Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 27, 2013

Scout Report: Rambling through insanity

By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor

CROSSVILLE — Can you believe the year is almost over? I suppose it’s no wonder why time seems to go so fast – here it is Thanksgiving and the world is already skipping to Christmas. The time when we should be most thankful for what we have been given has been lost in the overreaching shadow of Black Friday. Of course, I’m not the first to comment on the Thanksgiving snow job, and I certainly won’t be the last. Every year, companies exert more and more pressure, pushing back family time by tempting consumers to buy stuff for their loved ones rather than actually spend time with them. Ironic, don't ya think?

It's been a while since I've written a column. It's not that there hasn't been much to write about, I just needed a break. I began to notice that I have become a negative and bitter person. Keeping up with this government is both infuriating and exhausting. Trying to get people to take notice of what’s happening is even more taxing. Obamacare. I am so sick of hearing about Obamacare. Conservatives have been telling everyone what to expect for the past three years, yet as every prediction has come true, people are still genuinely dumbfounded. It doesn't take a scholar to figure out the entire system was built to fail, but it’s as if Jesus himself has had to lay hands upon people and shout “Ephphatha!” towards heaven to get them to listen.

I find it unconscionable that this gangster government rules with such impunity. And yet I’ve accepted that there isn’t much I can personally do about it. By no means am I giving up. I’ve just realized that I’ve been focusing on all the wrong things. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so I'll just come out and say it: I'm a political junkie. However, recognizing the impact that addiction has on my outlook has freed me to make changes. Regardless of the world outside, I can control my own microcosm. My goal is to stop being so cynical and to be more positive; and by doing so, I can have a direct impact on my family and friends. I can make their lives better.

So, for the holidays I’ve stopped listening to news talk radio (baby steps), much to the excitement of my wife. Instead, I surf the radio waves, looking for that nugget of rock and roll gold that I can sing my heart out to, much to the chagrin of my wife. My favorite genre is Motown. I get tired of other music quickly, but I can always come back for Motown. And it really has improved my general outlook. I also listen for jazz, bluegrass, classical, classic country, heavy metal, alternative ... I even enjoy old fashioned radio drama, like the kind my dad made me listen to when I was growing up. I really light up when I hear the News From Lake Wobegon.

I can listen to just about anything besides pop music. I just can’t stand the majority of the current pop culture. It's worse than politics. The tunes are catchy, but the messages are trash. I can't turn the radio on without hearing “It’s our party we can do what we want," by the rapidly self-destructing Miley Cyrus. Last week, I was flipping through the channels and caught Ryan Seacrest interviewing Lady Gaga. What a weirdo! At one point, it showed concert footage where she was literally wearing a toilet paper mask and moving sporadically like some kind of wounded robotic bird while grown women in the audience cried at the sight of her. It was utterly bizarre. Yesterday, I watched Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's new video, Bound 2. If it's not the worst thing I've ever seen or heard, it's definitely in second place. It is astonishingly bad. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed for having admitted that I've actually seen it. The only reason I watched it was because James Franco and Seth Rogen were mocking it in a parody. Don't worry, if you don't know who any of those people are, you aren't missing anything. In fact, you should probably consider yourself blessed. It is absolutely insane that these idiots will probably make more money in one year than I will make in my entire lifetime.

Are they to blame for the moral decay of the nation? Aren't we all? They've almost reached a level of weirdness on par with the Capitol in the Hunger Games, but they aren't driving the culture, they're simply riding it. That's true of our politicians and our massive consumerism, and every other ill that plagues our society. Politics are merely a reflection of the culture, a symptom, if you will. Corruption, deception, graft, cronyism, fraud, tyranny – all of the cover-ups and scandals, all of the lies ­– these are not the actions of some nameless, faceless entity. There is no Titan named "Government." We are a government “of…, by… and for the people.” Our current situation is the product of individual choices made by our fellow Americans, and that absolutely terrifies me. The devolution of our society says more about us than them. Politicians can't force you to vote for them. Entertainers can't force people to buy the crap they produce; people buy it because they like it. Retailers can't force you to abandon your family functions on what used to be Thanksgiving – unless of course, you're working rather than shopping – otherwise, it is your choice.

I know I said I was gonna try to be more positive; obviously, I've got a ways to go. It is my most sincere wish that you have the happiest of Thanksgivings and that you enjoy the time spent with family – even if you have to miss a sale. I guarantee you won't find a better bargain.