Meditations (Politics): Don’t Organize, Mourn
Don’t Organize, Mourn
Well the inevitable happened. The dark genius of Karl Rove brought millions of Christian followers (not of Jesus but of Bush) out of the woodwork, and ''W'' was re-elected.
Even though I predicted just how the race would unfold, it gives me cold comfort. Like everyone else who sees the Bush Administration for what it is, I’m still recovering.
During Cheney’s introduction to Bush's acceptance speech yesterday, the discerning viewer noticed that the public address system went out for a few minutes in the hall where the scary crowd of American flag waving, “USA, USA” chanting sycophants had been waiting for 16 hours for this moment.
(Until this campaign, crowds in American presidential elections hoisted the signs and shouted the names of their respective candidates. Evidence of the jingoistic menace the Bush Administration poses to the world is that at his rallies, American flags and team USA chants became de rigueur.)
A hollow, tinny, eerie reverberation filled the room. Cheney’s voice became distant, and possessed of its true timbre, a mechanical sound that gave one the creeps. Just then a baby in the vast audience began to cry. The single competing sound of a wailing child was somehow amplified until it matched the vice-president’s empty echo.
Another creepy moment came today, at one of Bush’s rare press conferences. The Repubs are desperate to use the fictional “political capital” Bush gained from his decisive win, even though his Pyrrhic victory signifies nothing, except more of the same.
A reporter mistakenly told Bush that Arafat had just died, which might have provided a rare unscripted moment, except that W replied with a carefully scripted 'Christian' response. Speaking of the man he hated so much that he refused to even talk to him, before allowing the Israelis to keep him holed up in a bombed out bunker for the last two years, our faith-based president said, “I’ll pray for his soul.” Such fake sentiments shake my soul.
After my last political piece, “Prepare for Bush,” I got a lot guff from people on the Left for being “pessimistic” and “defeatist.” Some of it was even more pernicious than the vicious attacks from the Right. This was the most disheartening aspect of the re-election to me.
One pest wrote again and again as the results were coming in, and the initial exit polls indicated that Kerry was winning in Florida and Ohio. The reader, who said in an earlier letter, “I agree with many your positions,” spoke from on high, “I am appealing to you to knock off the new-age nonsense and engage the enemy effectively…NOT BY ANNOUNCING TO YOUR READERSHIP THAT THE BATTLE IS ALREADY LOST” (caps his).
This reflects a classic philosophy in some quarters on the Left. But it distorts what I was saying and where I’m coming from--to use an old California colloquialism.
This election shatters all the old progressive political chestnuts in America. As comedian John Stewart quipped, “I miss voter fraud.” The evidence is overwhelmingly clear: the huge turnout reflects the majority worldview in the United States.
Clearly, a deeper understanding of current political reality is urgently needed, going way beyond the USA. But many on the Left still refuse to see that politics is more about emotion than reason, more about zeitgeist than analysis. ‘This nation is not dead - certainly not spiritually dead - although some of its leaders are,’ they repeat, as if (not unlike their counterparts on the Right), saying so enough times makes it true.
If spiritual truths are denied, the metaphysical realities are almost completely rejected. As I said a few weeks ago, collective darkness needed to have the appearance of a close race to crush as many spirits as possible. The race looked close (and early exit polls scared the poop out of the Bushites for a while).
But rather than look at their own perceptions and philosophies, some ‘sympathetic’ readers took a strange attitude. For example, one said (after the election), that I was engaging in a “self-fulfilling prophecy that will culminate in a postulated disaster that will allow you an ‘I told you so’.” It’s the old story--kill the messenger.
This kind of thinking ensures more defeats, as Bush and his clique (including Blair of Britain, Berlusconi of Italy, Koizumi of Japan, Putin of Russia, and Howard of Australia) continue to suck all the air out of the international space.
This, my friends, is what the death of a nation’s soul looks like. It’s not hard to see what’s coming next. The only question is whether enough people will be prepared. America is dead. Let us redouble our efforts to transform ourselves, work with the poor and marginalized, and build in the new global space.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.