The State of the Union

I’ve been thinking today – prompted by the book “True Mutations” which was lauded by BoingBoing – a lot about the rapidly changing world in which we live and how oddly frightened I am by it.

My dad has always said (when not calling me a commie, more later) that “If you aren’t liberal when you’re twenty, you have no heart, and if you aren’t conservative when you’re for forty, you have no brain.” I know this is far from a new sentiment. Youth has always had more energy to spend (and less stability to lose) by taking risks, and no one can fault people who have spent forty years toiling towards retirement from wanting to keep some of their money and not put it into the newest social program. These are pragmatic, reasonable premises for making political decisions.

What was worrying me today is this: it seems that, in our world where technology grows more powerful and science questions more assumed truths of life with each passing day, perhaps the gap between youth and conservatism is growing smaller. I say this because in the pages of “True Mutations” I felt something completely new to me. I want the world to stay the same.

Why? Well, do I really need to explain? I don’t want to have to deal with questions of morality surrounding concepts like cloning, genetic modification (especially cosmetic, such as changing skin pigmentation to any crayon color), or cyborgs any more then I want to face a world where violent extremists can’t be stopped or China has more American jobs then America. And yet all these things are becoming realities that will affect me and someday my children.

I don’t think my expectations are unreasonable. I would like sensible government to win out over partisan government.  Take illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants, you need to come here legally. But representatives? If you want them to, stop making it so damn hard! What part of “taxable demographic” sounds bad to our debt-ridden government? And as for the increasingly common  politician who never learned about the separation of church and state, come on, reaaaally?

My point is, a lot of the problems we have today aren’t hard to fix, they just need a new approach and a little education. Does anyone really think invading Islamic countries (and calling it a “crusade”) will really discourage muslims from adopting extreme fundamentalism and blowing shit up?

I don’t know what to think anymore. No, I don’t want an evangelical fundamentalist state. And no, I don’t want an ultra-liberal socialist state to take away my family’s hunting rifles. And I especially don’t want computer-age hippies running our world.

I heard Obama say he believed in putting himself in other’s shoes, and trying to find reasonable non-partisan solutions. Maybe there’s hope, but in all honesty I don’t know enough about him to judge.

I suppose I just want a future i don’t have to be afraid of.

Maybe more frightening bits of the future to come, but this is enough for tonight.

PS – The communist joke. My father is engaged to a wonderful woman from Venezuela who is trying very hard right now to legally immigrate. On one of his resent trips, they were talking with some of her friends about politics, and he jokingly said I was a communist. This was met with a few ohs, ahs, and a “Really, interesting.” It made less of a splash then a college republican here does. So, keep that in mind the next time you feel like there’s an insurmountable level of political disagreement in good ol’ America.


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