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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Alzheimers Nation

For some reason, what I thought of first this morning was Ronald Reagan's farewell letter to the nation from 1994. He knew the lights were going out and the descent into darkness was underway. And that's where our country is now.

My brother-in-law's mother recently died after a 17-year losing battle with Alzheimers. My mother died last year after a decade of progressive memory loss caused by a series of microstrokes. One of the first really noticeable manifestations of her illness was when she started being swindled by dozens of mail and phone scams. She wrote check after check to con artists, eventually adding up to probably ten thousand dollars. I tried calling some of these crooks and telling them to stop, and I called the state attorney general's office as well. But I think the only way we really stopped it was when it got to the point where she couldn't remember how to write checks, at which point she turned over her finances to me. Over ten years the disease got worse and worse, to where eventually she could only recognize my younger brother and me who saw her frequently, and then after a while she couldn't even recognize us.

I say all that because I don't want you to think that I'm joking when I suggest that the United States of America appears to be a nation with Alzheimers. That Bush could get a clear victory in the popular vote, and most likely in the electoral vote as well, suggests that the majority of voters wake up every day with a clean slate for a memory. "Oh, what a nice man he seems to be" could only be the conclusion of a nation without a functioning memory. A nation that allows a group of thugs to start multiple wars while cutting taxes and stealing constitutional rights at will, and then votes to keep the thugs in office, is very much like my mother writing a check for the same crap she wrote a check for a month earlier, even though the crap was never delivered.

The only bright side I can see isn't really bright at all. The national devotion to unreality can't and won't continue for long. We're headed for disaster after disaster in the next few years--wars, terror attacks, bankruptcy, widespread shortages, probably civil unrest. This probably would have happened even with a Kerry victory. Four years from now Republican policies will have destroyed so many lives that they'll likely be thrown out for good. I think what we probably need to do right now is to abandon the Democratic party en masse, as they have shown themselves to be completely incompetent as an opposition party. If you can't beat this idiot failed president on his record, you really can't win anything (and they haven't).