Chechan Chong

cheech-chong-smokeGuido and I accompany friends to see Cheech and Chong last night at the theater formerly known as Jackie Gleason, in Miami Beach.  More about that some other time, except to say that this is the first time I ever see those two (a) live and in person, and (b) not stoned.  Me, that is.

So today’s post is abbreviated.  In fact, all I want to do is share two recent quotes that appeal to me for entirely different reasons.

“If you want to make peace with the Palestinians, they are tired of bombs, drones and planes,” said Mohammad Abu Muhaisin, a 35-year-old resident of the southern city of Rafah who is affiliated with Fatah, the rival to Hamas that rules in the West Bank and was ejected from Gaza in June 2007. “But a guy whose child has just been killed doesn’t want peace. He wants war.”  — NYTimes

When I recite this quote to people, I get quite different reactions, all seemingly dependent on  their view of the Middle East situation.  I see their point, and while that’s not what I’m getting at, it rather shows in its all small way (again) how intractable this situation was, is, and will be.

Closer to home:

“The system is built for stalemate,” said Michael J. Sandel, the Harvard University political theorist. “In ordinary times, the energy and dynamism of American life reside in the economy and society, and people view government with suspicion or indifference. But in times of national crisis, Americans look to government to solve fundamental problems that affect them directly. These are the times when presidents can do big things. These moments are rare. But they offer the occasion for the kind of leadership that can recast the political landscape, and redefine the terms of political argument for a generation.” — NY Times

I think he’s dead-on about this, especially the language about stalemate and indifference.  But I also think he’s right about the up-side of what government can (and should) do, which once more illustrates just how shallow, even stupid, are the views of former President Alzheimer whose inaugural address included the statement, “Government is the problem, not the solution.”

Hell, even Cheech and Chong — stoned — make more sense than that.

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8 Responses to Chechan Chong

  1. Sniper says:

    Yes, I agree: the guy whose child is killed wants war, not peace. That’s why when you start a war or retaliate against one, you have to kill the children, the parents, and the neighbors as well as the soldiers and the leaders. If you don’t, it will never stop.

  2. "Esq" A Lawyer says:

    No, government isn’t the problem. Yes, Reagan was wrong (he usually was). The kernel of truth in his lightweight generalization is, BAD government is the problem. STUPID government is the problem. Over-governing is the problem.

    While government might or might not help us out of the current economic mess, bad (etc.) government certainly won’t.

  3. Travis T says:

    I saw C&C last night, too. They were great. Of course, even if I hadn’t been stoned going in, I would’ve got high just sitting in the audience and inhaling.

  4. Beardsley says:

    Sniper: If you’re right, you just articulated a solid reason to avoid war (which I doubt was your intention). Only thing I’d add is that even when you do manage to wipe out everybody (which never happens), you haven’t ensured peace, just made a new mortal enemy elsewhere on the globe, and raised the ante with observers.

  5. Ms Calabaza says:

    I think maybe government isn’t meant to work and is meant to be a stalemate. . . maybe that’s why we’re still around after all these years. Our forefathers knew enough to know we don’t know jack… and with that deep thought of the day … let’s go back to C&C … did ya learn anything last night?

  6. Agustin R. Farinas says:

    if you think Goverment will solve the problems we are currently experiencing (which are mostly of their own making) I think you were inhaling too much last night at the C&C concert and just did not noticed it!

  7. Squathole says:

    Auggie: I didn’t say (and I don’t think) that: that wasn’t my point. I think the writer’s perspective was excellent, and that he’s right on about how the system is set to a stalemate default. I think he’s also right about government changing the tone and resetting the argument, which in turn can generate the activities we need to work our way through.

    For years, the paradigm was JFK and the space program. (Before that, by contrast, the Manhattan Project.)

    Ironically, Reagan’s typically simple-minded (and of course, widely embraced) approach, repeated mantra-like by his acolytes, actually achieved this same outcome. The terms of the discourse changed, and years later, the outcome — our current situation –is disastorus

    We need more than government to solve our problems. And we need it to help us, not impair our progress. It needs to be part of the solution, not the problem. Let’s see if we can get back to that place.

    Can I exhale now?

  8. cara says:

    How do you define “over governing”?

    I see the stalemate and indifference to reflect how the population can move like a wave. For a while with momentum until it reaches a crest and ceases to believe it will happen again. And I agree. A combination of media frenzy and personal emotion heightens every national situation in this ebb and flow pattern.

    I’m stepping off my philosphy soapbox. Damn Squat, did you have to go so deep? Should have smoked a doobie.

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