Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Being Among Absurdists

In his Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, "It's Time to Get Help", columnist Bob Herbert warns us to beware of the "apostles of the aburd." But equally as important is what each of our role is in the increasingly destructive trends we face. Herbert writes:

The wackiness is increasing, not diminishing, and it has a great potential for destruction. There is a real need for people who know better to speak out in a concerted effort to curb the appeal of the apostles of the absurd.

But there is another type of disturbing behavior, coming from our political leaders and the public at large, that is also symptomatic of a society at loose ends. We seem unable to face up to many of the hard truths confronting the U.S. as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century...

Nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed, according to official statistics. The real numbers are far worse. The unemployment rate for black Americans is a back-breaking 15.1 percent.

Five million people have been unemployed for more than six months, and the consensus is that even when the recession ends, the employment landscape will remain dismal. A full recovery in employment will take years. With jobless recoveries becoming the norm, there is a real question as to whether the U.S. economy is capable of providing sufficient employment for all who want and need to work.

This is an overwhelming crisis that is not being met with anything like the urgency required...

The serious wackos, the obsessive-compulsive absurdists, may be beyond therapy. But the rest of us could use some serious adult counseling. We’ve forgotten many of the fundamentals: how to live within our means, the benefits of shared sacrifice, the responsibilities that go with citizenship, the importance of a well-rounded education and tolerance.
What are your thoughts? Are absurdists dictating the tone of the country? What about the rest of us? What is our role?


DB said...

It's about authority. I think absurd is a very tame word for what is going on. It is absurd, of course, and rediculous but it's hard to find the right words to describe the insanity that seems to have taken hold of so many people and swims like a flood through our lives. Politics be damned. What the country needs is a firm capable hand at the wheel, a corps of advisers who know what they're doing, in spite of what they did or didn't do in the past, and a congressional crew that grabs the ropes and does the job.

Partisan politics used to be the problem, but now the parties are splitting up into so many factions it's beginning to look like anarchy. Mob rule begets revolution and revolution begets dictatorship. If that's not what the sreamers and yellers want they're doing a very good job of getting it because they clearly don't believe in the democratic process. That's absurdity at its most dangerous. The employment situation is awful. But the Democrats will straighten out the economy, they always do, and the employment picture will improve. In theory we are a nation of people who take care of ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our nation and not one that is afraid of new ideas and ideologies. We listen to both sides of the issues and make up our own minds, because we are free to do that. When we give that up we have given up our freedom and our authority. Enter the tyrant.


Judith Ellis said...

DB - Your words are sobering.

"Partisan politics used to be the problem, but now the parties are splitting up into so many factions it's beginning to look like anarchy."

This is scary, eh?

On his blog Bob Stone wrote a piece that agreed with the President about moving forward with regards to investigations. I vehemently disagreed. But after reading this piece by Herbert and one by Stephen Lopez in the LA Times, "Looking for Common Ground in Glen Beck Country," I am giving more thought to it.

I'm not swayed altogether by an means, but there is something extraordinary brewing that gives me reason for pause.