Conversations with Father

I talked to my father yesterday.

I said, “what do you think of the election?”

He said, “Well, I think that Bush will be good for the country.”

I said, “Mom disagrees with you. She’s disgusted.”

He said, “Well, the new Congress will pull back on the reins a bit, and they’ll control this president’s spending habits.”

I said, “You’re dreaming. There will be more tax cuts, we will get deeper into Iraq and the middle east, and we have wound up with the equivalent of a state-sponsored church.”

He said, “I don’t think there will be any more tax cuts. They’ll cut spending instead.”

I said, “I don’t know what you’re smoking, but it must be some mighty good shit.”

He said, “I know, I know… I think you’re probably right, but I hope you’re wrong.”

32 comments

  1. Yeah, I’d say freeing 12 million people from tyrannical dictatorship and another 6million from opressive theocracy is in no way good enough to count as a good deed. Nope, he better get the really nice sandals on because, damnit, I want to see him walking on water within the week, mister! Nothing less will do.

    Hey, and in doing so we lost fewer troops than the number of people who’ll die from the flu this summer. Not good enough. I demand rain in the Sahara before I consider this a good deed!

    Oh, and by the way, the recession that was looking so bleak? Shallowed and recovering. But it wasn’t done overnight! I want to see that stock market at 20k, before the next full moon, mister, or no kudos!

    Whaddaya want, blood?

  2. Good News I

    I’ll even contribute one of the first pieces of good news.

    Hazmid Karzai won 55% of the vote in Afghanistan. That’s good news. Can he turn Afghanistan into a functioning country again? That would be better news. Let’s hope so.

  3. I am as capable of anyone else of descending to hipocracy, especially when it comes to my parents.

    And no, actually, politics is the one area that their lives are seriously rocky. They share many of the same friends, enjoy many of the same activities, work hard to promote many of the same issues and programs in their community, and support the same candidates at the state and local level. National politics is the one realm I have watched them fight over again and again since the days of the Ford administration.

    Which, if anything, exacerbates my frustration at the results of this election. The president asks us to judge him on his deeds. Well, all right then, Mr. President. We, the peasantry of New England, are now humbly waiting for something vaguely resembling good news.

  4. Re: from the NPR junkie:

    Actual reform of taxes, entitlements, and Social Security would actually be a worthwhile agenda.

    One of the problems with being a northeastern American at this point in time, though, would be that our opinions on reform as opposed to gutting-and-filleting probably will be underappreciated.

  5. Sounds like they have a lot bigger issues than that. And, despite feeling like the Devil’s Advocate by saying so, by playing the same game, that turns you into as big an asshole as he is.

    For me, that’s not a problem. I’m used to it. But I’d always figured you for someone who rather enjoys the moral high-ground and who doesn’t quite enjoy being in the muddy sewer. Which, of course, is what you’re dealing with in this case, descending to the level of hypocracy.

    Way to go, high-5, etc.

    You know, the whole “fascist Christian thecracy” thing is pretty insipidly stupid, y’know. I recognize that its easy to demonize Christians (oh, how I do know), but really … its never a good move to overestimate your enemy. So I don’t. And I keep a very grounded view of the situation, which is that most Americans are Christmas/Easter Christians at best who like to think they’re good people. Simple, really.

  6. Who says I didn’t mean it?

    Listen, my dad is so old-school Republican that he could not bring himself to vote for Kerry even though he thinks Bush is a wacko. He’s nearly wrecked his relationship with mom this election season. He’s been a total asshole to her, and to me, about how great Bush was for the country, all the while muttering under his breath about his civil liberties worries, his concern about deficits, and the wisdom of invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The two of us are sick of it. We would have been a lot more understanding and easy to get along with if he’d been honest about his doubts and his concerns, instead of berating us in public about our political affiliations and then shouting in private at the conservative commentators on the TV when he thought we’d gone to bed.

    If rubbing Dad’s nose in the conservative-right agenda is what it takes to show him he’s been an asshole to us, then I will.

    Mom and Dad are way fucking more important to me than who sits in the damned Oval Office.

  7. Re: from the NPR junkie:

    They’d never do that.

    Someone has to work at McDonald’s and car washes.

    Its the primary reason I’m vaguely loath to destroy them, myself.

  8. Oh, well, that’s an entirely different thing. Way to go, then. High-5. 😛

    Just tell us when you don’t mean these things in the future. I’ve seen enough wailing and gnashing of teeth in complete madness lately that I can no longer tell the difference. This worries me.

    Probably a lot more than you’d think of me.

    But, good show, nonetheless.

  9. I’m curious how you get “state sponsored church” out of all this.

    Because I know how, when and how hard to punch my dad’s buttons.

    Just because Bush is not or is a crazy theocratic hegemon doesn’t mean I don’t like to thump dad’s switches from time to time.

