Green Room

The Dismal Parade

posted at 10:36 pm on October 7, 2009 by

A friend of mine recently observed that he wasn’t entirely happy to read my Hot Air posts, because reading about politics made him feel fatigued and weary. I completely understand the sentiment. I follow politics with keen interest, especially since I began writing about it, but I have no trouble seeing how most people find the topic annoying or depressing. Political discussions with those of different viewpoints can swiftly become confrontational and unpleasant, as not everyone enjoys the passionate presentation of ideas they profoundly disagree with, or the devastating criticism of politicians they voted for.

It’s easy to interpret condemnation of your voting choices as a blanket insult to your judgment. Those who generally dislike politics are even more likely to feel this way. A political junkie learns to expect a certain number of bruises in the rough-and-tumble of debating current events. In fact, many see the rough-and-tumble as part of the fun. Those who are less interested in partisan warfare view their biannual treks to the voting booths as an important civic duty, which they take some pride in completing, and they don’t like being forced to admit they might have chosen poorly. Even the rather large segment of the population that doesn’t bother to vote can still become emotionally involved in the big presidential campaigns – which are, after all, scientifically designed to manipulate the emotions.

When the candidate you voted for is pilloried as a criminal or a fool, there are three possible reactions: you have an epiphany and agree, you become angry and defensive… or you come to the melancholy conclusion they’re all criminals and fools, and you just don’t care any more. Epiphanies are rare.

Even those who do follow politics closely like to take a break, every now and then. I certainly do. I hate getting slapped with partisan messages and insults when I’m just trying to relax and watch a movie or TV. Conservatives are used to getting poked by ideological mouse traps, hidden throughout a generally liberal popular culture. Your odds of getting through prime time network TV without encountering a few evil businessmen, crazy religious people, or middle-class hypocrites are pretty slim. It’s not unusual to have a political rant explode in your face while you’re reading the sports page, or a movie review. Even the simplest entertainment often lunges at you without warning, desperate to raise your consciousness. Children’s programming is especially nasty in this regard, as its creators get the shakes thinking about all those children out there, waiting to be programmed.

When I’m trying to unplug from the political scene, I don’t like being pummeled with political messages I agree with, either. I would imagine no small number of liberals feel this way, as they weather a non-stop barrage of agenda programming for ideas they nominally support. Your own beliefs can become extremely annoying, when they’re blasted in your face on endless loop, every hour of the day.

Here’s the question that puzzles me: why do so many people who view politics as a dismal parade, and hold such a low opinion of politicians, seem so willing to entertain massive expansions of the government? What do they think is going to happen to the amount of politics infusing their lives, if the government nationalizes a few more industries, and racks up a couple trillion more in deficit spending?

If you complain about bitter, ugly politics seeping into too many corners of American life now, just wait until the government runs the health-care system. In the kind of limited government envisioned by America’s founders, an average citizen could afford to be disengaged from national politics, and would primarily concern himself with local affairs he understood, paid for by comprehensible amounts of tax money. In the belly of the super-State, your livelihood – and, with health care on the table, your very survival – demand you vote wisely for national candidates with hundreds of positions on issues you might not understand, or even care about. When you voted in 2008, did you understand every detail of John McCain’s position on toxic asset bailouts, or Barack Obama’s stand on immigration reform? For that matter, did they understand those details, or relate them to you with complete honesty?

Democratic elections are one of the main reasons some people believe government control of the economy is virtuous. Those high-rolling politicians in Washington answer to We The People, three hundred million bosses that can bounce them out on their ears if they misbehave! In reality, you have no such level of control over any of them – and even if you did, how could you claim to be making a fully informed decision about who gets bounced out of Washington? You don’t read those thousand-page bills, any more than the senators and representatives who vote on them. Will you pull the plug on your congressional representative if he acts against your wishes on fourteen issues worth $200 billion in government spending, but adopts your position on sixteen issues worth $295 billion? Will your decision include the twenty issues you don’t understand at all, valued at $520 billion? Blind choice is not free choice, and too many aspects of State-controlled life are hidden behind a shroud of complexity.

