Monday, September 24, 2012

We're in 1856

James Kuntsler was incisive today
In reality - that alternative universe to flat-screen America - all the mechanisms that allow us to keep running this wondrous show teeter on a razor's age of extreme fragility.  We're one bomb-vest or HFT keystroke away from a possible dark age, or at least a world made by hand. The true sense of entitlement extends light-years beyond the peevish carpings of the tea-bags-for-brains bunch.

     The only issue in this election contest between Pee Wee Herman and Captain Kangaroo is how to do nothing to disturb the fantasy that we can keep living the way we do. I am coming to detest Mr. Obama for the unforgivable feats of doing absolutely nothing to oppose, resist, or remedy the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and doing absolutely nothing to restore the rule-of-law in banking. Mr. Romney, at this point, can only be pitied as some kind of thought-experiment gone awry in an evil consumer product testing lab on a planet of oafs. His fecklessness has no modern analog. Next to Romney, Bob Dole looks Lincolnesque.
     Which brings me in a very roundabout way to my point: Lincoln emerged out of a political age as mendacious as ours, after decades of gaming the issue of slavery. Out of that morass of lying connected to immense human suffering somebody had to bring the clarity of real moral duty to broad consciousness and Lincoln was selected by the same hand of Providence that would lodge a bullet in his brain-pan five years later -- so it is not that hard to understand the awe of Providence that attended the terrible convulsion of the 1860s and all its long-resounding ramifications. It took most of the 20th century and then some for us to un-learn that life is tragic.
     In the history that doesn't repeat but only rhymes, we're in the 1856 equivalent of the cycle now, short of the moment when mere clowning turns to savagery. I can barely stand to watch the antics, dogged by visions of where this is all tending. We have achieved something that few cultures ever have before: made ourselves unworthy even of our own low standards. There is no center left to hold, only ragged edges around a core of darkness.
And what was it I was saying yesterday about the nonsense that is this election?
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