Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Monday, November 29, 2004

"Tomorrow Morning"

What if tomorrow morning you awoke and the entire right wing agenda was a fait accompli? What if abortion were illegal? If gun control was forever banished? If gay rights had been eliminated? If school prayer was back with us? If a constitutional amendment against flag burning was the law of the land. And if the theory of evolution had once and for all been stripped from school curriculums?

We can argue whether the Right would be happy with this turn of events or not, as it is clear that most of these issues are used mostly as divisive social tools to help keep them in power. Without abortion or guns or flaming flags, what could they scream about?

But the real question I have is this; if all of these issues went "their way," how exactly would that help our nation? Would it make us more prosperous, more ethical, more content, more educated, more competitive, more charitible? Would we, as human beings, be happier?

No. None of these issues really get to the heart of what makes life good and rewarding for most of us. They are slivers of pieces of issues which have been politicized and metaticized, which have grown to represent something they are not; a solution for what people think is "wrong with America."

First off, America does have a lot wrong with it. We are too greedy, too materialistic, too selfish, and (dare I say it!) too "productive!" But we didn't get there by taking the "liberal" exit off the highway. The real ills of this nation are as deeply seeded in the red states as they are the blue. And while many people find hope in religion as a sort of "cure all" for the ennui, many, like myself, see it causing as many problems as it purports to solve.

No, I think we are a languishing society which has built a false-front of superiority. We have so long believed that the US is "better" that we can't figure out why WE don't feel better. If this is the "greatest country in the world," why don't I feel envigorated by that? Why do I feel depressed? Because we have a paucity of real, live "on the street" culture, the kind that grows when people meet and deal with other people face-to-face. We lack communities which nourish community and which, in turn, nourish our souls.