This Place is So Broken

The Capitol Building
Image by NativeMainah via Flickr

I did not attend Jon Stewart’s rally on the Mall this weekend. I’m mostly burnt out on big rallies on the mall – not that I’ve gone to all that many. Probably won’t go to another one until TheLittleGuy is quite a bit older and is interested. I did watch a bit of it streaming live. And that plus the little bit I’ve read about it has been disappointing. It seems that vague appeals to civility and a weak-kneed false equivalence along with a cutesy song are the best the nation’s top satirists can do in these absurd times. And I’m really not persuaded by a prioritization of “civil discourse” over, say, “civil rights” — pearl clutching gets old and is often used as a smokescreen and distraction to avoid addressing substantive issues. Moreover, some of the vilest ideas are sometimes expressed in “civil” tones and language–calls for civility are a red herring.

In any event, I’ve become intrigued lately by efforts at the local and regional level to address problems that will not be addressed by the federal government–climate change and sustainability being at the top of the queue. That’s not to say I think that certain problems can’t or shouldn’t be addressed by a functional federal government, just that I think our prospects for a functional, problem-solving federal government anytime in the next few, oh, decades are slim. And if seriously hard problems are not going to be addressed here, then what am I doing here? I stuck it out through the Bush years in the vague hope that perhaps sanity (hattip JS & SC) would get a toehold. But, as someone, maybe Krugman, said the other day, the Obama administration never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And like this fellow here, I despair that any actual progress will be made in D.C. on any of the large challenges we face.

So, maybe my time and energy would be better spent elsewhere. Where exactly, I don’t know. And on which suite of issues, I don’t know–many options there, since there are so many seriously wicked problems. But here? The place seems just so completely sclerotic.

ObCaveat: I’m told there can be a massive prolactin crash post-weaning that can last for weeks. That could be coloring my views of things a tad.

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