In a little more than a month, I’ll have yet another celebration of a full circuit around the Sun. Yeah, in modern vernacular its referred to as a birthday. but for me it truly is just another day. This will be the end of (::silently counting on fingers::) my 53rd year on this planet, and the start of my 54th. In all of those years, I’ve seen a lot. A lot more than I really care to admit. Lately, most of these days has been me averting my eyes, mainly from the train-wreck we seem to call “American politics.”
Now, before you start moving on believing that I am about to rant on American politics and the inane rule of it all, that’s not precisely where I am going. No, my position on American politics is fairly well understood; instead, I am taking a few glances back over the shoulder. The Don Henley lyric goes:
Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said
Don’t look back, you can never look back
I thought I knew what love was
What did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let ’em go, but….
Looking back, I wasted so much of my time on things that really meant so very little. Politics is one of those things. Back in 2000 or 2001, I started paying attention to the political world. I would listen to the talking heads on WBAP radio in the morning, and then in the evening, I would change my listening perspective to the now defunct Air America radio channel. WBAP had conservative pundits such as Mark Davis (local to DFW), Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity on. Air America had Thom Hartman and Randi Rhodes. I had always felt I was getting both sides of the issues. The reality was something different. I look back at this time and think….
Don’t say words you’re gonna regret
Don’t let the fire rush to your head
As Alan Parsons Project notes, speaking ill of the times long past is not always the brightest of ideas. Suffice it to say, much of today’s political climate, I’ve seen before. So I don’t get as overly excited as many others might over various news events. But I do keep a wary eye on the rest of the world, just in case someone does decide to throw a match down the gasoline well.
Iget a lot of bombastic expressions over my less than enthusiastic embrace of “The Storm” that so many others have brought forward. I see the rain, I see the localized flooding, I have been there to help those that needed an extra hand. But its not really all that different from the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. However, instead of running for the proverbial broom closet, I decided to stand firm and not give in to any form of anxiousness or panic. yeah, there is a definite odor in the air of those that are seeking to forcibly bring their standards and “moral code” on to others. I hear those voices, and roundly ignore and rejectall of that. I do not need to do that with violence or name-calling. But make no bones about it, I’ll turn the other cheek until the first blow is thrown. After that, its on like Donkey-Kong. But I sincerely hope we don’t get to that level either. I’d rather win people over with logic than a right-cross.
A twenty-two year-old me would have rolled up his sleeves and waded right into the fight – swinging fists, flying elbows and putting my size seven-and-a-half up someone else’s ass. Fifty-four year-old me doesn’t want things to get to that level at all. I’d rather win the day with words and kindness than visiting fascism with violence. Because I’ve seen how little that violence actually wins the day. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that violence is the only manner in which to win the day, I just hope we’ve not crossed into that territory just yet.
I don’t watch or listen much to the political talking points shows anymore. No one’s opinion is going to be changed by the opinions expressed on these shows. Nor do these folks reveal anything new. These talk shows do nothing more than keep up the drumbeat for their respective foot soldiers to march with. That took me a few years to realize it. Now, I spend very little time listening to any of these folks. I prefer to be educated by what I listen to, in terms of news, or entertained by whatever music I happen to have on. “News”/”Talk” radio does neither of these for me.As I have said, I get slammed against the wall for not listening to the steady beat of the “war” drums, but maybe that’s because I’ve heard all of this before. I remember people getting up in arms about illegal immigration, and the spread of detainee camps along the border edges. I can easily recall the days of class warfare, when there was a distinct middle-class caught in the cross-fire. I remember the constant debate of a woman’s right to choose (or not). The distorted use of the Bible to justify violence against abortion. clinics. The constant barrage of anti- and pro-gun advocates dotting the landscape. All of that is not really new. What is new is the distance of the chasm between the sides. The lack of a middle ground. And the abuse those seeking that middle ground get from both sides. All of that is new. And extremely disheartening.
Then again, Missing Persons may have said it best of all:
I might as well go up and talk to a wall
’cause all the words are having no effect at all
It’s a funny thing am I all alone
Something has to happen to change the direction
What little filters through is giving you the wrong impression
It’s a sorry state I say to myself
What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talkin at all