Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Year-end Update

   Thanks to those who sent along kind wishes for my cousin, whether in comments or privately. I am happy to report that the surgeons successfully removed his brain tumor, meaning if nothing else that he got to spend Christmas with his family, albeit in the hospital. He was out of intensive care within a couple of days and has gone home for a few weeks.

   In other news, there is little else to report. Christmas was great. I will be in the Detroit area for the next few days, returning to Boston late in the evening on January 1.

   I have not had much to say lately. I have on a couple of occasions begun to compose posts in the last few days, only to scuttle them for lack of publishability. For some inexplicable reason, I have been generally dissatisfied with my writings lately. I'm not sure if this is indicative of anything more than my attentions being focused elsewhere during the last couple of weeks, but it has been the source of some dismay. I feel as though I am in a blogging rut. (This does not really lend itself to a clever blogging word coinage in the traditions of bleg and blogviate; blut is the German word for "blood", while Brut is an essence I am unlikely to apply to anything with which I identify, but so it goes.)

   As 2005 comes to an end, I find myself increasingly disappointed, generally speaking, in both the Bush administration and its detractors. (Don't worry; if you're reading this, I'm almost certainly not speaking about you specifically, but instead of the overall political atmosphere in the nation.) The only thing keeping either from being abysmal failures in my mind comes back to the adage: a broken clock is right twice a day. Bush, despite all of the ineptitude -- arguable and otherwise -- under his watch, has nominated a likely stellar chief justice and a likely excellent associate justice (the latter subject to reservations pending the confirmation hearings, of course). Nevertheless, you don't have to disagree with the man's policy choices to see that his administration has been abysmal at articulating its message effectively. As for the Democrats, the same principle applies, though in a different way. Even if they are right about this whole NSA brouhaha (and it appears increasingly likely that they are, at least in principle if not in detail and extent), they will almost certainly overplay their hand in 2006 with (Dean/Pelosi/Reid) at the helm. Looking beyond partisan self-interest for a moment and assuming some level of illegality in the recently-revealed NSA surveillance, the Democrats are setting themselves up for an overreach that does no service to their party or our country, one that is not terribly different in lack of effect from the Clinton impeachment.

   As 2005 comes to a close, I find myself more fiercely independent than I was a year ago. And yet, as weary as I am of the religious right, I am equally (if not more) weary of the progressive left. I am growing increasingly tired of obfuscation's crescendo across the political spectrum. I am galled at the ever-more-common practice of otherwise exceedingly intelligent people repeating statements of questionable veracity; with the increase of access to information on the Internet comes the increased duty to scrutinize not only stories but also sources. For every conscientious amateur journalist, there are a thousand or more irresponsible ones who pass off rumor and innuendo as fact to someone who passes it as fact to someone who passes it as fact...

   A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. The life of the blogosphere seems to underscore this point several times a year.

   And yet, the blogosphere, the administration, the loyal dissent -- all are really just reflections of ourselves and our greater society. It seems, anymore, that Americans either don't give a damn or they care so passionately about their own positions as to cloud their better judgments; rare is the person who can avoid those two extremes. I don't exclude myself from this construction, as I find myself from time to time veering to one side or the other and I think that everyone does to some degree. But, I'm specifically talking about those who are chronically in one camp or the other.

   But, then, is it ever really a good thing to be content with society? Shouldn't I welcome some level of discontent, if only as a sign that I have not given up on the rest of the nation? Shouldn't we all?

   If so, shouldn't it at least be slightly less exhausting?

   Happy New Year! May the country begin its return to its collective senses in 2006.