You’ll have to forgive the disjointed thoughts, my darlings. I’m sitting here with the afterglow of the Peacemakers concert still shimmering through me, I’ve had a glass of wine, and all I really want to do is feel good about the world.
I’m pissed off about that.
Let me ‘splain, or at least sum up. Before Bush and his Merry Band of Extraordinary Fuckwits came along, I was skipping happily right along the middle path. Sure, I was toward the left side of that path. Indeed, I was already an atheist (calling myself agnostic, of course, because I was reserving the right to believe in the first god or goddess who bothered to put in a personal appearance. Never happened). But I scorned politics. Disdained nasty arguments between folks with diametrically opposing views. I was too busy writing to give two shits about what was going on in the political arena, you see. I was too busy drinking the world.
And then 2006 rolled around, and one night, watching The Daily Show, I got extremely pissed.
I don’t even remember what the issue was. It was some fuckery of Bush’s, but there’s been so much of it that it all kind of blurs. But it flipped a switch. Things had been building all through Bush’s presidency, but there had been no catalyst until that moment. The transition from a-political to political animal was nearly instantaneous. I went from solid moderate to foaming-at-the-mouth liberal in a heartbeat.
I voted for the first time in my life in the 2006 elections. I was part of the reason Arizona ended up with Democrats where no Democrats had gone before – or at least, not often. My friends and I were glued to the election results that night. Even the moderates among us were all breathless, hoping for Democrats. And we went insane with glee when the results rolled in from around the country, and the Democrats trounced the Republicons.
I’ve never given up the hope from that night. Even though the Democratic majority couldn’t find their asses with both hands in the House, and were too slim for true power in the Senate, I knew we’d reached a turning point. It was just going to be a long climb back from the brink of disaster.
It takes a lot of effort to rescue a country from the hands of fanatics.
And make no mistake. Bush & Co. are fanatics. They are fundamentalists when it comes to executive authority. They fundamentally believe they have the right to turn this country into a dictatorship. They let the religious fundamentalists off the leash to wreak havoc. They’ve taken everything I ever loved and admired about my country and distorted it, dishonored it, cast it away.
Habeas corpus. Separation of church and state. Balance of powers. Rule of law. Decency. Moderation. Truth.
(Well, as much truth as politicians are capable of, anyway.)
They shoved me off my comfortable middle path and into a wilderness. They’ve made it impossible for me to ever go back to being an a-political being. They’ve done so much damage that I may not live long enough to see it set right. And I’ll never forgive them for it.
I’ll never forgive them for making me go to sleep worrying whether the Constitution will still be intact when I wake up.
I’ll never forgive them for making me fear that we’ve gone too far toward a theocracy to pull back.
I’ll never forgive them for making “secular” a curse rather than a blessing.
I’ll never forgive them for making a mockery of justice and law.
I’ll never forgive them for torturing other human beings.
I’ll never forgive them for making me ashamed to be an American.
And I’m a forgiving person, my darlings. I’ve forgiven some rather severe transgressions against me. I don’t hold many grudges. I’d rather make amends and find common cause, but there are some people so extreme that no common ground exists between you. I hadn’t believed that until Bush. And Mark Mathis, but he’s just a lying sack of shit who doesn’t have the power to fundamentally destroy everything I’ve ever loved and cherished. He’s nothing special. Bush, by virtue of having been handed the reins to this country not once but twice, has that power.
So I won’t forgive. And I’ll keep fighting. I’ll fight Bush and his ilk, and I’ll fight Mathis and his minions because the two are intimately related. Ignorant people don’t make good choices in the voting booth. People like Mathis enable that ignorance, and people like Bush thrive on it. My darlings, I love this country too much to let them get away with it.
I love you too much.
There are a lot of good people in this country. Good atheists and religious sorts and all shades in between, just doing their best to live decent lives, who sure as fuck didn’t deserve what’s happened to them over the last eight years. Bugger making the world safe for democracy. I’m just doing my little bit to try to make America safe for democracy. We’ll get to the rest of the world and making it safe for whichever form of government best suits the populace once we’ve got our own shit back under control.
And we can do this. We’ve just got to reach for a little bit more wisdom, and we have to get involved. No more happy middle roads slipping safely unseen through the political landscape. The good people got a little too quiet there and let the freaks take over. It would be wise not to let that happen again.
There will come a day when the extremists are safely corralled on the fringes again. Someday, I’ll go to bed with the certainty that I’m not going to wake up to another day of Orwellian nightmares, and you and I won’t be fighting this rear-guard action against overwhelming fuckery. We’ll be skirmishing, merely, putting out little brushfires here and there, nothing like what we’re having to deal with now.
I can’t wait for that day.
But even when it comes, I can’t forgive.
Not this much. Not this time.