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Brief Observations At the Still Point 


Try as we do to flee the arena of politics, here we are. Politics is dangerous territory for writers to enter. There is no truth in politics, only argument and manipulation. In fact, it becomes clear after some years of being a citizen that politics is a repressive form of knowing in a free, liberal democratic society. The first free act of the citizen should be the leaping out from the assumptions, prejudices, ignorance, hatred, emotionalism of the politics that has dominated him or her.

Notice: Those pinned down in a political form of knowing lose their potentials and sense of humor. If one offers a truth they are killed off. If one offers a con job the people give them the world and more. This disconcerting thought doesn't forbid us from wading into the stink of politics. And stink is there whether conservatives or liberals are running the show. They begin with a kind of sweet smell that decays over two decades. Then the good people have to open the windows and let the stink waft out into the open, clean skies.

Writers get fascinated by politics because power is a rather hypnotic feature of any time, any era. But the real drama in a democracy is not political power but the system of governance that churns below the battles over power. Is the system of governance well? Is it sickly? Politics works like the economic system; there is competition, one strives for their self-interest, leaders arise to stake claim to that self-interest, and the whole appears to work, oddly, like the "invisible hand," that is supposed to guide free capital to the promised land.

The "invisible hand" is now fracturing and, even, destroying the Republican Party. And this is necessary to set up a surge of vitality in the opposing party so that new agendas, new ideas, new personalities can leap up and create a new public. It simply is not about Mrs. Miers. It's about the direction the Republican Party is going. It's about a struggle between the neo-con's and the right-wing religious types. The neo-con's, to a large extent, represent a kind of patronizing "what is good for us is good for all," attitude that is ancient and anti-American. Very smart men, for the most part, and a few obnoxious women make up this faction of the Republican Party. They did a very intelligent thing by looking at the extraordinary weakness of the counter-culture and welfare state that marked the liberal way back in the 60's and 70's. They were as much a part of the "invisible hand" as the rise of the digital publishing system to do battle with the corrupt Big Media. Their power and influence has been wide in the last two decades and any group with that type of power will corrupt and have to be overcome in a manner of speaking. That's the American way. That's the dynamics of a free society. "No standing elite's please!"

We live in interesting times. The times now are closer to the 60's than any other time since those fabled years; there is a tremendous tipping of the pyramid. And there are vast global events going on, just as in the 60's.

The outrage over the poor woman is so public and profound you wonder if the Republicans haven't been smoking some of the ganja stashed away in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Actually, the firestorm resembles a case of bad alcohol served at a bad party. Eventually, a fight breaks out on the lawn between drunken men who are friends. It happens at 2 in the morning and things break up after this. And they all suffer in the morning.

Obviously, the Republicans, at least the elite intellectual types who Governor Wallace called "pointy-headed intellectuals," are reading the tea leaves, the polls, the temperament in the present day and want to cut loose of the lame duck president who is going to start to resemble a very sad figure.

And isn't it interesting that the "pointy-headed intellectuals" are the thought-arm of a conservative base made up of a lot of Wallace type supporters? That comes about when there is a deft political leadership that is able to convince each group that it is the core and power of the party. Perhaps this deftness has left the stage. It remains to be seen.

The problem, of course, is that there are no vital ideas coming from the liberal wing. None. Their analysis and criticism of the policy in Iraq can be right-on target and acute. But that is a because they are now quite practiced in being the loyal opposition. Quite frankly, the left has been shell-shocked for the past two decades. And this is where the political correctness of the university has dampened the ability of the left to get new ideas. There won't be any new ideas until you break the hegemony of old/new leftism in academia.

Academia often looks like a failed writer massacred by the will to power; its will to power that didn't pan out. So sad. Tragic in a way.

October 26, 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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