In the path of an aggressive State, there’s really no way to remain above politics. Indifference becomes consent. If you don’t like some of the details of the massive, half-unwritten health care legislation crawling around in the Senate, you had better hurry up and register Republican. If you don’t stiffen the spines of the GOP, and make the Democrats understand they’re committing electoral suicide by pushing their plan, your health care will be taken over by the government… and more taxes, regulations, and industrial takeovers will be coming your way. It’s like the worst book-of-the-month club ever. Do you dislike Republicans, and feel nonplussed about the idea of registering as one? I can’t say that I blame you. I’ve been one for years, and it’s not exactly like watching your football team roll into the Superbowl. The thing is, you really don’t have a choice any more. If you remain silent, and stay disengaged, a large chunk of your freedom will be taken away from you in the coming weeks.

The architects of the total State have arranged a game you will lose, if you refuse to play. The State has grown relentlessly for a century, but it’s about to make the kind of surge that has only happened twice before, in the New Deal and Great Society. That surge is going to leave the State sitting in your lap, growling about your unacceptable choice of light bulbs and insurance policies. If you thought it was hard to master the issues well enough to make an informed vote before, imagine what it will be like after the State becomes a few trillion dollars larger… and you begin to realize that your livelihood depends on defeating your political enemies.

I am fascinated by the study of politics and culture, but I dearly wish their wars could be fought with all-volunteer armies. America isn’t like that now. Everyone has been conscripted, and years of vicious battles lie ahead before anyone can dream of mustering out. We’re all on duty, every waking hour, because a comprehensive State is also inescapable. Nearly every aspect of our lives is hungrily eyed by groups that would like the government to invade it.

For too long, Americans have indulged the fantasy that government could grow without changing our culture. We thought we could pack on a few billion dollars in taxes and spending, here and there, but everything else would remain the same. Somehow, this delusion persists in the face of titanic health and energy bills. Anyone who finds politicians detestable, and politics unbearable, should refuse to drop another huge bag of money and chains into their hands. If you don’t speak out against it now, you’d better learn to enjoy politics.

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Your own beliefs can become extremely annoying, when they’re blasted in your face on endless loop, every hour of the day.

Never ending fund raising letters from groups on my side endlessly telling me something I already know and asking for more money so they can keep saying the same thing that everyone ignores.

Skandia Recluse on October 7, 2009 at 11:05 PM

Indifference becomes consent.

Amen. Amen. Amen. (From a member of the recently activated suburban “mob.”)

If you don’t like some of the details of the massive, half-unwritten health care legislation crawling around in the Senate, you had better hurry up and register Republican.

I think We The People understand more of the implications of the health care government takeover than our representatives, Democrat or Republican.

publiuspen on October 8, 2009 at 6:50 AM

“Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed”
She should have simply told us he was a stalker.

If people don’t like the “helicopter-parents” at the kids sporting events, or a nosy neighbor that is in all your business, or your irritating mother-in-law who insists you can’t do anything correctly, why do they want a big government that will behave in the same manner – or worse??

batterup on October 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM

We are now seeing the results of the lazy behavior of some Americans. Over the years, people got lazy. It was easier to ignore politics and not discuss it. Along the way they stopped paying attention to the actions of their leaders, national security or just about anything else.

The information about Obama and his beleifs was out there in many different formats for anyone to see. Yet people couldn’t be bothered. Instead of educating themselves, the people that voted for Obama convinced themselves he and the media were being honest. They told themselves any information to the contrary was wrong and refused to look into it. These facts had to be wrong or the result of ignorance or racism or jealousy or whatever.

These people chose to bury their heads in the sand because if they took the time to pay attention, they would be forced to look closer at Obama and the media and the whole issue of “politics.” And they just didn’t want to be bothered. There were episodes of “American Idol” and “Desperate Housewives” to watch. Besides, if this Obama guy was so bad, wouldn’t TV shows and news stories reflect that? Hadn’t TV and the news spent years explaining how Bush was an awful man. Not really elected by the people, Bush wasn’t really even a man, more of a monster who “played on our fears.”

