Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Conventional Wisdom vs. Reality

“Stop! Hey, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.” — For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

An odd incident occurred this past Sunday. I went out to give my front yard what should be the final mowing of the year. No, that’s not the oddity – at least not down here in the southern half of Texas. This is the subtropics, after all. What was odd was that as I plowed through the freshly fallen leaves in the front yard, I hit what I initially thought was a stick until my lawnmower spit it out at me. Instead, I had a foot long snake (thankfully not of the poisonous variety) smack me on the ankle!

Yes, he was apparently alive – at least until shortly after I hit him.

My first thought was that I thankfully decided to mow instead of simply raking up the leaves and leaving the grass cutting for later. Then another thought struck: it’s autumn now, twelve days from winter solstice, and the snakes haven’t hibernated yet.

True, the calendar says it’s a couple weeks from Christmas. Trees are shedding leaves faster than a Persian cat sheds fur in June. Convention says animals hibernate in fall in preparation of winter.

However, in real-time, the days are almost sultry mid-80’s, and the nights are sticky and hovering above the 70-degree mark. Climatologically, this is very much like mid-spring. There’s nothing for creatures to hibernate for when the weather’s warm.

It's actually an apt metaphor for a lot of things recently. When textbook wisdom says that things should always be expected to produce a certain result, we in this day and age tend to accept this without question. Sometimes this leads us away from paying attention to our surroundings, which (as nature often does) throws us some pretty blatant curves from time to time.

“There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.” — For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

As a country, we’re probably in the most docile and accepting era we’ve ever been in – certainly in my lifetime. This may sound environmental alarmist a-la Al Gore, but we’re paying all our attention to the people telling us what reality is, and no attention at all to the contradicting real life environment displayed in front of our very eyes if we’ll only look. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why we don’t watch nature.

And I’m speaking on human nature, more than Mother Nature in this case.

For instance, after the bungled war in Iraq which was completely fabricated from inaccurate and slanted reading of intelligence, one would think that if intelligence found that Iran held no ongoing nuclear weapons development program, we’d immediately see the pattern and pull back from making the same mistake again. Most especially one would predict that during the run up to national elections. That’s conventional.

Yet when you look at the rhetoric still coming from Pres. George W. Bush and others in the GOP, especially the neo-con set, the bellicosity and brandish of sabers continue at full steam. The spin-meisters are doing their best to put Iran squarely back in the crosshairs and give wind to the sails of pre-emptive hegemony for world harmony.

Another example: the American economy. We’ve become one of the most severe debtor nations on the planet as wages throughout the lower ninety percentile have stagnated or slumped (thanks in large part to outsourcing and offshoring) while energy, food and medical costs have climbed steeply. More alarming, consumer-level credit has recently evaporated under the strain of a mortgage and real estate collapse that looks poised to dwarf the 80’s Reaganomics/Oil Bust Savings & Loan disaster. Convention says this would draw a substantial amount of political attention during presidential primary season, and that the government would preach austerity and saving to consumers while providing the bulk of what relief programs to the same.

Instead, the media still mouths bits about the “surprising strength” of this Bush League/Economic Recovery, the president helps bail out the banks and their investors with programs and lowered interest (which will never escape their tightened fists and into the consumers’ hands), and only one candidate – John Edwards – has even taken the economic disparity seriously in his campaign. There’s an enormous disgust in this nation that’s becoming more restive by the day, yet virtually no one in Washington notices the signs.

Closer to home, take political types who get pinned dead-to-rights on an issue when they’re in the wrong – whether it’s as small as NCTE feeding the transgender community false hopes in Rep. Barney Frank or LGBT politics as our El Dorado, or something as bald as HRC brazenly deceiving the transgender community while simultaneously culling funds and co-opting PR from transgender issues. If not outwardly contrite, one might surmise they’d keep a profile so low as to be virtually invisible ever after, lest they draw the sharpened attention of someone with a memory.

Instead, HRC has embarked upon a “listening tour” of the country (their words, not mine) with the transgender community and its supporters. Needless to say, reports from some locations such as with Pauline Park in New York note that it’s less about them listening as much as it’s them wanting those of us now mistrustful of HRC to listen to them. Even NCTE is getting into the act; with Mara Keisling deigning the oh-so-insider environs of Houston with her own meet-and-greet and stamp your feet tour. That should be an interesting show, to say the least! At this juncture we can only estimate what this will be about, but time will tell. While rivers twist and turn this way and that, they always flow downhill.

Rebecca Juro noted on her “Becky’s Blog” recently a “leaked internal memo” from HRC entitled “Project Win-Back.” Three guesses who they’re trying to win back.

Yes, it appears they feel we’ll give them yet another chance to make things right. Just like before, and the time before that, and … well, you see where this is going. They apparently met with “select transgender community leaders” about finding ways to win back the transgender community.

When a community has been betrayed and outright ditched you might not expect second chances, but they do happen. Then when a second chance has likewise been flaunted, you might expect that third chances are slim. In the rare instance those third chances occur, and when yet again a third deception happens, convention would dictate that the well of chances is dry, and the transgressors would make themselves very scarce.

Convention would also allow that those parties who’ve been transgressed – in this case, we the transgender people – would not be so inclined to be burned a second, a third, much less a fourth time, et. seq. As the old saw goes: there’s no fool like an old fool (speaking precisely to experiences rather than age). After all, who would want to be an “old fool”?

So now we’ll prepare for HRC’s Project Win-Back, we’ll have all the usual suspects out trying to corral the maverick trannies who bolted out of the pen, and bring us back into a trusting frame of mind again. Mind you, all of this comes from an organization and community that’s never really trusted transgenders– certainly not on the level of trust they’ve held and continue to seek, and even without the well-demonstrated (and quite ignominious) track record they themselves have on fidelity.

Will we buy the ploy again? Conventional wisdom would say “no”; the odds are stacked against it. Convention would’ve also dictated that we couldn’t have a Wag-The-Dog type of war unfold before our very eyes – to wit: Iraq. Convention would’ve shown that the arbiter nation of human rights and democracy on the planet would never support concepts such as hegemony, torture or corrupted elections. Convention would’ve declared that such a President could never be re-elected after such treachery.

Conventional logic would deduce that the transgender community would never be hoodwinked again, especially by the same types who have done it before. At least that’s what conventional logic would say ….

As for me, I’ll keep watching what happens in real-time. Let’s hope we’ve all finally learned. It may be mid-December, but I’m not pulling out my coat tomorrow – short sleeves again for me. It’s just another sultry December night … Merry Christmas, y’all!

“American democracy is now in danger—not from any one set of ideas, but from unprecedented changes in the environment within which ideas either live and spread, or wither and die. I do not mean the physical environment; I mean what is called the public sphere, or the marketplace of ideas.” — former Vice Pres. Al Gore

1 comment:

Zoe Brain said...

We have very different views on Iraq. I won't go into them, just say that you should never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by incompetence. Especially incompetence in the intelligence services, in both over-estimating Iraq and under-estimating Libya.

Nonetheless... it will be a cold day in Hell when I trust the HRC again. Before Joe S's speech at Southern Comfort, the T community was divided into those who wouldn't trust the HRC an inch regardless, and those who thought they'd turned over a new leaf.

Now the latter doesn't exist. There is a trace element that think the HRC is capable of reform, but even they don't trust the HRC as they are today.