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Commentary: Waiting for things to get done

By Joe Marren


Buffalo, NY – I was recently walking into eternity on Sprague Brook strand when I had a modernist moment in a post-modernist mind. O! M! G! (as my daughter would say) it occurred to me that life is all about waiting: Waiting for meetings to end, for the proverbial check in the mail, for a state budget, for the Bills to have a winning season. Life is just like hangin' and waitin' for Godot. So all we have to do is add individual meaning to the pot of soup.

OK, then, let's play with the nonsense. Where do we go from here? For starters, I'm waiting for our pols to start believing in us. What I mean is they care more about staying in office than the public good. So they pander to the bitter demons of our nature in NIMBY soundbites that pits interest groups against PACs and unions. Essentially their message is to cut taxes and forget about the marginalized because they don't conspicuously consume at the suburban malls anyway. Another bedrock idea is to de- de- de-regulate. Yeah, that worked soooo well for employment and the environment, didn't it?

But if nobody salutes lower taxes or deregulated biz, well then we got loads o'guns and stuff just stockpiling around and not doing anything. Hmmm, what to do? I know, let's put on an invasion! Lessee now, who could use a shot of American guns and drums? Iraq? Check. Afghanistan? Check. Korea? Saaaay, we got soldiers there already and we never did finish what we started back in the 50s. Uh-oh, sound familiar?

So I'm waiting for da Dems and das GOPpers to work together on getting stuff done. I'm waiting for someone in Congress or the White House to say, "Look, we don't have all the answers. And this is serious stuff. So we're gonna stop playing games with all ya'll and work together for the good of the country (or the state or the city of choice) and not vote along strict party lines on everything from jobless benefits to what to serve for dessert in the cafeteria. Come election time you may think we blew it and vote us out of office. Hey, it's OK because it was an honor to serve. Woe will be us, because we won't have cushy lobbying jobs to fall back on. But in our best Cincinnatus-like way we'll become network consultants and be on T-V. See, we know in our hearts that the worst thing about American politics is politicians."

End of quote. Did you get a good laugh out of imagining that? Brings a wistful tear to the eye, I guess. Just to be clear here, I don't think the current J-V squad of tea baggers has any idea what to do either. The best they can do is say they won't do anything and be anti-everything. And when their best and brightest thinks being Russia's neighbor means she has oodles of foreign policy experience then there is a major prob. So I'm waiting for that crew to get a clue. Which means I'll be dancing with dem Dems and GOPs who brought me to the party.

And speaking of the clueless, I'm also waiting for people to think for themselves and not depend on Rush and Beck and Stewart and Colbert to tell them what to think. Regardless of your choice of Right vs. Left fulminator, we hang on their words and parrot them rather than think issues through ourselves. We don't know it, but we quote them even if we never listen to them because we may listen to one of the wannabe sycophants and fawn over their so-called original insights.

And by God, if I wasn't one of those toadying media-ati, I'd be mad as hell about that. So I'm waiting to see if anyone notices. If not, I may start asking for perks. In the meantime, I'm waiting.

Listener-commentator Joe Marren is an associate professor of communications at Buffalo State College.

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