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July 26, 2010

The Baby with the Bathwater

Difficult times, like middle age, often cause one to reflect on their life. These are certainly difficult times, and I am, just as certainly, standing out on that damnable precipice of middle age. At this point, my reflections have less to do with warm nostalgia than wondering just what the hell I did with all my time. So far, the answer to that question has eluded me - but I do recall associating with a supposedly diverse crowd. There were lots of musicians, artists, an aspiring filmmaker or two, a few writers, maybe an occasional person with a ‘real’ job (and many more without).

When I consider what it was that we all had in common, certain values and attitudes come to mind. Most of my peers prided themselves on maintaining an 'outsider' status. I liked that. We also shared a passion for individualism. We were tolerant (although I’m learning that may have been a fa├žade for many). We were disgusted with hypocrisy. We admired those who went ‘against the grain’ and had contempt for convention in both art and life.

While no one would have labeled themselves part of any cultural movement - we did have a kind of ‘punk rock’ ethos. I had always understood those values to be the belief in free self-expression and the perpetual questioning of authority. While the 'hippie' thing was centered on communality, this was based on individuality. In retrospect, there was actually a lot of good in our youthful ideology.

But then something happened. We got older. We may have had a child - or four… and we all had to make our separate peace with “Society”. I certainly stand accused of this, but few people are the same at 35 as they were at 25. The tragedy is, however, many of my peers have discarded what was actually good about the beliefs of our youth.

The current political and economic crisis in America has really made this tragedy all the more apparent. Many of my friends and associates, who should have been immune to manipulation ‘from above’, seem to have fallen for the Obama illusion. Forget the nitty gritty of politics – anything with the flash and glitz of the Obama campaign would have prompted profuse vomiting from all of them in the past.

The universal acceptance of Obama by the media should have been warning enough, let alone the slick demagoguery. Now, many support an establishment which is far more the polar opposite of our ‘punk rock’ ideology than any conservative politician like Rand Paul. Conscious of it or not, they have accepted new rules which mock diversity, individuality, and especially commonsense.

The rules seem to be like this:


1) Do not “kill” your television! The Mainstream Media, once suspect, is now to be trusted. The majority of the news and entertainment media openly supports the Obama Regime without question. Alternative news sources - one network news channel, a few satellite channels, and a couple of AM radio programs – should be avoided.

2) Protest and dissension is neither acceptable nor patriotic as of January 20, 2009.
The establishment is the good guy. The anti - establishment should be deemed obstructionist, if not racist, or tools of phantom corporate interests.
(Now, it would seem, invisible forces control the people and not the government!)

3) War is no longer immoral or evil. As long as the president in office is a liberal, war protesting should cease… until a Republican is back in office, of course.

4) Learning about, referring to, or discussing the Constitution are endeavors which should be mocked.
If Bill Maher or Jon Stewart mocks it – so should we. The mass of Americans should be considered sheeple – however, they should also be criticized for trying to change this condition (especially if they draw conclusions which differ from liberal orthodoxy).


5) Civil libertarians should no longer be concerned with, nor argue against, the expansion of Executive Branch powers – so long as a Democrat is in office. The Patriot Act and other constitutionally sketchy laws are no longer relevant threats.
6) In regards to entertainment, the “bad guy” shall now be typecast as anti-government zealots as opposed to government groups such as the Department of Homeland Security. Remember how, during the Bush era, the Feds were constantly foiling justice in shows like Law and Order and CSI? Watch militia, survivalist, and other anti - fed stereotypes become the "bad guy". And Islamic terrorists are completely off limits - it upsets them.

7) Grassroots (regular people) political movements should be scorned - unless, of course, they have approval of the liberal Hollywood elite and other non-regular people. This is another example of how the invisible forces of evil, who, until Obama, supposedly controlled the government, are now supposedly controlling the anti - government movements! You know that old lady at the town-hall meeting concerned about her grandchild's future? She's clearly a tool of the corporate oppressors!

8) We will put our narrow interest above the good of the nation. Public school teachers, for instance, supports whomever puts more taxpayer money in their pocket, the aspiring bureaucrat supports whomever promises a cushy government job, and an African - American casts a vote for a candidate “just because he’s black”… and all is hunky dory.

9) Our politics are now thoroughly in agreement with people we previously despised as “sell-outs” or mainstream hacks such as Barbara Streisand or Madonna.

10) Although we decry consumption and large corporations, we gladly consume the best American enterprise has to offer: we buy computers, video game machines, use Blackberries, Droids, and all the latest in telecommunications; we enjoy plane trips, use fossil fuels, and petroleum products; we drive Japanese cars with “Save the Whales” bumper stickers.

Tax dollars at work buying Chuck Rangel a nice place to kick back and hide assets from the IRS
11) We don’t fear the redistribution of wealth (so long as it isn't ours). Our Vice President Biden even claimed that ‘paying taxes was patriotic’. Yet we use accountants to find tax loopholes, we hide income from the Government, and the wealthiest among us even shelter money offshore. Worst of all, we do not expect our own lawmakers and officials to redistribute their own income (ie. Tom Daschle, Charles Rangel, Tim Geitner).


12) Individuality is no longer sacrosanct. Rather than protecting the rights of individuals in society, we support laws based on racial identity and sexual orientation. The use of discrimination to end discrimination is acceptable. (Perceived) social justice now takes precedent over individual liberty. We feel the need for a "Nanny State" to help decide what is best for us.


So, there you have it – just a few of the rules to which many of my friends and peers have acquiesced in this Age of Obama. Perhaps if they had not professed such radically different values all those years ago, I would not be so utterly surprised. By discarding the reasonable and worthwhile beliefs we held in our younger days – it seems many have gotten older but not necessarily wiser…

Stay tuned. Get radical (again).