Friday, March 11, 2011

8.8 Earthquake Strikes Japan

Oh my God. It's 4 in the morning on the East Coast, and I'm not going to bed anytime soon. Fuck, fuuuuuckkkkkkk.

OK, I'm a bit calmer now. But oh my god. I've been able to get in contact with a lot of my friends who were over there, and I'm pretty sure most of them are OK. So that's good. But I don't know if my grandfather's over there or not (I'm pretty sure he's not but...). And Jesus Christ I'm worried for the folks I helped when I was with Sanyukai. Those people were right on the river, and they might not have gotten any warning. A lot of them sleep in the afternoon, did the tsunami go up the Sumida river? Oh God.

I wonder what this will mean for teaching programs over there, or if I can go over for relief work once I graduate. I gotta help out somehow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Serious Post is Serious

So this blog hasn’t been updated in forever, and this is going to be something of a different topic. By which I mean I’m going to be blogging about politics and society. I suggest anyone looking for an amusing read, get out now. Please. It’s for your own good.

I’m a U.S. citizen. Been one all my life, haven’t lived anywhere else except Japan for a few months. I’ll say up front that I genuinely support the US in being a decent country. I’ve been politically aware since around 2000 and the fracas of the elections then. Generally, I haven’t been too unhappy with the way things have worked in this country. I’ve been opposed to the war in Iraq soon after things went to pot (I’ll not lie that I was a bit hoodwinked by the initial promises of an easy victory, but I was about 14 at the time, and still a bit uneasy). I was reasonably for the war in Afghanistan, but there’s no doubt it’s been mismanaged and is in general a shitty situation. Even in the darkest years of the Bush Administration, I was generally OK with…argh, it’s tough to put. I was confident that people who had policies I opposed were misguided, as opposed to out-and-out evil.

I’m not so sure now, and it’s troubling me greatly. The trigger’s been what’s happened in Wisconsin, both tonight and over the past few weeks. We’re seeing the real impact of what having the Tea Party and conservative Republicans in power means, and it fucking scares me. What Scott Walker has done, and what looks to be an increasing national trend, is subverting democracy and is fucking over everyone but the very rich. And it’s working. We’re all getting fucked over, in a way that I see as unprecedented. And I’m not used to that. For God’s sake, I’m a white, middle-class Christian male! I’m supposed to be the one doing the fucking! Now, I’m apparently fucked over because my folks don’t make millions per year. Jesus fucking Christ, what is with this? I can’t understand the mindset of people who support the methods and measures taken by Walker and the Republicans. What does it accomplish? How do they think this helps them?

I know not all republicans (I use the small “r” there to designate folks who vote republican) are evil. Christ, I know a bunch who are wonderful people, people I love and care about. But it’s becoming harder and harder to think that all those Big-R Republicans (elected officals) aren’t. They’re not serving people. They’re serving corporate interests.

And that’s another thing! Corporations! Christ, it’s hard to say you hate corporations. I’m typing this on a computer that was made by a corporation, I’m watching the news on a TV that was made by a corporation, all my shit is made by a corporation. Corporations and capitalism, I feel, are really what have enabled the sort of life I’ve got right now. They’re the ones who developed the technology and the structure that’s made my life possible. But fuck me if I can’t think that they’re a force for evil right now. Many corporations are so hell-bent on pursuing profit that they’ve decided people are no more than numbers. And then they have no problem deleting those numbers. And it’s not looking like there’s an infrastructure in place in this country to oppose it. They have the money, they have the propaganda, they have the power.

I don’t want to get too in-depth tonight. I could write all night about politics, international relations, the state of the world, corporations, the economy, everything. And I want to have this conversation.

Previously, I felt like I could just tune out politics and all that stuff when things got too overwhelming. Especially because I found that the internet forum I primarily discussed politics on turned into an echo chamber of opinions that I didn’t really agree with, and which I didn’t feel were effective or realistic.

I don’t think I’ve got that luxury now. I don’t think anyone has that luxury now. What I guess the brunt of this is talking about is this:

I previously felt that the country would be alright. Things would work out. There were flawed people in power, there were misguided policies being enacted, but the core of America was sound.

I don’t have that feeling anymore. America, if we continue on this course, is fucked. Royally fucked. And the biggest economy and most powerful military going down is going to drag a lot of people down, and it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be bloody and horrific. And I can safely level the blame at Republicans, and at corporations who put profit above human lives.

So the question is now, what the fuck do we do? How do we reverse this course? I don’t know right now, and I think I need to find out and do my part.

Christ Almighty, I wish I had a drink right now.