Friday, December 25, 2009

The Apolitical Inactivist

[Disclaimer: I vote. Sometimes. President and the U.S. Congress (House & Senate). Beyond that it's a tossup.]

My awakening began shortly after college. My first employer was an enthusiastic supporter of several groups that billed themselves as "educational" organizations. They were devout conspiracy theorists. My father had been a Mason and I thought it was a good thing that so many presidents had been, too. What a surprise to learn of all the many conspiracies out there! One of these groups advocated the same action that "Deep Throat" told Woodward and Bernstein, "Follow the money." It was also during my tenure at this company that Taylor Caldwell had her book, Captains and Kings published. It echoed the theme that the "controllers" were the international bankers that influenced many organizations (clubs and secret societies) who could suddenly turn on the man they made and have him assassinated. I was in the third grade in Louisiana (home of Jim Garrison) when Kennedy died. I grew up in a community of hunters and was familiar with firearms and was shocked when I heard the claims that Oswald had acted alone. How could anyone fire a bolt action rife that quickly and accurately? Even for an eleven year old the magic bullet theory was impossible to swallow. I even began to doubt Walter Conkrite. After the sixites, by 1972, my mind was a fertile field for serious conspiracy theories to germinate. Throughout the rest of the seventies and the next two decades my frustration grew with the observation of the lack of real change in the way our country was going regardless of which party was in power.

Flash forward to 1997 and Dr. Andew Weil's book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. Several of his suggestions made sense to me and I tried them. One of them, I really liked! A one week news fast sounded too difficult but I tried it anyway. This was at a time in my life when I was reading three newspapers a day and had the television set on CNN most of the day. It was amazing! I didn't care what Bill and Hiliary were doing anymore by this point anyway. It was such a refreshing change -- no news! I'm still enjoying the benefits today by continuing my news fast. So much of the news is politics. Not having a constant influx of news and politics made it so much easier to go about the business of living my own life. In 2000 my life changed again -- separation. A divorce ensued in 2001 and in June I married a woman who taught me the importance of living my life without being concerned about what anyone else would think. Without the news and the politics it brought, combined with this new life philosophy, I was liberated!

The same old theories abound and are now like choruses sung by new choirs. Was Bullworth correct with his claims that 5% of the population control 95% of the money? He must have been correct. I haven't seen any real change, regardless of which party is in power. Don't the big money companies divide their funds on both sides of the aisle in congress? Can you imagine General Electric, Bank of America, Kraft, Alcoa, or Pfizer putting all their eggs in one basket? Was Viet Nam fought to satisfy the desires of the military-industrial complex? Is it true that the first casualty of any war is the truth?

So why should I vote? Does one person really make a difference? Joanne Herring did. She was the driving influence behind Charlie Wilson. Julia Roberts played her in the movie Charlie Wilson's War and she really did make a difference. She did a lot more than vote though. She was at the time, according to Charlie Wilson, "the sixth most wealthiest person in Houston". Do we really want one person to be able to make that much difference? Is my vote being diluted by hundreds more who are voting because of "drive-through voter registration"? When I took a course in civics in high school, we were taught that our government is different because we are not governed by the masses but by informed voters who had earned the right to vote. Our voters were people who knew how our government worked and that by avoiding a simple "majority rules" system, America was different -- and better.

Fortunately my background includes enough study to consider myself "government literate" -- I know how our system is supposed to work. There's enough political awareness for me that an informed decision to not be politically active is possible. I'm not ready to throw in the towel on our country, but don't look for a bumper sticker on my car. Don't expect to see me on the mall in D.C. with a million other men waving a sign and singing A Hard Rain's A'gonna Fall. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats should expect any contributions from me. Can't think of any country I'd rather live in, but in many ways, it's not much different than when Thomas Payne lamented, "These are the times that try mens' souls."


  1. I came from and just wanted to show some support. I have followed you and read through your blog. Hope you like my support.

    Your blog is interesting and helpful in many ways. Easy to read. Hope you will return the favor.

    See you around! And Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year!

    Steinar Arason

  2. Chip, I appreciate your thoughts at times it seems like this country of ours never changes no matter who's in charge. I have never completely alinged myself with either political party. I've always voted for the best person in whatever office I am voting for but i always vote. If we all took the stand that our vote wouldn't matter then a select few would actually choose who was in charge. Our history is full of examples of how a few votes changed an election & of course we all remember Florida in 2000!

    I have never missed one vote in my entire life even for school board elections & I turned 49 last month. The only way to create the change we'd like to see is to find the right person to vote for & stand behind them until the change happens.

    Thanks again for your thoughts,


  3. You said it! You said it exactly as I feel it: "I'm not ready to throw in the towel on our country, but don't look for a bumper sticker on my car."

  4. very interesting and held my attention. i do not watch the news either-waste of my time and energy. your pic on your site is spectacular!
    enjoyed reading. Jane

  5. I agree. I find the news frustrating and I can't vote. Because of my physical location, I can't even get the absentee balets when they come out. I'm not sure I would even if I could. With the latest presidential election, Alaskans hadn't even finished voting before they declared a victory and stopped counting. It isn't the people's vote that counts anyway. Several times I've seen the popular vote and the electorial vote be very different.

  6. Absolutely astounding chip, well written also... & your Art work is beautiful, it speaks for itself! ***Tiffany

  7. Very well written! Interesting!