12 October 2008

"There's a sucker born every minute."
    P.T. Barnum, empresario

I haven't written here in a long time. I mean, a really long time. I've got reasons, of course, the usual excuses--I've been busy trying to launch a new business, I've had to deal with some family health issues, I've been following the downward glide of our once-great country as it loses steam, and readies for a devastating crash and burn, and I've been depressed.

My depression has taken the form of a sort of free-floating fog, a fugue state of malaise, in which I have not been able to focus or take direct action to reverse or remove it. However, this past month, I've recovered to a large extent. I now wonder why it took me so long to figure this out. I've been worried about things over which I have no direct control, and in so doing, lost control of the things I do.

I think it's fair to say that US politics has poisoned me. The poison's name? 


I should have known. I didn't feel too great when the star-chamber investigation put on by Ken Starr and the gang got underway. I felt worse when Bush and his henchmen took over the Administration. Then, day by day, I sat watching and listening as my civil rights, and the civil rights of millions, were consistently eroded and confiscated, all in the name of "protecting" me. I had to be afraid, I was told, of madmen carrying nuclear bombs in suitcases boarding buses and trains I might be on, of airplanes piloted by religious fanatics who hated me crashing into the sides of buildings I might be in, of crooks and criminals actively engaged in attempting to steal my identity, of hackers and "black hats" who would insinuate themselves into control of my computers if I wasn't vigilant, and of hordes of illegal aliens--aliens, for heaven's sake--who were out to take away my ability to earn a living and put food on the table for my family.

It's no wonder I've been down in the dumps. That's where the Administration made every effort to ensure that I'd be. At every turn, in every way, I've been the victim of a concerted campaign of hatred and fear directed at every citizen in this country. "If you don't do what I tell you, bad things will happen." "Just let me take care of this, and everything will be all right." "I'll protect you." "I know what's best for you." I've been listening to it for years, this steady litany of bogeymen, unfounded fears, and rumor-mongering, and I have to say, I'm sick to death of it.

Enough, already.

You can't catch Bin Laden? Fine, then get us the hell out of Afghanistan, where we have no business being. You caught--and executed--Saddam Hussein and his boys. Fine, now get us the hell out of Iraq, where we have no business being. And while you're at it, stop spending my tax dollars on the ineffectual and absolutely ludicrous TSA--since when do my high-heeled shoes, Air Jordans, and Crocs make me a security threat? Don't even get me started on Wall Street, and corporate excess...

Enough, already. Really.

Today, though, I finally had enough. This morning, I read in Whizbang Blue that Gayle Quinnell, the 75-year-old woman who stood and addressed John McCain in his Town Hall gathering the other night with her deepest fear--that Senator Obama "is an Arab"--still believes the lie, even though McCain told her in direct, unambiguous terms that he is NOT an Arab, but a "decent, respectable" man with whom he happens to disagree. They've posted not only the original incident at the Town Hall meeting, but the follow-up interview with her. The videos are remarkable, as is the written commentary.

Curious, I decided to investigate a little. What could account for this woman's stubborn belief in an atrocious lie? I keyed in "Obama is an Arab" as my Google search term. The answer revealed itself in more than one result, but this one really sums it all up nicely. The lie's been circulating since mid-February, apparently, and the most recent purveyor of it is none other than the master of deceit himself, Rush Limbaugh. He's managed to pollute this poor woman's mind to the point that she just cannot bring herself to believe that Sen. Obama is 100%, loyal, red-white-and-true blue American, even when Sen. McCain tells her so, right to her face.

I remember when I was very young, there was a boy in our neighborhood who absolutely delighted in frightening little kids with his stories about all sorts of awful things--monsters, maniacs, gruesome ends they would come to, things that would destroy them, if given the slightest chance. That boy's chief joy was in reducing another child to tears, and often, the child was me. It took my parents years to convince me that monsters weren't under my bed when I climbed in it to go to sleep, courtesy of that kid. However, I finally outgrew the fear, and I also outgrew the need to believe what that bully told me. I felt better, once I understood that everything out of his mouth was nothing but lies, concocted for the sole purpose of making him feel better about himself. I stopped listening to him altogether, and my life improved.

I don't see any difference at all between that bully boy and his fear-mongering, and the bully boys up on Capitol Hill and in the media who have been doing the same thing for the last decade.

I'm done with fear. I'm done with listening. I'm ready to face change, and I'm ready to take responsibility for my own well-being. How about you?

Excuse me. I have to make a few phone calls, to ensure people are getting out to vote.


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