Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Real State of the Union

In keeping with my new policy of emphasizing the positives, check out this from Mark Morford:
Yes, the Bush administration has done more to harm the economy and decimate the national spirit and rape the notion of patriotism than any administration in 100 years. It might very well be true -- hell, we all know it's true -- but is that all there is?

Juicy progress has occurred, despite Dubya and his ilk. Hell, in 1942 you couldn't buy a vibrator to save your life, much less your marriage. People were playing scratchy 78s on their steam-powered turntables and danced in heavy girdles made of bailing wire and lost hopes. Merely uttering the words "double soy mocha latte" in some states would get you shot for being some sort of Communist. Life was brutal. Thongs had yet to be invented. Radiohead didn't exist. Telephones were made of wood and string and lots of yelling. People ate meat from a can. Power steering was science fiction.

This much we know: Progress is measured in fits and hurls and recoils and lurches. We are certainly not where we were, but in some ways, we are stuck there like a pig in quicksand. It's a conundrum. Make that a paradox. A cosmic knock-knock joke. It is merely the way.
Yes, there is progress. It is not as fast or as much as I would like most of the time, but it is there. And that deserves acknowledgement and celebration.
Art will not die. Gay rights marches awkwardly on. Wicca is the fastest-growing religion in America. Sex keeps us more giddy than ever. New galaxies get discovered. Women laugh. Communication evolves. Vibrator quality improves. Wars end. All this pseudo-Christian panic is merely the last spasm of a dying dogma. Which is to say, conservatives may wail and religions may pule, but love winks and shrugs and evolves anyway, despite them both.

You see, magic abounds. Change can blink clumsily to life even in the dankest of corners. Take health care. You will hear much about health care this year. Health care is a nasty, bloated mess, a massive crisis, bigger than any other fiscal issue facing the nation, could very well bankrupt the U.S. government. One reason costs are so high and HMOs are so abusive is because the health industry has powerful lobbyists and the industry CEOs are cronies of the president. What are we to do about this?

Maybe not as much as you might think. Because now a funny thing is happening: Ironically, the powerful crony CEOs of all the other major American corporations, like GM and Wal-Mart and even Starbucks, have become royally furious about how much of their overhead is going to pay for employee health care and are letting Congress feel their wrath, forcing a change. It is the battle of the BushCo cronies!

See, sometimes positive change can happen, even when it's not borne of decent or humanitarian purposes. Of course your current gummint doesn't care a whit about you or your health or well-being. They care about power and money and control. But sometimes even that works out sort of OK. Weird.

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