Saturday, August 25, 2012

Offline, Old Hope, and Bumpers

There are days when I have so much to write about that I have trouble deciding which subject to choose. Today I decided to write about everything, and let the words fall where they may.

First writing subject is "not writing." Things are going to be wonderfully hectic over the next few weeks (all of September, actually). That means my blogs will be hit and miss, mostly miss. My projects will sit by while I have fun playing tour guide for Olaf and Anneke, who arrive September 1 for a three week stay. It's their first visit to the United States. They love mountains and hiking, so Montana is tailor made for them. For Diane and myself it is a perfect excuse to explore our new surroundings.

Then we have a wedding at the end of the month, plus we may be getting two of our cats back during the week between O and A leaving and Myra and Ryan's event. Not much time for musing on the keyboard.

Next, the old hope. My nephew Richard forwarded me a fun article for anyone like myself who thinks his age means the limits are falling on him "fast and furious." Roger Clemens has been making news by un-retiring (again) and preparing to pitch at age 50. Minors to start, Majors to follow . But Richard's story is about an ancient player named Bill Lee, the Spaceman, who had a colorful career back in the
80's and now is 65 years old. Seems Ole Bill just won a professional game on August 23 for the San Rafael Pacifics, a Minor League team. Think of it -- competing with the big boys, young enough to be his grandkids, and winning the game! Forget the New Hope. Pin your star to the Old Hope!

We read a bumper sicker yesterday that read: "The problems we face today can not be solved by the minds that created them."

I love those words. They are not party or agenda specific, they merely state that if we want to solve our problems, don't rely upon and re-elect the very officials who brought them into being in the first place. Problems need innovative solutions from people with fresh perspective.

So, you might ask, what problems? On MSNBC this morning, I heard that the United States ranks 78th in the percentage of women in elected office. 78th! We're behind Afghanistan. So who exactly are we to criticise anyone?

It occurs to me that the GOP likes us to be backward. Another area where we rank far lower than we should is in health care. Their opposition to Obamacare means that they want us to wallow in mediocrity. There must be money in it. We rank somewhere in the middle of the pack among industrialized nations, and to hear the Republicans talk, it would be okay with them of we slipped further back -- anything would be preferable to agreeing with the Democrats on any issue. This divisiveness rears its head every time we turn around, but Obamacare is one of the hot button issues the GOP continually harps on as we march toward November. Obamacare is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction -- that is, if you believe that every American deserves health care coverage.

The GOP does not.

We are also mediocre when it comes to education, particularly mathematics and science. Once upon a time we led the world in these fields, and drew to our shores great minds from everywhere else to help us lead. No more. Look elsewhere for new discoveries and technologies unless they come from a handful of brainiacs sitting around figuring out how to make last month's newest fad obsolete. No child left behind is a bust. The gaps between the United States and the rest of the world are widening, and the GOP seems to want to accelerate the process. The world is moving away from us, or, as the saying goes, perhaps it is we who are moving away from the rest of the world by standing still.

I do not blame the GOP entirely. We the people elected them and many of us push their agenda of non-compliance and progress stalling. Meanwhile, the Democrats do nothing but compromise, only to have the Republicans obstruct anyway -- like the pre-war allies offering Hitler what he wanted on the promise that he would be satisfied until the next time.

People shout from the rooftops how important this election is going to be. I don't see it. The people running in 2012 -- all of them -- are exactly the minds who created the problems in the first place.

Okay, okay, I'm going to backtrack a little bit, but I'm not the first politician to do so. Come November, a choice must be made, and the candidates both have clear agendas each is pursuing. In that sense the election is crucial. Do we pick a man who inherited a mess forty years in the making and who has made steps to improve our lot, and who seems to be in touch with what a human being, male or female, is; or a man who cannot seem to differentiate between what is good for a male dominated businessman society from 150 years ago and the world we live in today?

Look at Todd Akin. Members of the GOP will say that he is not typical of the Party's values, but this is the man who co-authored a bill that wanted to redefine rape. With Paul Ryan. That Paul Ryan. The Paul Ryan who himself wants to impede a woman's right to choose. Comic and commentator W. Kamau Bell (catch him on F/X before his show's six episode run ends) refers to the GOP as the Circle of Idiots. And yet the polls show the race for President is neck and neck.

Akin's words were poorly chosen, but the sentiment expressed there demonstrates the reactionary vision the GOP has for America. Everybody has to know his or her place.

It is a world that may have worked once, a few centuries back when most people did not know better and before the invention of the guillotine. All it gets us now is the same stuff, different day. Democrats may be progressives who are not progressing, but Republicans are running backwards at full speed.

So maybe it will be the most important election ever. Which direction do you want to go? Please remember that, no matter what Washington has done for the past several years, standing still is not an option.

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