Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Of Big Fish...and Taking the Bait

Posted by Cardozo

Fiction served as my childhood drug of choice. Because I didn’t know what to do with my frustrations and desires, I inhaled books one after the next. The books contained vicarious adventures, a commanding narrative voice, and an internal order that I could rely on.

Sometime in high school I began to put my books away, gleefully realizing that my life could have adventure, order and a strong narrative voice, if I became the author of my own destiny and if I dared to confront, rather than run from, life’s shades of grey.

Thanks to you, Bush, I’m in need of escape again. Escape from a world of American unilateralism and preventive war; a world in which outcomes are pounded into submission and the enemy is always wrong; a world I feel powerless to change. True, this world over which you preside is as simple as black and white…but what have you done with all the grey, Bush? I miss the grey, which exists, and has for a long time, only in fictional worlds.

Have you read Moby Dick? (I admit I am only reading it now for the first time). The whaleman, Ishmael, finds himself forced to share a bed with Queequeg, an ominous looking, cannibalistic island native who he nevertheless befriends and for whom he develops profound respect. In Melville’s world, what we do not understand is subject for fierce curiosity, not for knee-jerk condemnation and “preventive” slaughter. What kind of world could Melville portray if Ishmael had decided simply to kill Queequeg for being a cannibal? In fact, Melville did not need to portray that world because it already existed. When he lifted his pen to stare out of his window in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the America he saw was in the process of ritually slaughtering its Native American population. Just like in our time, Bush, our leaders lacked the imagination to see beyond culture to our common humanity, and to our common flaws.

That color-blind worldview leads us continually down the path of violence, with no exit strategy. Once you’ve proclaimed an evil, Bush, you cannot “alter your strategy” until that evil is fully extinguished.

So, because you cannot see the shades of grey that color our world, it is past time for you to step down. We are in need of a new President: someone capable of seeing beyond good and evil and who knows (from personal experience) the pain of having his humanity overlooked. So much the better if he be a shade of grey himself – perhaps not quite black and not quite white (as is true, when you think about it, of all of us.)

I can only hold out hope that this man will invent a new kind of politics that presumes and teases out the goodness in humanity, and therefore that does not rely on annihilation as a first response. I can only hope that he is that man, and that he takes the bait that a world starving for real leadership is holding out to him.

Until then, Bush, let’s both of us get lost in a few great books.

and... Vanity of Vanities
Posted by PeterAtLarge

I woke up this morning with Ecclesiastes on my mind: Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher. All is vanity. Amazing words. An amazing text. I hear it in my father's voice, resounding from the lectern... I'm not sure why it should have come to mind, but it seems curiously in tune with Cardozo's thoughts, above.

My own thoughts, in addition to the preacher's: Strong words from the lips of a weak man inevitably ring hollow. Threats from the mouth of one who is demonstrably unable to back them up with deeds are empty of meaning. Promises from one who has repeatedly broken those he has given in the past are not to be trusted. Assertions from one who has repeatedly deceived are not to be taken as the truth. As the preacher said: That which is crooked cannot be made straight.


denn said...

The term governance deals with the processes and systems by which an organization or society operates. Frequently a government is established to administer these processes and systems.

The word derives from Latin origins that suggest the notion of 'steering'. This sense of 'steering' a society can be contrasted with the traditional 'top-down' approach of governments 'driving' society or the distinction between 'power to' in contrast to governments 'power over'.


denn said...

Spirituality is the mental equivalent of physical good health. More precisely, it is the state or quality of healthiness and cleanliness of a man's nature, as it exists between two poles of light and dark, and is inevitably linked to all of nature, the cosmic structure or order. That is, spirituality is in symbiosis with eternal laws of nature which determine the purity of a man's moral imperative and determine whether or not he is as he should be, without blame.

Spirituality, my definition.

denn said...

by that yardstick, Bush is not a spiritual human, because he is not in conformity with nature and is therefore not blameless.

Anonymous said...

"As we heard yesterday we ain't leavin' Iraq until we win."
I was wondering does anybody know what winning in Iraq looks like?

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Anonymous, winning will look like any fragmented country that lacks a strong military, lacks an educated civilian population, has USA military staging bases and most importantly provides zero threat to racist Israel.

After all, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Palestine have ZERO threat to USA, they are only a threat to the immoral & racist Zionist ideology of Israel.

This is winning, if you are a NeoCon or Zionist.

PK said...

My friends and I have all been talking about this man for... well, every since the first time we saw him on TV. While I've never been, nor will be, Republican, I so wanted to have Powell run. That wasn't to be. Now we have another man who sounds normal, one to trust. Don't know all about Obama, but I'm sure willing to learn! He sounds like he will fit the bill. I sure hope America will become colour blind in '08. We have the south to worry about, and bits and pieces throughout the rest of the states. Oh well, we have two years to get it together...