I just finished Dan Savage's "Skipping Towards Gomorrah", and it's left me in a political state of mind.
I like Dan Savage, always have. He's my kind of gay ultra-liberal west coast sex advice columnist. Hell, he's the only reason for a borderline republican like me to read The Village Voice.
How wrote 'Skipping' in response to Robert H. Bork's best selling screed on the moral destruction of our country, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah".
Basically, Dan travels across America determined to engage in all seven of the deadly sins. Somehow, I bet 'Skipping' is a much more entertaining read than 'Slouching'.
At first, Dan's book pissed me off a bit. He was more than happy to point his finger at judgemental right wing moralists like Bork and Robertson and Bennet and etc, but he seems relatively oblivious (as most liberal's are) to the extreme moralizing of the left. Political correctness, white guilt, all men as oppressors, all christians are wackos, all red stater's are ignorant pig fuckers, etc.
In my experience, pretty much anyone on either extreme of the political divide are such self righteous douche bags, are so busy polishing their bibles or shopping for new Che Guverre t-shirts, and are so busy bitching about the country going to hell in a handbasket that they fail to notice that they're boring everyone else to tears.
After the intro, Dan Savage chilled out the left wing preaching enough that I could actually enjoy the book. It's funny stuff.
I was happily chuckling along, ignoring the occasional barb tossed at Christians or Texans, when I came across a couple of things that gave me a warm glow. In the chapter on 'Pride', he attends a gay pride parade in LA. He actually says that it's ludicrious to think that being Gay now is anything like it was even 20 years ago and that there has been such huge strides in acceptance of gay culture that the idea of even needing a pride parade is a little silly now. He supports calling them what he feels they are, huge parties where people have a whole lot of fun being gay.
I was glad to read that. I'm not gay, I've never had to deal with the bad aspects of being gay, but I've always felt that the very fact that we have are having a debate about gay marriage is a sign of amazing progress. Liberals jump on every set back in gay marriage rights as a sign of right wing freaks ruining the country. 30 years ago no one would have even imagined it could ever be possible. It will happen someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, but it will happen.
The other thing in Dan's book that got to me was his trip to a gun range in Plano Texas. He didn't have anything nice to say about Texas, but I've learned to expect that from east/west coasters. He did, however, happily blow the shit out of a picture of Osama Bin Laden. When he told his liberal pals back home about this, they expressed outrage that he would do such a thing. His answer paraphrased, hey, we have religious wackos in this country who don't like us or our lifestyle. The write books. Osama Bin Laden would kill all of us if he had the chance, and he blew up 3000 innocent Americans and the guy needs to have a 500lb. bomb dropped on his fucking head.
I was shocked. I have never run into a liberal who had ever said anything like that, who hadn't launched into some list of American sins in South America and the Middle East over the past 200 years at the very mention of the name Osama Bin Laden. I was happy as a pig in shit. It was a breath of fresh air. It was a taste of hope. Maybe I've just been talking to the wrong people, but just knowing that there's a gay democrat in seattle somewhere who wants to ram a quarter ton of TNT up Bin Laden's ass and isn't afraid to say so gave me all sorts of hope for the possibility of reasoning discourse between republicans and democrats during the next presidential administration.
What it really is, what both those sections of 'Skipping Towards Gomorrah' really did was show me that there are still people out there who are serious about there politics and their party affiliation who aren't complete idiots.
I'm sick of Republicans and I'm sick of Democrats. All they do is bitch bitch bitch and spend spend spend.
Everytime some Democrat starts whining about George W, I just wanna smack em. Hey, you Democrats out there, listen up. By some miracle, I don't know how, I don't know why, you managed to run the only two people I can think of in this country who couldn't defeat George W. Al Gore and John Kerry? Is that really the best you can do? Everyone hates the Republicans. Republicans hate Republicans. We just keep voting for them because you keep running the most self righteous and annoying canidates available. It makes me wanna puke.
As for congress, the only thing they agree on is keeping the FBI out of their offices. Search warrent in hand and 100k in bribe money on the other side of the door, well by Gawd, we can't have the FBI just being able to go in there now can we? Better inpound all that evidence.
Oh, by the way fellow citizens, while we tell the FBI they can't search our offices even with a warrant, we're going to go ahead and monitor all your phonecalls without a warrant. Who us? Criminals? Never! No member of congress would ever do something illegal, now stop snooping around or I'll sick the Department of homeland security on your ass.
Who are these chumps?
Let's see, what sorts of laws have been shot down lately... hmmm... how about a law that would require Congressmen to attach their names to any earmarks (i.e. pork) projects added to the budget. Simple right? You want the money, sure, but you have to put your name on it. The law was voted on. It was shot down in a hurry. It's almost like they don't want us to know what they're doing over there in Washington.
Where's a third party worth a damn? I went to the Libertarian website today. Apparently they have 200,000 registered voters making them the third largest party in the country. Woopti-fuckin-do.
I've had enough. I'm starting a party of one. Here's my platform:
1) Stop talking about pulling out of Iraq. We're there, we're gonna win. We'll pay as much as it takes and we'll take as long as we need.
2) Legalize drugs. The war on drugs hasn't worked. Huge criminal empires are funded by drug money, our prisons are full of people busted for drugs, and I can walk out my door right now, 2 am on a monday night, and probably find whatever kind of drug I want. You wanna stop crime? Legalize drugs. That'll freak criminals right out. They'll all be forced to get jobs at Mc Donald's or something.
3) Stop bitching about Gay Marriage. Legalize it. It's gonna happen. It oughta happen. It's between two people who aren't you. It's a piece of paper. Get over it.
