Thursday, November 20, 2008

The fable of the mountain and the mouse

"A mountain had gone into labour and was groaning terribly. Such rumours excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse." Aesop

"The Americans who voted for Barack Obama as president were promised change they could count on, but it rather looks as if they may actually be asked to make do with a mildly refurbished Clinton Administration, with many of the same officials and nearly all of the same policies. The policies are drawn from the same centrist Democratic Party sources as those of Bill Clinton, and Obama’s admirers might even find themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State -- which makes no sense whatever. Are there no significant differences of view on war and peace between the two of them? Why did the American (and international) public have inflicted upon it a year and a half of Democratic party primaries in addition to the national election contest if the Democratic race could have been settled by the flip of a coin between people who believed in the same policies and thought the same thoughts?" William Pfaff
David Seaton's News Links
There is a saying in Spanish, "did we need such big saddlebags for such a short ride?"

You'd think I'd be happy to have all my past cynicism proved right... and so quickly, but I'm not... maybe if I lived on another planet, or if I were a future Chinese historian lounging in my comfortable study in Beijing a hundred years from now, chuckling as I read about the absurdity of America's slow motion drop into inanity, I would, but I'm not, so I wont.

People are talking about another "Great Depression" and comparing our period to the terrible 1930s, but aside from the "clack-clack-CLACK" feeling of a roller coaster about to go over the top and down, there is not much similarity.

The first and biggest difference that strikes me is the terribly tacky, almost drugged quality of superficiality and shallowness in everything today. The 1930s were serious times with great writers, poets, painters, cinematographers, philosophers and politicians all at the top of their game. Ideas, utopias, infernos, evil and innocence fought using meaningful language and memorable symbols. Only Bush and Cheney briefly managed to recapture some of the sinister deadliness of those times. The ghastliness of Bush had some seriousness about it. The veils were torn off of many things and for the first time most Americans were forced to take a good, hard look at ourselves: to waken from childish dreams and see ourselves as other see us.

At least, if nothing else, George W. Bush caused thousands of people to read America's last great public intellectual, Noam Chomsky, people that never would have read him otherwise. Bush brought Chomsky's texts alive and gave flesh to his insights.

Insight and consciousness are precious things, building blocks.

The left is about ideas, about facing reality bravely with full unblinking consciousness. An opportunity for the left to rebuild itself arose in the unlikely shape of George W. Bush and now it is about to be wasted.

Now after lengthy labor pains, with much moaning and groaning, the mountain has given birth to a mouse.

What makes me sad and angry is that the consciousness that has been raised during the Bush years is going to be sanitized and neutered as we tell ourselves another soothing bedtime story about ourselves to ourselves. DS

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

It was clear during Obama's campaign for those who were paying attention that he thought the elevation of himself to the presidency was change enough and from the point of view of getting elected he was probably right. His job now is to steady the tottering American empire. And that would have been true no matter which party or which candidate won the White House.