It is time to return to the optimism of President Ronald Reagan. It is important to remember that President Reagan was not fortunate enough to have a party in control of both houses of Congress. He, in fact, faced a House of Representatives much more heavily Democrat than the one facing President George W Bush today. And yet he was able to push through congress the policies he believed important to the American people and to the prosperity of our nation.
See, the thing is that Reagan had an honest to goodness mandate. Most of what he had in mind was popular. Bush, on the other hand, has all the popularity of a fart in an elevator. Ditto his policies. While the voters want an end to Iraq, an end to corruption in congress, and a return to fiscal sanity, Bush plans to resurrect his failed Social Security privatization. Talk about optimism -- Bush has it by the bucketload. Along with its idiot cousin, delusion.
Optimism is the freakin' problem, not the solution. The situation in Iraq is the result of an insane dose of optimism. It was going to be flowers and candy and a brand new, minty-fresh democracy almost immediately. As Donald Rumsfeld put it, "It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." We're in the throes of optimism run amuck.
What we need is realism and hope. I've always defined hope as the knowledge that the best possible outcome is always a possible outcome. Hope, unlike optimism, is always realistic.
The reaganite optimism was always misplaced anyway. People who hate government have no business governing. As much as they rail against government, their message is all about what government should do. And their brand of 'optimism' doesn't mean they're optimistic about you.
No, they're extremely pessimistic when it comes to governing yourself. If left to your own devices, you'll have sex before marriage, get an abortion, have the wrong kind of sex, then take calls from al Qaeda. Their optimism doesn't include trusting you.
This sort of calvinist thinking isn't optimistic at all. It's dark and diseased and repressive. It hates and fights and destroys the individual. Their idea of optimism is a future where all people are reaganite robots. One opinion, one ideal, one mind. Count me out of the Borg hive mind.
I celebrated my birthday last night and now I sit in front of my laptop, hungover and older and sucking down coffee. I share a birthday with Bobby Kennedy and came into this world two days before JFK left it. I remember Martin Luther King, jr. and Kent State and Vietnam. My experience comes with lessons.
I'm not optimistic, I'm hopeful. People haven't fought and died so a bunch of morons could throw their rights out the window. The lessons of my lifetime haven't been that the fewer rights we have, the better off we are. Realistic optimism is believing in people, which means expanding their rights, not restricting them. You want people to advance? Let them off the leash.
The freer we are, the better off we are. And that means the freedom to screw who we want and live the way we want and to believe what we want. Reagan's 'optimism' is -- and always was -- BS.
Authoritarianism isn't freedom.
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