Today, there are a good number of these same people who are shocked and dismayed to find the real Obama is nothing like the man they saw on TV. “We didn’t vote for THAT kind of change,” they mutter to themselves as they watch the country fall apart. They’ve suddenly been able to see.

They look to their neighbors, the ones they’d made fun of back on November 5. They’re embarrassed now, since they’d spent so much time snickering and making fun of these neighbors as they pulled up their “McCain Palin” signs. But over hedges and fences, the same neighbors who disagreed in 2008 find they’re beginning to agree as 2009 winds to a close.

One hopes that those folks who couldn’t be bothered to discuss politics in 2008 will make time to talk about politics in future.

There are still plenty of folks out there too lazy to put energy into learning about those who seek to rule our country. But based on the town halls, tea parties and frightened faces of those who used the laziness of some Americans as a way to gain power, a lot more Americans are not only talking about politics, they’re educating themselves and watching how their leaders are governing.

And to me, that’s a really good thing. I hope it lasts.

Mad Mad Monica on October 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Ah, the old adage. You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in YOU.

TheUnrepentantGeek on October 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Government run health care scares me to death. It is the proverbial nail-in-the-coffin that ensures the beginning of social control. The gov will know your personal physical & perhaps mental history & health, what meds you’re on, blood type, cavity fillings, and so on.

It will make it basically impossible to shrink government because once you create a handout its also impossible to take it back. A woman was waiting in line in Detroit for her hand bailout and was asked where this money comes from – she said “the President and I don’t know where he gets it.” Good heavens, don’t people think anymore?? Can’t they see the long term implications of such a bad idea? Yeah, now I’m fatigued & weary.

SWChance on October 8, 2009 at 1:16 PM

“…A woman was waiting in line in Detroit for her hand bailout and was asked where this money comes from – she said “the President and I don’t know where he gets it.” Good heavens, don’t people think anymore??…”

SWChance on October 8, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Our education system has failed. I’m sure many do not know that all government funds come from taxpayers. Some 47% of our fellow citizens pay no taxes and therefore have no first-hand knowledge of the burden with no skin in the game.

Should we require all citizens to take a civics test like the Naturalization Test at some point in their lives?

It should be a precursor to voting (but that could be an impediment) or before receiving any taxpayer-funded financial aid. However, I would be happy if it were a requirement of passing eighth grade and when receiving a high school diploma.

publiuspen on October 8, 2009 at 2:26 PM

First it’s healthcare… then government becomes even more involved in education, deciding which children would most “benefit” in jobs training vs. academia. Then you have “incentives” to live in certain locations because of population concerns or environmental issues…

Ask people from other countries if they think you should be concerned with politics.

texabama on October 8, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Here’s the question that puzzles me: why do so many people who view politics as a dismal parade, and hold such a low opinion of politicians, seem so willing to entertain massive expansions of the government? What do they think is going to happen to the amount of politics infusing their lives, if the government nationalizes a few more industries, and racks up a couple trillion more in deficit spending?

I believe they have been inculcated throughout public school to believe the government is an objective, honest, benign daddy. They don’t realize that the banana republics around the world are governed by the same type of individuals that we have. I guarantee you that the corruption, bribe-taking, selling out of allies for money, etc. go on just as much here, just for larger amounts.

Hiya Ciska on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Exactly right…as the state grows more powerful, the civil/social aspects of society are taken over by political systems…everything then becomes political. That’s been the aim for quite some time.

AUINSC on October 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Epiphanies are rare.

Wait … there is hope.

I worked in the Bush 41 White House in 1992 in a non-political post (part of the military office). I used to attend Bush campaign events a BILL CLINTON button (a blue one with a silohette of him playing saxiphone) on the underside of my suit lapel so no one could see it. On election night – I stayed up all night with a map of the U.S. and a big smile on my face as I colored in the Blue states!

Yep – I was all over the Clinton Kool-Aid.

I was ready for change baby! Liberal change!

I just knew Clinton would fix the “broken” nation but … do you rember Clinton’s FIRST priority? The first thing he did once he was inaugurated?

