Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reality's A Bitch

This isn't just about hypocrisy, or death panels, or Jan Brewer, but that's where the discussion has to start:
“How many people have to die before you are prepared to reverse your decision on the transplant operations?” seemed like the obvious question.

She said she thought that was unfair and started to explain how dire the state’s financial situation is. If people are so worried about the transplant patients then they should ask the federal government in Washington to send us more money, she said.But she would not explain to me, or to any Democrats in the state capitol, what she has done with the nearly $200 million she was already given in ‘stimulus funds’ to spend on anything she liked.

Cut federal government spending/give us more federal money. Repeal health care/give us the money in the health care bill. End Obamacare because it's rationing/ration medical care to save money.

Sure, it's hypocrisy of the first order. Of course, it's completely dishonest and untenable. That much goes without saying. Or, rather, it's what I, along with everyone else with more than two neurons to rub together, have been saying: teabaggerism (ie, Reaganomics) simply doesn't work; can't work. Has never worked.

The larger point, though, is how tough it really is. The times are tough, the solutions -- if any -- are tough. It's easy to laugh (and I do) or cry (and I do) at people like Jan Brewer; but the fact is she's fighting the same battle as everyone else. She -- like the teabaggers of which she's a prime example -- simply has an empty quiver.

But she is a real-world example of what happens when you apply too-easy answers to too-hard problems. Naive, she may be. Crazy. In over her head. But she's just doing what a hell of a lot of people do when the going gets tough. Go into tilt mode. Resort to magical thinking. Sadly, it's human.

Probably because we weren't intelligently designed.

There's just no way to get from here (badness) to there (wonderfulness) without doing some really hard, really unpleasant things, really controversial things. Things that will require compromise, facing facts, admitting that there's no magic; in short, things that seem as far from teabagging Republicanism (as opposed to the kind that was around a generation ago: thoughtful, in a word) as Glenn Beck is from planet Earth.

Nor are Democrats above criticism: the idea of "belt-tightening," as in correlating social programs with need, raises screams from the extremes. As opposed to the Rs, however, they do recognize the needs we face and that they'll have to be paid for. That tax cuts aren't magic mushrooms.

So Jan Brewer is a microcosm. Sadly, she represents far too many of us -- enough that, looking below the surface of folly, it seems literally impossible that we're any longer equipped as a nation to do what needs doing. And pardon me for saying so, but I see it as of a piece with our (Foxoreillian cries of anti-christianism notwithstanding) ever-increasing national religiosity. Religious thinking (ie, relying on the unprovable, the not reality-based, believing whatever it takes to feel safe in a dangerous world) is fine when confronting the unknowable, like death. There, other than being the basis for wars and mass killings, for discrimination and hatred, it works well. But when the problems are in the now, and require workable solutions in real time, before the end times, it lacks a certain, well, functionality.

Teabaggerism is not just like religion. It is religion. The problem is that, with religion, whether one is right or wrong won't be determined in this world. With teabaggerism, with Reaganomics, it's already known. And Jan Brewer's dilemma shows it, as clearly as a mushroom cloud.

Saddest of all, when confronted with the impossibility, the response is to dig in deeper.

And this kind of crap hardly suggests any impending breakthroughs.

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