  10. Re: from the NPR junkie:

    i’ve just got this sinking feeling that the Reps are trying to take care of that nasty Social Security problem by killing off the poor people…

  11. Re: from the NPR junkie:

    Well he won the popular vote, the electoral vote, his party picked up seats in both houses and they sniped the Democratic leader of the senate. You can get a bigger mandate but it generally involves being the leader of a popular revolution. I hope he *does* reform taxes and entitlements, becuase they can’t really get any more broken and this is the only time in a generation in either direction we’ll see someone with this kind of administrative clout. Even if it sucks, we’ll at least have some sort of activity other than calls for action on one’s own plans and handwringing about how someone else’s plan will bring us to ruin.

  12. I’m curious how you get “state sponsored church” out of all this. (I, myself, have no problem at all with more tax cuts, having never been hired by a poor man, nor with getting deeper into the ME, which needs to be forced to confront its failure and rebuild from scratch).

    In fact, I don’t get the cries of “Its a crazy theorcratic hegemon!”

    What, it wasn’t before? Christianity has been the underlying reality in this country forever. Maybe its only because the folks are actually admitting it in public, dipping into honesty, rather than just lying to your face that bugs you?

    Don’t worry, there’s always room for you on the side of the angels with me and the rest of the athiests.

  13. I’m curious how you get “state sponsored church” out of all this. (I, myself, have no problem at all with more tax cuts, having never been hired by a poor man, nor with getting deeper into the ME, which needs to be forced to confront its failure and rebuild from scratch).

    In fact, I don’t get the cries of “Its a crazy theorcratic hegemon!”

    What, it wasn’t before? Christianity has been the underlying reality in this country forever. Maybe its only because the folks are actually admitting it in public, dipping into honesty, rather than just lying to your face that bugs you?

    Don’t worry, there’s always room for you on the side of the angels with me and the rest of the athiests.

    • I’m curious how you get “state sponsored church” out of all this.

      Because I know how, when and how hard to punch my dad’s buttons.

      Just because Bush is not or is a crazy theocratic hegemon doesn’t mean I don’t like to thump dad’s switches from time to time.

      • Oh, well, that’s an entirely different thing. Way to go, then. High-5. 😛

        Just tell us when you don’t mean these things in the future. I’ve seen enough wailing and gnashing of teeth in complete madness lately that I can no longer tell the difference. This worries me.

        Probably a lot more than you’d think of me.

        But, good show, nonetheless.

        • Who says I didn’t mean it?

          Listen, my dad is so old-school Republican that he could not bring himself to vote for Kerry even though he thinks Bush is a wacko. He’s nearly wrecked his relationship with mom this election season. He’s been a total asshole to her, and to me, about how great Bush was for the country, all the while muttering under his breath about his civil liberties worries, his concern about deficits, and the wisdom of invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

          The two of us are sick of it. We would have been a lot more understanding and easy to get along with if he’d been honest about his doubts and his concerns, instead of berating us in public about our political affiliations and then shouting in private at the conservative commentators on the TV when he thought we’d gone to bed.

          If rubbing Dad’s nose in the conservative-right agenda is what it takes to show him he’s been an asshole to us, then I will.

          Mom and Dad are way fucking more important to me than who sits in the damned Oval Office.

        • Sounds like they have a lot bigger issues than that. And, despite feeling like the Devil’s Advocate by saying so, by playing the same game, that turns you into as big an asshole as he is.

          For me, that’s not a problem. I’m used to it. But I’d always figured you for someone who rather enjoys the moral high-ground and who doesn’t quite enjoy being in the muddy sewer. Which, of course, is what you’re dealing with in this case, descending to the level of hypocracy.

          Way to go, high-5, etc.

          You know, the whole “fascist Christian thecracy” thing is pretty insipidly stupid, y’know. I recognize that its easy to demonize Christians (oh, how I do know), but really … its never a good move to overestimate your enemy. So I don’t. And I keep a very grounded view of the situation, which is that most Americans are Christmas/Easter Christians at best who like to think they’re good people. Simple, really.

        • I am as capable of anyone else of descending to hipocracy, especially when it comes to my parents.

          And no, actually, politics is the one area that their lives are seriously rocky. They share many of the same friends, enjoy many of the same activities, work hard to promote many of the same issues and programs in their community, and support the same candidates at the state and local level. National politics is the one realm I have watched them fight over again and again since the days of the Ford administration.

          Which, if anything, exacerbates my frustration at the results of this election. The president asks us to judge him on his deeds. Well, all right then, Mr. President. We, the peasantry of New England, are now humbly waiting for something vaguely resembling good news.

        • Good News I

          I’ll even contribute one of the first pieces of good news.

          Hazmid Karzai won 55% of the vote in Afghanistan. That’s good news. Can he turn Afghanistan into a functioning country again? That would be better news. Let’s hope so.