He attempted to overturn the ban on Homosexuals in the military. Now – I’m against that because I was in the military and I know you can’t do that without infringing the privacy rights of Heterosexuals. But that aside – I have nothing against Homosexuals, I just didn’t think this should be Clinton’s first order of business in fixing the nation. There were so many other priorities.

That’s when the epiphany hit me … and two years later I stayed up all night with a big grin as Republican candidates retook the house and senate.

My point is – if the right buttons are “pushed” … ephiphanies can happen easily.

And … between Obama, Pelosi, and Reed – a great number of “buttons” are being pushed.

HondaV65 on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Counter-argument: the more government bureaucracy there is, the less your vote even matters. Your vote can’t touch a bureaucrat any more than your complaints at the DMV can improve your place in line.

spmat on October 8, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Good piece, regardless. Thanks DZ.

spmat on October 8, 2009 at 4:41 PM

HondaV65…you give me hope. I agree, a great number of buttons are being pushed, and the buttons are previously totally uninvolved (politically) citizens.
I grow very very weary following the stories and trying to get friends and family to pay attention. I long for something positive and uniting to come along that we can all agree on. There’s not much right now, but I’m hopeful.

Catherine Wilkinson on October 8, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Great post Doc!

And … between Obama, Pelosi, and Reed – a great number of “buttons” are being pushed.
HondaV65 on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Honda, I pray you are right.

JusDreamin on October 8, 2009 at 4:51 PM

After the preliminary ‘adjustment’ of the latest wealth redistribution scheme subsides, it will be fascinating to see in whose pockets all that wealth (and power) winds up. Then the ‘shock phase’ will set in and things will get really interesting. People will think and do things that they never imagined they were capable of for the sake of just surviving. Such has been the case of every nation/society/culture in history that has ever undergone this kind of ‘change’.

sawbuck on October 8, 2009 at 4:54 PM

There is certainly more truth to this than most citizens want to engage in. Being involved takes much time, energy and focus. Unfortunatly, most people either have little left of the three to give, or simply prefer that Nanny take care of them and the details. I guess another class would be those citizens that are truly dumb. The left is counting on the folks wanting Nanny for votes. Probably counting on the dumb too as they seem to be in a perpetual cycle of producing sound bites and legislation that appeal to the “hopeless and downtrodden”. I understand, I truly do, how a working couple with kids has little time, energy or focus for politics. Without going into detail, I’ve lived that life, am a Grandpa now, and as engaged as I tried to remain in staying informed and involved in the PROCESS, I chose to get a little sleep instead of staying up until midnight or later, knowing I had to start breakfast for the kids at 5am, and not getting them in bed until 9-10pm after activities, homework, et al. I now understand why my folks were seemingly disengaged during my youth, whereas I had a lot more time and energy to commit to understanding what was going on in the world.

Perhaps this may become the legacy of the baby-boomers, so active during the late 50′s through the early 70′s. Not only does it seem that the music of the era, the time of “tin soldiers and Nixon coming”, seem to give way to “Dance the night away”, but we got the last of the Cold War leaders to be replaced with the first of the ‘Anything Goes’ leaders. Shouldn’t be too strange to see the transition in retrospect. Now we’ll see the mature hippies, tree huggers, radicals, and others go to the voting booths with 25 years of raising kids, work, and reflection to guide their votes. And the proper amount of time, energy and focus to commit to the effort. At least now, we don’t have to start breakfast at 5am for the kids, just a light meal to make the meds go down.

Robert17 on October 8, 2009 at 5:07 PM

There were episodes of “American Idol” and “Desperate Housewives” to watch.

I, for one, am inexorably hooked on; Bones, Lie To Me, & Sons of Anarchy (my wife is nuts for Dirty Jobs – I think she’s hot for Mike Rowe). Having said that, I still watch approximately four hours per day of news/commentary. I dedicate at least four hours per day to approximately 15 web sites/blogs that I have found I can trust to keep me up to speed. And when I can find the time, I have a stack of ten or so books that I work on slowly but surely.

