Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Why is it that the words “republican” and “democratic” are synonymous in the English language, but are opposites in the American political system?

~ Ian

Me a few minutes after MSNBC announced the Ohio poll results, giving my best cheesy grin.

When Obama was first elected in 2008, I was under no illusions that he was going to take office and undo the complete cesspit that eight years of the Bush regime had left the United States.

I mean, I’ll cheerfully describe myself as a pessimist. I’m not just a glass-half-empty type– to me, the glass is half empty, and the water’s contaminated with giardia, and it’s also lukewarm and tastes slightly like feet. I find that pessimism is a reasonable strategy for protecting yourself against disappointment.

So I knew that when Obama took office, he wasn’t going to work some manner of healing magicks over what the economy, or our quagmire in Iraq, or the social injustices plaguing the country, and kiss it all better. I knew that there would be problems. I knew that the Republican party would be against him every step of the way, for reasons that basically boil down to the fact that he’s an intelligent black man with a funny name. I knew this. And I thought that whatever Obama was planning to do, he’d better do it in his first four years, because I wasn’t sure even then that he was going to survive to the next election before being murdered by some trigger-happy Birther, much less re-elected.

But it happened.

And it happened against all the odds. It happened despite the multinational corporations pouring their billions into funding the Romney campaign, despite the fact that the Republicans chose as their nominee a candidate that combined all the worst qualities of Greg Stillson from The Dead Zone and Mr. Burns and yet somehow people believed he was likable (or worse, trustworthy), despite the fact that the Republican Party did everything they could to obstruct voting in Ohio barring actual physical violence, despite all the chicanery and flimflam and outright lies, Barack Obama has done it. He’s done what I didn’t think he could do. Even if the dark machinations that constantly seek to destroy my future, and the future of so many millions of others, still exists, and will come back two or four years later like a bloody vengeful spirit out of Hell, it happened. The election’s over, and we can finally move forward. 

Maybe there’s a case to be made for this optimism thing.

I don’t usually talk about politics on Axolotl Ceviche. But this is important.

~ Ian

Me and my friend Finn, minutes after the election. (We don’t look *too* crazy, do we?)

MOTHERFUCKER GO OUT THERE AND VOTE.

Otherwise, you can play Halo 4 or something, I guess.

~ Ian

I think this is all the evidence I need as for why the man is my fucking hero.

I just think it’s cool to remember that, while Superman has been many things over the years, it’s interesting to note that he started out as the people’s hero, and a champion of the New Deal.

Just thought this was kind of cool.

~ Ian

 

Walking between classes today, I saw a group of people seated in a circle on a grassy lawn. They looked like central casting Happy Young People: they were white, dressed in t-shirts and jeans, male and female. The men had shaggy hair and grad-student beards. The women either had long hair down to their waists or hair cropped short against their skulls. They were joyful and golden in the California sunlight, not going anywhere, just being, communing with the spring air and warm sunshine on a beautiful day.

One of the men had a guitar.

He was playing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

It sparked a chain of thoughts in my mind. The young people were probably born in the early 90s, in ’91 or ’92. The sixties are completely lost to our generation. It’s in the irrevocable past. And yet I feel like my generation has nostalgia for this time that we can never visit.

“I wish I were back in the sixties,” a friend of mine told me once, her eyes shining and her face glowing with wistful remembrance of a time gone by. “Things were simpler then.”

“You can’t be back in the sixties,” I replied. “You were never there.”

“Yeah,” she said. “But still.”

Among the college students of my generation, there are artifacts of the past scattered casually and anachronistically among us. Led Zeppelin t-shirts. Bare feet on the summer grass. Woodstock concert LPs. Beards.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to live through the sixties. It was a time of freedom and youth uprising, that’s true– but it was also a time of war and assassinations, of dogs being set on peaceful civil rights protesters, and the ever-present haunting specter of the Draft, and the knowledge that it could all be over in less than forty-five seconds if Russia and the US decided to let their missiles fly. For every Woodstock, there was an Altamont. For every John Lennon, a Charlie Manson.

The sixties that the youth of my generation have composed in their minds is as based in reality as any fantasy realm. Yet it’s a place for them to retreat to. They play Beatles music, shaggy-headed and bare-footed, in the sunshine. They smoke weed and eat mushrooms in the light of the full moon, in drum circles far out in the woods.

You know what I think my generation’s idealization of the sixties is like, honestly? It reminds me most of the hard-edged Republicans who believe in a long-lost past where men were honest and just, women knew their place, and children never disobeyed or even expressed an opinion of their own. A past that never existed, yet for many people, is just as real as the chaotic, seething world in front of them– more real, in fact, because their PerfectWorld™ is the Platonic ideal of civilization as constructed in their heads, and everything else is just noise and madness.

Believing in a past that never existed is just as dangerous as ignoring history completely. How much better would our world be if the gullible idiots who believe in that perfect storybook small-town America actually looked at the world as it was and realized that it was just the same– if not worse– than our own world? Will my generation make that same mistake, and put the idolized Summer of Love on a pedestal– so much on a pedestal, in fact, that we ignore the world around us?

How can you feel nostalgia for a place you’ve never been?

~ Ian