Monday, July 15, 2013

Bedfellows Arguing About Politics

Anita and I didn’t see eye-to-eye last Saturday morning.

We were talking initially about the George Zimmerman trial but our conversation roamed and meandered a bit and I found myself arguing that everything in this country (and world) has gotten worse. I mentioned climate change, police brutality and politics and said the differences with the latter are that 1) the influence of big money – exacerbated by a Supreme Court decision granting the same rights to corporations that people have – is stronger than ever, drowning out all other voices, and 2) although politics has always had a dirty, corrupt underbelly, nowadays the crooks don’t even try to be covert – improper relationships are no longer hidden and unscrupulous actions are either denied or justified – because they know nothing bad will happen if their machinations are revealed.

I referenced the attempt last month by Republican legislators in Texas to add more time to the 24-hour day so that they could ram a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks through the process (see “Wild Night in Texas as Abortion Filibuster Leads to Disputed Midnight Vote,” June 26, 2013) and the news that Texas Governor Rick Perry’s sister, a vice president at United Surgical Partners, stands to benefit personally from the new law. Politicians aren’t even trying to keep conflicts of interest and blatant misrepresentations out of the public eye anymore, I complained.

Anita replied that a lot of this stuff has been going on forever – she mentioned Tammany Hall, which I had to look up – but as we get older and the things to which we pay attention change, we notice them more. And because I was perturbed by the disappointing outcome of the Zimmerman trial, she said, I was probably just looking for reasons to be annoyed and despondent.

She might be right. But there’s no comfort in knowing that things have always been imperfect either. In fact, it’s even more depressing to realize that we’ve come so far and yet learned so little.

After our discussion I signed into Facebook to see what people were saying about the Zimmerman verdict. I soon became entangled in heated exchanges with members of the Stand Your Ground contingent. I was amazed at how quickly the “If You Don’t Like the Message, Attack the Messenger” credo was invoked. I was actually called a turd by a grown man for challenging his assertion that Zimmerman had a “duty” to defend himself from a scared, unarmed teenager an imminent threat of attack.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sources:, Yahoo News, The Atlantic Wire.


  1. It's hard to keep your head up and look on the "sunny side" because there IS so much wrong and it HAS become amazingly blatant.

  2. All history really is the story of some form of corruption. British Empire. Ottoman Empire. Spanish Empire. All the horror is delicately, rather gently, airbrushed out.