Tuesday, November 09, 2004


A tasteless political allegory

...and perhaps a signal of my own shift in political sentiment.

Things are changing quickly here. I'm waiting the results on the PhD proposal, likely to be waiting until at least early December, and in the meanwhile taking steps to secure some sort of employment outside of the states--in Munich, in fact, and that is an ongoing, and quite interesting, project, that I will get more into in another post.

And I have a lot to say.

I have some important questions for myself:
1) Why should the results of this election cause me as much consternation as they have, when I truly believe that the merest shadow separates the proposed policies of Kerry and Bush?
2) How much faith do I continue to place in the democratic process, as it manifests itself in the United States? (and the parallel: how much faith in reasoned discourse? This one is important to my own political voice, i.e., how modulated it remains.)
3) In the wake of these results, where do I place my own hopes for better solutions than the ones being proposed at present?
4) What action is best suited to forwarding those solutions?
5) How does my individual voice fit into that action?

I am very fortunate right now to be cleaning a very dirty commercial kitchen--lots of old grease to be stripped from every surface--wire brushes and strong chemicals. This is helpful. It grounds me. It forces some pretty complex thoughts into very physical terms...and, if I can manage to do what I want to do, I'll be chronicling some of those here.

For today, because there's a lot I'm supposed to be doing, I offer you a political metaphor, which details (in much the same way that this video does) my real take on the Dems and the Republicans. It's an old joke, told to me by an old friend, who also survived a kitchen with me in Chicago. And I make no apologies to the squeamish--I also have never figured out if it's racist or not, though when I tell it, I usually try to adopt a Mexican accent--and my wife tells me the true test is whether that delivery is necessary to the joke. I don't know, and you can castigate me if you think it in poor taste. With that wind-up, here is a brief political allegory from an extremely disgruntled member of the body politic:

I was searching, one day, for Mister Rodriguez, when I came across a fellow who was leaning against a wall. I asked him if he knew Mister Rodriguez, and he turned to me, and said:

"You ask me about Mister Rodriguez. Let me tell you something about Mister Rodriguez. One day, I was walking through the desert, when I see Mister Rodriguez, and he is riding a burro and holding a gun. And he rides up to me, and he points his gun to me, and he says, 'Mister. Off with the pants.' Well, what could I do? He has the gun, so I take off my pants. Then Mister Rodriguez, he says, 'Mister. Shit.' What could I do? He has the gun, so I shit. Then...Mister Rodriguez, he says, 'Eat shit.' What could I do? He has the gun, so I eat shit. And this caused Mister Rodriguez to laugh and laugh, and he laughed so hard he fall off his burro, and he drops his gun. So I pick up the gun, and I point it to him, and I say, 'Mister Rodriguez, off with the pants.' What could he do? I have the gun, so he takes off his pants. Then I point the gun to him and say 'Mister Rodriguez. Shit.' What could he do? I have the gun, so he shit. Then...then I point the gun to him and say, 'Mister Rodriguez. Eat shit.' What could he do? I have the gun, so he eat shit.

And you ask me about Mister Rodriguez?

We had lunch together."

Excellent questions, Gene, but I'm wondering - how does one define 'a better solution'. What are the goals that must be obtained in order for one solution to be declared better than another?

Short of being flip and pointing out that any solution I might have to offer is pretty much moot, anyway, I suspect we'd hit our first snag in the fact that I'd be looking at concerns that were much more global than national in nature. Some key ones, I'd say, would be the environment (it is worse than you probably think), epidemics, hunger, education, as well as finding a way to put some control on trans-national entities such as MNCs, international bodies of law, and terrorist networks.

Goals, being the not-so-crypto-socialist that I am, would probably focus on matters of equity, with a fair distribution of resources being high on the list. I know. I'm a dreamer. Don't worry--they'll never let me or my ilk into the US congress.

We have space enough between us, politically speaking, that I'm not entirely sure the dialogue would actually go anywhere? I will say this: one of the primary reasons for voting for Kerry was simply Bush's disdain for a 'global test,' which he totally misrepresented, and which the American public swallowed only too eagerly. Bush has not, by any means, managed to build any kind of workable coalition--he is perceived (and the perception, in politics, is as good as the reality--the republicans know this, because they can tell you the real story behind that "I voted for that 87 billion dollars" line, only it serves their short-term purposes if they don't dwell on the reality...) to be a 'My way or the highway' kinda guy, and while that certainly has its appeal amongst Americans, it doesn't go over so well in some other places. And before I start hearing the stories about the UNs corruption--you are absolutely kidding yourself if you don't think the same level of corruption at work in American power structures. They're politicians, and they act like politicians anywhere in the world.

But, prove me wrong. Introduce me to a poor Senator.
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