It is 25 years since I was transfixed in horror watching Ronald Reagan actually swamp the country by his re-election bid. (I had campaigned for Barry Commoner the first time- remember him? No wonder I've become so defeatist!) I'd thought at the time that the world would soon end. I'd written up my diatribe, and just about given up on finding anyone to read it. I didn't think the writing was that great, but I couldn't think of any other way to get the point, so to speak, across.
Now, as I prepare to watch what will have to be the greatest spectacle of the century - this "debate" between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden - I have somehow been driven to re-read some of what I've posted here over these last months.
It's pretty excruciating. Plenty embarrassing. But maybe I'm learning to accept life as a nudist, and just move along with the flow. Visiting Spain not too long ago, it wasn't that strange to walk along the nudist beach (although I do still regret that those incredibly nubile topless babes I squinted to descry were bending over actually to lift my glasses while I floated nearsighted away on the Mediterranean swells. The glasses I now wear aren't nearly as well calibrated, and as always I mistook charm for innocence in shrugging off the apparent theft in progress. I was more worried about the cap, never imagining bifocals as booty!)
So, I guess I'm embarked on this project of authentic ground laying for the great reveal of that Eureka Thing I discovered now over 25 years ago. The authentic part is just that it's all too crude to be crafted or worked on or airbrushed neat. I'm not talking about that authenticity which is what all post-modern Westerners crave, although I am surely guilty of craving that too. But truly, I'm beyond that pale, into the realm of skeezy if I leer at shapeliness in a pick-up bar (never have, never do!). There is something vaguely pleasant in the hormonal let-down.
Surely there is something earnest here. I try very hard, despite my refusal of craft, to get at the right words. I think the blogging format releases me, or perhaps even demands that I stay away, from editorial correctness, and even from the editorial function altogether. Although this still may not be the right medium to convey that re-description of the world which I persist in thinking is so important for more than just myself to adopt. I may have to break down and work at the conveyance. But this could still be considered a kind of scratch pad. The potential for someone to see imposes a certain limited and limiting kind of discipline, I think and hope.
It does feel very much as though the cosmos has cycled around, this time at a pitch more shrill, back to that spot where I watched in horror as this nation embraced Reagan. Now Sarah Palin presumes to take over the cockpit not just of the bus I've referred to previously in metaphoric reference to one aspect of leadership, but an actual chock full 747. Her conceit is surely the moral equivalent of murderous psychopathy! And there is even some truth to the retort I recently heard from a friend to my likening Palin's lack of shame to me pretending to the cockpit of a loaded plane, that "no, because at least you have sense and intelligence and could probably figure out how to fly it when the pilot drops dead."
Well, no, but this is really grotesque. It's an advertisement, as if we need one after Bush, of just how inconsequential the figurehead actually is to the power structure he or she sits atop. And if it's only a figurehead we vote for, then it's also an advertisement for the bankruptcy of democracy and everything recently meant with that term by those in power who've abused it.
I do continue to be amazed that there are earnest and intelligent people who intone the term with reverence for America (I suppose Naomi Klein's book could only have been written by a Canadian). I feel that reverence too, though for something slipping if not slipped away. It's as vacant of meaning as Palin is of substance.
So, will we watch tonight a comparing of logos, imbued with all their relative flavor associations, to a people who still raise Pepsi and Coke to the top of the heap (made up of derivative healthier sounding brands of sugar- or Rumsfeld-water). Are we that afraid of the local? Do we have so little faith in the familiar, because, like Buffalo, we only might have been but never quite will be? Where the really talented get writ so large and so excruciatingly beautiful and patently reproducible, if difficult to contain, digitally, that we actual people are by comparison lowly?
But on the good side, there is Barack Obama this time and not just Barry Commoner in opposition. I mean Barck Obama the credible candidate with an actual chance to win, because, as I recall, I liked the Citizen's Party rather a lot, but the game wasn't quite sufficiently revealed by that time.
So this medium is for the moment free. This nation remains for the moment subject to the peoples' will. And I feel this nearly desperate urgency to get some minds changed. And perhaps, overall, the ground is better manured this cycle.
Shortly before I moved my life, briefly, onto my old wooden sailboat, flush with excitement over my first automobile, I'd driven to New Mexico with my girlfriend for the summer. We happened, no malice aforethought, on a "Rainbow Festival" (A Rainbow Family Gathering) in the Gila National Monument.
I remember being mystified on the way in by the hippie conveyances moving the other direction, with souls hanging out of them shouting "Welcome Home" as though my girlfriend and I knew what they were talking about. I remember the triple rainbow on the way out of the festival. And I remember the competing "rap 17" introductions as we wandered, haplessly, from massive grassy hippie-mobile lot, then by pickup-truck shuttle, to the start of an unnaturally well defined narrow path down into the actual hidden and very Eden-like valley.
I have since found no reference to this, but I know that I am not the only one who heard, --I think it was the second and less "official" because "official" was the opposite of what this "Festival" was all about -- rap 17 which told about the Hopi future-tale (we were on Hopi ground) of the world being covered by a web.
I remember being certain that the vision was of the electrical power grid. I'm pretty sure that no-one -- this was 1977 -- was thinking of what we subsequently called the "world-wide-web", although the Hopi tale might be the proper referential attribution. Does anyone know?
I have often remembered that factoid with a start which resembles my awe at the triple rainbow.
So anyhow, I guess I'm not really trying to convey anything, since that implies something in me - in my head, say - which I want to get over to you, gentle reader. I guess I'm more just bashing on some noisemakers hoping to find that right note or tune so someone will turn their head and then, perhaps semi-consciously, whistle it themselves from time to time.
If, instead of figurehead, we elect someone who actually articulates what it is he stands for in a fashion different from scripted recitals, then we might break that chain of deniability which is what truly defines sociopathy.
I actually don't believe that there are, brother-in-law notwithstanding, actual sociopaths in the world. Rather, I think that the hearts - full metal metaphor - of such people are so layered over by desperation stand-ins for the self that it's very much as if there were none. The behavior of a sociopath, in other words, is simply analog for the behavior of corporations removed from productive purpose. The behavior of our government under Bush, in other words, is manifestly sociopathic, in precisely the same way as is the behavior of global capital. McCain and Palin only move in the same wrong direction.
Radical outsourcing, which is part and parcel of the holy grail quest after perfect market efficiencies, leads as inexorably to attrocities as did Stalin or Mao's rendition of the quest for Marxist perfection. It does so, quite simply, by quite simply breaking all caring links in order to free each part for itself, in perfection of Fundamental Christian Individualism. God help us all, since in the real world there are no radical individuals. In phsyics, as I hope eventually to demonstrate, such particles can't exist.