Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My friends OR at the tone, the time will be...

It's on. Great speeches, grand enthusiasm, a party and a half with the just the right level of over-the-top pomp and circumstance, calculatingly erring on the side of "MORE cowbell"
Forgive me for not getting all misty eyed and mushy. Been there; done that. When all is said; nothing's done as advertised.. In MY lifetime, the convention rhetoric has, only once, come close to the outcome and that did not end well. Since then each successive gathering has delivered nearly the opposite of the promise. No doubt, our current miscreant in chief has eclipsed all previous misses by an order of magnitude, but we've been seriously off-course since the shot-shortened campaign season of 64. Off by millimeters, compounded over 44 years. Yep, we've reached Superman's alternate universe territory. Congratulations.

So I'm jaded and angry, pissed off, feeling ELEVEN going on TWELVE times fucked over. Painfully aware of exactly how far off-course things have gotten. That's the COWBELL pounding incessantly through my head. The Ship of State is marooned somewhere in the Twilight Zone. The parts to fix what's wrong are plentiful, but the mileage charges and service call to reach this far out make pretending that we're exactly where we belong and exactly where our itinerary said we'd be is much easier to sell. A minor adjustment here, a plink with a silver hammer there and presto, our "destination" is right around the next bend.

"Get Back, Get Back. Get back to where you once belonged."

Easier said than done.

Call a Timeout? Reset the game clock to: July 17, 1980
[selectively edited]
"I am very proud of our party tonight. This convention has shown to all America a party united, with positive programs for solving the nation's problems; a party ready to build a new consensus with all those across the land who share a community of values embodied in these words: family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom.

More than anything else, I want a candidacy to unify our country; to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values.

Never before in our history have Americans been called upon to face three grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us. We face a disintegrating economy, a weakened defense and an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity.
The major issue of this campaign is the direct political, personal and moral responsibility of leadership --in the White House and in Congress -- for this unprecedented calamity which has befallen us. They tell us they have done the most that humanly could be done. They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems; that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities.

My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view. The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a better world for others by moving backwards ourselves. Those who believe we can have no business leading the nation.

I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose. We have come together here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust our nation's highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something about it.
We need rebirth of the American tradition of leadership at every level of government and in private life as well. The United States of America is unique in world history because it has a genius for leaders -- many leaders -- on many levels.

"Trust me" government asks that we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what's best for us. My view of government places trust not in one person or one party, but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it belongs--in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact.

Three hundred and sixty years ago, in 1620, a group of families dared to cross a mighty ocean to build a future for themselves in a new world. When they arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, they formed what they called a "compact"; an agreement among themselves to build a community and abide by its laws.

The single act--the voluntary binding together of free people to live under the law--set the pattern for what was to come.

A century and a half later, the descendants of those people pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to found this nation. Some forfeited their fortunes and their lives; none sacrificed honor.

Four score and seven years later, Abraham Lincoln called upon the people of all America to renew their dedication and their commitment to a government of, for and by the people.
Isn't it once again time to renew our compact of freedom; to pledge to each other all that is best in our lives; all that gives meaning to them--for the sake of this, our beloved and blessed land?

Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for the needy; to teach our children the values and the virtues handed down to us by our families; to have the courage to defend those values and the willingness to sacrifice for them.

Let us pledge to restore, in our time, the American spirit of voluntary service, of cooperation, of private and community initiative; a spirit that flows like a deep and mighty river through the history of our nation.

As your nominee, I pledge to restore to the federal government the capacity to do the people's work without dominating their lives. I pledge to you a government that will not only work well, but wisely; its ability to act tempered by prudence and its willingness to do good balanced by the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years."

If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these forty years, he might hedge a little on that statement. But, with the virtues that our legacy as a free people and with the vigilance that sustains liberty, we still have time to use our renewed compact to overcome the injuries that have been done to America these past forty years.

Make no mistake. We will not permit the safety of our people or our environment heritage to be jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment.

Our problems are both acute and chronic, yet all we hear from those in positions of leadership are the same tired proposals for more government tinkering, more meddling and more control -- all of which led us to this state in the first place.

Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, "Well done?" Can anyone compare the state of our economy when the Carter Administration took office with where we are today and say, "Keep up the good work?" Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, "Let's have four more years of this?"

I believe the American people are going to answer these questions the first week of November and their answer will be, "No--we've had enough." And, then it will be up to us -- beginning next January 20th -- to offer an administration and congressional leadership of competence and more than a little courage.

We must have the clarity of vision to see the difference between what is essential and what is merely desirable, and then the courage to bring our government back under control and make it acceptable to the people.

