My wonkishness reached a new pinnacle as I discovered myself contemplating the very convictions of my character in response to some words delivered by Paul Krugman on Morning Joe.
Of course, symptoms were present long ago.
For example. While abusing a treadmill, I ably identified this guy well before his name flashed on screen.
He's Austan Goolsbee. For those of you, more... normal types.
Krugman, notable for being a Nobel Laureate in economics and equally for being devoutly liberal, was, that morning, discussing the financial perils threatening this country.
"Ugh, here we go again," I thought.
Stretching the treadmill's willingness, I upped the speed to somewhere around 9.0.
Refreshing to me, Krugman admitted that government spending was an issue.
But, he argued that the federal deficit would present its real detrimental effect in no time sooner than ten years from now. Likely, I presume, he'd argue for a date even further in the future.
On the other hand, Krugman claimed that the problem American encounters presently is unemployment.
So, being that spending and unemployment are both daunting issues of relatively equal magnitude, Krugman's suggestion, in my own summary, was that the U.S. should tackle the issue most imminent. Joblessness.
Sorta makes sense. Hmmm...
Krugman conceded that the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are financial drains on this country. But, their real impacts, he claimed, are in the future. Unemployment is causing us to suffer right now.
Thus, he argued that austerity would do more to exasperate today's fiscal problem than it would benefit the solvency of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security tomorrow.
I have to admit: You just spent three to four minutes reading a digression. What I wished to tell you was that I appreciated the persuasiveness of Mr. Krugman's thoroughly liberal dissertation.
As such, I find myself now pondering my own political tendency.
I am conservative. Not just about politics. My entire life is conservative.
Frugality taken to its zenith is the refusal to accept a mattress as a necessity. I sleep on the floor.
By nature, I am quiet, reserved, and believe that most words that escape the mouth result later in one's own foot being placed in it.
But I have to reconsider that declaration: My entire life is conservative. Because things are changing.
For one, I am rapidly growing pacifist. Consider, at this time last year, I was two months from attending the Army's Special Forces Assessment and Selection.
Now? The thought of violence pains me.
Speaking of digression: I enjoyed my time in the military. I have attested to as much on these very "pages." Not long ago, I desired to return to that lifestyle.
As I reflect now, though, it is clear to me that combat wounds all, even those that walked away seemingly unscratched.
Most notably, war exposes all personality faults.
While pain is agonizing, its severity is much less to us suffering it directly, than it is with those families left with fallen loved ones.
As a realist, I recognize that conflict is inevitable.
Moreover, my poor decisions are my own responsibility.
However, based on experience, my new inclination tends heavily toward diplomacy. Stretched to its very end.
Before it was a vocation and one of which I was passionate. Today? I'd stifle all war if only I could.
Call me "soft." The President's inauguration speech was compelling. We should help each other. This dog-eat-dog world is more enjoyable for those of us who have ceased devouring each other.
What do you know? Consider. I grew up obsessed with the Doors. I'm fascinated by academia, and a perfect life, to me, would be one dominated by hours with nose buried to pages.
What inked pages teach me, I would like to share with those younger.
But my passion? Writing. I'd profess all day. And, perfectly, free time would be spent in a cottage, placing words to paper, with a pet companion.
Either in Malibu with the sound of crashing waves, or in North Dakota, with blistering winds to provide us a constant concert.
And, let's be real; mind alteration appeals to me. Today, via alcohol. Like Hemingway. Or Morrison, I'd like to think. Though, I fault no one for dabbling in substances more potent.
My shock shouldn't be the discovery that perhaps I am liberal at core. I should be utterly amazed by how successfully I blanketed the same with so many layers of faux-hawkishness.
And for so long.
It should have been clear the source of intense appeal I experienced during recent trips to Los Angeles and Seattle. The source was within me.
Great, Paul. Look where you led me.