Taking a cue from the brilliant Harpers’ Index, I’m starting a slightly different one. It will be something like a game score card, tallying the “strikes” that left and right make in a game that would be funny if it were not deadly serious.
One for the left: Ralph Nader comes out with a book entitled: “Only the superrich can save us”. (This is not meant as a joke. It is a novel based on the fact that all revolutions are led by the upper class.)
One for the right: The National Endowment for the Arts is called out for contacting artists to suggest that they illustrate some of the President’s important themes, such as global warming and health care. The NEA is a government agency and therefore must remain “non-political”!
One for the left: Michael Moore’s film “Capitalism: A Love Story” may do more to alert Americans of the idiocy of their political system than all the intelligent, well-documented, well-written books on the subject.
One for the right: ACORN, a national community organizing collective that helped Obama get elected, is accused of skullduggery on a par with Lehman Brothers.
Readers may wonder why I bother with these carryings-on. It’s because little by little, the right is inching its way toward something that would be worse than a come-back: the closing of a trap around a people that led the world for half a century. Like a great ship that cannot turn on a dime, the “force” that Chris Hedges referred to when, a few years ago, he wrote “War is a Force that Give us Meaning”, is now a force that is taking us, not “down a slippery slope” but on a descent into hell.
As I write in “A Taoist Politics: The Case for Sacredness”, one has to be on the right side of the issues, all the while knowing that we can only tend toward our goals, which can never be irreversible. For many of us, this is getting more and more difficult.
The trap that the right, via a constant barrage of “revelations”, is closing around the American people, would outlaw political activity in so many ways, to so many categories of people and circumstances, that we could scarcely call ourselves a polity.
Theoretically, the President has a “bully pulpit” to make his views known, but a federal agency cannot invite artists to illustrate his goals. And unlike countries with parliamentary systems with multiple – often many - political parties, we do not have “party” newspapers, hence the bully pulpit is a fiction, because the president has no media outlet to get his case across to the population at large. The press is supposed to be a watchdog, but it has turned into a sinister voice for every indiscriminate negativism. The so-called ‘objectivity’ of the most powerful news channel, CNN is but a veil over the insidious tones of its presenters – as opposed to its “analysts” who have an official ax to grind: Democrat or Republican.
President Obama is not only a prisoner of the forces that allowed him to become president, stacking his cabinet with the star players of our economic disaster, his cool and his intelligence are shackled by chains forged over two hundred plus years of constitutional, legislative and other devices intended to keep the few on top.
It is unlikely, under these circumstances, that the superrich will save us, because by and large they are as ignorant as the masses. Our only hope is that the rest of the world will save us by forcing global reforms, and asserting the power of the many.