Monday, March 30, 2009

The Party of Doh!

Just Friday, I heard David Brooks, conservative New York Times columnist, call the Republican budget a "...well, to be frank, a joke..." Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell says he smells victory. In the next elections, it will the Republicans who march back to power. And what exactly are the Republicans triumphantly offering us?

Here's Sen. Judd Gregg: "We believe you create prosperity by having an affordable government that pursues its responsibilities without excessive costs, taxes or debt..."

For 30 years, and in the last decade especially, Republicans got their way. Did they reduce government? No. They expanded it. Not only that, they poured hundreds of billions of dollars into nation building. Costs? Skyrocketed. Taxes? They went up. By cynically passing off federal taxation to the state and municipal level they forced local taxes to increase nationwide. By defunding the country's infrastructure, we now have a critical mess to clean up.

Our tax money is being poured into Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, AIG, Swiss UBS, England's Barclay's, rentention bonuses, executive bonuses, etc... This is the Republican legacy, and we're paying for and will be paying for it for years to come.

And now, to hear Republicans, like a bunch of chicken littles, running around crying socialism, big-government, socialism, taxes, debt, socialism, big-government, socialism, taxes, debt, socialism, big-government, socialism, taxes, debt...

It's more than the back can bear...

Health Care - Every member of Congress recieves government-run, socialized health-care paid for by our taxes. Good enough for them, but not good enough for us?

Gregg says: "We also believe you improve everyone's health care not by nationalizing the health care system and putting the government between you and your doctor, but by assuring that every American has access to quality health insurance and choices in health care."

Really? And that would be why Gregg is covered by government health care, at tax payer expense? He seems to like it...

Big Government - If the government doesn't assume the role of governing, then somebody else will. Enron, AIG, Bear Stearns, etc... and didn't they do a good job?

Gregg: "It is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government."

Government is of the people, by the people, for the people, but then the Gregg probably isn't familiar with that document.

Taxes - The Republican borrow & spend strategy of governing only passes on debt to the next administration - raising taxes on all of us. It's much cheaper to maintain a bridge, than to rebuild it. It's much cheaper to educate your children than imprison them.

Taxes educate our children. Taxes keep us out of debt. Taxes maintain the health of our infrastructure.

Under Republican governance, our children are undereducated, our country's debt is owned by the Chinese and our infrastructure is collapsing.


Anonymous said...


I'm really impressed. Until the very end of your post, I thought that Aaron had written it. I like your political writing, whereas I intensely dislike Aaron's efforts at it. On the other hand, I think that his non-political writing is masterful and often breathtaking.

Now, to completely change the topic, I'd like to relate a thought that I had earlier today. As you know, I'm terrified beyond any possible means to express by the prospect of dying and death--that is, by annihilation of the body. To say "terrified" is the most enormous understatement possible.

Well, today I started considering why it is that I should be so afraid of death. It's not as if death would happen to me, alone, while everyone else survived. Yes, many would survive, but many will also have died. Many already have. We all share the fate of death, whatever that may be. The fact that we will all die links us to each other. Realizing that life is finite not just for me, but for all of us, intensifies it; it makes living well more urgent.

By living well, I mean living life in a way that feels satisfying and fulfilling.

I wonder about the problem of suffering, Pat. Have you ever read "Jesus for the Non-Religious" by John Shelby Spong? I highly recommend it. He debunks every miracle claimed of Jesus, including the resurrection, yet still maintains a belief that yes, we do survive death. It's a metaphysical proposition that can't be proven, but it's absolutely vital in giving us hope.

I envy the peace of mind that you must feel as the result of your NDE-like experience. It would have been interesting to understand how your personality changed--if at all--before and after the experience. The interpretation of what happened to you aside, I would very much like to know what effects that experience had on your life from that point forward.

Do you still think about it? Does it shape the way that you see the world? Are you more compassionate, more full of wonder at existence, kinder, more interested in acquiring knowledge?

Life is hard. It doesn't matter whether one has had an NDE or not, I suspect. Tragedies happen. Our beloved friends and family die, or are incapacitated by a horrific illness and experience a slow decline to the point where they're no longer themselves. We see this with advanced dementia. It makes one wonder what constitutes a person, and when enough is enough.

I agree, and I have always agreed, that love is central to the message of the NDE, even though the full implications are far beyond my understanding. To care about one another, to realize that we're all deeply connected, to know that when the least among us is harmed, we are all harmed...these are deep truths that few of us truly comprehend and appreciate. Even in the case where some of us do have this insight, it's still difficult to escape the confines of our self-preserving, narcissistic egos and reach out to help others, particularly where it involves effort or financial loss. To be fully human seems to necessitate that we fight against our animalistic impulses to hoard, compete, and so on.

Even though I don't say it often (in fact, have I ever said it until now?), I like and admire both you and Aaron, despite the devastating attacks that you've launched against me here and there. I say this because I care about becoming a better person. I value criticism. I don't want to become my father, an abusive and ignorant tyrant. I want to use what talent I have to make the world better, and I feel very fortunate to be in a set of circumstances that I believe will enable me to do that.

