There are many words we can use to describe America, but lately the word on my mind is shameless.
The author of this article is at an age where responsibility is not supposed to look entirely appealing, particularly as a political concept. The word “liberal” is attractive to the young because it conveys freedom, open-mindedness, being cool and making friends on campus. However, as the later children of baby boomers, we “echo boomers” tend to find responsibility and shame are the most rational positions in relation to our parents. We aren’t in power yet, nor will be for some time; our only claim to fame, other than a proclivity for Tiny Toons and a steady stream of Animaniacs, has been in helping to elect Barack Obama. Pinky and the Brain and America’s apparent first Nazi Socialist president””it makes so much sense now. Narf.
Suffice it to say, when you hear “shameless” out of member of this generation, you’re doing something wrong. For instance, MSNBC is shameless in eternally calling the tea partiers “tea-baggers.” Glenn Beck’s behavior is also shameless, no matter what his message. Sadly, we’ve come to expect this display of overwrought emotion, insult, meanness and theatricality out of the media””not because of a liberal or conservative slant, but because negativity breeds conflict, and conflict breeds ratings.
So the BP spill is Obama’s Katrina, but has anyone bothered to mention that Katrina wasn’t Bush’s Katrina? There are many parallels. For instance, the shoring up of the levees was the responsibility of facets of the government ostensibly under Bush’s control, but realistically not within his purview, until a disaster had already occurred.
Then we blamed Bush’s response from the safety of our dry homes, despite the fact that it is everyone’s responsibility to rise above in the case of a disaster, not just the president’s. It’s distracting and, for the opposing party, very satisfying to blame tragedies and their aftermath on the president, to focus on little facial expressions and the engagements they keep and their sentences and to suggest all the little theatrical things they ought to do differently.
We propose how important and how tragic the event is and how politicians ought to be acting, as though that act would solve the issue.
But what about the way we’re acting? What about the smugness we employ waiting for this or that from the president and expecting him to solve everything, and giving nothing of ourselves? There is little risk in being critical, and great risk in proposing helpful solutions or even being part of them.
Perhaps this is an expression of our feelings of powerlessness. We are too are caught up as gears in a great political machine driven on oil, and calling or writing to our representatives garners no response and no change.
We the People are, in many ways, just the peanut gallery.