4) Secure the gawdam borders. Build a wall. A big one. It's not rocket science. You don't let anyone who wants to come here come here. People apply, you take the ones you want. It took me awhile to get to this point. I grew up in a small town in Texas. Probably 30% hispanic. A lot were illegal, and almost all of them had a lot better work ethic than I do. They came over here to make their lives better, and I don't blame them, but something is seriously fucked up when it's becoming harder and harder for people to come into this country legally and easier and easier to come here illegally. As for the 6 million here? The idea of amnesty leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it might be the best idea. 5 years for amnesty. Pay ALL your back income taxes (the fed comes after me, might as well come after you. set up a payment plan). You leave during that 5 years and get caught coming back, you're thrown out for good. Once you are a citizen you can bring your wife and children. That's it. No grandparents, no uncles, no siblings. Hopefully, once everyone with any sort of drive for accomplishment stops coming here and shipping all their money back to Mexico, people will get pissed off enough to clean Mexico up. The government is a cesspool of corruption and for most people the only way to make a living is to get the hell out. It's a country rich in natural resources, with a hard working and family oriented populace, but we act as the country's release valve. The corruption doesn't have to be cleaned up because most people motivated to do something just come here instead.
5) End all farm subsidies. Why? They drive up the price of my food. They keep third world countries with agricultural economies from having access to the largest market in the world. Farmers, per capita, recieve more welfare than anyone in the country (about 50k a year on average), yet most of that welfare goes to huge corporate conglomerates anyway.
6) School vouchers. Why? Because if your school sucks you should be able to leave. Isn't that common sense? Or are only wealthy people allowed to pick good schools for their children? Teacher's union doesn't like it? Fuck em.
7) As long as we're talking about schools, more recess/physical activity. Daily. At least an hour.
8) Stop subsidising airlines, end tarriff's on steel and whatever else we might have tarriff's on. We are supposed to be the great model for Capitalism. We need to act like it. I don't want my money to prop up industries that can't make it work. If they can do it in China or Russia. Fine. I'm in computers. I compete with China, Russia, India, and Japan. Big Daddy government isn't watching out for me. I'm doing just fine thank you.
9) Admit that social security is a crock of shit. I'll never recieve any. Most of you reading this won't ever recieve any. Stop lying about it and start telling the truth some we can make plans now. How bout this, are you under 40? Sorry, no social security. Ever. Start saving now. You'll work until your 70. Too bad. All you bastards over 40, we'll work out a graduated plan for you. Nothing you pay from here on out will get you any money. Also, if your net worth is over a million, I don't care who you are, no social security for you. The rest of us will keep paying to keep the old people out of the streets, but don't pretend like I'll ever see a dime of that money back. Liars.
10) Drill in Alaska. The state is bigger than Texas. A couple of thousand acres doesn't matter and don't try to pretend like it does.
11) Stemcell research is groovy, don't mess with it.
12) Abortion is LEGAL. Sure, the law is a bit shakey, but it's time to stop fighting about it.
13) Abortion is ILLEGAL in the third trimester unless there are SERIOUS (as in a panel of doctors will have to verify) dangers to the mother.
14) End the death penalty. I don't really care so much either way if we kill psychopaths, but we might fuck up sometimes and it actually costs more to execute a criminal than it does to keep em incacerated for life. Besides, after we legalize drugs we'll have all sorts of extra space in our prisons.
15) Pass that freaking law making congressmen attach their names to earmarks so we can vote them out of office when they want us to spend money on stupid shit. Put a database of the budget on line in a database. Make it searchable. Google can probably help with this.
16) Simplify the damn tax code. A whole industry is build around trying to understand this shit. That's a sign that something is wrong. I don't know how we will do it yet, but we'll figure something out. Maybe we'll just force all the politicians to do their own taxes from start to finish. No accountants allowed. I bet they'd figure something out.
17) While we're talking about taxes, stop bitching about tax cuts favoring the wealthy. The wealthy pay all the income tax in this country. You can't cut anyone elses taxes. The top 1% of income earners in this country pay 34% of all income tax. The top 10% of income earners pay 66% of all income taxes. The top 25% pay 84%, the top 50% pay 96%. You can't cut income taxes for the bottom 50% of the population. They don't freaking pay any taxes. Personally, I think that's a bit messed up. At least 80% of citizens should pay income taxes. I don't care if it's 3% or 5% or even 1% of their income, just something. 50% of my income goes to the government. 37% to federal, 10% to New York, 3% for New York City (this city is so cool, you have to pay just to live here). Tack on the taxes I pay on Cigarettes, Booze, the property tax on my apartment which my landlord passes on to me, and sales tax on anything else I buy (and lets not forget that I'm paying more than I should for food because we prop up those American farmers, more for steel goods than I should since we prop up those steel companies, and more for everything in general because the government adds a cool 34+ cents a gallon tax to gasoline on average which gets passed on to me the consumer everytime a delivery driver fills up), I bet I'm paying about 60% of my income to taxes. That's TOO FUCKING MUCH. Of course, once we legalize drugs and tax those (double bonus, we won't have to pay to house so many prisoners or hire so many cops), start treating social security as the bullshit it is, stop giving away money to corporate farms, stop propping up dying industries, and start throwing congressmen out who are wasting our money, I bet we can drop those taxes a bit.
It's 2am, I gotta go to bed. No proof reading. I wrote this sober for a change, so hopefully it's not too messed up.
Remember, come November, vote The Strangelands. The life you save might be your own.
p.s. in case you don't believe me about the taxes, here's a link