Description: Back to writing--on politics this time
Date: 2 November 2004
This was the day before the worst day in American history. I was so angry and depressed that day. I remember walking Willow in the morning and picking up and smashing a rock on the ground. I remember sitting in a developer meeting commiserating. I stole a box of pens from the supply cabinet and gave one to everybody because what else can you do.
Today, a gray day in Austin, TX preceding I hope a glorious night, I've been thinking about what I care about. If today's the last day of the American Republic, and I think another Bush term would make an Imperial State impossible to deny, then what I think won't matter much. If John Kerry, who I've decided to love unreservedly, wins, and I really think he will by a considerable margin, then we can stave it off for a little longer and maybe what I believe is important might remain relevant a little bit longer.
I'm backing Kerry as a party man-- like a lot of people I started out strictly anti-Bush. That 'no real difference' argument about both parties invested in the ownership class is fine in theory, but politics is the art of the possible. There are real differences between Democrats and Republicans, but they aren't the dumbed down versions you get from the mass media or even worse from partisan sources.
Two issues that sharply divide the parties and, guess what, the country matter almost not at all to me. In fact, I only care about abortion and gay marriage as they are markers of a civil society. Don't get me wrong--I am in favor of women making informed decisions about their health and personal lives as much as I favor legal rights and due respect for all people. But in all honest they're both special cases. I care far more about a civic-minded society, environmental conservatism, and curbing corporate power.
A civic-minded society respects the variety of its citizens. It reaches decisions through consensus and compromise, and respects minority opinion. I also mean a secular society--one that makes no presumptions about the right or the sacred. Bush, the sanctimonious ass that he is, assumes that whatever he finds in his "heart" was put there by God. Kerry on the other hand quoted Lincoln at the convention-- that we shouldn't assume that God in on our side, but that we should humbly pray that we're on God's side.
I say environmental conservatism rather than proctectionism because despite the Republican's currents hostility toward the world we live in, preserving the environment is at heart a conservative stance. Fiscal responsibility is equivalent to ecological responsibility, and I'm in favor of both. The difference is that we can always print more money.
My first belief is consonant with my general intellectual outlook, developed by years in college. (They don't call it a liberal education for nothing.) My second belief contradicts it in assuming that Nature is Good, but pragmatically recognizes the fact that we only have one environment. My third point is much more specific, and I hope will burn itself out in my lifetime although railing against big business has been a Democratic staple since the party has taken its contemporary form. This is actually a subset of my first point. One mild instance of the corporate invasion of civic life is the selling of sports stadium names to the highest bidder. It's sad that nobody cares, but I'm not expecting any legislation against this soon. But letting drug companies run riot through our health care system impacts a lot of personal lives, so I hold out hope.
It's 10 to 4 on election day. Soon I'll know if there's any justification for that hope. I don't usually write about politics, but since I haven't been writing at all lately I don't think anyone will mind. Even so, here's a few lines that've been relevant since Robinson Jeffers wrote them in the 1920's:
While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten masss, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.