Friday, March 21, 2014

Just a Reminder (If I Ruled the World, or at Least America)

My first rule is: Don't act like a dick. Christians put it another way: Do unto know the rest.

My second rule is: Don't envy anybody. That doesn't mean I think we shouldn't fight for equality, not at all. It just means that I've caught myself envying someone, only to watch that someone's life blow up, and mine didn't. So don't envy anyone. You might be envying a soon-to-be dead man. Shit happens.

My third rule is: Don't put up with assholes' bullshit. That's a hard rule to follow, and I haven't always done it. If your boss is an asshole and you need the money, well... Or the asshole is president and you're not the Supreme Court or something. Worse, you have to figure out who the assholes are, as is the case with, say, the police, who at any given time could be part of the problem or part of the solution. Anybody who's been attacked or robbed is really wanting the police. Anyone protesting in e.g. Berkeley, Oakland, or maybe UC Davis likely has found out that the cops are NOT on your side. Occasionally, you're heating up frozen dinners and by mistake they break down your front door and shoot you by mistake.

My fourth rule is: Follow the money. If you wonder why the schools are great in Palo Alto and they suck in East Palo Alto, chances are the money is in Palo Alto. If all the people in the Congress are all multi-millionaires, chances are they're going to vote in ways that make people with money feel good. If you hear someone making the case that we shouldn't punish people because they have all the money, the chances are good they're saying that because they want more money.

My fifth rule is: Feel good if you've got just enough money but not too much. Sure, it's hard to draw the line because, like, how much do we really need? Hard to tell. But I'm so much happier that I'm not in some gated community or being driven around in a big black car, or whatever. I absolutely love the middle-middle-middle class because we're all working and playing and life is really sweet even if we don't have much. The simple things, like a good homecooked meal, or a great VW (can't afford a BMW), or a great walk up a country road, these are all golden. Flying to a gated community by private jet, or to a resort that ordinary people can't afford, or eating food that's better than a really really good pizza is, I don't know, useless to me. Give me a night of bowling, or an afternoon of golf on a public course, or the best turkey burger I ever tasted. I'm happy.

You can make up these rules, too. They're not hard. One last rule is: Root for the other guys and gals. All of them. If you're cheering for someone and you have the feeling the dude's a dick, you're on the wrong side. Find out why you're on the wrong side. Fix it. And start rooting for everyone.

That's socialism. That's small-d democracy. And, believe it or not -- and you can take it from this atheist -- that's Christian.


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