Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can You Have Any Common Sense if You're Named After Ayn Rand?

I came across three things in the past week that made me stop still. At the primary election polling place, I arrived within ten minutes of closing hoping to avoid the party hecklers who usually jam the stairs in front of the doors. There were, however, two: a pair of Tea Partiers, with the headgear from which dangled tea bags. If you're in your senior years, you should not do things like this in public. You may not be pretty or fast anymore, but you could at least have a little dignity. I didn't know what to say, and didn't want to hurt their feelings anyhow. All was not lost despite my disorientation; I actually voted for a winner, which hardly ever happens.
Another day at Wegman's (along with Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, the best grocery chain ever), I stopped dead when I saw they offered a "pick your own" six-pack, wherein you fill an empty carton with any of dozens of single bottles, and not a loser among them. What a concept. Why had no one thought of this before? Imagine if you could pick your own channels from your cable provider. We won't live long enough to see that...
Wegman's just keeps bursting through the proverbial thought-box -- I look forward every week to see what they're up to. Most business just inspires fear and loathing (if you're paying attention) -- how do these folks combine the ingredients of imagination, devotion to quality, and an obvious love of what they do, so well?
Rand Paul (it's said he's actually not named after that loon Ayn, but isn't it too much of a coincidence?) ran off the tracks just like another son of a seemingly immortal conservative, Franklin Graham, recently. The statements of these two are just an embarrassment of riches if you find complete lack of sense amusing. Two of the tenets of Libertarianism are personal freedom and anti-corporatism, yet Rand critized the President for not treating BP Oil with kid gloves and also had a problem with the Civil Rights Act applying to businesses. We all thought we had settled the issue of businesses getting away with barring some members of the public patronizing them or shunting them aside to segregated areas. Libertarianism and its parent Objectivism (wound-too-tight Ayn Rand's fever dream) just can't work, in practice or theory. Those nutrition labels on foods, for example: I and millions of others rely on them greatly to avoid dangerous levels of added sodium and bad fats. Government interference not to be allowed under a "business is king" Libertarian regime. What about emissions and mileage goals, safety glass and seat belts? Evil government plotting, for sure.
If you supported them for some of their principal ideas like no more foreign adventures or just exiting the endless war on drugs, their taking power would unfortunately usher in a crazy clown crew who would just sell out what little autonomy we have left to business, large and small. Yes, the same guys who poisoned Alaska, the Gulf, the Mississippi River basin, West Virginia and Love Canal. And we'd still have foreign wars and a drug-chasing justice system because those make a lot of people rich and powerful or at least very securely employed. This bunch, like the NeoCons, are like the jihadists, who "don't have any real thing to offer the Arabs of the 21st century (CNN article today)." Nothing but passionate, cornpone contradiction.
There was one other arresting moment, just a few hours ago. A recently hatched bird has been scooting around Zach's yard; it's amazingly unafraid and innocently curious. It landed on the lawn mower handle a few feet from both of us and just visited. While I was weeding the garden, it sat on the corner posts and observed. I neither weed nor mow, he seemed to be thinking, and give not a fig for theories; I'm not trapped in the past and don't fret about tomorrow. I just make my music and breathe the free air.


  1. The air is free (for now), but we all pay a price for breathing it. Though there is more "silliness" in political thought now, we will continue to choose the best of the worst, they will come up with crazy rules, and like lemmings, we will follow. Don't worry, be happy.

  2. Wegman's is definitely pushing the status quo to the left here in Pennsyltucky, but the Foodery in Philadelphia claims the prize for single-bottle six packs. Here is their website - Of course in so called "backwards" states, uh, well, such as Kentucky - you can buy mixed sixes at any grocery.

  3. Obviously, I need to get around more.