Thursday, March 26
Late to the party.
Andrew Sullivan says it more eloquently and concisely than I'm probably about to, but I'm gonna say it anyway 'cause I'm an asshole.
To all the folks now threatening to "Go John Galt," to all the folks attending the anti-Obama "tea parties" that are supposedly sweeping the nation, to the gloomy conservatives claiming to have been driven to clinical depression by the prospect of this country's supposed impending socialist tilt, to Glenn Beck and all the other folks brought to histrionic tears by how much they fear for their country, I got a question:
Where the hell you guys been the last eight years?
You're that upset about how much money the government is spending, huh? Well, we've spent nearly a trillion dollars on a dishonestly justified, indifferently planned war in Iraq, seems like that might've been something you could've spoken up about. We went from a surplus under Clinton to a 14-figure national debt, and that was even before Obama took office; you had eight whole years to get riled up about that. Creeping totalitarianism, you say? Yeah, we had the government sending folks off to Gitmo without even charging them with anything, we had the NSA rifling through our cell-phone records, but somehow that wasn't enough to gin up your righteous anger. We had a president who fooled around and played guitar at John McCain's birthday party while a city of half a million people got drowned by a hurricane, and instead of wondering why that president had put a career horse-show manager in charge of the relief efforts, you blamed the people of that city for not having gotten out fast enough.
So now we've got someone in office who's trying to steer those two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a conclusion and fix the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression without nationalizing banks or major industries, and now you're outraged? Now you decide you're upset enough to take to the streets? Now you're worried about the loss of your rights and civil liberties and all that other stuff? Bush spent like a drunken sailor during what was supposedly a boom economy -- something even an idiot like me knows you're not supposed to do -- and now that somebody's spending in a shitty economy, trying to prop things back up again, now you're mad about how much money the government is burning through?
(And don't even get me started on how Republicans have all of a sudden determined it's OK to start criticizing sitting presidents again. So, Glenn Beck, I should "Believe in something, even if it's wrong," huh? Well, back in 2003 I believed that the Iraq war was unnecessary and would turn out to be a stain on our national conscience we'd need decades to live down -- and you called folks like me "liberal hippie communists" and "terrorist sympathizers." But I'm glad to know "believing in something" is cool with you now. I'll be sure to keep that in mind.)
Things have been going to hell for a while now -- the seeds of the crisis we're in now have been planted and cultivated over a period of years -- and you've only just now figured that out? Now that someone's actually sticking his neck out and trying to fix it? It's like you're parents who have come home from vacation to find that your children had a series of wild parties while you were gone, and instead of punishing your kids for having trashed the place, you're bitching at the cleaning crew.
Look, if you can find me a link or a letter to the editor or a blog post or a even a blog comment where you expressed outrage or concern over all this stuff while it was building under Bush, then I'll accept that you've got your head mounted squarely on your shoulders and I'll leave you alone. Otherwise, I'm calling this for what it is: You only decided to unleash your mad-as-hell inner Howard Beale once a Democrat got elected. Convenient, that.
Not that I'm telling you what to do, of course. You want to go on being outraged, crapping your pants with fear of creeping socialism, weeping about how much you love your country and how worried you are for its future, it's a free country. I'm just saying, maybe if you'd discovered your outrage button a few years ago, we could've started fixing this stuff sooner. Maybe we could work on our timing a little bit over the next decade or two? Think about it and get back to me.