Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Here I am in the wee hours of Christmas morning, 2010. The house is quiet, all the bunnies are fed and getting ready for their bedtime. The doves are quiet after a late-night chorus of cooing that had almost all of them going off at the same time. I haven't the slightest idea what motivates them to start singing their songs so late at night, but I'm sure they have a good reason. All the outside lights are turned off and all is quiet and still. It's been over two weeks since I last wrote anything in this blog. I had an art project to finish and just found myself to be extremely busy. Whoever said that retirement would be boring did not know what they were talking about.

Time is running out on 2010, and I for one will be glad to see it go. Not a lot of real good things happened this year. Or maybe I should say, some good things did happen this year but they were outweighed and outnumbered by the not-so-good. This past week has seen a terrible spate of bunnies passing away - one was Sage (featured in a previous post in this blog), a very sweet mini-lop who had suffered through tremendous trials and tribulations but never once lost his beautiful personality nor his graceful serenity. Fuzzy was another bunny who had struggled with numerous health issues for quite a long time and was seemingly doing very well when he crashed on us and had to leave for the Bridge. I lost an injured cottontail that came to me with drooling from the mouth and a mysterious injury so bad that the poor bunny just faded away despite my best efforts. My dear friend Julia lost three of her beloved bunnies this year, two of whom (Duncan and Alyce-Michele) were born into my home on a chilly, damp, dark Tuesday in February 2004. I held them in the palm of my hand when they were mere hours old. In a way, losing them was like a parent outliving a child. There is a sense of great loss, disorientation and disorder, a sense that something happened out of sequence that should not have happened, in a perfect world.

But alas, I'm finding out over and over that this world is far from perfect. Politically, it was a pretty gruesome year, with the midterm elections putting more Republicans in high office than I can remember. In state government it was even worse, as most if not all high state offices went to the Republican candidates. The newly-elected president of the state senate is a crusty old troglodyte named Russell Pearce, who has unashamedly associated himself with Nazi and white supremacist groups in the recent past and does not even bother to conceal his rabid, vitriolic hatred for Hispanics. It's incomprehensible how someone could even consider voting for a vicious old creep like that. Expertly riding a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, the desiccated, ancient remains of the eternally loathsome Jan Brewer got elected to a full term as governor of this wretched, godforsaken state. Looking like the dried-up husk of a gigantic praying mantis, we are going to be afflicted with her idiocy, stupidity and appalling appearance for the next four years, and that is a damned shame. The voters in this state have to be the stupidest, most hateful and bigoted people on this planet.

It really seems as if stupidity is on the ascendancy in this country. There is such a current of anti-intellectualism nationwide, as if it's a bad thing to have an education and speak and act intelligently. Instead we get the supremely annoying bleating of the incredibly obnoxious Sarah Palin, who insists on shooting off her big mouth every chance she gets and in the process says very little. She is single-handedly dumbing down America every time she opens her yap. Luckily we have heard very little from Sharron Angle, a hot mess of a Senate candidate from Nevada who must be living in another century, or from Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, another loser in a Senate race whose most memorable lines were in a television ad she ran claiming "I am not a witch," and "I'm just like you." God forbid anyone would be just like her. Between Palin, Angle and O'Donnell, women have absolutely nothing to be proud of with these public figures.

I know this country has suffered through periods of massive stupidity before, and we seemed to have gotten through it and survived. Certainly the Reagan administration in the 80s was an eight-year stretch of some of the most mendacious dumbness this country has ever had to slog through. Having a senile, fourth-rate hack actor for a president wasn't the worst of it, because fascist creeps like Alexander Haig, James Watt, Edwin Meese, and James Baker almost made Reagan look moderate. That's because there has always been a resiliency in the American spirit which has allowed it to get through periods of difficulty and somehow its innate better nature came through. There was a little bump of stupidity with the first George Bush presidency, but that was more creepy and weird than stupid. But with the enormous idiocy of George W. Bush, somehow stupidity has become a permanent feature of America and even after Bush we are showing no signs of coming out of it. Like a foreign weed, stupidity has taken root in this country and is spreading with every Republican that comes to office.

As the clock ticks down to 2011 there is a palpable sense, at least to me, that America's better days are behind her. Obama has been crowing mightily about this hot-shit compromise he made with Senate Republicans that back-loaded an additional $800 billion of debt onto this country. Although Obama promised in his 2008 campaign that his administration would be transparent and he would not be involved in backroom deals and bargaining sessions, that is exactly what it was - a quid-pro-quo that clearly ended up in the Republicans' favor by ensuring that the wealthiest one-percent of wage earners in this country would continue to live their opulent lifestyles thanks to the extension of the Bush tax cuts, while the middle-class continues to drown in debt and have their homes foreclosed. We have become a huge debtor nation to the Chinese, who will be sucking this country dry of all its money for many decades to come. In a very real way, young people just starting out in their careers today will be working for the Chinese for most of their lives.

Wealth and resources continue to drain out of this country at an alarming rate, and Congress and the President are content to look the other way and repeatedly postpone any meaningful (i.e., painful) remedies to the situation. We all know what has to be done, but no one has the political courage to do it. So we just pass the burden on to the next generation. What a horrible thing we are doing to children yet unborn, mortgaging their future and condemning them to live in a third-rate country, which is what the U.S. will be in a very short time.

So, I'm finding very little to be cheerful about this particular Christmas season. I'll be glad when it's over, I'm already violently sick and tired of all the awful commercials they show on television over and over again. The automobile commercials have been particularly galling. Who the hell gives new automobiles as Christmas gifts? Seriously, I've never met anyone who did that. Maybe I hang out with a different set of people, but that is just so out of my experience I can't imagine what it must be like. Crass commercialism and greed has been rampant this year, as always, but I've opted myself out of all the craziness and that has been a very good choice.

I can only hope 2011 will be a better year for everyone. I will absolutely not say that it couldn't get any worse, because I'm sure it can, but I sincerely hope we can get back to some good news and good things happening after the past two horrific years. But I have to say I have very little reason to be optimistic.

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