Of waning empires and shadows in the darkness.


Why has our politics been degraded to the level of silliness? Here are two answers that go well beyond the usual complaints about one side or the other lying.  All emphasis has been added by yours truly, just because I can.

From Gene Lyons:

In the waning years of the American empire, grandiose bluster about waging war against the theological concept of evil masquerades as “tough.” Seduced by bombastic slogans like “global war on terror,” “ shock and awe, ” and “full-spectrum dominance,” much of the public holds an instinctive belief in the myth of American invincibility that makes sensible election year discussion of foreign policy impossible. Anything hinting at geopolitical realism draws accusations of cowardice and defeatism from hairy-chested patriots.

Don’t I know the world is full of evildoers ? Yes, and I also know that history is replete with the collapse of empires that became overextended militarily and overwhelmed by debt.

The same essential viewpoint at a much deeper and thought-provoking level from Deepak Chopra:

[Palin] is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and turning negativity into a cause for pride. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision…

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.”…The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

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