The Shock and Awe of It All

This will be the last political post for perhaps some time as I seek to re-transition myself and the blog to other, more pressing matters like design, the use of the color brown, the latest Palm handheld, and the dearth of good museums today.
Actually, I don’t mean to jest. Politics, for almost everyone I know, has taken center stage in their lives and the way they live, act, work, eat, and, probably, sleep. Some state it outright while others suffer quietly and with the conviction that others are enduring similar angst and dolor.
I think what I find most disquieting (pun intended) right now is the presence of tremendous — but unexpected — sadness among many I know and others I don’t. It’s as if no one expected Mr. Bush to win the election — or if he did, that his winning would be less triumphant somehow. This inexplicable (to me) feeling of collective sorrow is not like anything else I can remember during my lifetime.
I certainly don’t mean to act like some sensor of the collective masses — though I aspire to be a kind of psychic sponge that assesses the mood ring color of the totality of the populace. And, if anything, I’m projecting my something onto others’ nothing. Yet, I can’t help but think that the sorrow I’m seeing (on magazines, in friends, at gatherings) is the sense that an era has ended — an era of New Deal sentiment and policy that helped drive such sentiment into our communal core. It’s not about liberals or progressive or democrats or independents; it’s about gentleness, thoughtfulness, and justice and the expectation that those values were in the hearts and minds of other U.S. citizens.
It turns out that those expectations are dashed and our senses about the future of hope — are dashed.

3 thoughts on “The Shock and Awe of It All”

  1. My exceptations and hopes were dashed when Nixon crushed McGovern in my third grade schoolyard pool. It was clear to me then that my classmates were merely repeating what their parents were saying and that their parents were duped fools who could not distinguish between a bad man and a good one. It is for this reason, in part, that I expected Bush to win, and was only surprised that the election was as close as it was.
    Gentleness and thoughtfulness and justice are beautiful values, but they are not what this country is about, in the main, nor ever has been.

  2. michael, i agree. (alas.) have you seen this?:
    http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/09/1526251
    from today’s ‘democracy now.’ gentleness, thoughtfulness and justice are not in the operational interests of companies like bechtel– and the revolving door between companies like bechtel and the fed. gov’t make it almost impossible to distinguish between the two. inevitably, the players remain the same.

  3. Interesting observations, all. But I don’t think I was arguing that gentleness, thoughtfulness, and justice are values that were ever actually a part of our civilization. It’s just that, growing up (pre-Reagan), my own naivite and middle-class privilege made me perhaps presume that many in the U.S. shared those values. Public education was definitely key to these assumptions. Surely, the country itself was not built on these high falutin’ values nor was any other country.

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