I’m guessing that during my typical work day, I visit Hot Air at least 25 times a day monitoring the “headline” updates. Most all of the other sites that I enjoy post a batch of daily headlines and/or links in the morning that remain static until the next day’s update. Some sites, like Neil Boortz, I’ve been visiting for years. Others, like Conservative Grapevine, are relatively new additions to my stable. I work in a seriously reinforced concrete building so AM talk radio is out of the question – besides, it’s almost impossible for me to concentrate when Michael Savage is going off on a serious rant at 120 decibles.

I’ve come to the conclusion that despite the existence of the FNC, I’d be a complete wreck without the internet. And my gut tells me so would most of the rest of ya’ll. Books can be months, if not years behind. Magazines at least a week or two. But damn … 15 seconds after Pelosi gets the heebee-geebee’s cause Reid just gropped her at a press conference and I got video on my desktop.

The grass-roots uprising will not be quelled unless the uber-leftists can figure out a way to squash this instantaneous access to a near infinite number of interpretational variations on an single occurrence – giving anyone willing to search the opportunity to find the truth that suits them best.

One hopes that those folks who couldn’t be bothered to discuss politics in 2008 will make time to talk about politics in future.

Yes …. one can hope. My eldest was rabbid for the Hope and Change and now I fear her stubborness in refusing to admit she was wrong is leading her down a path of irrational acceptance. She has now refused to even discuss the issue with my wife and I. Now that is some serious sand/head interaction. I’m afraid that the awakening many in the country have experienced may be several more crisis away for her and I shudder when considering what those crisis might be.

oldfiveanddimer on October 8, 2009 at 5:10 PM

I’m fatigued …I’m one of those who attends tea parties, emails info to many, keep up with the pending legislaton, call and fax my representatives knowing I’m going to be blown off( live in CA) yet I know I can’t give up because that’s what they need from us to succeed. The only thing though is I don’t give money to the Republicans anymore, I give to SarahPac.

As always great post Dr Zero

CCRWM on October 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Thanks DZ – I needed this today. Some of the comments have also helped. I am a politic/news junkie and the whole CBO report on the non-bill reducing the defict or whatever and the spin that followed made me sick. I need to take a week off from all news but I care too much and have to look. At least I hope its that I care too much and not that I want to be the one that sees the car accident (hard to tell sometimes). The Palin bashing is affecting me a bit these days (I think she has value as a person and politician). A co-worker was Palin bashing and I had to do what I could not to get in his face or tell him to shut the fvck up. Not to mention the constant double standards being paraded in my face. I am having a rough week sorting out my thoughts these days and finding peace in the midst of all of this Obama/Pelosi/Reid slight of hand. If any of these ideas were any good they wouldnt have to hide behind closed doors. I still have faith that people are getting it – but then I see the Detroit video and Franken on his pedestal and feel like crap again. Sorry for the mini rant. Levin is sick and he usually makes me feel better.

Jussi on October 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM

Please stop.

doufree on October 8, 2009 at 5:35 PM

I’m fatigued …I’m one of those who attends tea parties, emails info to many, keep up with the pending legislaton, call and fax my representatives knowing I’m going to be blown off( live in CA) yet I know I can’t give up because that’s what they need from us to succeed. The only thing though is I don’t give money to the Republicans anymore, I give to SarahPac.

We have a Tea Party meeting tonight in Monterey – and even these give me pause as it is a near certainty that several attendees will attempt to hijack the meeting with their own personal agendas. Group think and mindless agendas drive me nuts.

And yes …. the CA thing is of tremendous concern to us right now. We own several properties and selling/moving to somewhere friendly is out of the question with almost 40% of the value gone. All I can think of at this point is protecting myself, my loved ones, and my property.

oldfiveanddimer on October 8, 2009 at 5:37 PM

My Congressman is a nut, our nut, but a nut. He ran on 4 principles by which he would vote/legislate. He has kept that promise. Here’s the 4:

Is it moral?

Is it Constitutional?

Do we need it?

Can we afford it?

Tom

marinetbryant on October 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Upon reflection – my previous post was that of a whining bitch. My apologies. (I did feel better after I wrote it though)

Jussi on October 8, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Indifference becomes consent.

