Thursday, July 31, 2008

OMG another rant. Blame Michael Moore....

I bestirred myself this morning and actually did some work around here. Guess what? I cut the grass! (Seems I do a lot of that!) Here, "cutting the grass" really means "mowing the driveway," because that's the only place green stuff of any consequence grows. It's not a small job--the driveway is 167 feet long and 16 feet wide. But it doesn't exactly take all day. What we actually walk on, where a lawn would be, is just sandy forest floor, covered with fallen oak leaves, hickory nuts and pine needles. I did throw some grass seed along the front in our little outdoor living room, and a few clumps struggled to rise in this unproductive dirt, but all I need for them is a string trimmer.

Inside, the place does look like a slug has been occupying it, and I do need to wave the Swiffer at things and run the vacuum. I owe at least that much to Steve, who supposedly is driving in this evening after he arrives in the late afternoon at Washington National. Yes, people, I truly am a housewife.

I watched Michael Moore's "Sicko" for the first time last night. I'll start by saying I've enjoyed his past movies while at the same time recognizing them for the one-note screeds that they are, and while I may agree with their general thrust, I find him too often a camera hog who gets in the way of his own narrative, and also assume there's plenty of "yes, buts..." behind his most shocking anecdotes. "Sicko" is different. The story itself is so horrifying and so disgusting it needs no embellishment. But beyond the demonstration of how badly skewed the priorities of the U.S medical establishment have become, the overarching narrative of our having been "ruled by fear" is what really stays with me. We are suckers, played like violins by anyone who can make a buck (or attain power) by scaring us. How convenient for the AMA that a push for "socialized medicine" came along precisely when the Red Scare had us in its thrall. Fast forward to the "politics of fear" created by 9/11, again so conveniently for the simple-minded team currently holding the reins. They already knew they wanted a more powerful presidency. The "war on terror" could have come from their play book. I'll never accuse these people of not having the best interest of the country at heart. I believe everything they have done has been done in good faith. I would never want to get up every morning knowing that the lives of 300 million of my fellow citizens were in my hands....literally. But the fear they feel in their own hearts has been handed to us in the form of their style of governing. And they have shown clearly that good faith effort and monumental, blinding hubris are not mutually exclusive.

In the movie, someone says, "In Eurpoean democracies, the governments are afraid of the people. We are afraid of our government." I don't buy that. As bad as things have gotten here, I'm still secure in the knowledge that I'm not about to be tortured by anyone on Uncle Sam's payroll. It's more a case of our having just given up, zoned out, lulled by consumerism, morbidly obese and loving every minute of it in our 21st century cathedral, the shopping mall. And that indifference is exponentially worse than any imagined fear of the government. It creates fertile ground for the power mad among us, who after almost eight years have gone some distance in chipping away at our hallowed foundations. (All for our own good, of course!)

At long last, we seem to be waking up, and there's a move to reclaim whatever qualities made us a legitimate beacon for the world. Maybe it took the trauma of 9/11 to show us how off course we could go. The promise "never again" has been made repeatedly throughout history, after every paroxysm of human stupidity, only to be forgotten. I hope this time we mean it.

10 comments:

Mim said...

Ralph,
Thanks for today's rant... and the comment on my blog re: labels and such.
I got a great laugh at your expense yesterday when reading'a shaky start' about your coffee drinking and your job interview.
Seems like it did work for you as you got that job.
That is my coffee of choice, 8 o'clock Colombian roast, every morning.
Right now it feels like if I don't have two cups of the stuff each morning I will start shaking!
Thanks for the fun, and serious thoughts your writing evokes.
Mim

Ralph said...

Glad you liked that interview story, Mim. I laugh, too, when I remember it.

Did you get the photo album I sent?

Mim said...

Nope didn't get any pics.
my email is kennelmr@gmail.com

Zoey & Me said...

Let's hope the beer bunch don't show up to vote this time around.

Meant to answer a previous post, are you on the border with Rosslyn, VA? On more of a southeast side of Arlington?

Ralph said...

Not near Rosslyn, Z&M. Remember the old Parkington Shopping Center, now Ballston? That's Glebe Rd and Wilson Blvd. Follow Glebe south from there (towards Alexandria. Get to Rt 50 (Arlington Blvd), amd stay on Glebe 1 mile further south to the intersection of Glebe and Columbia Pike. It's a famous intersection for the big Rosenthal Chevrolet that's been there for many decades. We are the first left turn off Glebe after Columbia Pike.

Zoey & Me said...

I bought a station wagon from Rosenthal Chevrolet, still remember the salesman's name, Beau Lyons. Can see Glebe Road in my mind's eye but can't figure how it connects to Columbia Pike. Are you talking Sevens Corner?

Ralph said...

No. 7 Corners is in Falls Church. Glebe Road and Columbia Pike intersect. It's a crossroad. Rosenthal is at that crossroad. Not sure where you're picturing Columbia Pike. It's the artery that goes west from the Pentagon out to Annandale. It crosses Walter Reed, then Glebe, and after Glebe it crosses Rt 7 at Baileys Cross Roads. Know it?

Zoey & Me said...

OK Gotcha. Baileys Crossroads. Now I'm in the right neighborhood. Thanks.

Ravel said...

Housewife? As long as you don't wear an apron...

Ralph said...

HA! Nope, no apron, Ravel.