Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Why the grumps?

Grumpy?

Yes, I “got out of bed the wrong side yesterday”.    I didn‘t think too much about it until I arrived at St. Boniface, faking good cheer. But when a secretary (C.T.) asked, “how are you? I gave an honest reply “I am feeling very grumpy today”.  I was so glad that she did not try to chivvy me up. Instead she replied: “so am I, every little thing seems to bother me these days”.  

 Later in the day I read the blog “Telling Secrets” which is posted by my Deleware colleague Elizabeth Kaeton.  She commented on “the winter of our discontent”, revealing that grumpiness is not confined to Florida.

I can identify some of the sources of my own grumpiness.   

First, I have been feeling under the weather for a few days with a cold which seems to come and go just about every other day.   

Second, I decided to stop taking an anti-depressant a few months ago.  That was not wise and I must start taking them again. 

Third, I spend far too much time alone (by choice), and this leads me into some introspective “stinking thinking”.

It hasn’t helped that I’ve been reading Taylor Caldwell’s “There was a time”.  It’s a dark book which has a dismal view of human nature. Just over 2/3 of the way through I lost all interest in the miserable protagonist Frank, and could care less how his story ended! I took the unfinished book back to the library today.

Yet, there is a source for my gloom which based on matters over which I have no control.  I am a starry eyed liberal optimist, an unabashed progressive.   That of course leads to my having unrealistic expectations of what is politically possible in this centre-right Country.

Part of me dreamed that President Obama would, if not overnight, then certainly within a year:

close Guantanamo Bay;

repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell”;

get us out of the unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;

reform our regressive tax code;

and introduce a single payer healthcare system.

I suspect that candidate Obama truly believed that those were worthy and accomplish-able goals. But he has discovered something which I should have remembered. It  that “politics is the art of the possible”. Given the makeup of the Congress on both sides of the aisle a truly progressive agenda is simply impossible. 

Hence the recent “Tax deal”.    

(see http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg-payroll-tax-20101214,0,1910921.column)

It does not help that the President “comes across” as a technocrat, or a policy wonk.  Those may be valuable skills, but they hardly inspire.  

Nor does it help that the President has virtually abandoned the grass roots movement which helped to get him elected.  When a senior White House staffer (possibly Rahm Emmanuel, former Chief of Staff and “Prince of Darkness”) described we progressives as “f...ing retards”  we knew that we no longer had the ear or care of the President.

It “feels” as if we now have “Government on the people, by the Party hacks, for the oligarchs”.   

All this leads me to feel that as a voting citizen I am utterly powerless, a cause for deep gloom.

There is another side to this story which has to do with the obstructionist Republican Party, and the regressive Tea Party Movement. 

I’ll probably blog about that at a later time, but for today “these are the confessions of a gloomy progressive.



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