The rants don't come easily these days — at least not as easily as they once did — save for a few impromptu outbursts when something ruffles the feathers or playing the jester.  Other than that, there is little to be said about current events.  Things continue much as they always have, Barack Obama or not, and the Republicans, as clinically insane as ever, need not worry too much about a paradigm shift to the Left.  The Democrats are not a party built for political hegemony.  Infighting and weak knees normally derail any such hopes and all for the better, I suppose.  Perhaps the Dawn of the Third Party is not so far away as it seems to be, though the dim hope that the American voter might realize the stagnation wrought by the two-party yo-yo is one better left unspoken lest the eventual disappointment proves too much to bear.

Alas, I don't think I have a leftist, pinko Commie diatribe in me tonight.  I have yet to respond to American Patriot's comments on my Patton article, which are well-received regardless of whether or not I share a political hair with him/her.  I appreciate a little scrutiny now and again (maybe even always), and if there's one thing my half-assed, lazy commentary can use, it's some point-by-point analysis.

Two things I will address now, however.  The first is that the Marijuana Question should not be a point of contention or debate any longer.  Legalization is the only sensible route, and this concept will only be confirmed in the next ten or twenty years.  The government does not have the right to tell people not to use drugs (recreationally or for medicinal purposes) and wastes resources prosecuting and apprehending "criminals" who pose no threat to society at large.  Coupled with other drug-related efforts such as needle exchange programs, there should be a shift toward a sensible drug policy, one that does not uphold prohibitive law.  American Patriot seems to harbor an additional moralistic attitude to drug use and general inebriation, which I would discourage at all costs.  Lifestyle morality has no place being legislated by governing bodies as long as a person's activities are non-violent, and to answer American Patriot's question, yes, I do think there are more important things on America's plate right now than the legalization of drugs.  Our current policy, however, reflects a troublesome national mindset that is constantly bothered by petty things like marijuana and tits on television and ignores issues like unsustainable housing bubbles and corrupt credit markets (until the shit hits the fan, of course).  Think where we might be now if our resources had been allocated toward useful endeavors in the first place.

I should stress that while I had my college days like most other people, I am sober almost one-hundred percent of the time these days, and by that, I do not mean to insinuate that I am recovering from any lingering addictions or recreational drug habits save for nicotine.  The comment American Patriot made: "I have never heard of a 'social' pot smoker — a person who has a joint here or there just because they like to smoke or like the flavor of marijuana. No, they do it to get stupid and get high, just like alcoholics drink to excess and act irresponsibly. Legalize pot and you’ll see a lot more drunk driving occurring in this country," makes so little sense that I feel odd even addressing the remarks suffice it to say that A.P. clearly has not spent much more than superficial time with pot smokers or has solely been exposed to "stoners".  Personally, stoners don't bother me, but I can understand how the stereotype of the lazy, listless pothead might hold water with someone unacquainted to that scene or its denizens.

But that's all well and good, and I'd prefer not to go on.  The legalization debate is much like the religious one.  No one wins.  No minds are changed.  The entire debacle proves to be one monumental waste of time, and we must hope only that time will eventually allow logic and tolerance to gain a foothold in this most illogical and intolerant world.  It is to my detriment that I either initiate or get dragged into many of these debates, and I suppose I am the instigator in this case.

The second issue to which A.P. made reference that I'd like to address is my insistence on bashing conservatives.  For the most part, I mean the Republicans and roughly half of each libertarian.  To say the Republican Party is braindead is to put it most delicately.  To say that the GOP is bat-shit crazy might be a dangerous underestimation.

However, I will admit to speaking generally, and I do not mean to make the blanket statements that all conservatives are uneducated hillbillies with little care for the rest of the world.  As it seems to me that American Patriot — while grossly misguided on certain issues in my own estimation — is not one such person, I hereby tender any necessary apologies.  I must also express my disappointment that the word "patriotism" has been hijacked and made to mean nothing more than blind, flag-bleeding obedience to nationalism and principles of Manifest Destiny.  If there is a seed of suspicion in me about the wiles of our good A.P., it comes only due to the choice of moniker.  One cannot be sure that people mean words as they were originally intended or as their [the words'] current bastardizations imply.

And what the hell.  Here's the final answer regarding your critique of my Patton post, American Patriot.  You're right that I meander and fall off track.  I'll be the first one to admit as much, but as for my criticism of the speech itself, I did not necessarily mean to belittle it wholesale.  I disagree fervently, and I realize that it was made under duress, as you said, like a football coach might try to pump his team up before a big game (though the stakes were obviously much higher in Patton's case).  I suppose reading Patton's words on that day reminded me too much of the Dick Cheney and Glenn Beck camp, and while Cheney is a sociopath and Beck is a witless boob, you cannot deny their influence on people, which is why I bring them up in the first place.

Trust me, it's my considered opinion that the likes of FoxNews conservative pundits bear no weight whatsoever on the actual political dialogue, but that opinion, as much as I might like to believe it, probably isn't accurate.  Yellow journalism is the running intellectual currency these days, A.P., and if I speak too generally about conservatives, it is only because most of those I know (again, not quite all) or speak with spout the same deranged horseshit I hear coming from the O'Reilly people and the Hannity people and any others you want to put in the same boat.

I will say that O'Reilly was right about one thing — and, Jesus, how it pains me to write those words.  We are in a culture war right now, and much of it boils down to whether I'm on the side that wants America to be a citizen of the world or on the side that wants to see the rise of the American Empire.  The other conversations you and I might have if we were sitting in a room together are only peripheral subjects compared to this central conflict.

That scares me and — to put it bluntly — pisses me off.