Yesterday it seemed we never would smile again
Wouldn't matter what we ventured, or how...
Looked as though the fun was over 'till who knew when.
That was then
This is now.
Back in business and ain't it grand?
Let the good times roll.
Yesterday things were out of hand -
Now they're under control.
Back to normal
Back to usual
Let the fun resume.
No more doom and gloom
No more bust, just boom!
Back in business and overnight
Well, all right!
Business is just dynamite!
Let the good times roll.
- Various gangsters, Dick Tracy, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT PLAY
It's been a long time coming, longer than I had any right to expect it would be, so I suppose we should all be grateful that it took this long to play out: I hate everyone.
Why? Is there something else going on?
I should point out that I don't hate everyone everyone. Not you, for example, gentle reader, or even you, over there in the corner picking your nose.
No, I hate our presidential candidates and I hope to God and all his angels that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said that voters in a democracy get the government they deserve.
For months, I walked around New York in a happy daze, convinced, with the small majority of the country, that there was "something about Barack Obama" that we couldn't put our fingers on. But we all knew it was good. After seven and a half years of staring at my shoes and clenching my fists in embarrassment every time the slackjawed chief executive muttered something about freedom hatred or his own deciderhood, the idea that this country might possibly trade up for an energetic young biracial man with the oratorical skill of your favorite college professor struck me as not merely encouraging, but miraculous. It said something good about the country.
To some extent, I still think that. Obama leads McCain in the polls, and when pitting the one against the other - the progressive against the reactionary, the deep-thinking, big-eared peacenik against the twitchy warmonger who thinks the world stopped moving during the Vietnam War - you can't help but notice that people have gotten more reasonable in the wake of the Fool of Crawford.
Of course, that was before the stock market collapsed like a giant whoopee cushion under the corpulent collective ass of idiot deragulatory legislation authored by people from both parties (Goldman Sachs AND JP Morgan Chase Bear Stearns WaMu What Do You Call The Bank That Owns Everything, Again? are two of Obama's biggest campaign contributors. I would imagine that he finds himself in favor of globalizing the economy and indifferent on the subject of monopoly, wouldn't you?). That giant farting sound you hear is all your money going into your neighbors' worthless houses.
And nobody really has a clue what to do about this particular meltdown. The horse is gone; there's no point in closing the barn door now. Worse, for many Americans, there's no one to hate, so, like me, most of us are content with hating politicians. The truth, though, is that we should be taking a much harder look at ourselves.
Who took out all these loans they couldn't afford, again? Who bought house after house and unquestioningly accepted the banks' own assessments of properties that it had a financial interest in overpricing?
More to the point, who allowed these goons to wander in and out of Washington with wheelbarrows full of our money and pockets lined with congressmen? It's not like we didn't know the people we were electing were venal and crooked; we just trusted them to act in the interest of their country on the theory that it would be their own best interest, as well.
Our elected officials, it turns out, are as stupid as we are. And even though Obama seems smart, even though he seems like a guy who wants to help people find a common ground and discover their own inner big-eared deep-thinking peacenik, nobody in American history ever got to the top by being friendly and easygoing all the time. Of course, some have rotted so thoroughly that they can't even hide it anymore, like poor old John McCain, who was actually a very decent guy once upon a time, before 2004, when George Bush and Dick Cheney (a lipstick-free pit bull if ever there was one), started telling everybody that he had a bastard child - worse, a darkie.
Having been shat upon so vigorously by the vast Republican sphincter that now occupies the best seat in the Oval Office, McCain clearly thinks that this is the way to win an election. Why else would he hire a silly-ass thug like Sarah Palin, who can't complete a sentence except to croon to racists and dickheads that Obama "pals around with terrorists?"
In a way, as insane as some of his ideas are, it would have been nice to see somebody take pity on poor Ron Paul and prop the old guy up as the paragon of virtue he clearly is. Why else would he sit there harassing Alan Greenspan through decades of a perfect simulacrum of economic prosperity? Why would he continue to harp on the economy when what the morons who go to the polls every November really want to know is whether or not them faggots is going to be prancing around in bridal gowns?
It's probably a futile desire on my part - I just wish we had some kind of hero again; someone to look up to and say, "Ah, here's our man! Here's somebody we can trust to do the right thing no matter how personally harmful and unpopular it turns out to be!" I've never met that person, or even read about him in the news while he was alive. Instead, each faction of the country has its own rabble-rousing fearmongers telling it that if you're not careful, those people (the blacks, the fags, the Christers, the soldiers - depends on where you are) will come and take away everything that's yours.
And the funniest thing is that the only people doing any taking are the rabble-rousers themselves, who convince us, over and over again, to hand over our money, our national dignity, our children who want to play soldier, for safekeeping while they fight off everyone who disaggrees with us.
In the meantime, of course, as we stare across fences and growl at each other, they spend our money like drunken sailors, kill our children in greedy wars, represent us to a world full of angry nuclear powers as ignorant bullies, and leave us arguing over scraps, still convinced that we have nothing to fear but our neighbors.
email Sam Thielman at firstname.lastname@example.org