On Christmas Day 2010, at the loving insistence of my wife Mamie & daughter Angela, I went out with them for sushi at a well-regarded Japanese restaurant on Ventura Boulevard. The plan was to rendezvous with another couple whom Mamie & Angela had met by accident at the same restaurant a month or two earlier. The other couple had treated my girls to an abundance of tasty (and presumably expensive) wine; now–to reciprocate–we were bringing nice champagne and my daughter’s handmade chocolate truffles (see her WordPress blog: thespinningplate.com).
My darling girls had begged me to come along with two conditions: a) that I observe proper sushi etiquette; and b) that I avoid political discussions. In other words, that I keep my mouth shut, except to eat sushi, the sushi that was put in front of me–sushi that, they promised, would be very good. I agreed to their conditions, and kept my mouth zipped while the other couple–a wealthy lawyer and a physical therapist–held forth on why we don’t need any government employees and the tragedy of Meg Whitman’s defeat in her race for governor, and the shame that so much of her hard-earned cash went right down the drain (well, fortunately some of it went into the coffers of radio stations owned by my wife’s right-wing broadcasting company, hence some gladness in the conversation).
In this blog, I am not constrained to comply with the conditions of last night’s meal–i.e., to avoid political discussions–so here goes.
To our well-heeled dinner companions, and to all well-heeled people of similar mind–i.e. that we need to shrink government to a size small enough to be drowned in a bathtub–I say the following.
I challenge you, all you rich conservatives. I challenge you to walk for a month–not even a month, a DAY–in the shoes of people who genuinely need government services. I challenge you to live A DAY in neighborhoods where the mean-spirited criminals do well and academically motivated young people routinely get shot and killed–at, or on their way, to school. I challenge you to walk ONE HOUR without police escort or private security in neighborhoods where many, many, many, many people LIVE THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.
Yes, I am using all caps, and yes, they do mean that I am shouting. I am shouting because I am fed up. I am shouting because I am sick of the hitherto timid and meek, even apologetic, demeanor of progressives like me–people who believe that our society should prioritize lifting up humanity, all of humanity, as much as possible, and that we should put imperial ambitions on a back burner; people who believe in health care over warfare, public works over a public that can’t find work, yadayada
In the final analysis, I think a lot of conservatives are smart, honest, hard-working people who have made a significant contribution to the economy and to our society, and who want to keep their share of what they have earned through extraordinary effort and sacrifice. These people don’t want an overreaching government or a bloated bureaucracy eating up their hard-earned cash, and–in my opinion–rightfully so.
But I think there are also many conservatives who are just greedy, reactionary bastards who don’t give a flying fuck about anybody but themselves. Conservatives tend to be disproportionately white and–either openly or secretly–racist. And recently, especially since Carl Rove rammed eight years of George W. Bush up our butts (see another blog for the full story on that), I think that right-wing Republicans have become increasingly mean-spirited, Machiavellian, dishonest, disingenous, deceitful, conniving, manipulative, cynical, and downright dangerous to the planet earth. These people must be removed from power.
Thank God Meg Whitman lost her bid for governor. Money can’t buy everything. And thank God Glenn Beck’s show was dropped by WOR talk radio in New York due to low ratings. Rich, angry white men no longer rule the world. At least, not as much of it as they used to.
And this, at heart, is I think why Republicans are now fighting so dirty. They know their days are numbered. They know it’s only a matter of time until all the lies they’ve told us will come to light. They know it’s only a matter of time until global warming melts the ice caps, as predicted by the scientists they have ignored, censored, and/or ridiculed. They know it’s only a matter of time until today’s young people, who are far more tolerant and understanding of minorities such as gays and blacks and Latinos, vote the reactionary American idiots out of office. Just like we did in California in our last election, when Jerry Brown and a slate of liberal candidates and ballot measures were swept into office by crowds of uncharacteristically young voters out to legalize marijuana.
Of what stripe are our friends at the sushi bar? We shall see on Thursday, when we meet them again for sushi.