Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deny..Deny...but there is no denying U.S. bi-polarity, and emasculation

As the concluding item on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, the on-air crew summarizes what "I learned today"....and today, the co-host, Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressmen from Florida, commented, "Republicans, do not deny science; Democrats, do not deny the math!"
A pithy, catchy moniker on the morning of the president's State of the Union address to set the frame for his second term.
There is considerable evidence, from the political rhetoric sludging out of Washington, (it can't flow like water lacking the clarity, consistency and nourishment inherent to water!) that Republicans too often deny the reality of science:
  • on global warming and climate change, for example, or
  • on a female body's capacity to shed a fetus when raped, or
  • on the merits of universal health care, especially given the recently posed adver-science from the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada, that most people will live the last decade of their lives in sickness
  • or on the basic empirical evidence that assault weapons do not protect individuals, families or communities, when held by individuals
  • or on the basic empirical evidence that no one needs a 30-round magazine to go deer hunting
  • or on the basic empirical evidence that an armed policeman/woman is the best defence for American schools
  • or on the NRA's mantra "the only effective solution to a bad man with a guy is a good man with a gun"
  • or on the empirical evidence that a Republican initiative "for small government" is merely ashes, when it comes to a woman's right to choose, in reproductive rights...
And because of the way Democrats "frame" their positions on the social safety net, "untouchable" for many, there is some evidence that Democrats do seem to deny the math of a crippling debt and deficit.
Examples:
  • Nancy Pelosi, "We do not have a spending problem, we have a tax loophole problem" or
  • The president, "Immigration reform is a top priority for the second term" when everyone knows that 24,000,000 Americans are still unemployed, underemployed or have simply stopped looking for work, because the search is simply futile, or
  • We have already trimmed $1 trillion, now it is time for some more tax cuts, from some Democrats, or
  • The sequestration, voted on and signed by the president, is not a serious problem, because it will do what legislators are either unwilling or unable to do, or
  • Money is so cheap (under 3%) that we can borrow at least another trillion, put millions back to work and bring the economy back to health, or
  • We have already built in substantial savings in the Obama care legislation, so we don't have to worry about Medicare and Medicaid, or Social Security going bankrupt, or
  • Deep cuts in the Pentagon would be good for the U.S. given that we already spend more than all other western developed countries combined on defence....
However, with the bi-polarity in the rhetoric, it would seem, at least to this naive and "alien" observer, (from another country!) that both political parties have found a way, in their respective deafness, to shout past the other, presumably to reach the "people" and to bring pressure on their opponents, to force the hand of those opponents to vote the way the "majority" of the country would prefer. We thought, and believed that in November, with the election of the president, something like that did happen.
However, both parties are also guilty, (never mind for the moment which bears most of the responsibility) of denying the best interests of the country, in their narcissistic, interminable, melodramatic pandering to their political "base", rendering the country effectively emasculated, because the country is not represented by the base of either political party.
Emasculation, ironically, would be the last diagnosis that most male politicians would accept from the political doctors, given their deeply held conviction that they are simply not emasculated. As for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Lance Armstrong, Sammy Sosa and too many other publicly acclaimed figures in the American culture, denial is becoming, if it has not already become, a national disease.
  • Republicans deny science;
  • Democrats deny math; sports figures deny their dependence on banned performance enhancing substances,
  • Evangelicals deny their contempt for women in their pursuit, with purists from the Roman Catholic faith, of the abolition of abortion;
  • NRA denies the real and historic meaning of the Second Amendment (for a national militia, prior to the establishment of a national military, and not for the purpose of  growing a culture addicted to weapons);
  • the 'right' denies the children of illegal immigrants "a path to citizenship" because that would be "amnesty" and unfair to those who played by the rules;
  • the "left" denies that government is not the solution for all social and political problems;
  • America, as a nation, denies their enemies the right to acquire or posses nuclear weapons, while turning a blind eye to the nuclear capacity of their ally, Israel;
  • The Tea Party denies the president is a legal American citizen, with impunity;
  • The right denies the right to existence to the Planned Parenthood association
And, unfortunately, there is an even longer list, if we were to stretch a little.
Representative of the kind of social and political culture in which we all live, the American political process is no longer about resolving problems, but merely shouting about the evils of the "other" whoever that other happens to be. North American culture has become one gimungus high school with political, technological, athletic, sexual and the occasional intellectual hormones running amok and with no parents at home, having dinner, pouring salt in the extremities, as leven, to render the normal and the ordinary, and the responsible and the mundane...ACCEPTABLE! NECESSARY! and AFFORDABLE!
America does not need the Budget-busting Pentagon Budget, anymore than it needs a gut-busting hamburger with four patties, fries and a sixteen ounce sugar drink. But there is no Michael Bloomberg with the "balls" to say so.
American does not need the bi-polar, melodramatic political rhetoric, to solve what would, in normal times, be relatively easy compromises to the national debt, the national deficit, the immigration conundrum, the risk of cyber-attack, the obvious risk of global warming and climate change.
And yet, there is no "political physician" prescribing lithium for the nation's bi-polarity, and for the denial of its current and prospective condition. And just as with the real condition, where life-style changes are needed to balance the impact of pharmaceuticals, so to the political lifestyle could do with some major changes in approach...like truth-telling, committing to avoiding denials, committing to move away from a military (war) mentality on every issue, and a collaborative agreement that politics is not another theatre for "killing games".
Denial, as the joke goes, is much more than a magnificent river in Egypt; it is a condition from which there is relief, and the relief is not in the form of an untested, unproven, pharmaceutical, with side effects that could kill the patient willing to risk consuming it; denial requires, in every kitchen, and every board room and every battleground, and also every classroom and operating room...its own unmasking, its own uncovering, and that requires the adult admission that we are all complicit in its current power over us....
And only if and when we come to our individual and collective senses, will these problems and their respective resolutions cease to obstruct the flow of both blood and oxygen to the national brain, the national heart and the nation's limbs...and provide a relatively complete recovery, while simultaneously, reducing the costs of health care dramatically, if ironically.

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