Top Scoops

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

 

Martin LeFevre: Global Polity Now

Meditations - From Martin LeFevre in California

Global Polity Now

"I think our country sinks beneath the yoke; it weeps, it bleeds; and each day a gash is added to her wounds."
- Shakespeare, Macbeth

Will things change in America if the Democrats win control of both Houses of Congress in November, and the White House in 2008? More importantly, will such a shift restore genuine US leadership as "the sole remaining superpower?"

America just endured three school shootings within a week, the last by a milkman who slaughtered five Amish girls (and shot ten) in Pennsylvania because he was "mad at God." Has this eruption of evil in our schools initiated a protracted period of soul-searching?

Hardly. The 30-second national attention span was immediately absorbed in a fit of prurience and politics, when the deviant tendencies of a congressman from Florida, Mark Foley, became publicly known. Even a nuclear test by North Korea, one giant step backward for mankind, has only temporarily overtaken the pettiness.

The Democrats, voices hoarse from falling on deaf ears with Americans about the carnage in Iraq (people wish it would just go away), suddenly sing like a choir in perfect harmony. What did House Speaker Denny Hastert know about Foley's Internet escapades and when did he know it?

Reasonable people in America, and the world over, hope against hope that the pendulum will swing back from the Far Right to some semblance of political normalcy in this country and internationally. If the Democrats wrest control of both Houses of Congress from the Republicans, the wishful thinking goes, it will restore the old checks and balances in the US government, and perhaps even US leadership in the world.

That's not going to happen. Even though 53% of Americans want Democrats to take control of Congress (Republicans retain support from a hard core of about a third of the electorate, while 10 or 12% are undecided), the pendulum isn't going to swing back because it's irretrievably broken. It no longer matters which party is in power.

A case in point is right here in California. Our illustrious ŒGovernator,' Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, has rebounded from the debacle of last year's needless, anti-union referendum. (It was touted as a "referendum on Schwarzenegger," and cost the state over 50 million dollars.)

After getting elected, Arnold initially veered to the right, taking the usual Republican positions and openly supporting Bush. But when he had his butt handed to him in the referendum, he made a sharp left turn, courting Democrats with issues like global warming, stem cell research, and ending the genocide in Darfur. He correctly judged that people would forget the referendum by this year's election, and now leads his nearest rival, Democrat Phil Angelides (who has promised to "do my best with you to end George Bush's failed adventure in Iraq") by over 10 points.

There are two antithetical trends in world politics today. One reflects the increasing commonality of issues facing people everywhere. The other is a "drifting sidewise" toward provincialism, sectarianism, and the small-mindedness of purely personal concerns.

The first trend is embodied by the slick and cynical Schwarzenegger, who believes that you can always fool enough of the people enough of the time. The second trend is personified by the serious and conscience-driven actor George Clooney, who stood next to Arnold at a rally last week and spoke of the international community's paralysis with regard to Darfur: "There are no Democratic or Republican sides to this; there is only right and wrong." That's simplistic, but at least he's concerned and acting on it.

The prominent and eccentric Democratic strategist James Carville said a few days ago that "Republicans are on the run and we can put them down for the count by hitting them with everything we've got immediately," Even if that's true, a change of party in Washington will not restore character, caring, and leadership to America. Besides, as the Bush bungling of the now nuclear power North Korea demonstrates, the world's situation has moved far beyond the petty politics of the Œsole remaining superpower.'

A bumper sticker one occasionally sees in car crazy California reads, ŒI feel much better now that I've given up hope.' Taken one way, that could reflect the wisdom of abandoning wishful thinking in favor of seeing things as they are. Taken another, it means the person has quit believing in anything and just doesn't give a damn.

At bottom, politics can be defined as the articulation and concentration of people's hope, or the manipulation and destruction of it. The Bush Administration will be characterized in history by the destruction of hope in many people around the world. America is dead; the real hope lies in a genuine global polity--now.

************

- 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: martinlefevre@sbcglobal.net. The author welcomes comments.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Keith Rankin: Science, Scientists, And Scientism
Science, in the not-so-recent-past, has often had a bad press. It's been personified, particularly by the political left, as Frankenstein, as agents of capitalism, classical liberalism, colonialism, sexism (yang over yin), eugenics, and god-like pretension. More recently though, in the zeitgeists of climate change awareness and covid, it's had an unusually good press; although we retain this persistent worry that viruses such as SARS-Cov2 may be the unwitting or witting result of the work of careless or evil scientists... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Can ACT's Dream Run Continue?

By most reckonings the ACT Party has had a very successful political year. Not only has its expanded Parliamentary team settled in well to its work, without controversy or scandal, but its leader has gained in community respect, and the party’s support, at least according to the public opinion polls, has increased sharply... More>>

Keith Rankin: Basic Universal Income And Economic Rights
"Broad growth is only going to come when you put money in the hands of people, and that's why we talk about a Universal Basic Income". [Ritu Dewan, Indian Society of Labour Economics]. (From How long before India's economy recovers, 'Context India', Al Jazeera, 31 Oct 2021.) India may be to the 'Revolution of the twenty-first century' that Russia was to the 'Revolution of the twentieth century'... More>>



Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>

Globetrotter: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice For Us All

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”
He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasized by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>