Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Martin LeFevre: Is the Tide Turning?

Meditations (Spirituality) - From Martin LeFevre in California

Is the Tide Turning?

Now that it’s all over but the shouting and crying for the Hillbillary campaign, America is faced with the stark contrast between Barack Obama and John McCain. Of course, Hillary will only bow out when the party bosses, led by the likes of Diane Feinstein of California, push her out.

In my last political piece, I predicted that if Obama were nominated, he would win by a whisker against McCain in November. Though I foresaw both Bush-Cheney wins, I’m not sure this one isn’t wishful thinking. After all, it’s easier to see a train wreck coming than it is to foresee a wreck averted.

The question I’ve been grappling with is this: Once darkness takes hold of a people, as it has in America for eight egregious years under Bush-Cheney, what does it take to dislodge it?

That is of course a philosophical question. But it is one made all the more urgent, and ironic, by Bush calling Obama an ‘appeaser’ when our infamous president spoke before the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of the Israeli state.

(By the way, why did you clap Elie Wiesel? Don’t you, of all people, see that this is a last-gasp attempt by this morally bankrupt regime to preempt a decent, rational American foreign policy?)

One is on thin ice when discussing a subject that has drowned the best philosophers, even without plunging into the icy depths of politics. Even the best governments are tinged with evil. But it is one thing to say government is a necessary evil, and quite another to say a particular administration is evil.

Even so, my concern here is not with the latest attempt by the Bush-Cheney clique to divert attention (something the mainstream media will always fall for because of their phony, surface idea of ‘balance’). Rather, my question has to do with whether the social-political conditions that gave rise to Bush-Cheney can be replaced by a campaign based primarily on the hope for change.

It’s de rigueur in progressive circles to blame the corporate media, voting fraud, or some other conspiracy for the effluvium of the Bush Administration. But in America, and most other Western democracies, governments reflect the will, or lack of it, of the people. Besides, one term of Bush-Cheney could have been an anomaly; two indicate an underlying pattern.

The single biggest fact about America, which none of the current candidates is even beginning to address, is our internal collapse. The Clintons embodied the narcissistic ‘90’s with all their talk of “the indispensable nation.” Bush-Cheney was the logical conclusion to that era. Now, without radical change in the body politic, can a third Bush term under John McCain be averted?

Of course, there are much bigger things at work in the metaphysics of world politics than whether a moribund superpower is able to keep from sinking into history entirely. Will the scales finally tip toward genuine cooperation, making possible effective action between and beyond borders on the environment, poverty, human rights, and a host of other great common challenges? Or will humankind continue to fragment the planet and itself until half the animal species are gone and half of humanity is dead?

The reason I’m for Obama is that world citizens can work with him. Obama is a thoughtful person and a fast learner. He has principles, but isn’t ideological. (Without principles, being non-ideological is a weakness rather than strength.)

Therefore, when the next international catastrophe on the scale of 9.11 hits (and make no mistake, it will happen), Obama won’t react, he’ll respond. Unlike McCain, he isn’t upholding a ‘we’ll never surrender our flag and country’ mentality. And unlike Hillary, he doesn’t feel the need to prove he has the cajones to deal with men in a man’s world.

It’s worth noting that there is no word in the English language for the opposite of misogyny, the hatred of women. There should be, since the hatred of men is where many of Hillary’s supporters are coming from. (And not all of them are women, just as not all misogynists are men.)

My beef is not so much with Hillary however, but with the Clintons. Hillary is running under the glaring blight of the Clinton dysfunction. To most of her older female supporters, that doesn’t matter. They idolize her precisely because she has her cad of a husband by the balls.

Even that wouldn’t matter if the political were only personal. But again, the Clintons gave rise to two Bush-Cheney terms, as Bill’s buddy-buddy world tour with George Senior a few years ago attests.

For all his difference in political tone, Barack Obama is a politician, and politicians are navigators of the status quo. Only overwhelming events produce the possibility of radical change, and then only if people, and their leaders, are ready to respond.

The questions then are two. What is required to overthrow the rule of darkness and deadness in America that Bush-Cheney represent? And if he does manage to get elected, will Obama steer America into a cooperative course with the rest of the world, no matter what crises confront him, and us?


- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: The author welcomes comments.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Scoop HiveMind Project: Universal Basic Income - Are We Up For It?

This is an opportunity for you as one of the 4 million potential funders and recipients of a Universal Basic Income to collectively consider the issue:
1. Is UBI is a desirable policy for New Zealand; and
2. How should a UBI system work in practice. More>>


Lyndon Hood: National Announces Plan To Hit Youth With Big Mallets

The National party has announced its youth justice policy, which includes a controversial plan for recidivist serious youth offenders to be hit over the head with a comically large rubber mallet. More>>


Lyndon Hood: This ->

It's been brought to my attention that Labour's new campaign slogan is "Let's do this". A collective call to action. A mission. I myself was halfway out of the couch before I realised I wasn't sure what it was I was supposed to do. More>>


Scoop Hivemind Report: What New Zealanders Think About Affordable Housing

Ordinary citizens have had very few venues where they can debate and discuss as to what they believe has led to the crisis in affordable housing and how we might begin to address this. The HiveMind on affordable housing was about redressing the balance. More>>


New Hivemind Exploration: Opening The Election - Freshwater Quality

This is an opportunity for you as one of the 4 million guardians of our common water resources to help us find mutually agreeable solutions to the critical task of collectively managing these resources for health and sustainability. More>>