Monday, November 02, 2015

The End or the Beginning?

Minority groups or disenfranchised groups have learned with pain that the American government, or any government so conceived, lies when it is expedient to do so. The cable television fixture Turner Classic Movies recently aired the classic 1981 documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter. It was part of a series of women directors. Women who contributed to the war effort were eventually lavishly compensated for their work, but were then expected to step aside when their jobs were given to returning servicemen.

The means by which this process was done were unfair and exploitative. The filmmakers were active in righting the wrongs that never graced history books. History has been a record of men's exploits, eliminating women's contributions. Since then, it has become fashionable to bash the government for all of its failures while not taking into account its successes. But to discount the vast failures is a travesty. Women were lied to, openly. We've all been lied to, since then, in other areas, women especially.

A kind of weary wisdom says that all politicians lie. The truth bears this out. The Democrats protecting Hillary Clinton are lying to some degree or another about something, and let's admit that now even if it discounts the party line now developing around her. Fox News is lying to bring its own spin out into the open. Liberals lie, conservatives lie, and that's pretty much how it's always been. But have no fear, Democrats, this is Hillary Clinton's year, in my estimation. The GOP field is too muddled, too unsettled for long term success, almost fractured enough to rival 1976, the last brokered convention.

For all the talk about the coronation of Hillary, it is born out of the facts. But this time, I think the American people will be a bit more realistic about what government can accomplish. Hillary Clinton knows the system intimately and while she might run a bit like a monarch for anyone's comfort, something might get done this time. It will be a long time before I vote (twice!) for a charismatic outsider with a minimum of practical Washington experience.

We really want the 1990's back. The nostalgia is for music and economic prowess is equal. It amuses me to see college students with Nirvana t-shirts who were infants when Kurt Cobain was already dead and buried. Can Hillary take total credit for her husband's success? She's certainly tried, but in some respects those were were more innocent times. You could wait for your arriving party at an airport and you didn't have to take your shoes off in the process. We weren't inundated with school shootings, but, immediately prior to that, the government always had the Soviets to point to as the source of all terrible things.

Now things are so unsettled. Music is abysmal and irrelevant. And we are beginning to ask some serious questions to ourselves about the golden age of American capitalism, and whether it has gone away for good is a relevant topic. We live in a global age now, whether we can see its results clearly or with some effort. I predict we will see it with clear evidence with every passing year. We live in a more multicultural country, and it is increasingly hard to close our eyes and not see it.

We've just come through Halloween, a time where we scare ourselves, a miraculous concept to me. But it's fear we cannot control that frightens me. Do you know what scares me? War. Open conflict. The always unstable Middle East, that makes me want to forsake the pacifism I own and carpet bomb the whole stinking area. A set of problems never ending. But then I turn into a heartless ranter, and the world has enough Archie Bunkers and conspiracy theorists.

What follows next? No one knows. Is this the great American resurgence or a lasting cultural slump? Regardless of President, we are likely to have a divided Congress because we are a divided country tied between the way we want things to be and the way things are. The sooner we own the future, the better we will be. Political science and trends are no help here.

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