Tag: ramblings

The Age of Phobia

The guiding principles of this country came from the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment. There was light and hope as the Europeans established the charters and documents declaring a new nation of freedom in this land. Of course in practice, there was the attempted destruction of the original American peoples and the importation of other peoples for labor, against their will. In over two hundred years, the nation still struggles with those injustices, even though some progress in that regard has been achieved. It still struggles with the need for cheap labor. The current masters of the capitalist machine continue to “use” labor via outsourcing and importing immigrants, where the rules of fairness and equality can be bypassed. But getting back to light and reason, they are dimming and sputtering with this dawn of a new century, this insane project for a new American century. The light is being snuffed by phobia. This twenty-first century has evolved into the full blown Age of Phobia: intense irrational fear, with all the darkness, anxiety, suspicion, paranoia, suppression, depression and misinformation that Fear with a capital F can propagate.  

Life is better on the margins

Almost a year ago, I published an essay at dkos entitled, “Late night optimism“.  This is a partial repost with some additional commentary about what’s changed since then, and what’s remained – wonderfully – the same.

Here was the original text, and I’ll add my new reflections at the bottom:

I stumbled back home a few hours ago from a Saturday night on the town, and I wanted to share a few observations with you all before bed.  This isn’t a hardcore political diary, but I had politics on the mind tonight – in the more abstract form of social interaction. 

Maybe a bar isn’t always the best place to be thinking about the Democratic party on the mind, not to mention dailykos.  I’ve been participating less and less here, partially because of an increased level of responsibility at my job, and partially because – and this happens to anyone who takes breaks from here – I’d felt the community was shifting away from what I’d come to know.

Which is fine.  Communities change over time; some people enter and some people leave, and it’s not always easy to find your bearings – even when you’ve been around for a while.  But I’m going to back up a bit and tell you about my night, and the kinds of thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head:

Various Ramblings

So I’m thinking about all the scandals, moral scandals that have rocked America in the past several years.  Bill Clinton’s blowjob.  Vitter’s hookers.  Gingrich’s, Guiliani’s extramarital affairs.  And I’m wondering about all this.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care about someone’s personal vices when it comes to being a leader.  FDR was unfaithful to Eleanor.  JFK was unfaithful to Jackie.  Grant was a drunk.  Churchill suffered from the black dog of depression.

I am rambling about this notion of leadership and moral vices, or morality in general.  I am wondering if one of the problems we now have in government is because anyone who wants to run for office has to be so squeaky clean in their life that we may be excluding folks who would make damned good leaders.

Have we in America become even more Puritan than the Puritans?  Is the measure of leadership capability the notion that one has never been wild in their youth, did drugs, fucked themselves senseless, been in jail?

I don’t know.  I think there is a problem here.