It seems unsuccessful activism gives way to consent, as well.

Kralizec on October 8, 2009 at 5:54 PM

We are now seeing the results of the lazy behavior of some Americans.
Mad Mad Monica on October 8, 2009 at 10:02 AM

I wouldn’t say it’s entirely laziness, although that’s true for some.

Too many Americans took for granted the fact that they were free to go about their lives, free to *not* have to think about the President, the King, the Emperor, the Party, or the Great Leader.

But that freedom was by design. The founding fathers wanted us to be free to go about our lives and seek our happiness. The result of that freedom gave us the greatest and most powerful nation in history.

Unfortunately, too many Americans failed to understand how fragile and exceptional that freedom is, and failed to defend it from the encroachment of government power.

ZenDraken on October 8, 2009 at 5:57 PM

“Blind choice is not free choice, and too many aspects of State-controlled life are hidden behind a shroud of complexity.”

Time to throw them all out, burning every law stopping at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and start all over…

Seven Percent Solution on October 8, 2009 at 6:00 PM

The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist. Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

1) Doc Zero, I need to equate you with Paine, because you both speak common sense.

2) It seems, as you and many others have pointed out here, that many Americans find it easier to acquiesce and abandon their political duties to produce a government that represents its citizenry, rather than stultifies it with sleight-of-hand, bread, and circuses

3) Paine, along with many of his contemporaries, saw political revolution as a right and a foregone necessity to effect political change

3) I must ask, where in America today, are there enough citizens willing to directly challenge the legitimacy of a government that no longer preserves and protects the rights of the governed?

4) I ask, because I hear talk, but sense fear and complacency. Will it take government cameras in every home, government peace patrols on every corner, in every mall, at every school, neighbors informing on neighbors, ration lines, and a complete government takeover of all media before the people act?

5) Won’t it be too late by that time? I agree with you, that the time to stand for your beliefs is now., if I’m reading you correctly. Otherwise, I can imagine horrendous bloodshed in the not too distant future. It may be avoidable if action is taken now, not later. I’m afraid that shying away from such a clash due to political indifference, if it occurs, will be impossible.

You’ve detailed something that should strike a nerve in anyone who cares about the future of this country. We’ve allowed ourselves to become a nation with collective political ADHD. We have a very brief period in time to treat it, otherwise, the king and his minions at court triumph.

creekspecter on October 8, 2009 at 6:01 PM

The fatigue everyone is feeling is battle fatigue.

War is work. It is relentless, it is monotonous and crushingly boring, it is starkly terrifying, it is exhausting, and it may seem like it will never end.

In war, you will get fatigued, but that does not mean you will be defeated. The enemy is fatigued, too. All the better.

Stay solid. Stand by your principles and your goals and keep going. If you feel overwhelmed, just deal with this day, or this hour. And for Pete’s sake, take a break once in awhile! Go for a walk! Take a little trip to the beach, the forest, whatever recharges you.

And know this: This is not the end of the world. It will get better. It will not last forever. And we have everything we need to win this thing.

ZenDraken on October 8, 2009 at 6:18 PM

Liberals believe the political is personal.

Well now it is for sure.

Fascism is not about to happen here. It has happened here.

Dhuka on October 8, 2009 at 6:40 PM

I like Dr Zero very much but he needs an editor.

RobCon on October 8, 2009 at 7:07 PM

OohRah, Doc!

HotJavaJack on October 8, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Nailed it again, Doc. I was just saying on another thread that we’d better keep the protests, faxes and e-mails going, but in addition better get involved in finding small-govt. candidates and back them to the hilt — precinct politics. We are in the fight of our Country’s life. If we back down now, we will be known as the silent majority who gave away the store along with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Christian Conservative on October 8, 2009 at 7:27 PM

The wacky left coast is finally learning you can’t tax the tar out of businesses and have hundreds of govt. programs when there is no money coming in to the coffers. California is broke and broken and they are still looking for something to tax. The saying,”As California goes the rest of the country goes”, I hope not but it is looking that way as each day goes by.

mixplix on October 11, 2009 at 8:18 AM