Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Politics Suck.

I'm not a big political guy. I have my preferences, and I vote, and that's about that. I don't get into arguments with people about Whozits or Whatzhisname.

But over the summer I've been making a few trips around the Midwest and to that end I've watched the news on TV in a number of different cities. I've heard talk radio people in the car as I drive. I'm reading newspapers most mornings at the IHOP or Denny's. (And enjoying silver dollar pancakes at one and Grand Slams at the other!)

And I'm just convinced that politics suck, and that politicians - generally - have given up any pretense that they're working for us or trying to make things better.

Every battle is partisan. Every volley - no matter how small - is slammed back with indignation. There is so much vitriol on both sides that I doubt anyone is trying to fix the country. They're just all trying to win their little battles. And they are trying to do it while making fun of the goofs in the other party.

I don't see any evidence of anyone willing to put aside party differences to simply act in the best interests of the whole country. I don't believe there's anything that our current political climate that can make anything better.

I am 99% sure I'm politically naive, and that the above modest complaint is awfully simple minded.

But I was thinking of all of it in terms of my students, my poor, poor students, and the world we are turning over to them.


  1. Look at it this way, Hiram: we inheriited a world two minutes from midnight, and we're bequeathing one that's five minutes from midnight.

    Also, in the past, a quick and effective solution to what ails America has been an external threat. We don't want that, even though there would be nothing more effective to make young Americans grow up. Just do your best to be a good teacher, Hiram.

  2. You should spend some time in Cheeseheadland, where things have been crazier than usual.

    Progressive history and progressive politics and bipartisan compromise: GONE. And why? I'm fine laying the blame: the TeaBaggers. We did fine with a series of Repub governors and a bipartisan effort in the state legislature. Then we had a two-term Dem gov who was getting ready to leave office as the TeaBaggers became ascendent. The state elected Scott Walker, the "goggle-eyed homunculus" and Koch-head (see Charles Pierce's series in Esquire) and a Republican majority Senate, and EVERYTHING WENT TO HELL. Increased pension and healthcare contributions for state workers (who are already paid well under their private-sector market value). Privatizing various state agencies that are still funded by taxpayer money--so guess who benefits? Cuts over $900 million to education alone. Overturning a 2009 law--passed with bi-partisan support-- on equal pay for women. And on and on ad nauseum.

    We're still experiencing the fallout, and I fear that it will be years, if ever, before we recover from short-sighted TeaBaggery. Because let's be really fucking clear here, it's not the Democrats who are charging ahead without attempting ANY kind of compromise. It's not Democrats who are passing voter ID laws (that are then ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge). It's not Democrats who are gerrymandering districts to ensure their victory in the upcoming election cycle.

    So the yelling you're hearing from both sides now? It's music to my ears because it means that the Dems are maybe, just maybe, done being steamrolled by the Republican Noise Machine.

    1. And you're right to worry about your students. Here in Cheeseheadland, the UW BOR passed a 5% tuition hike for this year, and our enrollment is down about 18% from this time last year.

      So the students pay more.

      BTW, my pay isn't going up 5%. Or even 1%, which in my case would be $471.89.

    2. But it can't be just the Republicans. If it were, the "liberal" media would slaughter them all, right? And we all know the media is liberal. Except Fox, of course, where you get both sides, fair and balanced.

  3. Amen, BurntChrome. While I have my quarrels with the Democrats, the Republicans have simply broken the social contract in every way they can.

  4. You all may like this clip from a new TV show, The Newsroom:

    1. I had forgotten about this show, but upon watching the clip something seemed ... familiar.

      The American President (1995)
      The West Wing (1999 - 2006)
      ... now The Newsroom (2012 - )

      ... created and written by Aaron Sorkin.

      Take The Newsroom scene and mix it with this one from The American President

      ... and in less than ten minutes, you have the distillation of American politics and culture.

      Both should be required viewing ...

  5. Several of my colleagues have posted a link to this blog today: "On Leaving Academia" wherein the former UNM prof lays out the reasons--several of them coming from the current political climate--that he left to go work for Google:

  6. “The Republicans have simply broken the social contract in every way they can."

    Well, maybe some of us have. I'm a Republican and I haven't: (1) lied about closing Guantanamo Bay, (2) attempted to murder a Congresswoman, (3) murdered people at a gratuitously violent movie, (4) joined in with the zealots at Westboro Baptist, (5) hit on any students, or (6) hidden my (limited!) income or assets overseas. So maybe I haven't broken the social contract quite in every way I might have (or that some Democrats, Republicans, and Independents already have).

    I admit it: College Misery is THE place to rant, and some of us will choose different things to rant about. Being lumped in with the various sins of "the Republicans" is one I choose.

  7. Let me rephrase that: "The Republicans IN POWER have simply broken the social contract in every way they can."

  8. "Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
    Oscar Wilde


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