Every so often one reads a piece in the newspaper and says (agnostically enough), "Thank God." Not necessarily because it is a "defining piece," or even a major one that will shift mega-numbers of readers to think in different ways (or even at all). Let's face it, until we Progressives are willing to speak to members of the Tea Party who might be willing to listen and be interested in meaningful resolution, there will be no dialogue. And, until we speak amongst ourselves in ways that rouse us from our sleep, from our apologies for an apologist President and from our fears of wanting more in both leadership and consensus, there will be silence.
With this in mind, when I read Paul Krugman's recent New York Times column, "The Centrist Cop-out", the piece affirmed my own thinking that Americans need a clear leader. Months ago, Norman Lear wrote about our needing a leader, not just a compromiser and apology-giver. Yet, all that we have been hearing from many Democrats and Liberals is just how hard it is to govern in today's world. Of course, we all get fatigued. The evening news is depressing. We are watching the president, who promised so much, going down the road of giving in to Republicans so much so that we don't know who and what he is or ever was. This is depressing as well.
Maybe part of the issue is our own complicity by getting depressed rather than angry. We sit and watch while some other angry people using "Tea" and "revolution" as their imagery are shouting their way into votes and getting Americans to get rid of every ounce of compassion for anyone of a different color or income -- let's just say -- for anyone who can't afford to pay for his/her own rehab.
I, for one, am tired of voting for the person whose non-election would spell disaster. And, if the Health Care Reform (or Un-care) is an example of how legislation will go down, it's also an example of how the same legislation can be taken away.
And what about those Congress people? What about Hillary? (My deepest apologies for not voting for you, as I am inclined to feel I "know" you would have been so much stronger.) And at the same time, is it unfair it to ask Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton and members way up in the ranks of the Democratic Party to step forward and say that things are not being run well? Does anyone have an alternative message to the Tea Party people convincing citizens that racism, denial of poverty, not attending to education and health care are criminal acts?
Yes, there are similar problems all over the world. There was the massacre in Norway, but the Norwegians will not forget their values nor that the American value of "give me your tired, your poor" has become more of "give me no-one unless he's an echo of myself."
Back to the question: Does anyone have an answer, because I have a few. I have lived long enough to see this country manage a great deal that seemed unimaginable. So, as an ode to John Lennon, if we imagine something better, it can at the very least feed our spark to begin seeking, speaking, listening and learning. For example, instead of the endless and pointless pundit debate shows where they just bully each other back and forth, I very seriously believe in the benefit of a television show where people can tell express their opinions at a level tone and tell the story of how they got to that position. For every bully there is a story of being bullied, and for every Tea Party member there is a story of grounds for hate, or misunderstanding and humiliation, at the least.
Psychology and mental health are not only words, they actually apply to the way we process material and interact with each other and with the various parts of ourselves within. The more superstitious we are, the more frightened we are of our inner lives, the more in denial we become about our own complexity, the more we separate each other into good and bad, cowboys and Indians, and onward. The truth is that we are all fusions of so many backgrounds, conflicts, and gifts.
So thank you, Paul Krugman, for inciting me to the next step, to seek beyond the president and the Congress and the Cabinet to find wise and smart and gutsy people who are willing to meet head-on those staunch and angry people who somehow fancy Christianity as being the most mean-spirited religion conceivable. I'll take the reality show part, now where are the rest of you?