Thursday, May 10, 2012

Confessions of a hocks-hunting man

I think sometimes of how different everything would be, for those of us writing in this form from America, if the cataclysm of virulent Republicanism hadn't deprived our institutions of efficacy, to sustain the fragile balance inbred in our system between creative separatism and national cohesion. The separatists' hijacking of the nation, under a sequence of campaigns of terror, financed by parvenu wealth and given voice by religious thugs and hyperpatriots, seems all but complete in the imperilment of an incumbent President by a collapse intended by his adversaries. In this entry, less than 10 away from the 1,000th, I have to reckon with some surprise of hope.

Our grand conflation of greed and exceptionalist hysteria, which we saw reborn in the handiwork of Richard Nixon's prophetic victory of 1968, presses interminably to precipitate the terminal Crash of the United States as a nation governed by a free people, not the faceless, irresponsible, limited-liability entities which exercise the real power over its affairs on behalf of a handful of self-dealers. We were given the means to study this decline in real time, contemplating in calm its precedents in our Mauve Decade and the long abdication of government between Wilson and Roosevelt.

The city of coffee we briefly glimpsed, as the promise of our last respectable Supreme Court and the momentary vitality of Lyndon Johnson's liberal coalition, was rendered only more compelling by the fellowship in which it dawned, and the unmentionable fires through which it was drawn in the rise of the Republicans. In this street scene from San Francisco, now twenty years ago, the faces of George HW Bush and Jesse Helms share the spectacle of a genocide without the slightest trace of coincidence or remorse. If any-thing the handiwork of the second Bush presidency was even more apocalyptic. Refusing any duty of repair, their heirs crave their offices only to destroy them.

I know the bizarre illusion of entitlement that clings to privilege; the bacchic rites of indulgence were not unrevealed to me. I know (and we all do) another experience, of underclass non-white teens I taught at my college in summer, while rioting tore apart their neighborhoods and endangered their families, in liberalism's Katrina moment. But I saw, instead, Nixon's gleeful misuse of the Executive branch to let peril propagate itself, to condemn it for electoral gain. I watched this Party, mine at birth, learn to thrive on the pain of this nation, and learn to want it.

Tuesday's transparent ballot scam in North Carolina, a cynical voter registration coup against the youth vote that drove the state 'blue' in 2008, showed how reliably bigotry can rally the base. The delusional elections in France and Greece portrayed how erratic a democracy can be under pressure; and pressure is the American Right Wing's middle name. The city of coffee needed a re-fill, and yesterday it did get one from the President of the United States. I don't dispute that he had to do it; but no one can gloat that it may harm him, and at the same time deny, it is his job. The pot is in everyone's hand.

ii   Derek

iii  Photo, Laurent
      Leica M-6, Kodak Plus-X Pan

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