Saturday, December 17, 2005
"We the people" and George Bush's America
Reading "A Scoop Deferred" by Paul Farhi in the Post one gets the impression that it is not what he described that is important but what he left unsaid.
- Huey Long, known as "the Kingfish," dominated the state of Louisiana from 1928 until his assassination in 1935, at the age of 42. Simultaneously governor and a United States senator, the canny Kingfish uttered a prophecy that haunts me in this late summer of 2005, 70 years after his violent end: "Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!"
- In 2005, what is self-reliance? I can recognise three prime stigmata of the American religion: spiritual freedom is solitude, while the soul's encounter with the divine (Jesus, the Paraclete, the Father) is direct and personal, and, most crucially, what is best and oldest in the American religionist goes back to a time-before-time, and so is part or particle of God. Every second year, the Gallup pollsters survey religion in the United States, and report that 93% of us believe in God, while 89% are certain that God loves him or her on a personal basis. And 45% of us insist that Earth was created precisely as described in Genesis and is only about 9,000 or fewer years old. The actual figure is 4.5 billion years, and some dinosaur fossils are dated as 190 million years back. Perhaps the intelligent designers, led by George W Bush, will yet give us a dinosaur Gospel, though I doubt it, as they, and he, dwell within a bubble that education cannot invade.
- Some of my friends and students suggest that Iraq is President Bush's white whale, but our leader is absurdly far from Captain Ahab's aesthetic dignity. The valid analogue is the Pequod; as Lawrence says: "America! Then such a crew. Renegades, castaways, cannibals, Ishmael, Quakers," and South Sea Islanders, Native Americans, Africans, Parsees, Manxmen, what you will. One thinks of our tens of thousands of mercenaries in Iraq, called "security employees" or "contractors". They mix former American Special Forces, Gurkhas, Boers, Croatians, whoever is qualified and available. What they lack is Captain Ahab, who could give them a metaphysical dimension.
- What Whitman meant (as Lawrence knew) was that the United States itself was to be the greatest of poems. But with that grand assertion, I find myself so overwhelmed by an uncomfortable sense of irony, that I cease these reflections. Shelley wore a ring, on which was inscribed the motto: "The good time will come." In September, the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying at Zion Church in Whistler, Alabama: "The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come on time if we just wait."
I think that we are just so desensitized to corruption, we can compare things to Clinton and the reactions then to relatively minor matters (in my view at least!)but look at how indifferent we are on this!
I'll come back when I am not so fed up and tired... and read more.
Lew will be posting now with us at "Lose the Noose" (he often comments at Hydrogen and Stupidity where I think I first made your acquaintance!!!) I like to encourage his angry rantings...they are necessary!!! We all need to speak to truth. Anywhere we can.