The stock market is crashing! My house is worthless! The Middle East is a tinderbox! Too much government! Too little government! Get me a job! Protect my kids! Save the poor! Fuck the poor! Whose fault is this? The Democrats? The Republicans? The Arabs? The Debt? Taxes? Regulations? Corporations?
I hear you, America; in all your complete vacillating, half-assed philosophical sexting miasma. I’m no reality show or Donald Trump, but I can entertain your angst. Give me a minute or three.
Let’s begin here: This is our fault.
We the people.
All of it. Well, not all of it, because it wasn’t our idea to be pulled into this insipid dog-eat-dog, half-baked backstabbing clusterfuck. This was our parents’ idea, or at the very least the results of some dim amorous overreach. So they have some explaining to do, but for the most part, after we intellectually accepted this cyclical madness—let’s agree to say sometime during high school age—it’s on us.
Admittedly, agonizing self-examination is not a popular editorial style and thus does not fly on talk radio, op ed pages, blogs or cable news. No one wants to hear how they are weak and stupid and completely at fault for their leaders, economy and the disasters of the planet. It works better to blame these things on Muslims or the weak dollar.
For those who find comfort in Dr. Phil or Glenn Beck, please get off now. This isn’t for you. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but if you hang in there I promise no one-dimensional axioms or convenient boogiemen. Next week, we’ll return to general mockery of all-things, but it’s time to say hello to the mirror.
Okay, I know the President didn’t turn out to be Black Jesus and congress is filled with feckless self-promoting creatures, but how about we exhume Gerald Ford or worse still Franklin Pierce? How about those guys? Sound good? These were my offers to those who bitched about G.W. for eight years. The deal still stands. Also, you think this 14 percent-approved congress is shit? How about we get ourselves the fancy prohibition congress? Let’s bring those good old boys back for one more go ‘round? How’d that work for you?
You do realize that the President or the federal government does not choose our vocational path or our present locale or the home we decided on or the car we financed or the stuff we stockpiled, our choice of spouse or shrink or whether we thought it a good idea to take those night classes or bet the three-team teaser, sleep with the stripper, develop the speed habit, eat more fried food than the human heart could conceivably endure, got us addicted to eBay, forced us to march in rallies, invest in Ponzi schemes or be hypnotized by the endless stream of media overload.
So it’s probably not an advisable plan to expect these scapegoats to pull us from the morass, assuming it is a morass or just a setback, a run of tough luck or life’s many tragedies. Did we learn nothing from the Wizard of Oz? Want a brain? Learn.
This falls under the category of rock music rotting your brain or video games contributing to the downfall of Western civilization. It’s crap and we know it. Maybe we should stop having all these children and then asking the rest of us to deal with them. How can I feed my kids on this salary? What kind of education system is this? The debt is murdering my grandchildren. Well, then…
While you’re pulling back on all the needlessly selfish procreating, how about quitting it with all these organizations. They are time thieves and a distraction from the real issues in our lives. The Organization of Self-Righteous Big Mouths with No New Good Ideas that Exploit Individuals & Murder Independent Thought is no way to personal gratification or solving social or political problems, never mind putting food on the table. Put down the sign and the funny costume, shelve the slogans, and get on with reexamining your own mess.
Finally, let’s please stop interpreting dead philosophers and long-gone patriots to define personal agendas. This is literally a dead end. For a good example of this goofy task, please see any Bible deconstruction or Islamic Extremist and check out women politicians telling us what the Founding Fathers wanted, when for one thing we know they didn’t want women politicians, or women to have anything to do with political discourse, voting or really working at all.
The above examples are all merely fancy forms of whining. We’re whiners. We are. When did we get so goddamned sappy? Was it Disney movies? Hippie parents? Sugar? God? Too much TV? Not enough vegetables?
I got news for you; sit down, because this is going to hurt. “When you wish upon a star… Nothing happens!”
And while we’re at myth busting, the government is not going to get you a job. Nope. And if by some weird circumstance of desperation, it does, it’s not going to last. And let’s face it; this worshipping of the Free Market isn’t going to help out either. The Free Market is not here for you. Companies are interested in profit, not putting your kid through college or in advancing American Exceptionalism. Like, for instance, insurance companies are not into paying off on your timely and responsible investments. They’re keener in turning this money into profit and then using that money to hire a team of lawyers to keep you from recouping it when in dire need. And by the way, this didn’t just happen in the last five years. It’s been going down since the dawn of the concept, or long before you hit high school.
Apparently, we missed the memo on most of these immutable truths.
But, relax. It’s going to be okay. Well, that’s also bullshit. Nothing is going to be okay, unless of course you do something about it. Prayer and hoping and the odd lottery ticket are no elixir. You’ll have to make this happen on your own. Sure, luck and timing are key, but I can tell you quite frankly there is no luck and/or timing while you’re pissing away your life blogging about tyranny.
So take a breath. We’re already smarter than we were a dozen or so paragraphs ago. Doesn’t it feel good to face the truth? Freeing, right? It’s a spiritual experience to understand the con of spirituality. Even gurus tell us spirituality is nothing but a word without action.
Now we can stop existing in a “talking point” or banking on “campaign promises” or “House votes” or basing our self-worth on beer ads. Guess what? Life isn’t on the Internet or in your smart phone. Celebrities are not your enemies or your heroes; they are famous and only made so because you need a distraction, nothing more. Let them go.
You see? You’re not really stupid or weak, just misguided.
And look, the sky didn’t fall.
Sure, things blow right now. Even when things aren’t generally crappy, they’re crappy for someone somewhere. But it’s time to cease blaming everything on people you put in office to run the place you live. They are means to an end, not an endgame on your means.
So go seize your destiny and begin penning the hate mail… now.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.