, say) and both sides are half reaching for their lawyers and half going for their conceal-carry sidearm.

Too much comfort, too little satisfaction. Very sad.

Veteran's Day has more weight & immediacy to the general public now that we're actively fighting on several fronts and it's not enough to stick a sticker on the truck. I support those who serve and am wary of the falsities trumpeted publicly post-9/11 to make it easier for the nation to let the war dogs of Cheney et al's hubris loose. I've heard too many armchair patriots who mocked or called for extermination of war protestors turn around and bitch about angry veterans who challenge the authenticity of the war's debut, as well as the myriad problems with the execution and post-involvement for the troops.

We will see wounded soldiers for decades. Our country appears incapable of having adult conversations w/o throwing tantrums, so I worry how up to the challenge of truly supporting and owning the problematic & complex consequences of the bumrushed patriotic-acted wars we as a nation will be.

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