Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bored with Bush. Bored with politics. Bored with America... but I'm having a GREAT day today!

Funny thing: all my friends will attest that most of my life I've been addicted to politics. Even from a very young age no matter what or where or who, if it was political I had to study it some. Probably because of why I had to make the drive to Washington D.C. last June (twelve hours after an already long drive back from Georgia) to watch the procession carrying Ronald Reagan's casket from the White House to the Capitol and why the following night was spent waiting to go through the Rotunda (was there for the next-to-last changing of the guard, by the way). I was one of the Reagan generation, and that was the neatest time for a kid to grow up amid so much history: I was prolly the only kid in third grade who knew that much about Andropov in Russia or Walesa in Poland. When most of my peers were out riding bikes in summer of '87, I spent my pre-eighth grade days watching the Iran-Contra hearings. At 17 I started writing letters to the editor of the nearest big newspaper, and soon after was seeing some full-bore op-ed pieces getting published. Couldn't wait to participate in the grand experiment that is American democracy, so the day after turning 18 I registered to vote (originally as a Democrat, then years later as a Republican... so I've been all over that board).

It led to some pretty bizarre stunts, too. Like the night before the '96 election when two friends and I printed up dozens of posters and stuck 'em all over our college campus: Hillary Clinton in black S&M leather holding a whip, with the caption "Put yourself in bondage: Elect Clinton on Tuesday!" Glad I can finally 'fess up to that openly now :-)

Will admit this too: I really wanted, after college, to find a career that was associated in some manner to the political realm. It almost sent me to work for a very well-known leader in conservative circles. The opportunity came and out of hundreds of people considered, they told me I was one of two finalists. Obviously, I didn't get it... but they say that when God closes a door He opens a window: if I'd had to move that far away, I would have never met the beautiful young lass who would become my wife, so I can't complain.

In hindsight, my fascination with politics had to do with my intense interest in ideas and beliefs. That at an early age I perceived a vast "arena of ideas" in the world around me, and I couldn't wait to come of age and partake in that battle. I wanted to understand The Truth of things, ya see, and all of this political process was the engine that was driving us toward that, fueled by raw thinking and consideration.

That's what led me to major in history in college. And now... I'm wondering what good was it, when the America I grew up - the America that I believed valued things like honor and integrity, and openly welcomed the individual's efforts in making the shining city on the hill that much brighter - doesn't even exist anymore, at all.

Maybe this means I'm getting older. Or getting wiser. Or getting more weary of things that I'm coming to increasingly realize that those which are not eternal, really are of no worth at all. Or that I'm just too damned fed up with how screwed-up this world is to really care anymore.

Except whenever I tell my dear wife that, she always tells me "Oh Chris, but you do care, even when no one else does. That's one reason I fell in love with you!"

Charles Schultz - who I believe will be marked in history as one of the greatest Christian theologians and commentators the Western world has ever known - once said "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand." I'm finally understanding what he meant by that. Because I do love my fellow man, as a whole. Like Anne Frank, I still like to believe that "in spite of everything that people are really good at heart."

Except that too many people in this world are either (a) complete morons or (b) all too willing to let themselves be ruled by complete morons. All of which meaning that I like to entertain the hope that people eventually come to their senses... but in the meantime I'll admit to the temptation of wanting to beat the living crap out of them for chronic stupidity that affects the rest of us. And if they get screwed royally... well, they had it coming.

Except, again, that I do care, in the end. Even for the morons.

Today is Inauguration Day 2005. In another hour or so George W. Bush will get sworn in for a second term of office. And I wish him well, and all the best, and my prayers will go up for him that he'll be a capable and honorable servant of the citizenry for the next four years.

Seriously.

He's not our "king", or our "Caesar". He's an employee of the American people. I'm going to pray that he keeps that in mind too, and far moreso than he has the previous four years. If he does not... well, history tends to level a better judgment beyond the ken of our mortal years. That's a good thing to remember no matter what circumstance you find God (or man) has put you in.

But otherwise, today's events are a dreary bore for me, and it has nothing to do with party alignment (I'm un-affiliated, by the way) at all. Instead it's because I cannot be persuaded away from what I've come to understand: that our current mode of government is unrestrained force, with no real respect toward its founding documents or even an acknowledgement that there is such a thing as the rule of law instead of men. That the political process I desired to partake in for so long is revealed to be an illusion projected by government, and a corporate-driven media, and thousands of petty tyrants and yes-men. That the vast majority of the American people are so entranced by this illusion that they would not break free from it, though they might know of it. That everything we are expected to buy into as being "the reality" is a facade over the REAL nature of things: that there are those among us who would keep their brothers in bondage, and forever ignorant of the freedom that could be theirs... if they would but reach out and grasp it.

I voted for Kerry this past election, though I never supported him in any way. Logically, it seemed that if the polls were running that close then pitting a Democrat President against a Republican Congress would at least produce enough gridlock to keep either from really messing this country up more. I was foolish to have voted for Kerry though, I see now, because in the end it wouldn't have really mattered: I made the mistake of giving the illusion that much more credence than it deserved.

As a Christian, I - and the rest of us who profess a belief in Christ - are taught to seek and know and live in truth, and for truth. Why should or even can we buy into a sphere of lies that only serves to make us ignorant of truth? Can somebody tell me how it is that ANY devout Christian would want to be a part of that, at all?

Maybe now some of you will understand (and if not, I don't care: if you don't want to consider my arguments now, you never were going to anyway) why I've been railing against Bush in particular lately, and the entire messed-up system of American politics in general. I'm bored with the politics... but I'm frustrated and put-out as Hell at my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who should have known better for too many years already than to prostitute what we are called to be, for sake of worldly power.

And why the &%*@ should I want anything to do with an entire "scheme of things" that doesn't give a damn about concrete values and original ideas anymore? The way to get things done in today's America is to start the ugliest rumor, hurl the lowest insult, write the nastiest diatribe, condemn others to hellfire and brimstone because they're "Democrats", lend weight to false documents because they target "Republicans", do anything and everything in one's power to discredit and destroy another because they stand in the way of power without ever wondering if one even deserves that power anyway...

I dunno. You tell me: why should this day's Presidential inauguration really interest, or matter to me at all, when the outcome was already established years ago? It makes no difference if that's Bush or Kerry getting sworn in today: either would perpetuate the illusion for the masses. And guys like me... don't really fit into that mess, at all.

Four years ago today, I had a helluva good day when Bush got sworn in for the first time. It was snowing in Atlanta and Lisa took me all over downtown and the Underground area. Later that afternoon we saw Stomp perform at the Fox Theater. I had no idea or even cared that we had a new President at all until the next morning when they showed Bush getting sworn in on the news.

A day without a moment wasted worrying about who it is or isn't becoming President. Now, that's a heckuva good day. That's the kind of day that most Americans used to have, once upon a time. Too bad that it's my lot that as a Christian and a historian, that I'm called to keep an eye out on how bad this guy might mess up and warn others accordingly.

But, I don't think he's going to do too much of that this day. So I'm going to take off now, and put it out of mind, and occupy this afternoon with much more meaningful endeavours. And if something REALLY important happens that warrants my attention, I'll look into it.

Now go out and play. It's a beautiful day outside :-)

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