Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ideology, war, weed, and rock n' roll

From 0 to 60, that's how blogging usually works for me. I was beyond disappointed this week that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dropped out of the presidential race. Not that I think Sen. Paul was a perfect candidate, but, in my view, he was much better than any of the other candidates running for president in either party. My ideal candidate would be a fusion of Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders. The other issue that prompted the below rant, even more than Paul's dropping out of the race, is the current move to have young women register for the military draft. In the wake of these things, I quite spontaneously composed a rant this morning, which I initially posted on Facebook, not knowing how long it would be until I finished. In any case, file this post, too, under the tab, originated by Terry Eagleton, Hope without Optimism. I apologize up-front if what follows comes across as a bit incoherent.

Thinking about the logic in play in having women register for the draft, it seems to me one of those cases, not of "equality" (equality, rightly conceived, can account for differences), where a deceptive agenda was in play - those who pushed for women to voluntarily assume direct combat jobs kept saying it would never be mandatory and people foolishly bought it. By "deceptive agenda," I mean ideology. In terms of war, we've long since waded into Orwellian territory.

There are precious few in Congress in either party who aren't chicken hawks. Hence, there is virtually nobody who will speak out against the increasing militarization of our society. I am a 24 year veteran. I am a combat veteran. So, whether you agree or disagree with me, this is one issue on which I have earned the right to weigh in. With Rand Paul out of the running, there is not one Republican candidate who isn't hell-bent on increased military actions abroad. The legacy of the last 13 years, what we have wrought in many countries, ought to give any sane person pause. But no, we destroy countries, cultures, societies and then we balk at accepting people who want to flee the hell we've created as refugees, worried about what they might do to us. How's that for moral irony? Trump is the result of this noxious state-of-affairs, his campaign and rhetoric are manifestations of the monster we've created.

Clinton is really just a Republican who is honest (now, after dissembling and being dishonest for years) about her socially liberal views. She and Dick Cheney are cut out of the same cloth. Her big selling point now is that she is a pragmatist. The last thing we need right now is another amoral pragmatist, which really means she'll do whatever she has to do, say whatever she has to say, to stay in power. Let's face it, all of the Republicans believe the same things vis-à-vis marriage, abortion, etc., or are at least "pragmatic" about them. Of course, they appeal to their "base" by pretending to oppose these things, but intend to do nothing if elected, apart from making a few intentionally ineffective gestures.

Letting women voluntarily assume direct combat roles is the same as assisted suicide resulting in euthanasia, so-called same-sex marriage resulting in polygamy, or brothers, cousins, etc. "marrying" each other, and medical marijuana resulting in legalizing pot. I live in a "conservative" state that is rapidly buying into all these lies. They're morally enlightened (i.e., amoral) pragmatists to a person. My own state rep, who is Republican, LDS, doctor, is four-square for assisted suicide. Does he know my views? You bet your ass he does. I told him I don't want doctor who wants to kill people anywhere near me.

As Jimmy Carter observed decades ago, during the time he was lamenting what he perceived as a malaise into which people in the U.S. had fallen, that we will never have any better government that we deserve. Sounds plausible, but the fundamental assumption is faulty. But let someone with the stomach for it morally parse the hellish morass of pseudo-reality that is our presidential election system and the candidates it produces.

I'll end with an anthem that I tend to listen to quite a bit during presidential election years. This version of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" reflects the reality of our aging. For those who object to such things, Pete uses some foul language in his introduction to the song. I have to say, I still miss Keith Moon, who remains one of the greatest rock n' rollers of all time. At least today, I am far more interested in great rock n' rollers than I am in who will be the next POTUS.

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