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Once in a while I'm feeling slightly guilty and rather more than slightly shallow because all I ever write about here is me, myself & I, the books I read and TV shows I watch, and never about the serious political stuff.

It's not that I don't care; it's mostly that I've become too fatalistic.

For the last fifteen years or so every election here has shown, over and over again, that there are a good 25-30% that will vote for a party, any party, because (or despite, which IMO is bad enough, but reading the online comment sections even in leftist/liberal papers I'm less and less inclined to give people that benefit of doubt) of blatantly racist and especially islam-phobic rhetoric. When I was a teenager it was Haider, now it's Strache; the face doesn't seem to matter. And the other parties have no better solutions now than they had then, and perhaps even less principles. It's not that I don't care anymore, but after watching this for a couple of decades and almost as much time voting for parties that never end up in government I don't really have the energy for more than a helpless shrug. I know my cynicism in this regard is harmful, but in the end I suspect what stands between democracy and a version of fascism here (and probably not only here) is a certain amount of prosperity.

And on a global scale? We're part of a system that is built on injustice, exploitation and poverty, because, and someone/anyone please correct me here, this planet and its resources won't support the current material standard of living for each and every one of its 6.8 billion people. Now I do believe that people, as individuals, can change their opinions and learn, but as societies I think we're too immobile. How many times over the course of history has a group of people willingly given up power and wealth in the name of justice and equality unless they were forced to? Collectively, we don't learn unless it hurts a lot, and often not even then. Changes are made by those who have nothing to lose, not by those protecting their own interests.

I'd love to be surprised, but I suspect nothing will change until the heads start rolling, at least metaphorically.

Unless of course we manage to completely ruin the planet before that.

Which doesn't mean that I don't believe that every little thing that contributes to making each others lives a bit better instead of worse isn't still very much worth doing, whatever will happen in the long run, but on the whole... I'm simply too much of a pessimist here.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 22nd, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
I suspect you're right. Sometimes the truth is not optimistic. I have an similarly pessimistic view of how things are going in the United States.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
I don't want to be this pessimistic, but when I look around... I just don't see a lot of reasons for optimism.
Sep. 22nd, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
I've become sort of apathetic about politics, too. I used to argue politics with people all the time, but I've found that there's very little point in it when dealing with rural Ohio Republican idiots. Take this as a case in point:


And then comments to the article:

Sep. 23rd, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
Crazy. My condolences. :(

“It was the swastikas that seemed to be turning off most people."

And this comes as a surprise to them? *facepalm* I keep hearing this kind of thing, and every time I wonder whether these people are simply woefully ignorant about history, or if the actually believe Obama is a new Hitler-in-the-making, and more importantly, where do they even get the idea from?
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
I'd really like to know where they get the idea that Obama = Hitler. I mean, really, it just doesn't make any sense to me. I seems that they're equating "socialized healthcare" with some sort of euthanasia program, which is ridiculous. And so much of the Obama-hatred is racially motivated -- especially in largely rural areas like this.

I wish that Obama would push harder for a more "socialist" medical program here, but it's an idea that just won't fly with most Americans. I also hate how "liberal" and "socialist" have been turned into dirty words here -- especially given that I consider myself (in most respects) very liberal, and a socialist. Oh well...
Sep. 23rd, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Icon! *g*

Of course I only get this in bits and pieces via the internet, but the level of hatred seems frightening to me. And I don't understand this resistance against a health care program at all. Wouldn't that be in most people's interest?
Sep. 23rd, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes... the icon. I love my Mönchen. She's so deliciously evil.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
Also, the hatred. It is frightening. I don't think it's any secret that I'm not really very comfortable where we live.

And just the other day, on one of the local political discussion forums, someone said: "So if you want to be a liberal faggot, move to Europe."

And you know what. . . gladly.

