The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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A sense of identity has been lost, of common cause and belonging.  What we, as liberals, are being asked to accept, is what is called pragmatism irrespective of any other value.

There is a tendency, adopted from Republicans, of disliking what they call “pessimism”, of what liberals might call acknowledging the problems confronting us and not only vowing, but actually doing, better.  Optimism grounded in an idea that any disease, any fault, any depredation can be summarily cured.  Cured by a religious faith, hope and belief, that despite what we were before, we can be better than we are.  Bt that hope, that betterness, has to be grounded not only in a vow or a desire, but a practice of different approaches, of different values, of not accepting what always has been, but what could be.

What value optimism, without these things, this vow, this indomitable conviction to start today?  What use, exceptionalism without substance and change grounded in “not today”?

To Republicans, pragmatism is all.  To neoliberal, faux-Keynsian economists, pragmatism is also a holy value, but this is often reframed as incrementalism.  It has gotten a bad name, this incrementalism.  Justifiably so.  What is incrementalism, the idea that things might get better in a world we can scarcely imagine, next to our deaths and the gradual death of the whole world?

Republicans are, we have been told, the devil.

But if Republicans are the devil, the people who use progressive rhetoric and turn tail and enact polices the Republicans might adore, are the deep blue sea.

What is incrementalism, but a house of dogs, where rats drink in the reek, and the brats roll on the floor among their dogs?  What are my civil rights worth to me, when I am dead, when everyone I know and value is gone?

I did not get into political discussion with people, if nothing else, to talk about change that might take 100 years.

There are 7 billion people on the planet.  These are people, in many cases, to whom untold misery is the choice of every day, and people like me, who can momentarily distract themselves with their Wii, are hyperaware that their momentary giggle, as of a child, is indeed the mewling of a child.  We have been told about our pony, we know it, deep in our bones.  We want to run naked in the fields, in joy and in health.  But what we have been told is not only that wearing a little underwear in our romp through the reeds might be appropriate, but that we cannot do that romp through the reeds right now.  Perhaps we can do it at the next electoral cycle.  Or maybe, if we are heterosexual and deign to have children, they can do it, in a world we can not imagine nor comprehend.

At work in this analysis is the held out hope of the Deep Blue Sea.  And, in all this, in the political Machiavellian-ness that is held out as the art of the possible, where, I ask, is the human?  Where is the humane?  That which talks about the pragmatic has scarce little impact, for me, when talking about a young lesbian who hung herself in her own bedroom because of an unkind word, borne out of homophobia, on the blogosphere.  It has scarce use to talk about progress in 2014, when I might be dead in 2012, where, I worked myself to death, but despite this, I get no vacation, no time to talk to the birds, but my productivity is valued above all.  And of the others, who their very willingness to work itself is not valued, who are told there is nothing for them.  That they are deitrus, meat puppets, to die on sidewalks.

Are you going to talk to me of horrors beyond my wildest imagination?  I can see a lot.  Human suffering is unimaginable and brought to us in unimaginable terms.  I can imagine me, mine, and all my cohorts being burned in furnaces or gassed in ovens.  There is a worse thing, though, which is to be left without any water for the spirit, any dignity or acknowlegement, for generations.  Gas me, then, kill me and all like me, for there will be more.  You cannot scare me with the boogeyman, you cannot extinguish my hope for a better way in a sea of false choices.

But the sea, heretofore blue, is literally turning black.  When will we turn back?  When you offer me the deep blue sea, as a retreat that might mean my personal extinction, but hope for the future, it better be blue.

Not black.  

7 comments

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    • banger on July 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I’m not sure you are making sense in the conventional sense. But you make sense in another sense–and it is a sense that is imporant.

    But alas, I have another view. I’m a pragmatist in the long American philosophical tradition that comes from William James. The Republicans are the polar opposite of pragmatists. They are of three sorts who blend and mix but here it is:

    1. Hired thugs for the corporate sector or people who profit and enjoy wealth and privilege from our current arrangements which insure that these people need hardly work or struggle for their wealth and are able to pass it one in perpetuity without paying taxes–in other words the greater and lesser aristocracy in this country.
    2. Dazed and confused people who live in a weird fantasy world that doesn’t have the remotest connection to any possible reality and who have swallowed whole a concoction of idiotic notions put out by a series of propaganda organs who use sophisticated techniques based on fear and loathing to corral these weak-minded human beings into going against all the values and interests they claim they hold like their own economic well-being as well as family, morality, and country.
    3. Libertarians and Ron Paul followers who are rational but very limited in their experience and reading who have partly swallowed the crap section two has swallowed.

    All policies favored by Republicans are the equivalent of the square wheel which is not pragmatic at all. Few policies on important issues that the Republican party seems to believe in make any sense or are even remotely pragmatic. They are mainly vehicles to steal money from the middle class.

    The Democrats pretend to make sense but they just follow the same policies that the Republicans propose on major issues. There is not the remotest connection between the party of Roosevelt and the current Democratic Party. Not that it matters because neither party has any power. In fact Congress and the Executive has no power not given to them in the corporate sector.

    The object of all this is our enslavement. They want us to be their (the oligarchy) slaves. That means literal servants both in the sense of serving them at table, entertaining them, and being their sexual slaves as well. That is the point of all this. I don’t know how the ruling elites shifted to this level of wanting but that just seems to be the case–once the elites had some sense of principle but they’ve been crowded out by the criminal element that now completely dominates our power arrangements at least in this country.

    Our task is to drag our feet and resist by any means necessary. The best form of rebellion is to enjoy ourselves and live in the moment–I believe that will create energy and power. Don’t lose heart, live every moment–forget the powers-that-be I don’t believe they can resist a people determined to be present in this moment. That technique, btw, is the object of all the more esoteric martial arts and the only competitive advantage we have.

    • Edger on July 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    instrumentalists will incrementally smarten up and learn that internationalism doesn’t produce the kind of change and results they thought it would, even incrementally, and start incrementally demanding some real change, for a change?

  1. …. craftier Republicans.

    Republicans offer sh*t deal.  Dems take it.  Republicans scream with glee and attack them for taking the sh*t deal.  Democratic base asks why the hell they keep getting tossed aside for such crapola as Dems go running to the corporate oil, DOD contractors, and oil/coal/gas interests for more money so they don’t get attacked during the next election by the Tea Party…. whoops.

    We have 58 psychopaths in the Democratic Senate Caucus if they cannot see what is wrong with this.  What are their priorities right now ? Not offending anyone that might give them money to get re elected so they can be part of a DC beltway social club that does nothing.

    BP oil spill,Gulf of Mexico,Yucatan peninsula bp oil spill,franklin eddy

    Gulf of Mexico, 7/12/2010. BP’s Oil slick now extending from Louisiana to down the east side of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  photo NASA. true color. not enhanced.  They grey and silver is oil. The red dots are city locations.  Everything under this will be suffocated or poisoned.  This means extinction of one of our vital sources of food, for not only humans but for the planet’s wildlife.

    Until they wise up and get with the program, and demand accountability irregardless of party, Dems will be doomed to be the party that only serves the other’s means.  And that is the annihilation of others by people who do not believe in anything, but the wanton destruction of others, for the sake of pleasure and power.  

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