Monday, October 15, 2012


I have become so disgusted by the Presidential election, the Congressional elections, and the stupid things we all seem to be talking about - whether it's where Pres. Obama was born or Mitt Romney's tax returns; Joe Biden's chuckles or Paul Ryan's biceps - I had an inkling to give it up for good.  It isn't like anyone reads what I write anyway; how could I possibly cut through the crap, make a difference, make the point that the entire exercise is so far removed from actual things that effect actual people's lives that even its entertainment value has disappeared?

Maybe I can't.  Probably I can't.

All I can do is talk about real stuff, and let folks check it out, and then compare it to the nonsense that passes for our electioneering.

A young woman whose blog I read talks about a documentary she watched recently:
This incredibly somber documentary follows a group of homeless children who live in the subways of Romania. Decades ago, the Romanian government was concerned about the population decline and the subsequent effects of this upon the work force. They decided to outlaw all methods of contraception, and countless unwanted children were abandoned and left in orphanages as a result.
I didn't know how to process everything that I saw in this film. Your sorrow for these children feels meaningless as their lives are deemed utterly worthless by society. People pass them by like they are invisible. Few give them money if they choose to beg. They spend their days hooked on inhaling glue in order to fight off the pains of hunger. I even watched one girl get beaten by a total stranger because she wouldn't stop crying in the subway from being so hungry. 
Parts of the city of Chicago look like they've moved back in time, back when violence seemed not only without cause but without an end:
Here’s a badge of shame: Chicago’s murder total for the month has already surpassed August 2011’s total and with 10 days left.
Thirty-eight people have been killed through Aug. 19, compared to 35 for all of August 2011 and 22 homicides through Aug. 19, 2011. Last Saturday there were six homicides in Chicago, which tied Feb. 19 for the day with the most murders this year. The numbers come on the heels on a July that Police Supt. Garry McCarthy touted asthe least violent month in Chicago in a quarter century and credited to a new gang auditing strategy he implemented last year.
The Chicago Tribune noted that most of the homicides this month have occurred in neighborhoods where, coincidentally, McCarthy first implemented his gang audits.
 You know how you're supposed to train a dog not to shit in the house by shoving its nose in a pile, swatting it and saying, "No!", then tossing it outside?  I feel like doing that to people who carry on about the great global warming hoax.  The pile we've created, and to which their denial is blind, is the small town of Shishmaref, Alaska.
"The land is going away," said Shelton Kokeok, 65, whose home is on the tip of a bluff that's been melting in part because of climate change. "I think it's going to vanish one of these days."
Coastal erosion has been an issue for decades here, but rising global temperatures have started to thaw the permafrost that once helped anchor this village in place. Sea ice that protects Shishmaref's coast from erosion melts earlier in the spring and forms later in the fall. As a result, the increasingly mushy and exposed soil along Shishmaref's shore is falling into the water in snowmobile-sized chunks.
The town even has a webpage designed to raise funds to relocate its residents.

These are a sample of the things real people face.  These are a sample of the things we could address if anyone thought them of any importance.  Instead, we continue to hear from birthers and morons like Todd Akin and some people think it matters whether or not the Romney's release their tax returns.  We discuss, the tones measured and words oh-so-careful, whether the Affordable Care Act is or is not socialism.

People are in peril.  Lives quite literally hang in the balance, each and every day.  While not the only solution to the problem, politics is one way we decide how we will address these and uncountable other matters that confront all of us.  We treat it like a bad game show.  That the race is close demonstrates so many failures in the system as to leave me wondering if we even deserve moderately competent governance.

I'm tired.  I'm exhausted from trying to make the point there's a real world with real problems that are sometimes desperate, sometimes horrific, all wearing a human face.  I'm tired of the prevalent belief that the divisiveness of our politics is a result of all sides playing some game, rather than the result of a very clearly documented strategy from only one party.  That one Presidential candidate this time around is very proud and public with his disdain for any commitment to any understanding of truth should mean something.

Alas, the race is tied, and the very real specter that a candidate singularly unsuited for any office of trust may well be our next President looms ahead of us.

And the silence about the lives that hang in the balance?

Virtual Tin Cup

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