Yes, I know. It’s been a while since I last posted something. My work has been particularly consuming of late, in both time and mental bandwidth, but I maintain that doesn’t have to be a valid excuse. I submit to you, dear reader, my activity on Twitter (to the right of this post) as evidence I have the time and ability to write. The problem of course is the dissonance with my opening salvo of this blog wherein I call for an overthrow of the short form in favor of the long form. It is high time I get back to that.
What inspired this re-conviction? Three things: a) Being near-bed-ridden sick for two days. b) A silly argument on Twitter. c) Picking up Corey Robin’s “The Reactionary Mind.” I’ll spare you the details of both a) and b), except to say the being confined to my quarters under fever-ridden duress created a causal relationship. c) I will explain shortly.
The silly Twitter argument was with Obama supporters. It blows my mind that anyone still supports and apologizes for him and that anyone anywhere would have a good excuse for his eminent signing of the National Defense Authorization Act. But they are out there, and believe me they are all too willing to verbally spar with you. Thankfully, my weariness of such debate kicked in very quickly, and left me with a curiosity about why these people think the way they do.
This curiosity led me to a post on a site called Angry Black Lady, which led me to a post on Mother Jones both of which refuted of the notion propagated by Glenn Greenwald and others on the left that the NDAA was setting dangerous new precedents and that Obama is lacking all principles for signing (nay, requesting it’s most abhorrent aspects) the “Indefinite Detention Law.”
I am a fan of Greenwald’s and I read him regularly. I find him sharp and morally consistent in his coverage of Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, the Occupy movement, and the assassination of al-Awlaki. He has been my main source of information on the NDAA. But today, especially with the Mother Jones’ post (linked to in its mention above) I find myself, well, confused. Perhaps it is just my weakened state but I found the counter-arguments, saying emphatically that the NDAA will NOT lead to the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, just as convincing. Who is right? Who is wrong? Are they both? Look at the language of the bill and tell me. Please.
This leads me to the crux of the problem: obfuscation in politics. I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’m fairly sharp yet I can’t wrap my head around the truth here, and that leaves me wondering if there is any truth to be had. Not only does this obfuscation keep regular folks out of the political process but it also segregates the discourse according to who follows which blogger or pundit.
Then I realized I need to ignore it. Somehow. As the zeitgeist gets sucked into another absurd horserace reality show around the 2012 election I want to do other things with my mind and free time. I’ve often said there is no real difference between the two parties and thus it matters little whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. Obama’s actions as president have only served to solidify this belief for me. Therefore, if it doesn’t matter, why do I spend so much time and energy thinking about, posting about, and arguing about Obama?
The answer I come to is my egotistical desire to demolish, once and for all, every liberal’s deluded notions about the Democrats. You see, self-described conservatives don’t bother me so much. Sure, they are my enemy, but at least we are clear and honest about this. Liberals, however, really trigger my greatest ire and vitriol, and I REALLY want them all to know this. I want them to know, every step of the way, that I outflank them politically and maintain moral principles high above their proverbial heads. Why? Ego. And it gets me nowhere.
One of many things I have learned from my Buddhist studies and practice is that a good and moral life comes in part from the dissolution of the notion of self, and with it taking things personally or making something personal out of another’s actions. But when it comes to liberals I can’t abide by this for some reason, so perhaps I should back away from it.
As mentioned earlier, I started reading Robin’s book and have found it very illuminating already. It led me to realize that what really bothers me about many liberals is their conservatism and that is what I should direct my own polemics toward. Not people, but ideas; even certain ideas within people’s framework. Moreover, many liberals are my allies in so many things. It seems like working on what common ground we have while maintaining my principles is more productive than trying to constantly rub their faces in “Oh noes looky what Obama did now!!!” just to piss them off.
Sure enough, just last night I read a new piece in The Nation (a liberal rag if ever there was one) called Thank You Anarchists. It, among so many recent events, gave me hope. Real hope, like I’ve never had in my life. Because I believe the real answers lie not with who is in the White House but what everyday people are doing to speak truth to power and create a more just society. We can do this regardless. I’m not necessarily saying don’t vote, or to just let Newt or Mitt or whoeverthefuck become president; I’m saying we should be putting all that time, money, energy, and commitment to other, more tangible things.
Finally, I need to remember my clarion call, “Make it longer!” in all things. It’s just as easy, I found, to get sucked into Twitter as it was with Facebook. I still think Twitter is better (as I’ve explained before) but I want so bad to pull myself away from the quick and easy. That, along with not engaging in Obama-bashing discourse, is my resolution (which has nothing to do with any changes in the calendar year.)