Obama Space Baby

Obama is a Space Alien’s Baby

But why is he only half green?

I have lots of friends who are fringe, both left and right, and I frequently marvel at emails I get from both wings of the tiny political spectrum we enjoy here in the land of the free.  

There is a qualitative difference in the freaks on the left and the freaks on the right.  The left tends to be wholesomely shocked at the open greed and love of naked power of the right.  I am among that group.  I sincerely believed it was possible that George W. Bush would use some concocted national security risk to declare martial law and make himself C.E.O. for life of America, Inc.  I’m not kidding.  I still believe it’s possible.

The freaks on the right, on the other hand, always seemed shocked by the disregard the left has for the values that got us through fifty years of our country’s history; fifty out of the last sixty, you might say.  They love to be righteously offended when the shine of patriotism is blemished.

But, while the left wingers among my friends tend to see human rights violations and environmental issues to be key, and send me somewhat slanted pieces supporting Israel or railing against nuclear energy in the name of humanism, my right wing friends send me some really ugly stuff in the name of patriotism.

For example, the very people who supported George W. Bush’s use of subterfuge and outright lies to coax the American people into two unfounded wars of aggression- er, “preemption,” now blame Obama for the quagmire in Afghanistan.  Worse, a lot of the information in my “inbox” is about Obama the person.  
It turns out Obama cleverly tricked George W. Bush into driving us into a multi-trillion dollar national debt so that when he became president he could use the depression to destroy capitalism.
Believe it or not, you can be very patriotic without being capitalistic.  Indeed, capitalism, in general, has been very contrary to the ideals we hold dear, like freedom and the right to live.  Destroying capitalism certainly isn’t in Obama’s agenda, but I, personally, think it would be a good idea to at least prune it back a little.  It was capitalism that brought us to the point where families can’t afford homes.  Thomas Jefferson wasn’t a capitalist, and neither am I.

There are worse attacks from the right, more personal.   The people who thought it was fine for Cheney to get drunk and shoot a friend in the face with a shotgun and then avoid a blood alcohol test for most of a day (you try that), are obsessed with where Obama was born.  It simply won’t go away that Obama had an alien birth, even among those who voted for Schwarzenegger.  

Further, these very same people who claim Obama isn’t a citizen because he was born outside the U.S. want to claim that a child of Mexican descent born in the U.S. isn’t a citizen!  The issue of immigration is another good example of where the right gets ugly.
I get emails with “facts” about how many tax dollars “illegal families” get in the U.S.  What?  Again, picking only on Dick Cheney, here’s a person who took millions, and perhaps actually a billion, dollars from the U.S. Treasury, and he used his position in the government to do it.  That’s OK.  But God Forbid somebody who wasn’t born here should have their life saved by tax dollars.  In sum, if someone farther up the food chain steals millions that’s O.K., as long as some people who are so powerless they don’t have the right to vote don’t get penicillin.  
It seems nuts, but it’s well known in social science, and it’s called “relative deprivation.”  It means that we don’t compare what we have and how we’re doing with those who are our “betters”, we compare ourselves to others like ourselves, and especially to those we imagine to be less entitled than we are.  We find relative deprivation in monkeys and birds, and indeed any animal that has a social order established on rank, or class in the case of a human society.  

Another issue of common difference is Ronald Reagan.  I join those on the left fringe who are embarrassed he was ever president, and horrified at the scars he left on society, including homelessness and the war on drugs.  At best, we hope for a time when the distance of history has reduced him to a warm but unfortunate character, like a good-hearted king in late stage syphilis who makes wacky, ruinous decisions with the best, most simple-minded of reasons.
The rightwingers want to finally kick Roosevelt off the dime and install Reagan (I’m hoping for a shot from “Death Valley Days”).  They float his picture and his aphorisms like scripture, celebrating a view of the world in crisp black and white, where tough problems have simple solutions and grit and technology will overcome all.  

It is the longing for the simple solutions to increasingly complex problems which distinguishes the right winger from the left wingers, who insist on increasingly complex solutions for simple problems.  Left wingers believe that any problems the world has can be overcome by talking and writing reports.  Right wingers seem to think that any problems the world has can be overcome by beating the frijoles out of the poor, taking their education and health care, and sending them to work or to war.  

It isn’t clear that wacky input from left or right have been very helpful recently.  I haven’t been able to find anyone who is extreme middle of the road, but if I did I’m sure he would be distinguished by wanting to beat the poor into talking and writing reports.  

I suppose the real “extreme center” has to look at it like this: the act of becoming a politician inducts one to become a liar, and enchants one to see any issue perfectly clearly from only one side.  

On the other hand, as distasteful as politics is, it’s important.  Ignoring politics is about as smart as ignoring a persistent chancre.  It’s clearly time for some kind of change, and likely whatever change it is, is waiting in the wings.
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