Monday, September 19, 2005

"...bellwether for the right-wing zeitgeist"

The new mayor of Mobile, Alabama will have a lot on his plate. What can a city do to accommodate the influx of people, some who want to return home, some who wonder what the point is... He hopes that the clean up efforts will create jobs- as already there are not enough to go around. This is one city, of many, and this is one problem- of many. And when this chapter of America is over, its anybody's guess what we will learn from what went wrong and what went right. Perhaps the ramifications will be felt deeply enough to shake up America for good- it seems to depend largely on the answers to the questions in the air.

We learned from 9-11 that response is a matter of interpretation. Response is in the eye of the beholder- like the parent,broke at the store,who tells the child that its 'good for them' to do without yet offers only the empty pocket of begs the musing: Because I will not get what I want or need anyway, or because it is a matter of parental policy? Parental sensibility, or default disciplinarian? Whim? In America, the question of who does without for our own fortitude is apparently arbitrary yet seems to conceptually congeal among the poor, minorities... the rural south.

What is the government's role? How much do we expect from our national bureaucracies, and how much should we expect of localities? The struggle between state sovereignty vs. an intrusive federal deathgrip, beneath the spectrum of service expectations ranging from religious based charity to municipal to non profits to the private sector.... who do we look to, who answers to the people, and who does a better job? How do we weigh this notion to 'provide for the public welfare' against a puritanical legacy of survivalism, individualism, rebellion,civil liberties, civic responsibility- postures of both entitlement when we receive, and resentment when we give?
And so this is the 'stuff' of political party-making. We carve out our spots, and we camp. We try to reconcile these answers, and what we get are patchy platforms of contradictions that seek to clarify an ambiguous,fluid middle beset by immovable extremism.

So what happens to these 'wings' when they are forced to confront this all at one time? To look at New-Dealish public works plans against contract privateers, to look at mounting deficits with the pretense of fiscal conservatism, to look at disaster response from the feds- by a structure that both self-trumps and offers up predatory policy...

It is the ball dropping hypocrisy that seems to anger 'we liberals' the most- we point out that the Paternal FEDS are often little more than opportunistic pedophiles. We want to expose the man that swaggers with the vulnerable because reason in its maturity would eat him alive. We want him to reckon with paradox and reconcile the fact that his arrogance comes not from strength but from the adoration of those who do not yet know better... exploiting the powerless and yet bolstering their behavior with the ruse of "daddy'.

Feds order ten courses but don't tip for shit. Republicans say "I'm not hungry" but order everything on the menu. Conservatives say "We should all make our own" but tell the chef what to do. And liberals complain about the wine list, in their little booth....

Here is William Greider (The Nation) on the NEW New Deal. An interesting appetizer for what will certainly be some needed sparring.

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