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Friday, December 19, 2008

YEAR-END MUSING

As we approach year's end, and the dawning of a new administration (thank God!) in 2009, I am left musing over some nagging American contradictions and paradoxes. For example, why is it:

We seem to jump to conclusions and employ polar opposites as we do? I mean, why do some say those of us who want to close Gitmo and end our military misadventures in Iraq are aiding terrorists, or surrendering to them? Isn't adding fuel to their fire aiding their cause and recruitment rather than defusing their argument against us? And why are those who call themselves pro-choice labeled as being pro-abortion? Many who are pro-choice HATE abortion, and it's clear they are not necessarily one and the same...

We are supposed to be the land of the free, but the religious right and social conservatives want our government to deny gays specific rights, and women the right to their own reproductive choices...

Ideally, we are supposed to invest in our "free enterprise" system (our businesses and the stock market) and, as the system prospers, we are supposed to prosper too, through the payment of dividends. Yet, in the case of Enron, and also Madoff, and many others, only a small handful (crooks) profited immensely from investing, and everyone else lost their ass. Does this mean our system of investment is no longer relevant, and that Wall Street and the stock market are parasites (with the rest of us mere unwitting pawns in their dirty little game) and that investing should now be avoided altogether?...

The Bush administration and Republicans take credit for our not having had another terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11? Why then have they consistently been lax about our border and port security? Why did they invade Iraq without real provocation, turning it into a magnet and rallying cry for Al Qarda? Could it be their REAL aims were to allow us to be flooded with cheap, illegal labor to further weaken our labor unions and keep workers' wages low? Could it also be they merely wanted close proximity to and/or outright control over Iraqi oil, or to establish a permanent military base in the region?...

We'll gladly help out a friend, relative, or neighbor who has lost his or her job, but the person across town on unemployment we DON'T know is a son of a bitch and a welfare cheat...

Many liberals proclaim stromg support for individual rights, but abortion advocates place a woman's right to abortion, even if for reasons of convenience, economy, or as the result of careless sexual practice, far ahead of the innocent, unborn child's right to be born and live...

Business wants bright, young, highly educated people for its labor force, but once an individual hits 40 or so, he or she is regarded as being overqualified or costing too much to employ...

We claim to be pro-democracy, but we have a habit of overthrowing democratically-elected governments we don't like and replacing them with military juntas or right-wing dictatorships. This happened in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Dominican Republic in 1965, Chile in 1973, and Grenada in 1983. In 2003, we overthrew a corrupt and murderous dictator in Iraq only to invade and occupy the country and forcibly install a democratic government at gunpoint...

Many conservatives call themselves "pro life" and oppose abortion under any circumstance, but many of these same people strongly support pre-emptive war and the death penalty...

It's scandalous and a crime when someone we don't know is nailed for tax evasion, but when we take deductions we're not really entitled to or cheat on our taxes, that's just "good business"...

Neocon Republicans and free trade Democrats told us for years that reducing taxes on big business and the wealthy, as well as engaging in unrestricted free trade would result in the creation of millions of high-paying jobs and a rising standard of living here, but what those things actually brought was millions of jobs exported out of this country, huge and expanding CEO salaries and perks, but stagnant or lower wages and reduced benefits for everyone else, as well as a reduced standard of living overall...

Many liberals profess to be for full freedom of speech, but when it comes to prayer of any kind in public schools, even voluntary, this should be forbidden...

We think those in higher income brackets should pay a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than they do, but once we reach their income level, we scream for tax cuts...

Liberals judge a public servant by his or her public policy, and overlook their private behavior. Conservatives judge a public servant by his or her public AND private behavior, and often overlook their public policy (unless it relates to taxes)...

We tend to respect and admire the wealthy, regardless of how that wealth was obtained...

Many conservatives value education as a means to produce wealth. But they scorn those who use their education to create, think, or challenge the status quo, and call them "eggheads" or "intellectuals." They apparently want their children and students to be smart, but not TOO smart...

Many liberals value education as a means for achievement. They prize the attainment of titles, and some look down on those without higher education or titles.

Some of the strongest racists I know are blacks, and some of the most intolerant are liberals. Also, some of the most intolerant people I know are whites, and some of the biggest racists I know are conservatives...

Many conservatives want all people to succeed. They just don't want the government helping them TO succeed. They think success will invariably follow hard work, even though that's not always the case...

Many liberals want all people to succeed. They just don't want to pay for that success out of their own pocket, and some don't wish to associate with those who are trying to succeed...

4 comments:

Manifesto Joe said...

Hi, Jack:

As you pretty much note, there seem to be no pure shades of black and white, but rather, mostly varying shades of gray. It has seemed to me best to avoid people who see things in terms of absolutes.

I apologize for not getting you blog-rolled sooner, but I will get to it over the next couple of days. I've been too busy with work and family to take care of blog housekeeping for about a week now.
I will get to it, and if you want to know more about how to build a blog roll, I will tell you whatever I can about it.

Manifesto Joe said...

Finally got you blog-rolled, Jack. Sorry it took so long for me to get around to it. Merry Christmas.

Jack Jodell said...

Thank you, Manifesto Joe, and happy new year!

opit said...

If you seem to be perceiving things in a fog - rather than clear patterns - the idea that obfuscation is our way of 'communicating' has its promoters.
I didn't realize until this year that George Orwell - the 1984 writer -knew how the system worked because he had been part of it. Last year I found out he had been harassed by security in seemingly illegal fashion.
He had the idea of 'Duckspeak' : where words were abused to the point they were as informative as a duck's quacking. Since words are tools of reason, I'm sure you can appreciate the effect of evacuating the public's perceptive ability.
I do admire Noam Chomsky : and only found out about him perhaps 3 years ago.
Here's one of many entrances to what you might think of as trapdoors into thought.
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/