It is essential that we maintain both the forward momentum of economic growth and the strength of the safety net beneath those in society who need help. We also believe it is essential that the integrity of all aspects of Social Security are preserved.

Beyond these essentials, I believe it is clear our federal government is overgrown and overweight. Indeed, it is time for our government to go on a diet. Therefore, my first act as chief executive will be to impose an immediate and thorough freeze on federal hiring. Then, we are going to enlist the very best minds from business, labor and whatever quarter to conduct a detailed review of every department, bureau and agency that lives by federal appropriations. We are also going to enlist the help and ideas of many dedicated and hard working government employees at all levels who want a more efficient government as much as the rest of us do. I know that many are demoralized by the confusion and waste they confront in their work as a result of failed and failing policies.

Our instructions to the groups we enlist will be simple and direct. We will remind them that government programs exist at the sufferance of the American taxpayer and are paid for with money earned by working men and women. Any program that represents a waste of their money -- a theft from their pocketbooks--must have that waste eliminated or the program must go -- by executive order where possible; by congressional action where necessary. Everything that can be run more effectively by state and local government we shall turn over to state and local government, along with the funding sources to pay for it. We are going to put an end to the money merry-go-round where our money becomes Washington's money, to be spent by the states and cities exactly the way the federal bureaucrats tell them to.

I will not accept the excuse that the federal government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any president, any administration or Congress. We are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the federal government. The federal government exists to serve the American people. On January 20th, we are going to re-establish that truth.

Also on that date we are going to initiate action to get substantial relief for our taxpaying citizens and action to put people back to work. None of this will be based on any new form of monetary tinkering or fiscal sleight-of-hand. We will simply apply to government the common sense we all use in our daily lives.

Work and family are at the center of our lives; the foundation of our dignity as a free people. When we deprive people of what they have earned, or take away their jobs, we destroy their dignity and undermine their families. We cannot support our families unless there are jobs; and we cannot have jobs unless people have both money to invest and the faith to invest it.

There are concepts that stem from an economic system that for more than 200 years has helped us master a continent, create a previously undreamed of prosperity for our people and has fed millions of others around the globe. That system will continue to serve us in the future if our government will stop ignoring the basic values on which it was built and stop betraying the trust and good will of the American workers who keep it going.

The American people are carrying the heaviest peacetime tax burden in our nation's history -- and it will grow even heavier, under present law, next January. We are taxing ourselves into economic exhaustion and stagnation, crushing our ability and incentive to save, invest and produce.

This must stop. We must halt this fiscal self-destruction and restore sanity to our economic system.

It is time to put America back to work; to make our cities and towns resound with the confident voices of men and women of all races, nationalities and faiths bringing home to their families a decent paycheck they can cash for honest money.

For those without skills, we'll find a way to help them get skills.

For those without job opportunities, we'll stimulate new opportunities, particularly in the inner cities where they live.

For those who have abandoned hope, we'll restore hope and we'll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!"

Wow, great speech. What was the result? Unprecedented wealth and properity? Hardly.
Just kicked this pig. Put the pedal to the metal. Raced off in every direction. Cast OUR fate to the wind. A stampede. Mindless, oblivious to the consequences, ignoring history and common sense THEN call it greatness. GREATNESS? Best President EVER!?
Books that are hopelessly irreconcilable. Addition by subraction, but instead of subtracting the disease, it subtracted the patients. Fix inflation? Just stop factoring in the inflationary costs. Cut government spending? Triple it. 11!

And call it Macaroni.

You know it's the truth. You feel it in the place you KNOW about stuff, but you can't function in this Brave New World if you acknowlege your knowing it. In the well-ordered chaos spun with lofty words, raping everything and anything became acceptable. Pillaging became admirable. Looting expected. If you chose not to participate, if you, in that place, just knew it was wrong, you were a chump.

So here we are. Trying to figure out what to do. I do have some thoughts on that.
Settle up the bill. That's SOP isn't it? The feast was great. The floor show extraordinary. The dessert cart? Sublime.

What's that? You ate SHIT? NO Charge. Don't worry about it. Have a nice day.

Yo, buddy... Yeah, you with the caviar dripping from your well-trimmed beard and the pate' clump on your Italian loafers. Here's your BILL. It's house policy to include the gratuity. Yeah, I know the sign said "ALL YOU CAN EAT", butchoo didn't read the fine print.

Howzzat? You ain't gonna pay? No Way, No How? Well, okay. If you say so. We have a house policy for that too. Borrowed fittingly enough from the "Great Communicator" himself.

"A century and a half later, the descendants of those people pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to found this nation. Some forfeited their fortunes and their lives; none sacrificed honor."

What's it gonna take? We promise your honor will remain intact.

FUCK NO! you can't have a doggy bag.

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