Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Sexy Mondale

Stefan Heym

It started with a Facebook profile picture and an Obama t-shirt.

the highway scribe was in his usual, perpetual search for work and wondering if he should remove the photo with Shepard Fairey's artwork and replace it with one starring a suit and tie.

Ever has it been, the modest cutting of sails, the cautious coiffing of locks, the camouflaging of ideas from an unforgiving mainstream in which the scribe did not swim.

Then it hit. "Wait! This guy on the t-shirt is the President! highwayscribery supports the President!"

It took some getting used to, which a while ago might have said something about highwayscribery, but now says more about what has passed for presidential timbre lo these many years.

Much the same is happening to the young conservatives profiled by the "Washington Post" in "Right, and Left Out," except in reverse.

It's a heartwarming yarn of Ian Shapira's about young conservatives spurned by the majority of their own generation, their own country, even.

Savor if you will:

"Those 18 to 29, part of the 'millennial generation,' voted overwhelmingly for Obama in the presidential election, according to polling data. Some at this happy hour [in the D.C. bar where this profile went down] won't name their employers in social settings with contemporaries because they fear it will create awkwardness."

Oh you little lambs, the highway scribe feels your pain. Has felt it, in fact, since 1980 when that whole Reagan Revolution went down.

Flush with the fever of youth and altruism, the scribe was left feeling, at the time, like some cigar-chomping, Hawaiian bowling shirt-wearing union guy from the fat '50s.

The very programs that had paid for his schools and provided a warm and secure middling malaise were suddenly being referred to as "sacred cows," ready for slaughter to feed and fuel the go-go '80s.

the scribe's concern for the poor and working stiffs was openly jeered at by his conservative contemporaries. Born into the same comfort so long after it had been built they had forgotten somebody had to build it and pay for it.

"Wimp," "limp-wristed," "weak," "naive," and other characteristics typically associated with the greatest mistake America ever made, Jimmy Carter, were callously applied to the scribe's sways between old lady liberalism and anarcho-syndicalism.

Not that one should change their politics to fit the times. highwayscribery continued to march so that Reagan would get out of Central America, chronicled as a reporter the drastic decline of American labor, and worked for Democrats who lost to nitwits in landslides.

the scribe was a kind of sexy Mondale...and that ain't easy.

The "Post" article notes that the young conservatives "worry they might not have jobs in Washington for long," that the gravy associated with hitching their car to the train in power has dried up.

the scribe understands, but still needs a good pinch now and again to believe this is all happening.

It's political Bizzaro world where bankers are dead meat and people who think in terms of community truly are Sacred Cows; like the kind in India.

President Obama can't do much about the scribe's decrepitude, but Barack has elevated the value of his social and cultural endeavors, which are locked in at around 24 years old anyway.

Sexy Mondale anyone?

Years of railing against power, writerly independence, and a joy at working to obstruct rather than build have highwayscribery aching to jump off the Obama express and get on to more typical endeavors, but the ride just keeps getting better.

Attorney General Eric Holder just announced that the federal government will stop raiding medical marijuana outlets permitted under state laws like the one we have here in California.

See, that's how Bill Clinton started rubbing people the wrong way. He let the raids happen to show how tough he was, but nobody right about now is doubting how tough Obama is.

highwayscribery has always hated the raids happening right up the street from him, here in West Hollywood, for the ugly face of government they present to the locals.

It’s the only face anti-government Republican types can stomach: The Gestapo stomping, sunglass-wearing, mustachioed suburbanites occupying our urban centers, bullying citizens and screwing up the lives of people who need weed to ease their terrible pain...or who just need their weed.

As highwaysribery noted in "A Different Approach to Life" (2006), the raids were always an outlier in those blasted culture wars:

The whole thing smacks of an attack on one class of Americans by another over a difference in approach to life.

There is no sense, on the law enforcement-and-tradition side, that one person should live one way, and a second another way, and that what defines them as Americans is their ability to exist side-by-side on those varying terms.

There is only one good kind of American. And it’s their kind.

But now there’s another kind of good American.

The President said so.

It's a policy attuned to reality where marijuana and the American public is concerned... it is not out there and up where decisions don't have anything to do with facts on the ground.

And it is at least a partial granting of writer Stefan Heym's wish for "a kind society where the human mind and the human heart are the most important elements, not the elbow."

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