Monday, April 28, 2008

The Wheel Is Turning, But There Is No Hamster

I know. This will be fun. How can we spend ten years and a gazillion dollars and thousands of lives constructively? How? Oh, oh, pick me; I know...

Have an energy problem. Spend more energy on something, anything really--large cars and trucks, extra wars--that doesn't go towards fixing the problem. Spend the money you could spend on fixing the problem--helpful things like developing clean coal, carpeting Nevada with wind turbines, hybridizing your entire fleet of internal-combustion-engine vehicles, and ultimately,producing hydrogen-powered cars and the infrastructure to service them--instead on driving black SUVs around a tan country having a bloody-red religious civil war. While you're doing this, refuse to tax your energy companies or to invest in any significant or transformative way in mass transit or alternative energy sources or human-scaled, walkable / bikable cities. Also, it helps if you refuse to encourage people to switch to less energy-intensive lifestyles by increasing the cost of those lifestyles and lowering the cost of energy-parsimonious lifestyles.

Now, be surprised, nay, shocked, that your currency is falling, inflation is taking off, the environment is worse off, your competitive position is no better, and probably worse, than it was ten years earlier, and others' respect for you is in the toilet. To cap it off, leave it all to the next person to deal with, without a single apology or good-bye or useful suggestion or anything.

Elephant-class problems, gerbil-class leadership.

Thank goodness all three of the replacement candidates show signs of being 1. vertebrates (having a backbone), 2. mammals (caring about their young), and perhaps even 3. hominids (using reason rather than brute force to adapt to (rather than pave over) and master (rather than crush) their environment).

But if the gerbils, on their way out, draft my kids to shoot their way into Iran and out of this mess--or, out of us paying attention to this mess--they've gotten themselves and all of us into...

2 Comments:

Blogger gb said...

Mark, please bear with me on this because until now, I do not believe I have actually identified my true "position" on this matter... especially in print.

Fortunately (or not), I have finally come to my senses of a sort, regarding politics. I recently read Larry Norman's old quote from an interview which goes something like this: "If at 20 you are not a liberal, you have no heart. If at 40 you are not a conservative, you have no mind." (If he borrowed that, it's still brilliant.) Yes... I did all of that.

Today, years of observation have ushered me along the political party path to a rather refreshing place. I have gravitated from disillusioned Liberal to disappointed Conservative on to rebellious and intentionally, utterly naive Independent. After that methodical debacle I resolved to push on to the party of Cynics, then mellowed out to join the Sarcastics and now, summoning the entirety of my collective experience and powers of observation and judgment I have become a resolute... Appliantist. I may be mistaken, but I also believe I am currently the only one, probably due to the fact that I invented that designation; one which, by the way, vastly outstrips the narrow limitations of politics.

As an Appliantist I have discovered a wonderful, even exhilarating freedom. Now, I can breathe... when inclined to entertain the otherwise suffocatingly nauseous, disastrously distractive and increasingly frivolous world of politics. Before this enlightened decision, I had to run a soul-searching gauntlet of other options. Initially, I just wanted to send a tiny message, in my own small way, to whatever party I think I "could" have been voting for (i.e. the most recent party which had lost my vote due to their continued bad decision making and current policy positions) and tell them why I was doing so (knowing of course, that no one would care except me).

In this pursuit, I realized that simply throwing a "protest" vote for some other ambiguous "independent" party meant nothing to these people and accomplished nothing, as well. Therefore, I then resolved to intentionally vote for the strongest opponent to that party, effectively canceling out someone's vote "for" that party. At this point my conscience interfered, crying, "Foul!" for a rather long laundry list of reasons.

I was forced to go back to the drawing board and rethink things from scratch. I had again recently heard the old adage, "If you don't vote, you can't complain.". I suddenly realized that was not so. The freedom to voice one's discontent is available to everyone and comes with no rule book or regulations or prerequisite criteria, much less a written registration protocol. I also rethought another old adage, that of simply "voting for the lesser of evils" (implying that voting for anything identified by one's self as evil, is yet somehow noble and patriotic). Therefore, my conclusion was that if one's conscience did not permit the casting of a vote, that in itself should alone be respected as a responsible voting decision. I then initiated a self-directed campaign of, "Don't Vote". I realized that I can live quite comfortable with that decision and were it needed, could defend it to my satisfaction and everyone else's disdain.

Unfortunately, my conscience quietly reappeared from somewhere and this time in a rather hoarse, raspy whisper annoyingly breathed, "Foul. Foul. Foul." into my ear once again. This time it defined my decision as being more of a misdemeanor nature rather than criminal offense... but a moral and ethical trespass just the same. Why not go ahead and offer my sole "voice", my true opining to the cacophony of public opinion since the opportunity was available? The "write in" option in the voting booth was made for folks like me. So, I have elected to utilize it and gloriously, unashamedly so.

Well, that's the chronology of thought that went into this. Oh, the Appliantist thing. You are wondering.

One who utilizes appliances. I had given some serious thought to identifying an actual mechanical or electrical apparatus of some sort, whether of a household, commercial or industrial nature that best suited my ideological definition of what I would want most in a candidate; that is someone who would be willing to stoop to the sweaty slavery and relentlessly humming function of public servanthood for four continuous years. (I remember well the university whose enrollees once successfully elected a refrigerator as President of their student body.) However, as tempting as that was (and reasonably appropriate given my current choices), I was forced to gravitate upward and expand the true concept of "appliance" into a broader, more ideal and philosophically suitable framework. I think that is what an Appliantist does, the essence of Appliantism. They invite, incorporate and if necessary, forcefully compel, coerce and impress other worldly or abstract notions, perceptions and ideas into service as appropriate, conceptual Appliances, given the situation at hand. In compliance with this theoretical architecture, for the purposes of this upcoming election I have selected the wonderfully illuminating world of... adjectives.

This year, I shall be "writing in" the adjective I find most comprehensively descriptive of what I truly feel illustrates whom I would want to serve in this position. That, is a vote I can live with.

Gary Brown

11:58 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Nice. Stick to your guns...or microwaves..er, gerundives...

4:58 PM  

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