American Dream Down the Toilet

Nothing Against You Personally, Tim…

But…

Setting the Stage

I was recently on a vacation that took me to Greece and Denmark.

While in Greece (boy, is that ironic) I posted on my Facebook wall that “the party of ‘No!’ has got to go…”, a sentiment I embrace more wholeheartedly now than ever. That status update generated an interesting conversation.

Then, I was off to Denmark, “the happiest country in the world” according to the annual World Happiness Survey. The Danes delight in their egalitarian, high tax society. (They pay 70% of their income in taxes?!! In the US tax is bad. Government is bad. We supposedly want to “drown government in the bathtub*.”) But the Danish enjoy the happiness of personal security. They aren’t trying to buy happiness through greed, materialism, or power. [See the Epilogue.]

Timing is everything, isn’t it. Confluence.

Act One

When stepping out of the trees to take a look at the forest, I notice something I suspect is really significant. This from the comment thread: “Let me be clear, Tim, I have no ill will for you. But I am sure you and I attach very different meaning to words.” Hmm… I guess so, words like: “ill will,” and “you.”

This statement sums up why I am a liberal man, and growing more liberal with each breath I draw. In the extreme conservatism in which I was raised and educated, uncompromising ideology trumps humanity every time. In less than a heartbeat, people will be sacrificed to preserve the uncompromising ideology.

In my simple mind, this is wrong.

American Dream Down the ToiletIn this ultra conservative world view, nothing is more important than the uncompromising ideology, nothing. A small minority that lost in the democratic process is willing to trash the democratic process itself (when it doesn’t work for their ideology), crash and burn this nation’s economy (Patriotic? I think not.), our heritage and their oath (We the people…) and even the world’s economy. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their agenda, again: even when that agenda, that ideology, lost in and destroys the democratic process.

Act Two

“I have no ill will for you.” may be a good manners but just isn’t really true. These extremist conservatives have ill will against everyone who opposes their ideology, and I’m part of that humanity. They herald their position from a place of superiority and dominance, subverting the will of the people. They make up facts and are even deceived by their own spin. (Remember their shock when they lost the presidential election? They truly are that out of touch with reality.) They tend to speak with dismissive condemnation, a term I’ve used a lot to describe one of their frequently used strategies: Speak from superiority and condescension to create an artificial sense of superiority.

They have made an art form of redefining words to suit their ultra conservative ideology that includes the notion that government is bad and must be dismantled save for the surveillance and military industrial complex. This habit of redefining words makes meaningful conversation on a point by point basis impossibly non-contextual and thereby pointless as their words mean something altogether different. (Hence, I just choose not to engage.) They will spin a half truth or bold faced lie in the blink of an eye: death panels, weapons of mass destruction, mission accomplished… And, no doubt, some of them really believe this stuff.

Theirs is not the usual battle of ideas but rather a war for the domination of an uncompromising ideology that is sacred and vastly more important to them than the people their ideology hurts: humanity itself.

Yes, as one friend put it, this kind of thinking is truly scary as, throughout history, it comes to no good end.

Act Three

Never forget: Policy and ideology matter! They must always serve the people and not the other way around!

Epilogue

I had a conversation with a random Danish fellow in Copenhagen about Denmark being the happiest country in the world a second year in a row. Did he believe that it was? And why did he believe or disbelieve it? He articulated an answer that actually surprised me! Check it out his answer at this link: skip down to Happiest People in the World.

* Thank ultra conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist for that statement.