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The Aftermath: Presidential Elections and other Stories in the Meat Market


Brief Observations At the Still Point

Only those with faith in the structure of governance can tolerate criticism toward power. The relation to power in a putatively Christian-centered culture is one of the prime relations. The evangelicals carry with them two extraordinary insights that appeal to personal faith but don't work in practical life. One is that we are near the end-time, therefore, it doesn't matter what happens. Applied to an individual consciousness that may be a soothing way to view things. "Our stay is brief so we should endure." However, if you apply that to the working of practical affairs it is a great danger. At some point the rational has to kick in and say, "well, we don't know what happens exactly and we must plan as though the Earth orbits the sun for many years to come."

The most apocalyptic moment in this country came in the early-to-mid 70's when it appeared all tires had sheared off the vehicle and it was careering to the cliffs below. It is very difficult to communicate to people how dark and "end-time" that period was.

Among the things we attribute that to was a combination of drug-taking and the collapse of authority that happened after Vietnam and Watergate and with the uprushing popular movements in civil rights, environmentalism, etc. There was a rise in cults and "new ageism," and of "dropping out," or "alienation." It will be an interesting time to study for future historians.

Now there is another apocalyptic feeling initiated by two things: The rise of evangelicalism and the terrorist attack. The other extraordinary insight of the evangelicals is that Christ asserted the primacy of God over both the Church and State. This is a correct assumption and why the first Christians separated themselves from the state as much as they could.

And there is nothing quite as powerful as good works done anonymously in the dark corners of the world.

The danger is the way in which this simple theocracy is applied by the evangelicals. They have rationalized the ancient order of King-rule and, in fact, the theocracies one see's in the Middle-East. "God rules all, my faith has put me in direct contact with God, therefore I will rule."

The frightening thing is how the religious right have tried to wipe away the careful reasoning of the framers of the Constitution. The separation of church and state required a new type of citizen who could partition his faith from his responsibilities as a citizen. He would be fulfilled as a thinking person and as a person of faith. The stark division between these things would end and the "house would no longer be divided against itself."

But, by pitting one against the other the whole thing unravels. The sublime beauty of America is destroyed. And it consigns itself to a historic role that is predictable. Power-mad believers against power-mad secularists or systems thinkers or scientists.

If God is to rule, whose God? Why not have representatives of every God ruling things? And why is your interpretation of God more real or substantial than mine? And are these beliefs unassailable? Why should I permit you to tell me that your belief requires me to do things that I don't want to do?

The problem is the apparent collapse of modern philosophy but we will have to sort that out for another time.

March 29, 2005

The attention should not be on journalists but, of late, they have been front and center. For one thing the government is dissolving the shield law protection that allows journalists access to sources without having to reveal who they are. Journalists are being shot at and killed in combat. Journalists are being vilified by nuts from the right-wing. And make no mistake about it, they are nuts in every sense of the word. Right-wing blogging nuts represent one of the most anti-American strains imaginable. They are the proverbial ass-lickers and will try to kill anyone who tries to dislodge their tongues.

The greater problem is the intense fear moving through the American public like a tsunami. It has trapped the spirit of the American people and shut it down in ways I haven't seen in thirty years of being aware of things. Certainly, in the 80's there was a reaction to the earlier period of time, a period of turmoil. People turned against it and headed in another direction under the wing of Ronald Reagan. But, this is different. This is something that, in and of itself, is a crisis.

What one sees is a lack of confidence in freedom, a lack of confidence in a system of checks and balances. What one sees is a lack of confidence in a society filled with sight and sound that may not be our own. Fright. And so, from the American people comes nothing new or vital. No new ideas, no new creative effusion, no new forms of freedom, no ideas, nothing, nada.

That is the sad condition of this time. An emptiness filled with fear will not succeed to the future.

And so we look for that ax that Kafka mentions to break open the frozen seas within us.

For that ax we would give something of value.

"Liberalism" is no longer the problem. The people have successfully buried the old liberalism and any new idea will have to come from original thinking and imagination. The problem is the strength of the right-wing and its willingness to hide behind "stability of society," or "patriotism" or any number of abstract notions thrown up and out of their frightful emotions, on behalf of hatred. The problem is the "congress" between government and religion. It will all play itself out to the bitter end I suppose and end with horrific scandals and a decimated population of under-achieving, frightful people.

The fright of much of the American people is symbolized by the small but meaningful scandals in the Bush Administration; foisting paid mouthpieces on the public as "journalists." They are saying in no uncertain terms, "we fear the truth, we fear reality, we fear the people, we fear the implications of living in a free nation."

They are frightened of a war that has not been defined yet for the American people. And there's no doubt in my mind that the threat is real and must be dealt with.

March 9, 2005

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Previous Events:

Post-election 2004

Election 2004

On Political Culture

On the Debates

War on Terrorism

The California Recall

The Progressive Era

What is a perfect President?

On Political Culture

On JFK Assassination

The Clinton Bubble

The state of things


Affirmative Action

Liberals and Nuders

The Trent Lott Affair

Why the Democrats are in Trouble

The Uncertain Decade

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