A while back during the stimilus ‘debate’ (more accurately, the GOP throwing a major hissy fit and threatening to hold their breaths until they turned blue because, socialism, omigod teh deficit, Obama is ebil Islamofascist dictator socialist Neville Chamberlin Adolph Hitler gonna take all our guns away such a big wimp and totally a dictator, and, and, and ACORN!, so shut up! Also), I stopped reading and watching anything about politics for four days in a row. I had been following the stimulus ‘debate’ closely until one of the talking heads said something like, “Oh, it’ll pass” before going on to rehash some inane detail of the stimulus. It took my breath away how casually this talking head stated it would pass, as if it were irrelevant to the matter at hand, which was how one sentence on the 127th page of the bill enraged the junior senator from Kentucky or something equally stupid.
So I said to myself, “Minna, why the fuck are you following this if it’s gonna pass no matter what? Why listen to the bat-shit crazy talking points from the nutters and their enablers if it drives you so fucking insane? Why not…pull the plug?” I resisted. I protested with my other self. “I have to be well-informed. I have to keep up with what’s going on. I can’t not read the news!”
“Bullshit,” said the other me. “Look, it’s the weekend. Congress will be out doing their schmoozing and fucking around. Nothing is gonna happen. You can glance at the headlines on Yahoo! if you like, but you can go four days without reading or watching anything about politics.”
“But, I will die!” I argued with me. Yes, I am quite the drama queen when I argue with myself. “Besides, it’s irresponsible and, and, and ACORN!” Oh, wait. No, that’s the rightwingnuts last word, not mine.
My other self won, and I didn’t watch, read, or listen to the news for four days. It was difficult, but it also felt damn good. I didn’t start being a political junkie until the last election, and it’s exhausting to follow the minutiae, especially when nothing really seems to change all that much from day to day, and yet, so much talking and pundit-ing and wanking. I know there are twenty-four hours in the day to fill, but really.
When I returned to the world of politics, my mood went from neutral to negative in, oh, about five minutes. I decided I needed to cut down on my political consumption. Which I did. However, it slowly started growing again over time, and now, I am back engrossed into the machinations of the government, and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
Today, I read this an entry on Balloon Juice about the CEOs of Goldman Sachs maybe giving themselves the biggest and bestest bonus evah this year because they made gangbusters profits in the first quarter, mainly by rigging the books. Yes, that’s my lay-person interpretation. You can Google it if you want to know the details as I am too dispirited to do any research on it right now. Seriously? More bigger better bonuses than ever? Even if they don’t, their attitudes toward the recession that they helped create and at the bailout indicate to me that they have learned jack shit from the last six months or so. They are not repentant, nor do they appear amenable to changing their ways. They are fighting even the most tepid changes to the way regulation has been enforced, and they are implying that the consumers are the ones who will be hurt if the rules are enforced.
They were too big to fail, so we bailed them out. Now, they want to award themselves more money, even though people are still losing jobs by the thousands.
Then, there’s health care. The GOP and the Blue Dawgs are fighting the public option tooth and nail. Some on BJ believe that even with all the wrangling, there will be a public option in the final bill. Again, it’s more political theatre designed to–I don’t know what. Even if I were to believe that some kind of public option will be included in the final bill, it’s gonna be diluted to the point of uselessness. The same people grandstanding on health care are people who enjoy a very public option choice of health care. After all, WE pay for the health care of our fine congress people. Yet, they don’t seem to be calling that socialism or protesting too loudly. Why is that?
Then, we have queer issues and the fierce urgency of, “eh, whenever”. And the so-called transparency that hasn’t been, actually, all that transparent. And, and, and…the more I read, the more hopeless and helpless I feel. I know that Obama is better than W. by far, but it’s a bit dispiriting that true progressive voices are still dismissed as moonbatty and too far to the left to matter.
Politics are heavily slanted towards the status quo, the wealthy, and big businesses (Pharma, Agra, etc.), and that isn’t something I see changing any time in the near future. Look, it takes millions of dollars even to run for office, and where does most of this money come from? Businesses and corporations. Big Pharma has lined the coffers of many government figures, including President Obama. It’s difficult not to be at least somewhat beholden or influenced when you are getting lots of money from one group or the other. I’m not sanguine that this is going to change any time soon.
I am thinking of winnowing my political perusal again, or doing another self-enforced ban. It’s time for an emotinal cleansing.