I hope everyone out there is microwaving bags of popcorn to watch the financial cliff negotiations currently underway between President Barack Obama and the Democrats against House Speaker John Boehner, representing the 1 percent crowd, otherwise known as the forces of insanity.
Normally, the party which just last month lost a presidential election by almost 5 million votes takes a minute or two to think about what happened to them. Even the crazy, pissed-off Al Gore and John Kerry voters, myself among them, ultimately understood why their candidates lost. And we shut up and went away for a while.
But Republicans still don't get it, so they're now financial suicide bombers, threatening to blow up the economy on Jan. 1 and trying to force the president to negotiate a surrender.
They're turning our nation's future into the plot of Die Hard 2. Obama should watch that on Netflix instead of reading policy briefings on the economy. Maybe he should name Bruce Willis as the new Secretary of the Treasury.
Most Americans need feel no shame if they're not following the political situation at the moment. It's Christmas, after all, a season of goodwill, joy to all, et cetera. It's OK because it's ultimately going to work out.
I credit the young people of America, those age 18-35, for being the first generation in 50 years to step up and assert themselves politically. As much as any other group, young voters helped push the president over the top in the election.
They have earned their spot at the table due to their numbers, their intelligence and their common sense. They graduated from college and found themselves in a job market closed to them, except at the very lowest level.
Together with the existing forces of the progressive movement with roots in the 1930s and 1960s, the eras most similar to the current time, young voters have created a majority coalition whose demands need to be addressed soon by the president and the Congress.
They're already being addressed in the states of Colorado and Washington, whose voters decided to legalize marijuana just because they could, as well as to see what would happen. This won't be the only time that young voters help sway the course of elections. Their grievances are many and legitimate. College is too expensive and paying back student loans is impossible. Companies are still being rewarded for cutting jobs in America and sending them overseas.
Well, at this time, young voters are saying what every other sane American is saying: Fix the economy. Help build middle-class jobs. Keep the country safe. Don't start wars in faraway lands and ask our young men and women to go fight and die in them.
It makes no sense to keep marijuana illegal in the states of Colorado and Washington. I've been there. Everyone I met there was smoking pot, maybe even the airline pilot who flew me there. Let them do it if they want to and let the rest of the states decide for themselves their policies toward marijuana.
Having grown up in an era of prosperity during the Clinton years and then suffering through the misery of the Bush years, young voters are also questioning other things.
For example, what is the wisdom for extending the Bush-era tax cuts, even for the middle class, all the way to infinity? We couldn't afford G.W.'s harebrained fiscal policy 10 years ago and certainly can't now, when we're still trying to pay back our credit card debts from two failed wars. We can't even make the minimum payment on our debts.
Young people know what it's like to be constantly harassed over the phone by bill collectors. Like them, I also do not like to pay back - or even discuss payment arrangements with - those to whom I am indebted. When the various collection agencies call, I do not even answer the phone. They can leave their "important messages for Stephen Hammer" on my voicemail all they want, I'm broke and can't pay my medical bills so I'm not paying until I have more money.
I'm already working two and sometimes three gigs. They can kiss my ass.
So can the Republicans, who talk a lot of crap but who haven't been serious on financial policy since they cooperated with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, a very long time ago.
Young people know this, as well as the fact that they, along with the youngsters and teenagers of today, will ultimately be the ones who finally sort out the entire accumulated mess 20 or 30 years from now.
The Republicans want to give you a $2,000 annual tax increase and shut down the rest of the economy on Jan. 1, just to keep intact tax cuts for people making $250,000 a year or more. We just decided an election on that very issue.
Young people see that it's bullshit. We should listen to them.