I'd write about these privately, but I don't know your e-mail address, and Aaron seems determined that I not write him in e-mail. That's fine. I like having a wider audience.

In any case, I think that I've been fortunate in many ways, despite being tremendously unfortunate in being born to a dangerous, mentally ill, perpetually angry, sadistic and cruel father. I like to think that I'm more like my p mother. I despise (non-intellectual, i.e. personal) conflict and appreciate people. Despite my background, upbringing, and circumstances, I think that I've been able to break with the violence of my culture's and father's past to become a person who, if not entirely inherently good, strives for the good. I wish others well. It's not enough for me to succeed. I want all of us to succeed, for we are all, ultimately, one. I hope, that if I achieve a prominent social position, that I'll be able to model behavior that others will emulate--behavior that strives for excellence for all of us.

I've benefited greatly from trying to emulate--or at least find inspiration from--a powerful mentor and friend where I work. I hope that I can one day pass that on.

I believe that we, in part, create our reality. We are co-creators with each other and our planet. Art is creating well. Maybe love is the glue that enables us to create well together. Or maybe it's the fuel that propels self-actualization. Undoubtedly, it has many characteristics, yet it still remains a mystery to me--and perhaps this is exactly as it should be.

I liked your post a lot, Pat. I'd like to see you write a lot more.

As the three of us are writers, I'd like to send both of you a Christmas present this year, one that I've shared with all of the individuals who are connected with me--all of them writers.

Have a Good Night,


upinVermont said...

//Now, to completely change the topic//

Yes, a summary feint at flattery, then move on...

Steve, I left the NDE list for a reason. Go back to the list if you still need to talk about NDEs. As for me, there's nothing you asked that you haven't asked me before and that I haven't answered before.

Anonymous said...


If you knew me, you'd know that I'm sincere. I'm not capable of flattery. When I'm passionate about someone or something, however, I can speak and write loquaciously with lavish praise that expresses my true feelings.

You somehow appear to think that I'm baiting you, or that I look down on you or don't believe you. None of these is true. I don't know why you seem bitter. What did your NDE teach you, Pat?

The experience of others who have had NDE's suggests to me that we are not, in fact, duplicitous primates.

You may not want to speak further about your NDE, but I have a need to know and will relentlessly continue my pursuits to find out all that I can about the lessons that can be learned from NDE's.

How is it that I, a non-experiencer, should need to remind you of the most central message of all in the NDE: that in the end, only love matters? All is one. We're all connected. We're co-creators. And Pat, as you know, we are heroic, immortal spiritual beings having a human experience.

If I were you, I would be shouting that message, that truth, from the rooftops!


upinVermont said...

Hi Steve,

Have you ever wondered at what happens to your body once you're dead? It's pretty interesting stuff. When you're dead Steve, you won't just rest in peace. The process by which your body will decay is actually fairly gruesome. Your body will turn and convulse as it continues to be consumed by your death.

During the process of your decomposition, Steve, your body will go through several distinct phases. The first stage is confined to vapors and gases. This will make you, Steve, bloat like a balloon. Immediately following this, Steve, you will begin to liquefy from the inside out.

The science of decomposition (or "rot" for short) is called taphonomy. I think you, Steve, given your interest in death, should study it.

Fortunately you will die and decompose in the 21rst century, which means that if someone should dig you up and see the bloody, viscous, toothy maw that used to be your mouth (because the bacteria will consume the soft tissues around your mouth first - fed by the liquefying of the bloody, dank, dark stew that has become your flesh bubbling through the openings of your body) they will only vomit at the sight of you.

If it were the fourteenth or fifteenth century they would assume you were a vampire (the original source of the great myth) and force a stone or brick into your jaws, tearing apart the liquefying tendons and muscles of your face as they did so.

Here's a picture:

Fortunately you will escape that fate. But otherwise, in another 50(?) years, you will look much the same Steve.

Any time you would like to talk about death, Steve, just let me know.


gail said...

Oh, but the worms!! You forgot about the worms!!!

Everybody SING!!!!:

"OOOOOOHHHHH........the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play penucle in you snout...!!!" HA HA :~D

upinVermont said...

Is that a drinking song? Love it.

Anonymous said...


What an absolutely charming description of what happens when one's body is annihilated!

It's a lovely way for the world to say to the individual body: "BAM!!"

However, as you and I both know, the death of the body is the death of a shell, and not of the person. The person is an heroic, immortal spiritual being.

As for your literary descriptions, aren't they marvelous? Aren't they wonderful?

O, Pat! Where would we be without your inspirational messages?


upinVermont said...

//However, as you and I both know, the death of the body is the death of
a shell, and not of the person.//

Good. Go tell it to the mountains and stop pestering me.

//Where would we be without your inspirational messages?//

I don't know... Who's "we"?