        • Yeah, I’d say freeing 12 million people from tyrannical dictatorship and another 6million from opressive theocracy is in no way good enough to count as a good deed. Nope, he better get the really nice sandals on because, damnit, I want to see him walking on water within the week, mister! Nothing less will do.

          Hey, and in doing so we lost fewer troops than the number of people who’ll die from the flu this summer. Not good enough. I demand rain in the Sahara before I consider this a good deed!

          Oh, and by the way, the recession that was looking so bleak? Shallowed and recovering. But it wasn’t done overnight! I want to see that stock market at 20k, before the next full moon, mister, or no kudos!

          Whaddaya want, blood?

        • Yeah, I’d say freeing 12 million people from tyrannical dictatorship and another 6million from opressive theocracy is in no way good enough to count as a good deed.

          Mr. Bush replied, “In order for Iraq to be a free country, those who are trying to stop the elections and stop a free society from emerging must be defeated.”

          It doesn’t count as a good deed until it’s actually accomplished, Alex. What we have right now is a failed Iraqi state, a puppet government, ineffective colonial troops, and a hydra-headed insurgency. The American military forces are stretched thin everywhere, even if they’re not dying in record numbers. Afghanistan is better, but not a lot better.

          Contrary to what you may think, I’m willing to give this president some benefit of the doubt.

          The stock market is clearly better. There are large number of people still out of work, but that may change. Oil prices are high but dropping. Building material prices are high but dropping. Medicare is in the process of being turned into a vast pool of lab rats to weigh the benefits of various medical procedures, with presumptive benefits both to public medicine and ultimately to the health of the economy.

          There are signs of improvement, I agree.

        • You’re right. What was I thinking? WWII wasn’t a good deed until 1957, when the first German and Japanese elections were held, ten years after the surrender. Until then, it was absolute bollocks. Bollocks, I tell you! 9 million Jews in ovens? Piffle! Means nothing until the job is done. In fact, the addempt was demeaning to the Germans and Vichy French! What were we thinking, even attempting such nonsense?

          That’s bullshit reasoning, Andrew, and you know it. What we have now if an Iraqi state in transition, being used as a killing ground for the bad people in the region while giving the bulk of the country safety, stability, and security they haven’t seen in two generations, while losing only slightly more soldiers than were injured in the training exercise for D-Day, and creating a structured, democratic state in the region to destabilize and draw out the rest. Its a bold, multi-pronged military/political strategy that won’t be finished overnight but every single stinkin’ day that goes by where people aren’t in terror of their lives from a strong-arm Baathist regime is a good day.

          A very good day.

          I mean, yeah, Iraq would be a lot better if I were named interim President of Iraq so I could send the volunteer Iraqi police and national guard in Russian-inspired human waves through the Triangle, killing everyone they found, backed by American assets, finally clearing the Sunnis off the board and letting the Kurds and Shia breathe a huge sigh of relief, but Bush apparently wants the Iraqis to work through their little civil conflict diplomaticall and democratically. Not my bag, but I guess it’ll result in fewer deaths all around, and they have to get used to living with each other some time. Go fig.

          Iraq is a paragon of light and holiness given we’ve been at it for under 2 years. That’s a nothing-time. For the number of casualties lost and funds spent, Iraq’s so far ahead of any prediction curve right now, its not even funny. Nowhere else on Earth has regime change with the desired end of democracy ever been so successful so swiftly. Ever.

          Again, whaddaya want, blood? What measure are you judging it by?

    • Re: from the NPR junkie:

      Well he won the popular vote, the electoral vote, his party picked up seats in both houses and they sniped the Democratic leader of the senate. You can get a bigger mandate but it generally involves being the leader of a popular revolution. I hope he *does* reform taxes and entitlements, becuase they can’t really get any more broken and this is the only time in a generation in either direction we’ll see someone with this kind of administrative clout. Even if it sucks, we’ll at least have some sort of activity other than calls for action on one’s own plans and handwringing about how someone else’s plan will bring us to ruin.

      • Re: from the NPR junkie:

        i’ve just got this sinking feeling that the Reps are trying to take care of that nasty Social Security problem by killing off the poor people…

        • Re: from the NPR junkie:

          They’d never do that.

          Someone has to work at McDonald’s and car washes.

          Its the primary reason I’m vaguely loath to destroy them, myself.

      • Re: from the NPR junkie:

        Actual reform of taxes, entitlements, and Social Security would actually be a worthwhile agenda.

        One of the problems with being a northeastern American at this point in time, though, would be that our opinions on reform as opposed to gutting-and-filleting probably will be underappreciated.

        • Re: from the NPR junkie:

          I hope it gets gutted and filleted. This is our one chance to destroy the legacy of the New Deal. I hope they jump on it with both feet.

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