Friday, July 07, 2006

To the streets or the liquor cabinet?

I just read a wonderfully written but seemingly fatalistic article by Mark Morford at It’s essentially a rumination on Bush fatigue. Mark has it. I have it. Virtually everyone I know has it. After nearly six years under the rule of the Neocon Nero (“He strummed while New Orleans drowned.”), there is little left to do, according to Mark, but let the virus run its course and look to better days down the road.

As a draft-age young man living in the Bay Area during the late 60s, I can vividly remember the television images of nearly constant anti-war rallies and protest marches in Oakland specifically, but around the world in general. I was not politically mature enough in those days to join them, but they were a part of my life and times, and I know that they ultimately helped bring an end to the Vietnam War.

Now in my fifties, I look at what’s happening in Washington and wonder why the streets are empty. Yes, there have been some large protests over the past five years, but nothing of the duration or intensity of those during Vietnam. It’s troubling to me, because I believe that the current political situation—the dismantling of the principals upon which this country was founded—is fundamentally far more serious than even an illegal war. The conundrum is that there is such widespread and deep resentment toward the Bush administration in this country, but it is not being vented in any cohesive, dramatic way.

Well, John, you ask, why aren’t you organizing something? Why aren’t you out there with your clever banner pounding the pavement? Those are good questions. The anger and outrage are there. The desire for change is there. What’s not there is an expectation that I may be able to actually effect change by taking to the streets. It sounds defeatist, and maybe it is, but the bad guys control everything right now, the executive, the judicial and the legislative branches, as well as the media. Who would hear our shouts and drums banging but ourselves?

Morford’s conclusions are not easy to swallow, and I’m not sure I’m ready to accept them yet, but he may in fact be right that the most productive course we can take is to gird our loins for two more nightmarish years and start planning for the reconstruction now. And drink a lot.

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