Back To This Month's Events
Events in April 2007
Events in Feb/March 2007
Events in January 2007
Events in Oct/Dec 2006
Events in August/September 2006
Events in June/July 2006
Events in April/May 2006
Events in Feb/March 2006
Events in January 2006
Events in December 2005
Events in November
Events in October
Events in September
Events in August
Events in July
Events in June
Events in May
Events in April
Events in March
Events in February
Events in January 2005
Events in December 2004
Sunoasis Jobs! Classifieds
Writers Notebook
Brief Impressions At the Still Point 

By David Eide


"It does not take a majority to prevail...but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

Samuel Adams

Some Impressions on Political Candidates

I listened to the Democratic debate on CNN and came away genuinely impressed by the row of candidates. They know their stuff because each one of them is intimately connected with the running of the government., either as Senators or ex-Ambassadors and such.

Only one person on that stage had the indefinable quality that says "leadership" rather than "just-another-ambitious-politician." And that person was Obama who is either a leader or a kind of glass figurine. And by some of the looks Hillary gave him, I think she sees him as fragile and can't wait to sweep him to the floor where he will shatter.

My personal view is that the largest figure in the field wasn't at the debate and is waiting for the fatigue that will set in during the summer as Hillary sounds slicker than her husband and someone-who-is-nameless pushes Barack off the table to the bitter floor below.

That guy, of course, is Al Gore. And I still peg him as the front-runner for any number of reasons. One is because of the pure sense of justice that he won the election in 2000 and it was taken unfairly from him and he was a man about it. Two, is the mythic sense of the "parallel universe." We will get a chance to see what would have happened had the election gone the other way. It will be a kind of alternating current version of history rather than direct current. Third, he can come on stage as a hero-figure who has dismissed politics and involved himself in a cause and demonstrated great leadership ability outside the realm of official politics. He can become the Cinncinatus of modern American politics, which is closer to the Reagan model than anything the Republicans can put up there. Oh, by the way, he is vastly experienced in politics. And yet is not seen as political. He hasn't been tainted by the last eight years of Bushism and Democratic stupidism. So it's all set up. He'll wait until Hillary and Obama dip a bit, their campaigns tired. He will send a great electrical surge through the Democrats and have an excellent shot at the nomination.

Knowing how shoddy the people treat prophets I'll keep my views to myself.

* * * * * * * *

It's appalling when candidates try and convince voters that "government and the states they represent can be moral." I suppose there is a "the-states-obligation-to-moral- decisions" sort of philosophy but it is a mere fragment, a shadow of "the states-obligation- to-its-self-interest (ie. the majority of people)" sort of philosophy.

You could go to any number of states in the world and find in the government all kinds of men and women who uphold moral principles while sending many people to their deaths or poverty.

All of the candidates need to say this: "We (Americans) are in the tragic phase of our development. We can't go back and pretend we are not the center of world power, nay, the center of world history at this point. If we go back to more naive and provincial days we will simply go down, go down mighty to the long river of death as far as nation-states. If we decide the world is too nasty, too chaotic for our moral taste and retreat and lick our own wounds we could do so for a generation. But, eventually, the vacuum created by the withdrawal of America would see a rush to the center, a grand fight for that center and the emergence of a power that would be a deadly threat to the United States. So our isolation would simply inflict on a future generation a horrific war of survival. But if we persist in the Bush idealistic-stupidity we'll turn into a rogue nation despite all the good and decent people in it." Our candidate pauses and see's if his words have made any impact on the throng of citizens. No. He brings out plan B.

"Here, my dear American constituents, are some facts:

  • We will be hated by much of the world for the rest of our days as a nation-state. Much of this hatred will be fomented by dictators as a way to rally people and deflect criticism from the dictators own abuse of power. Don't listen to it. Listen only to constructive criticism.
  • Get off your asses and study what Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain, England, Moslems, Chinese among others did when they reached the pinnacle of world power. These are your lessons. We don't need to follow their dead paths but the whole psychological state of a people changes, its culture changes, at this lofty place. And when it goes down it never comes back.
  • The future will be decided by the health of the people. It will be decided by the collaboration between the people and the leaders they elect. It is the people who need to think about where America is, how it is orientated to the rest of the world, what it's self-interest is, who challenges that self-interest, and what imperils us as a people. A lot of that debate is underway now with the focus being terrorism.
  • What does it mean to be a "wise and prudent" nation-state in a world more dysfunctional now than at any time in history? Of course one could argue that every living, existential moment is a dysfunctional and dangerous one but each is crazy in its own way. Our dilemma is so profound it's almost painful to write down. Let's just say 19 crazy men were able to stop the globe in its tracks for a few days and leave it like that."

