Mar 3, 2011

How extraordinary it is that four months ago conservatives held such a grip on public sentiment. From deficits to healthcare a progressive could not get in a word edgewise. Obama was turning into political poison, the righteousness of the Right was "on loan from God", as el Rushbow would say.

And if the puppet's hands were stringed to the Koch control bar, and even if some people knew that, it didn't matter. Because you couldn't feel that effect. It didn't seem to make any difference if that were true. What was important was that you had your anger and you were right to be angry, and anger was effective. It was fun to have power, to feel that wind in your hair.

A blink later and now you can see the plot. It's not a "conspiracy theory" anymore; it's just the way it is and, you could argue, always was. And now everyone has a front row seat so they can actually hear Gov. Walker's reverence for Charles Koch. You can understand their strategy. It's all so clear now.

And isn't it odd how those union protestors suddenly seem to have stolen the place of the Tea Party. Now the vindication is theirs.

But here's the point: As crazy as it might have seemed, there are a group of conservatives who really want to undo this country, who really want to crush unions and constitutionalize the power of the corporation and put in stone the wealth and influence of how many is it, 300,000 people?

And we're not talking about people who can't spell or who live in a car phone in Fremont or who believe the president is not an American or who say, how dare that Aunt Jemima in the White House tell me how much grease I'm gonna eat....

Meanwhile, in the background, those other protesters, from Casa to Baghdad. And there is a resonance, a vague connection between them and teachers in Madison and cops in Newark. The common protest is against those who would take away rights. It's the many against the few, those who imagine they have lost power against those who imagine they have power.

And maybe in this country this really is part of the last stand of a wealthy, Caucasian empire. No matter what you call it, or how you think of it, the truth is that the intermittent spirit of socialism that runs through America, in communes and coops the American Utopian movement — Brook Farm, New Harmony, and Shakers — and certainly with the industrial age, is burning brighter. Materialism, as we've known it here, is flickering.

Of course, there's still the desire to acquire, to buy and possess, to get the new new thing, but that desire seems increasingly mixed with fatigue and a kind of listlessness. You could argue it's the last legacy of the age of Aquarius. We've been told that for a long time and now perhaps we're beginning to accept it.

The long slow decline into the 'littler world' of Europe is what right wing labrador retrievers would say. That's party true. But it's also America maturing, and getting smarter and wiser, not just more frail.

The essence of America and the American experience is the role of the individual. Of course. We would all agree on that. And that's what needs protection. And monitoring. In the end, our well being in every sense is less a measure of the competing powers of unions and corporations, than nurturing the instinct to remain free, to hold on to a sense of individual freedom even as we slowly, painfully, even appropriately disappear into the great morass of ever larger communities and anonymity.

1 comment:

Anjuli said...

Having been an intermittent visitor to this country- and then now living here for 3 years- it has been sad to watch things which those who have lived here all along don't seem to see.

I dislike the politics and the religiosity ... I attempt to understand the divisions... misunderstandings...and the deep need to have CAMPS...left or right. It is easy to destroy a nation- but it is not so easy to put it back together again...let us not forget "Humpty Dumpty"