"Raise more hell", a rant in paragraphs inspired by the writings of Molly Ivins and the continuing Republican onslaught of stupid.
When Ivins writes, there has to be a jalapeno in every line.
- critic James Thurman
A giant of Texas political journalism, hell, a giant among everybody everywhere, signed off personal notes with that missive: RAISE MORE HELL. She advocated spine, guts, and pretty much any other metaphor for speaking truth to power. She advocated speaking truth, whether power gave a shit or not.
Molly Ivins is the inspiration not just for this group, but many of our personal journeys toward finding our own stand in politics, and understanding others' stands as well. Leftist, progressive, liberal…words were important, but labels were mutable. So it is still for most of us, listening everyday to people who co-opt our words, our ideas, and our stances. Ironically, this very idea of cultural takeover is what drives many on the right to their extreme and often cruel positions. Should their disdain for the public school system become policy it will likely rob them of their ability to recognize irony.
The right-wing of this country fears change, fears that any future will desecrate their past. They fear that the pie is finite and the slices are dwindling. In truth, the pie grows larger the more people sit at the table. This is the light of civilization, that cooperation is greater than isolation. Humanity's potential is limitless and if it looks like our economy isn't, that's a problem on paper and not with the people. Our ability to explain that simple fact is hindered considerably when empirical thought is an untrustworthy villain to the people we're trying to reach. Social Security is not a Ponzi Scheme. It just isn't, by any definition of those words. Even if it were a scam, it's still not quite a Ponzi Scheme. Point that out, however, and suddenly it's grade school again. Explaining things, thinking things through...these became untrustworthy traits somewhere along the way. Doublespeak works in that environment, and we now live in a world where tax-and-spend Dems are always weak, always the nerds with committees and fact-finding, with tape on our glasses whining about some weakling we want these strong, virile conservatives to shell out some cash to help. Frankly, I'm sick of it. Barack Obama is as patriotic as they come (more so, I'd say, given my experience with Silver Spooners versus Punky Brewster). But every day, I hear something about this President and how he's the Antichrist sent to destroy our nation and take our guns away with his socialist-fascist policies. Down is Up. Good Is Bad. We're running our nation on permanent Opposite Day, and that seems like a damn foolish way to do things (or a great way. Damn,I hate Opposite Day).
Kids who are different get bullied and mocked. We see it when we're older too, when adults get shut down by false logic in public debates, and not only does the doublespeak go unquestioned, those who bring it up are labeled as illegitimate in their complaints. Facts that contradict the established narrative can simply be stated incorrectly until the lie holds true. Intelligence is considered untrustworthy and weak in our national identity by far too many Americans, to the benefit of a select population.
I was raised to help people when I can, to be nice, and to share. If I'm up and you're down, I should reach out my hand. I believe we're in this together. I also remember that a democratic government is made up of its people. If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the Founding Fathers did intend to establish a government. We the People, not Me the Person. We are our government. We are our contituency. Any disparity between politician and voter, like having a congress composed almost entirely of millionaires, is a bad idea.
To quote Molly Ivins again,
We don’t need a lobby reform package, you dimwits, we need full public financing of campaigns, and every single one of you who spends half your time whoring after special interest contributions knows it.
We don't want shills and corporate whores in our government jobs. We want the best. To that end, smarts matter. That's where the derision of smart-talkin' comes into contact with the workings of our nation. That's where we start getting flat-out stupid policies at best, and con-artist swindles at worst.
Every day since I was a kid, someone has cast learning, understanding, and compassion in a weak and mocking light. It happens by rote, as if every single person on the planet is genetically geared to malign those virtues even as they pass them on to the next generation.
We're told that experts are "elitist eggheads lordin' it over the common folk". No. Not true. Maybe I'm unclear on the whole "doing things the right way" concept, but we want experts in the fields we're legislating. If it takes someone in every room telling the cameras over and over again that people can be right on facts and bad at public speaking, so be it. I think we're all sick of reaping the policy whirlwind sown by corporate money paid to know-nothing shills. It's high time we recognized what Jon Stewart said about candidate Obama when the elitist meme was all the rage in 2008:
"If by elitist you mean 'not the dumbest motherfucker in the room' then yes, I am voting for the elitist."
Having a population that disdains thinking has advatages, clearly. It allows talking heads and politicians to make ridiculously stupid arguments and get away with them. Advocating that the only way to save the greatest democracy to ever be established on Earth is to stop collecting revenues for the operation of its government is about the dumbest-assed thing ever conceived. DEMOCRACY. It's made of people, like the sci-fi reference. Spending money toward the citizens, toward dams and bridges and roads, toward the veins of commerce...that's patriotism on a grand scale. Why are all our public works projects wars? Can't isolationism mean we do a little nation building here? Oops, that's some egghead liberal wussy-talk.
It's enough to make you weep, but the only person allowed to cry in America without being called weak is John Boehner (and that's only if he promises the tears are personal, and not shed for anyone in a lower tax bracket).
That government the Republicans want drowned in a bathtub is the embodiment of our national identity, operated daily by our citizens. They are among those citizens, and they tirelessly advocate against their own workplace. They should be fired, but it's (again, still) a democracy, so they keep fooling some of the people all of the time. Will Eric Cantor stick to his guns and offset the disaster spending in his district from his own pocket? No, he'll probably just keep using government healthcare, transportation, a sweet salary. His Citizen's United enabled PAC will produce a slick few TV ads and someone will get fooled again. We have to take back these labels. We have to change the conversation.
Being the adult in the room doesn't mean just trying to negotiate, sometimes it means telling the grown-ass people acting like children that we help other people here. We share. It's not socialism, it's called not being an asshole. The president said it nicer, but that's the gist.
Patriotism? that's investing in your national infrastructure, making sure everybody that's here gets up and pursues happiness tomorrow. They've got the right to, and the inaction of a few government employees milking the system is robbing them of their free exercise of that right. Anyone in congress who tells me government is incapable of running something needs to themselves get out of my government, so we can replace them with people who can.
Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.
She said that in 2006, and it's still true. Righteous, America-loving anger isn't the house of the right. I can live there too. I'm pissed off that we don't have better paid teachers churning out the smartest most badass class of kids the world has ever seen. I want the best trains, planes, cars, roads, and whatever comes next there is. I want it built here. I want a government. I want to pay in for national projects. Nobody out here in America is mad about taxes, DC. They're mad about administrative overhead. We're all out here, mad as hell, and showing some spine about it. I wish we still had Molly, but it looks like it's just us. The other side keeps coming with the stupid, so let's push back with some smart.
Hell, let's push back with some smart ass. Molly Ivins would.