Monday, November 22, 2004

Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!

I have found that I go in somewhat of a repeating emotional cycle.

Depressed -->
Until I see/hear something really stupid -->
Pissed Off -->
Take Action, Get Stuff Done -->
Feel Good About Accomplishments, Efforts -->
Monkey Wrench Gets Inserted (Things Get Screwed Up) -->
Depressed


I think I like being pissed off most. I'd rather be angry than sad. Happiness is delusion. As the old saying goes, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." It's too hard for me to turn a blind eye on the injustices around me and settle into some false sense of bliss.

First and foremost, I'm a skeptic. I trust science, I trust reason, but faith.... this I lack. Countless people go to church every week, listen to the sermon, and for them, that's enough. "Salvation" is within their reach, their spiritual needs are fulfilled. Why question what makes you happy, what makes you content?

If that's all it takes for you, then I salute you. You will be a much happier person than I will ever be. But as far as I'm concerned, this life is all we've got... we need to make the most of it, not for selfish purposes, but with the aim of living up to our potential as a species, as individual human beings. Whoever said faith alone in Jesus Christ is enough to get into Heaven is an idiot. I don't believe in a belligerent or spiteful God, mind you, but if one thinks that a mind-numbing acceptance of a "savior" is all it takes, then what's the point of life? Actions speak a lot louder than words. Put your belief in a higher order into what you do, not what you say.

The question came up the other day: "Do you eat to live or live to eat?" If you've accepted Christ simply in order to live (eternally), then you're missing out on the flavor and opportunity that exists right now - in this world. Don't just buy into a particular spiritual belief as though you're purchasing a life insurance policy; your connection to Life/God/Whatever has to be more three-dimensional than the cardboard cut-out outline that preachers offer you. Realize that religion is inherently selfish, unless you use it as a tool to direct positive social change here and now (and that doesn't mean "spreading the Word of God" - it means helping people eat). If you do the latter, the former won't even need to be spoken. Your actions will have reverberated louder than any religious passage from 2000 years ago ever could have.

I don't mean to bore you with another diatribe against holier-than-thou types, as that's not my intent, but such people are representative of those things which I find distasteful in this world. It's like listening to a piece of teeny-bopper pop music: if it doesn't have soul or originality, but was recorded and produced with the primary intention of selling records, then it's not worth my time. Oh, by the way, have I mentioned lately how much Jessica Simpson disgusts me? No? Well, she does.

So yeah.... so far, phase two (lame SNL joke) has not been a tremendous success with regards to me. I have not been lulled into a false sense of security or happiness. As Howard Beale says in the movie Network:
I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad.

You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it:

"I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

I've spent a quarter of my life - that's right, 25% - hating George W. Bush. My visceral loathing for the man is palpable, but it's an emotion based on five long years worth of experience watching him try to tear this country apart. Perhaps one day another emotion will be better able to define who I am, but for the next four years, I'm probably still going to be plenty pissed off.

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