Saturday, October 25, 2008

Liberal tendencies

I must have more liberal blood in me than I thought. I'm feeling guilty about something that is not my fault, and I'm going to try to wash away the guilt by doing something for someone who might not deserve it, probably doesn't need it, and certainly has never asked me to do it. I'm going to vote for Barack Obama.
See, yesterday I was sitting in a store talking to an older man who brought up in conversation that he simply couldn't imagine a N* as president. Then he looked at me from under his brows and said, "I probably shouldn't have said that," meaning, "You are I know the way things really are."
He shouldn't have said it. I felt uncomfortable, the same way I felt once in high school, when a young woman with mental problems told a dirty joke that she couldn't possibly have understood (kind of a funny joke, though). I felt put upon and faintly besmirched.
I decided that, my response to the man's racism would be to vote for Obama. But that's nuts, don't you see? That's not logical. I'm doing something that I'm not sure is right simply because an old man opened his tangled mind to me. I'm trying to correct the balance of the universe by doing something that is illogical, as if I were, by voting for Obama, putting a thumb on the cosmic scale and tipping things back into order. I'm also trying, I think, to get rid of the guilt I feel because I didn't haul off and smack the old guy in the chops then and there.
What I am going to do is the day after the election drop by where he hangs out and gloat. Inwardly, because I'm a liberal now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Back at you

I read a syndicated column in a local paper the other day by a man who was incensed that a liberal university (Brandeis I think) had punished a professor for speaking a forbidden word in class. It seems that the professor, with impeccable liberal credentials, happened to mention in class that in former years an illegal alien was referred to as a "wetback." Now, I knew this, being from New Mexico. Mexican nationals wanting to get into the U.S. would swim the Rio Grande and come out all wet. Hence "wetback," or simply "wet" as we knew them. We'd say, "My dad hired a wet to help him with his house."

So far so good. I don't use the term any more, except in discussions like this one, and I assume that the professor didn't either. Nonetheless, according to this column, the university landed on the professor like the angel of death and did everything but cut out his tongue. "How could such a thing happen at a liberal university?" the column asks.

What's that sound I hear? Can it be the delicate susseration of feathers as chickens come home to roost? If the question is, "Who created the PC monster in the first place?" we'd come back, oddly enough to institutions like, how about this, Brandeis University.

Barry Goldwater, that old conservative, said, "You can't legislate morality" and was soundly booed for that thought. Lucky for Bill Clinton we can't. How about this, from me: "You can't institutionalize manners." As soon as something escapes the public conscience and gets put down on paper it gets challenged, expanded, rigidified, and calcified. Thought goes out the window, to be replaced by passion. And, to steal from Eric Hoffer, "every passionate attitude is an escape from the self." (quote approximate)

Yeats: "The best lack all conviction; the worst are full of passionate intensity."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where is heaven?

I read in the newspaper this morning about a woman who died briefly, went to heaven and then came back. She's written a book about the subject, but you'll have to find out about it on your own. I'm not telling. The author recounts how, in her time in the afterlife, she walked through a heaven of gold and diamonds, met friends, and saw how people lived in third-world countries. All pretty much standard stuff.

There's an urge in me to go into long involved discussions about the mechanics of afterlife experiences, but you know all that already. Instead, think of this: The woman had a very real experience. She lived (no pun intended) all these things she describes. She's not lying to us, nor scamming us. It happened. And it changed her life.

Whether or not heaven has gold and diamond decor isn't really that important. What is important, though, is that this experience is her experience. It isn't mine and it isn't universal. If I were to have an afterlife experience, I'm sure that heaven would resemble a combination library and classic car show. Can you imagine it? A huuuge room, high ceilings, wall to ceiling bookshelves, high windows, dark green carpet covered with perfectly restored Jaguars, Duesenbergs, Ferrari Barchettas and Alfa Romeos. I'd see my friends there, along with Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Mark Twain, arguing over whether a 67 Mustang was superior to a 68 Camaro.

I share my vision with you, but you may rest assured that yours will be different. For that reason, I couldn't bring myself to write a book about it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Old and Young

Mr. Obama seems to be widening his lead in the polls. And it's getting more and more to look like he'll be our next president. I don't think that's any reflection on John McCain. It's just that people would vote for Godzilla if he were running against the party of George Bush.
I wish I could shake my fear that a country governed by a yonker just out of short pants and a convicted liar is not a good thing.
It may well be that Mr. Obama is the real thing. It could be that all that stuff he's been talking about is more than just "elect me" froth, and it may be that he can stand up to the bluster of the Russians, the rage of the Mideast, the disdain of France (well, that one's not so hard), the "what are a few million infant deaths?" syndrome of the Chinese, the "We copy German cars better than you do" mentality of the Japanese, and the growing clout of Brazil (A world power that speaks Portuguese?)
But I don't think so.
I think he'll be like Jimmeh Carter, a nice man in a job that calls for a tough old bastard. Well, maybe Biden will fit in here.