By Daniel J. Perin
I wish I could write like I used to. It is not that the ideas come to me any less often than before. It is that the time between when the idea strikes my mind or heart and when my fingers are at the keys of my computer now seems like hours and in that time so much is lost.
The brevity with which thoughts endure in their clarity of origin leaves me frustrated and disappointed these days. I am very glad that I can still think and feel. I am pleased when my thoughts and feelings find their way into print with most of their original construction and intent.
During the run up to the first election of President Obama I was aggressively blogging my opinions about the political issues and the need for a new direction in our policy-making. I subscribed to numerous news feeds of different political persuasions in order to keep up with the issues. Since the election and the rude awakening to the political maneuvering of the Republican Party to thwart every effort the President made to fulfill the promises he made during the campaign, I have become so disappointed that my normal writing processes have refused to operate. I have discontinued the news feeds except for one or two that I barely peruse before simply deleting them.
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech stirred me to want to contribute to the memories and thoughts from the thousands who attended the ceremonies on the Washington Mall and who commented from around the world via the Internet. I found myself unable to articulate what I felt. I was in my first ministry at the time of the March On Washington in 1963. I somewhat naively noticed the speech and the crowds of disciplined attendees. In the years since I have had my own first hand education as to the issues that divide us in this country—more than just the racial issues, as serious as they are. I have had my own face-to-face interaction with black leaders such as Jesse Jackson and staff members in the seminary from which I graduated and later served as a staff member in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I wish I could say that any contribution I offered through what writing I did make some difference. I don’t believe it did. I feel it helped me to clarify what I thought and felt, but I am not persuaded that it made a difference. Frankly, my frustration today comes primarily from the apparent lack of engagement of the majority of folks in our country, according to recent poling, who, while they do not like what is going on in the political world, have chosen to drop out and ignore their opportunity to contribute to change.
I am one who has, for now, dropped out. The intensity of aggravation over what seems to be a lack of challenging the ridiculous actions of Republicans across this country leaves me at risk of unhealthy physical reactions. It does not matter that there are so-called “good” Republicans. They are so frightened of not getting re-elected that they swoon to the pressures of the Tea Party wing-nuts determined to destroy this country under the guise of “taking back our government.” I would ask them to read the Constitution they so often misquote, but there is little hope that they could understand it if they did read it. If they are unable to stand up for a positive Republican philosophy of government, then they do not deserve to represent anybody.
Though the Democrats have their own problems with principled action, it is nowhere near the abdication of political representation that we see in the actions of the unprincipled Republican effort to block voters from exercising their rights; to gerrymandering representational districts that ensure re-election by only including those in their party; to waging war on women through anti-abortion laws and discriminating against those with whom they disagree; to packing Intelligence and Science committees in Congress with anti-science crazies and ignorant, closed minded idiots who have no idea what intelligence is.
The Republicans no longer make any effort to negotiate in good faith. They are interested only in making any progress impossible until, they hope, they can once again be the party of the majority. Do you realize they have blocked almost every single effort to move this country forward? In spite of that, under President Obama we are managing to make steady, if somewhat slow, progress toward returning to a stable economy that is creating new jobs every month. All any reasonable person is asking of the Republicans is that they come to the bargaining table with a plan that lays out what they want to actually DO rather than continuing to denigrate the person of the President and block any proposal made by the Democrats.
Well, you can see, somewhere along the writing of this piece I have moved from not being able to write, to writing probably too much for the average person to care about reading. Of course, in my opinion, that is part of the problem. If it can’t be said in 162 characters, or whatever, most won’t give it their attention.
I haven’t even touched upon the world conditions that are so fragile today and that are bringing out the war-mongering neo-cons who led us into Iraq and who want us to bomb every country in sight. OMG!
I will now return to the mindless activities of my own personal life and watch from the wings the stage play unfolding before our eyes. It does not look like there will be a happy ending.
P.S. -- Given the NSA activities of gathering up emails and Internet postings, I am sure this will find its way into the repository of the government files. My blogs have, in the past, been monitored by government agencies if I happened to mention hot political issues, especially, guns, war, Iraq, etc. Hello, Big Brother!