* * * * * * * *

I suppose the American people need to re-moralize themselves, understand what is at stake and how important it is that they leap beyond what they are, learn to sacrifice for the future, and to extend their ability to learn and comprehend the experience of the world and of the United States, the putative land that they love. We are privileged because we've been able to develop as we please in a womb-like comfort and security that makes all people envious. And we need to take that privilege and transform it into something startling new that the world has never seen. Unfortunately, Americans always seem to slip back, in their habit of thinking, into the inferior history our founders, at least, tried to propel us out of.

June 14, 2007

Some Impressions on Ugly Words

We too have our Victorian age. If, back then, a man had said another man didn't have "balls," there would have been a scandal. If a magazine had talked about "tits and asses," it would have been shut down due to outrage. We laugh now but we are as immersed in language-scrubbing as they were.

It's astounding to me how the shadow of one generation becomes the light of the next. The good of the generation is buried and the shadow carried up and out of the corpse of youth. The shadow gets credibility in the marketplace, eventually in politics and then the whole thing shudders into a nightmare. That is one impression snatched from the last forty years or so. The light of the present generation is equality and environmental enlightenment. It's shadow is resentment and ignorance. And I will be curious to see how the next era takes resentment and ignorance and turns them into light.

Bigotry is serious business in our time as sex was serious business back in the Victorian Age. It was a cartoonish attempt to make human beings more "divine" and less "animal." One can at least give them the credit for trying to live exemplary lives. Bigotry is serious business to us because we are aware of how wrongfully people have been turned against themselves in this society. In an era-to-be there may be a generation that says, "wait a minute that was in some distant past. We are all equal now or all the same and we despise each other just as much." A bad-word bloodbath may ensue.

We know that the Victorian Age lost its raison d'et for any number of reasons. Sex was active. Sexual talk was driven underground and a large porn industry existed for gentleman of leisure. The succeeding era has made it a kind of healthy plaything of no meaning or consequence, heightening the social tension since there is so much anticipation and resentment/sexual jealousy right under the skin. Go ask your favorite dark age if sex and violence fit hand-in-glove.

Oh, our judges in the future may say, "a sex-driven culture that celebrates itself with explicit sex and seeks to unleash every bit of sexual energy is one that will not sacrifice for the future. Thus they delivered us a screwed up era, thus we have returned to wearing black, full-length clothing."

It's also fascinating that a rapier word in one era is a flabby joke the next. And a word can be twisted at the foundations by what can only be described as human silliness. For instance, asking about the supply of hoes down at the hardware store is going to take on a whole different texture of meaning.

Obviously we are trying to do exactly what the Victorians tried to do: Live up to some ideal that is simply fodder for a new age that comes behind it and says, "your civil society is a lie."

The fact we repress some words but openly flout others makes us fairly transparent, especially for the novelist or social critic who wants to put the era to bed.

* * * * * * * *

Saying wrong things is often an excuse for irrational politics to leap into the hot vacuum to declare its piousness and to say that word destroys the integrity of our nation. The Right swam its way into power on that muck.

It raises the disturbing question, "with all the thought-police out in force for the past thirty years on both the left and right, how come the culture hasn't improved one iota?"

Where has all the language scrubbing got us?

And one could make an excellent case that the culture is worse off; cruder, coarser, with less redeeming quality than any other "great" culture ever produced. A society where people are afraid of each other. A culture where there is less equity than in the Victorian Age. A culture exhausted of dreams and wondering why it is so pessimistic.

* * * * * * * *

The most powerful antidote to the stupidity of Imus is the poise and beauty of the women he insulted. No more need be said about it.

For awhile the thought-police of many persuasions will be out in force, with cadres of bloggers showing the way, inspecting every sentence, every word uttered in public. It won't matter left or right. It won't matter black or white. The American culture is more susceptible to pandemonium in these matters than one cares to think about.

Or is it merely an entertainment to pass the day because life has become awfully boring and meaningless?

* * * * * * * *

Two types emerge out of a culture like this. One exploits the situation, the other understands the situation and searches in all the manure to find at least one seed worth recovering and then moves on and leaves the mess to itself.

May 8, 2007

Back to Media Resources
Back to Sunoasis Opinions

Click here to send your comments on what you read here.

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

Back to Media Resource page
copyright 2007