But first a note about a jiu jitsu move to use against neocons and “red” hypocrites, who scream that “liberals will spend America into poverty.”
Yes, it's mind-boggling that they can still keep at this dead horse. Bill Clinton paid down debt and GW impoverished our grandchildren. Still, the art of polemic is often less about reason and more about symbolic surprises that let you trip or stun your opponent. Too bad. Still, I’ve collected quite a number of political judo throws, and this one is a favorite.
Every tax year, after filling out my IRS forms - with professional help - (ask, some time, about “Brin’s surefire way to get tax-simplification without kooky gimmicks or Congressional stalemates!) -- I always seal the envelope... and then prepare another, addressed to a tiny bureau in West Virginia.
Then I slip in a check for $100 as an extra contribution to my country, to be applied against the National Debt.
(Actually, I’ve increased it a bit, in time of war. Like it or not, we all should.)
No, it’s not much. But it is in addition to my normal tax obligation as a citizen, so it goes directly to buying down the red ink just a bit, taking one small feather weight off the back of the camel... or our kids. Moreover, I have been doing it since 1979. Indeed, I have more than got my money’s worth! Not only in a dollop of patriotic feelings, but also in looks on the faces of holier-than-thou flag-wearers, who rant and preen, but would never think of actually “supporting the troops” in such a way.
(I do in other ways, too. Last year I donated more than a thousand dollars in books to service unit libraries, for men and women in the field.)
Here, the amount you send in to the Bureau of Public Dept is less important than consistency. Doing it every year, as a matter of principle. As a gesture of solidarity with our nation and between generations. And it sure puts the kibosh on a whole lot of neocon slander, when you can ask: “Have YOU ever done that?”
Here’s the address:
Bureau of Public Debt
Department of the Treasury
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188
You’ll get a nice (form) thank you note. File it. Let the file grow. If you are entirely noble of spirit, feel quietly proud and tell nobody. Or, if you need to, use the file as ammo.
==BARACK’S BIG SPEECH AND THE REVEREND WRIGHT IMBROGLIO ==
Sure, it was brilliant and insightful, calling upon the best of our natures and upon each individual to apply intelligence - actual thought - to a complex and vexing issue. Here's a transcript of Obama's speech. Did any of the 24-hour “news” analysts actually discuss that content, as if they had the intelligence Obama was speaking-to? I did not see one, even one, turn attention to the content, only the melodrama, whether it would “play well.” Whence the insipid media? Our national energy problems would be solved by putting generator coils around the spinning in Edward Murrow’s grave.
Fortunately, my impression is that millions of people, especially the young, did listen for content. And did engage their minds. And, if Barack Obama ever built some momentum, actual thinkin - about complex issues - might become a national habit.
And yet, though I was largely inspired and re-assured, I did feel a bit let down by BHO. Yes, he spoke of Reverend Wright like that beloved Uncle Bob who is 90% goodness itself, always helping neighbors, volunteering as a crossing guard, mentoring youths... but who then rants about how the Apollo landings were faked and it’s all the fault of those #$#$! Albanians. It resonated. We all have uncles or aunts or cousins or neighbors like that. And Obama’s effort to depict Wright that way had some real plausibility.
But still, he evaded a crucial issue. Why, if he had heard such things (less awful, perhaps, but still cringeworthy) from his minister in the past... why did he not minister to the minister?
(Alert... actually, it was Cheryl who pointed all of this out to me. I may be the louder half, but she's the wiser.)
I feel this strongly, since it is what I’ve been urging, for years. That the way to undermine Rush Limbaugh and the horrible hate fest that’s drenched America, is to confront the nation’s self-righteousness plague, head-on, one “uncle Bob” at a time! (See my “Ostrich Manifesto” where I talk about weaning just one “decent conservative” out of Karl Rove’s big tent coalition is the greatest and most important task of any moderate/liberal/progressive person, at this point in our history. Or learn more about the self-righteousness or Indignation Epidemic.)
Look, I am backing Barack Obama. He is our hope, despite my deep wish that we had more years to get to know this promising fellow, before hurtling him into the Oval Office. Nobody else other than BHO seems to have a clue, and he can motivate, big time! A whole new generation. Moreover, the second after he swears in, we’ll have allies again! A fact that will increase our safety and national security by leaps and bounds.
Indeed, this racism speech satisfied a few of my small doubts... and yet...
...and yet I’d be no good friend if I did not offer a small poke of CITOKATE. (Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error), along with the praise. Barack, you should have spoken up, reached out, during (or shortly after) Reverend Wright’s rants. You owed it to all of us to use your eloquence on a small scale, as well as the large. To minister to your minister.
And if you feel regret that you hadn’t? Fine! Then share that with us! Let it be a lesson to all of us! That we should dig in our heels whenever we hear rants and apoplexy. Whenever we witness some neighbor or beloved fool indulging in America’s worst drug high -- self doped indignation -- which has poisoned every interest group and turned-rancid the American genius at negotiating with each other in goodwill.
Please accept this in good spirit. I agree with you that we need to end Culture War, and not stay mired in this artificial spat that’s ruining our country, red vs blue, city vs country... a war that (alas) Hillary Clinton may be able to fight well... but that she can never, ever win. I am backing you because I think and hope you can end culture war!
And yet, ironically, that’s going to take some militancy. For the enemy, the real foe, is not our misguided neighbors as much as it’s the self righteous high, itself! This dreadful form of addiction has become a fever of of outright lunacy on the far-right... but Revered Wright inllustrates that it can strike the left, as well, and occasionally transform decent, even pastoral human beings into Jeckyl/Hyde caricatures, screeching not reason or hope, but the spittle of hate.
We can only ease this madness among our “red” fellow citizens if we are first willing to recognize... and heal... the same disease when it strikes friends.