Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Am Sick of It All

PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays—clearly the “and gays” is an afterthought, not even thought worthy of inclusion in the group’s abbreviated name) is petitioning to include ex-gays as protected minorities in hate crimes law.

The reasoning appears to be that those who would attack those who attack gays and lesbians are just as heinous as the haters under attack for, um, attacking first. It sounds a bit like the weird moral relativism that the religious right has got curiously adept at (did I say “curiously”? no, I meant “cynically”). There once was a time when the right rejected relativism as some sort of communist plot—but they have now revamped it, creating a new and improved fascist-friendly relativism.

I’d be interested in hearing just how many ex-gays have been brutally attacked and murdered—if any at all—while FBI numbers on hate crimes against gays and lesbians have risen in the past four or five years.

To put the victims on par with the bashers shows that injustice remains an American value.

Another matter, even more sickening: The two amendments to include the public option, meant to ensure health care coverage for all Americans, have been shot down, 15-8 and 13-10, by the US Senate Finance Committee. Five Democrats joined all the committee’s Republicans in rejecting the only real “health care reform” that was ever proposed. Apparently the only viable options are ones that require everybody to subscribe to unaffordable private health insurance, which specializes in denying (on mere technicalities) treatment and/or coverage to people who are sick.

The first of these outrages is perhaps of only limited interest—not to say it lacks any bite, but it is simply the sniveling, pharisaical cant of scared and ignorant buffoons, whom fat-cat financers are using to divert attention from the public welfare issues that threaten those financers’ private interests.

The second, though, indicates the extent of the country’s political rot.

The only solutions to this society’s ills appear to be civil disobedience, subversion, and vehement vocal protest.

I say “solutions” loosely, though, as nowadays such actions, when not ignored entirely, are treated dismissively in the mainstream media (both old and new) and as there is a general consensus now that any form of social and political activism, though admirable and perhaps effective in tiny, invisible ways, no longer works to achieve substantive social and political changes.

In short, there is no “change you can believe in” apart from the small, private changes we individually are courageous enough to make by refusing to participate in society’s many injustices and by promoting reasonable (not to exclude heated) exposure of the lies propagated by the right, financial institutions, and conservative and collaborating “moderate” politicians.

It is hard for me to imagine America’s getting another chance as golden as the 2008 election of Barack Obama as President again—and this golden opportunity to effect real change has been squandered by Obama himself, of course, and by those others whose political careers have been built on fanning fears and then encouraging high hopes for votes at election time, but who ultimately kowtow to corporate lobbyists and toady for fat cats’ contributions when opportunities arise to address the objects of the public’s fears for real and when the public’s hopes are just within grasp of realization.

I hope I am wrong about this—but, frankly, I see no way that I can be: We are screwed. Like anyone else of my age, I am not newly disillusioned, but now I doubt the efficacy of even casting a vote at election times or sending letters to legislators or signing petitions or sending contributions to activist organizations or contending for the truth and reason in public and private forums. All of these actions I have taken—and all I have gotten from the effort is the fleeting conviction of my own rightness, but little by way of tangible improvements.

Still, we must act or else die as something less than men and women. The struggle is likely useless. Nevertheless, long live the struggle!

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