This was in response to a bill that passed the Ohio House of Representatives (but which probably won't pass the Ohio Senate) that would afford gays/lesbians protection from employment and housing discrimination. Our local representative voted against it, and it was very unpopular outside the cities. If the Senate doesn't pass it (and they won't: it's controlled by Republicans), it's a hopeless case.
Sep. 25th, 2009 08:12 am (UTC)
I'll never understand why people will insist on making life even harder for others for no reason except that it apparently threatens their world-view where everyone must be exactly like them, think exactly like them and believe exactly the same things. Is is so scary having to question yourself and your opinions once in a while? But I guess it is, when religion comes into it...

It's not as if there wasn't traditionally a strong conservative-catholic streak in Austria at least from the late Habsburg monarchy to the austro-fascist regime in the 30ies and lasting well until the 70ies, and in some ways it can still be felt today, which is probably why Austria is the last Western European country where there aren't even civil partnerships, much less gay marriage, but somehow I still find the American brand of religiosity and the exclusionary irrationality that comes with it frightening. I wasn't even aware evolution was (still? again?) up for debate until the internet; that's what we were taught at school, and I still remember that our biology teacher added something along the lines that it doesn't contradict the Bible anyway, and that was that. Why are we suddenly debating creationsim even here? Scary.
Sep. 25th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Yes... I imagine Austria does have quite a conservative streak (the now-dead Haider comes to mind), although I do seem to remember that Joseph II was (for his time) quite liberal -- emancipating the Jews, insisting on plain burials (even for the wealthy), doing away with a lot of excess -- even at his own court -- and becoming very utilitarian and so forth. An "enlightened" despot, I suppose. But the 19th century brought all of those nationalistic currents to the surface nearly everywhere, which I suppose caused a certain conservative backlash.

But yes... creationism. It's still up for debate here. In fact, there's been a conflict brewing right here in this town for almost 2 years now between a teacher at the local high school, John Freshwater, and the parents of a child who claimed that Freshwater had used a Tesla coil to burn a cross on his arm during a science experiment. In addition, Freshwater had been teaching creationism in his class for years. He'd even hand out assignments but insist that the students return them to him by the end of class so he wouldn't be found out. Finally, he was put on suspension (though it took long enough), and a trial has been dragging out for months. Now, Freshwater is suing the school board for $1M for compensation for "emotional trauma." The man was not teaching what he was supposed to have been teaching, so he should have been fired. But no, most parents here are on his side and want him to get his job back. Unbelievable!

The school board here also recently announced that they will be making teachers attend a seminar about not "evangelizing" in the classroom, because after the Freshwater incident, many teachers have come out admitting that they deliver religious messages in school -- and think it's a good idea.

I am so glad that I didn't grow up here, or go to school here. This is such a conservative area -- it's almost unbelievable.
Sep. 25th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Metternich, 1848 and 68 years Franz Joseph...

Re. creationism - I still want someone to tell me that this is a joke. Do these people even grasp the difference between science and religion?
Sep. 25th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
And then the first war. . .

And regarding the article: WOW. Just. . . wow.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
It would be but:

1) The Republicans pander to the Bible-Belt religious masses who are (for some bizarre reason) paranoid of anything even approaching socialism (while conveniently forgetting that highways are funded by the government, amongst other things -- and heaven help you if you were foolish enough to try to take away their social security, old age income -- even though that's a government run, socialist-style program).

2) The Republicans pander to the Bible-Belt religious masses who either hate or are terrified of anything outside of their Bible-Belt comfort zone (i.e., gays, blacks, name-your-minority-of-choice), and because of this blindly back the Republicans, who have the interests of big business at heart, rather than the interests of the common person.

So, basically, even though, yes, socialized healthcare would be much to the benefit of the average person (especially in an area like that in which I live), because the Republicans pander to the right-wing loonies, Jesus freaks, and inexplicably narrow-minded amongst the population (which unfortunately seems to account for at least 80% of the population outside of the major urban areas), it'll probably just never work here.

I feel that nearly all politicians are at least a little bit crooked, but, in general, I also feel that the Democrats are more concerned with ways to improve the lives of the poor and uneducated. It's a very twisted paradox that the poor and uneducated (at least in rural America) by and large vote for Republicans.


Edited at 2009-09-23 10:42 pm (UTC)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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