Sunday, February 25

Rethinking Doublethink

Most men when they hit their 40’s do something stupid like cheat on their wives with women half their age or buy a motorcycle. They call it “middle-aged crazy”. They even made a movie about it some years ago. I’m in my mid-40’s and I am experiencing a different kind of middle-aged crazy. Mine has been politically motivated.

Since the fall of 2000, I have become really worked up over the state of our national government, state government, even local government. It is as if there is a desire to erase the progressive changes that took place in the 60’s and 70’s and replace them with an Orwellian view of the world.

George Orwell was the writer of the often required high school read 1984—or rather used to be required reading. In 1984 the world is a place where the greatest practice is called Doublethink. In essence, Doublethink is believing one thing while at the exact same time believing an exactly opposite thing and being able to not only forget one, but being able to forget it completely and totally as if it never existed on demand. A slogan like “War is Peace” is an example of Doublethink.

Well in 2000, as you may remember, we had a newly appointed president (by virtue of the Supreme Court not allowing the Florida state recount to occur). He had campaigned on a platform of compassionate conservatism, rolling back taxes to the middle class, wouldn’t use the military for peacekeeping missions for extended periods of time, “no child left behind,” and so forth.

In 2007 we have a president who believes only he can keep us safe as we wage a war on terror to defeat it and spread democracy which will lead to world peace—again “war is peace.” Our soldiers are being used as peacekeepers while they simultaneously complete a war.

Compassionate conservative that he is, he managed to raise the federal deficit to over 7.5 trillion dollars, while reducing funding to human service programs. Children may be doing all right in school if they are able to go and are ready to go. Since conservatives tend to be for less government, it follows that the largest sector of job growth has been government jobs.

He is also the President that said that creating jobs would require giving tax-cuts to everybody (of which the wealthiest 1% benefited the most and the poorest the least) instead of payroll tax-cuts that actually help businesses to grow.

As I tried to decipher the disconnects between what the president promised, I found myself becoming more and more upset about the direction of the country. So when people like Howard Dean said “take back America” that sounded pretty good to me—until I realized that it was a politician saying it to me.

As the Who said a long time ago “Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss,” --government changes hands, but the power behind the throne is unchanging. The government of the US is actually guilty of anti-trust. We have two parties that essentially make it virtually impossible for other parties to exist. All any party has to do is claim the third, fourth, or fortieth party is a spoiler and use fear tactics to retain control.

This is why "we the people" need to push for publicly financed campaigns and "clean election" laws. In Iowa, we have a chance to open up the process to different ideas or at least a third way. Contact your state representatives and ask them to support HSB 105 and get it out of committee. It is important to the future of Iowans to have a real choice and to encourage more people to choose public service.

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