Okay, so it really has been a while, but I've had my stuff to do lately. Mostly, it's just been the wackiness involved in making Christmas happen, and then New Year's after that (and might I say, go Dawgs). And while I have to say that I wasn't as overflowing with the Christmas spirit as I have been in past years, it's never a bad thing to spend time with your loved ones, especially if there's free loot involved.
Of course, all of that is over now, and we've got 362 days of 2005 lying before us like freshly laid linoleum, just waiting for someone to Rollerblade across it and leave little black brake marks that Mom will yell about for days. This is the time when people start making resolutions, telling what they're going to do differently, how they can improve their lives in the fresh, sparkly New Year.
Now, I'm not usually one for New Year's resolutions. They aren't usually kept. The best resolutions happen not because last year's Dilbert desk calendar has gone in the trash and the cellophane is off of this year's Dilbert desk calendar; the best resolutions happen because something has changed in your life that causes you to realize that maybe a Denny's Scram Slam isn't the best breakfast every day, that maybe your persistent cough is related to the unfiltered Marlboros you've been smoking since you were in the womb, that maybe your neighbors would like you better if you kept the goat sacrifice to Saturday nights only. So I've got some changes that I'm going to make, not because my DayRunner now says January in the corner but because things have come up in my life that indicate a need for change. So here goes.
1. I resolve to shut up about politics already
Now, before you get all excited, this blog isn't going anywhere. But I've come to the realization that the vast majority of my political discussions come to one of the following two ends: one, they agree with me (almost exclusively my fellow Dems, so that's just preaching to the choir) or two, they disregard my argument entirely and brand me a liberal kook (hard-core Kool-Aid Republicans). It calls to mind the old adage of wrestling with a pig, or teaching a pig to whistle, or dancing with a pig, or something. The point is the futility of making a pig do what a pig doesn't want to do. So I'm out.
Fear not - I'm still going to be all up in your grill bemoaning the injustices of the world, slagging off dumb, puppety Republicans, and blatantly stealing content from other blogs. But the focus is going to be less on basic whingeing and more on doing something about it - I resolve to light a candle instead of just cursing the damn darkness.
2. I resolve to pay more attention to the people who actually have power
And, by implication, less attention to the people who just piss and moan. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are really annoying. They say things that aren't true, and they encourage bad thoughts and bad thinking among their (considerable) audiences. But in the end, they don't mean that much. The people to worry about aren't the ones who say bad things but the ones who do bad things. And while I don't feel that I've been remiss in exploring the faults and foibles of the Bush administration, I do feel that I need to concentrate more on the folks in power, rather than the folks who, being largely powerless, sit around on their bony/fat asses and encourage uber-conservative America to be more judgmental, more xenophobic and more self-satisfyingly moralistic than they were going to be anyway.
Which is not to say I'm not going to pin Ann Coulter to the mats and make her my bitch if she says something even remotely stupid. I'm just going to give the rest of the country more credit for recognizing that she's stupid.
3. I resolve to be a better Christian
And I mean a better Christian Democrat. As if you hadn't noticed, conservatives have basically co-opted Christianity for their own nefarious purposes. They've become the party of goodness and morals simply because they were quick enough to claim it first. From an advertising/marketing standpoint, it's a bright move; brand yourself as the party of values and Jesus and apple pie, and the other guy is reduced to "me too" marketing.
Well, I'm not buying it. Conservatives don't get to corner the marked on Christianity and then live as an example of What Would Jesus Never Do. Doug's got a great take on it over at GWBWYPGN?!, but basically, here's the deal: the Bible tells us to be generous to those who are less fortunate (and I will give props where props are due, as President Bush recently upped our contribution to the tsunami victims by a factor of ten; hello to $350 million aid). The Bible tells us not to judge, lest we be judged. The Bible tells us that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. If you want to really live by the word of God, remember these words: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me." I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I really don't think I'd be one to spit on The Almighty, even if he did look kind of like a homeless veteran. Every person who dares call him- or herself both Christian and Democrat has a responsibility to live up to both of those names, if only to show the conservatives how it's supposed to be done.
If you get the chance, run to your local Blockbuster and pick up Saved!. In addition to being an interesting commentary on the tactics of the Religious Right, it's also funny as all get out.
4. I resolve to date more civilians
Just a little personal resolution there. I want to make it clear that I don't chase uniforms (although it has been argued that they chase me). I actually believe that military men should wear their uniforms everywhere they go, to make them easier to avoid. It's just not fair: you walk into a bar and sit down next to a heterosexual man who has a nice body and a decent haircut and knows how to iron. What girl wouldn't go for that? It's entrapment.
Regardless, I have, to date, been screwed over by four out of five branches of the uniformed services. Unless anyone knows a Coastie who's interested in using me and discarding me like a Jiffy Lube shop rag, I think it's time for me to find myself a nice accountant.
5. I resolve to chill
That's it. I resolve to blog more, work less; party more, obsess less; read more fiction and less fashion; drink more decaf and less high-test. Even if my first four resolutions go to hell and I find myself a whining, impotent, judgmental little shit dating a man in uniform, hey, I've been there - I like to call it 2003. The least I can do, the smallest gift that I can give myself, is to be a whining, impotent, judgmental little shit dating a man in uniform and sleeping nights.
Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and good luck with 2005. Practically Harmless isn't going anywhere - same bat time, same bat channel.