Personal Reflections on Politics and Priorities


The Statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol building.

Let us speak of love and life and the beauty of this Universe.

What? Oh. Right. Sorry.

Look, to the one it seems really simple; to the other, we all have people in our lives who will, when they don’t like the obvious implication of an obvious fact, chuff and puff and stutter: “Wh-wha-what? What are you talking about? What does that even mean?” The thing about this behavior is that except for the fact of contention, these people in our lives know damn well what we’re talking about, and if there is any confusion about what it means, they’re certainly tipping their hand by going from zero to attack in zero-point-two-one-seven-three seconds. You know that common tease, “Struck a nerve, there”?

Sometimes it seems tragic: Perceived competitive pressures can seem so permeating in and of the perspectives subscribing to or advocating its processes and outcomes as to inhibit normal, healthy social function. More accessibly: Capitalism escalates mental health risk factors. Or, more generally: People who believe in or advocate the dog eat dog rat race can fall into it so deeply that their social faculties degrade into dysfunction.

And sometimes we think, “Huh? But you knew what this meant yesterday. And you even believed it last week!”

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Leading the way … straight to Hell?


Right now it’s a lazy theory; I’ll give it some more thought tomorrow. Or later today. Or, just … later.

But it’s not just the economy. Something about what’s happening seems almost spiritually—or, if you prefer, mass psychologically—apropos the American decline.

But how is it that as we Americans prepare to rally behind a new president and (here’s an ill-fated phrase) a new hope, other parts of the world are falling apart?

No, I’m not talking about Thailand, where, as one scholar I heard discussing the situation described it, there are no good guys in the current political turmoil. But think about it: Canada’s Parliament is dissolved in order to stave off a no-confidence vote, the British Parliament is in an uproar over the nine-hour arrest of a Tory MP suspected of leaking sensitive information, and in Greece several days of youth riots are being followed by a general strike protesting government economic policies.

I can’t figure it out, but there is a note of irony echoing in my brain that I can’t get rid of. On the one hand, I’m sure it’s all connected insofar as everything in the Universe is. But gravity doesn’t explain this, so … yeah.

Obviously, I need sleep.