I lost a wisdom tooth yesterday. I know there’s no wisdom in those pesky back molars; the name comes from the age at which they come in, usually somewhere between 17 and 25 according to Wikipedia, an age at which a person is generally assumed wise enough to be treated as an adult. A lot of people have them out soon after they come in, when they cause troubles. One of mine started giving me trouble some three decades late, so it’s gone — my first lost-forever tooth. It’s just a tooth.
Still, I have to wonder. I’m not feeling very wise these days, and I wonder if much of the wisdom I thought I possessed was merely a late-arrived tooth pressing on my trigeminal nerve and yielding a sensation that — somehow — felt like wisdom. If so, I just lost 25% of my store of wisdom.
I’ve been following some of the government shutdown farce taking place in Washington, DC, and I’m embarrassed to be part of the nation that spawns such venal fools as we have in Congress. I see the opinion pieces on the web, and the comments on the opinion pieces, and I’m embarrassed to be part of a species that spawns such violent, ignorant goobs.
And yet I am. Part of this nation of venal fools. Part of this species of violent, ignorant goobs. And now I’m missing a tooth that gave me the illusion of wisdom.
It’s left me a little sad this evening.
I do have to say I’m more than a little pissed off at the Republicans, though.
It would be nice to at least know what they want. But they don’t know what they want. They’re a lot like spoiled adolescents who have none of their wisdom teeth, full of contradictory impulses, wild romanticism, and bitter resentment for everything good in their lives.
For years, they’ve railed against The Homosexual. “Evil!” they say. “It’s against God’s Will!” Then the political winds change, the fogs of propaganda are momentarily blown away, and suddenly everyone sees the fundamental injustice of selecting a harmless group of people and scapegoating them. Republicans fall silent.
Or then there’s The Illegal Alien. “Evil!” they say. “America is for Americans!” Alabama gets so hot about the issue that they manage to drive their migrant workers back into Mexico, where they belong; and then, and only then, they discover that someone has to harvest all those melons they grow. In desperation, they try to press their substantial prison population into farm labor, and the prisoners faint in the heat. Crops fail, the economy sags. Republicans fall silent.
Now, it’s Obamacare. “Evil!” they say. “It will destroy the nation!” So certain are they, they say, that they’re willing to destroy the nation themselves rather than letting Obamacare destroy the nation.
I’m so tired of this shit.
Truth is, I don’t often care for the Democrats. But when a Democrat proposes a Bridge to Nowhere, you end up with a bridge. Yes, it goes nowhere, and yes, it was a big, stupid waste of money, but you at least get the damn bridge. If nothing else, it keeps the rain off.
When a Republican proposes a Bridge to Nowhere, the whole project vanishes into the night right after the money is collected.
Con artists backed by zealots of the Religion of Conservatism.
Well, I suppose I need to point out something that comes from my remaining Three Teeth of Wisdom. It’s appropriate, because there are only three possible outcomes to this Tea Party temper tantrum in Washington.
Outcome one: the one that is most likely. Boehner caves. Not only do the Republicans not get their way, their base abandons them, because the only thing more important to their base than “conservative family values” is winning. It isn’t manly to lose. The Republicans start down the long slide to join their ancestor party, the Whigs. As the Republicans vanish, the Democrats break into Conservative and Progressive parties, and the Conservative Democrats replace the Republican Party.
Outcome two: the one the Republicans think they want. Daddy Obama caves. This will, of course, enshrine the Hostage Rule into Tradition in Washington. We can expect to see the minority party — Democrat or Republican, as the years pass — periodically hold the nation hostage in order to get their demands. The final result of that is the sidelining of a fractious, ineffective, and childish Congress, much like the Roman Senate under the Caesars, and the imposition of Imperial martial law (of one sort or another) under the Executive branch. So much for “freedom.”
Outcome three: the scariest one. Neither side caves, and the US defaults on its debt. Ripples spread throughout the world economy, amplify, and reflect back. The US Dollar loses its last shreds of status on the world currency markets. Oil prices shoot up. Inflation explodes. Washington collapses, states are left to fend for themselves. The US military fragments into regional armies centered around major bases. The Chinese, to relieve population pressures, start emigrating en masse to the US, much of which they already own. The Mexican government claims the Western states, and resists Chinese incursions. Other states fall and become part of a Chinese Protectorate. Local wars between states over water rights and foreign emmigration break out. Lots of people die.
Then it gets messy.
It leaves me wondering what the Republicans were thinking, but I suspect they weren’t. They don’t have the faintest clue where their own self-interest lies, much less the long-term interests of the nation they claim to represent. They couldn’t, as they say, find their own collective ass in a phone booth using both hands.
Or maybe this little rant is all just the result of losing a wisdom tooth. I’m 25% down on wisdom. I’ll need some time to adjust.
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