Thursday, July 01, 2004

are you listening?

so sad, the increasing incidence of US Americans - particularly young Americans - who are articulating a sense of embarassment at their president's (and by extension, shame at their country's) behaviour. any blog-hopping trip encounters a fresh batch of hand-wringing sighs of dismay and disbelief at the latest display of swaggering contempt for every culture that doesn't genuflect before the stars and stripes on the 4th of July.
it's always sad to discover that 'for country, right or wrong' is and always has been the mantra of the right, which consists - always - of people who, in lieu of understanding the difference (between right and wrong), substitute dogma. on the other hand, it's good to discover this sooner than later. it's practically an axiom of political science that the radical perplexities of youthful freedom will morph, in time, into the more fiscally restrained, less risk-loving (ie mortgage- and family-shackled) profile of the constituency of the right: all they have to do is wait, and that demographic shift will happen. meanwhile, it's actually in the interests of the right to keep the young so disillusioned and disgusted with politics as not to want to bother engaging with it at all - because, obviously, their votes would go against the establishment. so it's probably important to remind those hand-wringing sighers out there (you know who you are!) that they are the Americans that matter, that they, effectively, have the fate of the world in their hands (given that returning this man to office for another term would be like handing over the nuclear codes to Ozzy Osbourne for safekeeping), and that, globally, they have the urgent support of a vast network of furious, indignant people who are not anti-American, nor even necessarily anti-Republican (although it sticks in the craw to say it - but one has to admit that Republicans aren't de jure evil, just de facto wrong), but rabidly anti-everything Monkey Bush and his braying corporate handlers and toadying bible-bashing drones (and that - for shame - includes Poodle Blair) stand for.
at the root of all human conflict can be found a word with an -ism as a suffix: from fundamentalism to nationalism via chauvinism, evangelism, dogmatism .... et al - once you endorse a political - or ethical - position predicated on belief (and even rationalism can become a belief) you close the only door that really matters - the one that allows both parties in a conflict to actually hear what the other is saying. one -ist never really listens beyond the -ism tag of the other -ist: everything he or she supposedly hears is as if polarised by the opposing filters of belief. an argument between one -ist and another is always effectively just a performance to the attendant gallery of fellow -ists: see how deaf this fellow is to my patient demonstrations of how we are right and they are wrong.
but, somehow, this reduction of global politics to jaw-jutting bragging and contemptuous swaggering has to be stopped, and there's only one way - democratically - to do that.
I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but
(actually, on reflection, I'd choose Ozzy as keeper of the keys every time.)

No comments: