Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-- William Butler Yeats, January 1919

This famous poem, and most especially, the lines,

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
. . .
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

haunt me of late. I'm afraid I apply them rather literally to the passionate Right, of teabaggers and birthers, and to the complacent, insensible "center" of conservative Democratic and establishment journalists, academics and pundits.

Many bloggers have noted the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, which asked,
In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?

DEM 27 29 25 15 4
REP 39 42 9 5 5
IND 32 33 15 8 12

The whole theme of this blog has been the "Perfect Storm" that arose in reaction to the destructive policies of the authoritarian Right, embodied in the Bush Administration. I have noted the re-alignment of American politics, which took place as a slice of secular conservatives reluctantly left the Republican Party and joined Obama's coalition. This viewpoint made my sympathetic to the struggle, in the Administration and among Congressional Democrats, to work out a new modus operandi, uniting the Democratic Party in productive governance.

But, the results have been disappointing, and the disappointment has become alarming.

This may still be part of the birthpains of a progressive coalition. But, right now, it looks like a runaway freight train bearing down on a country, whose driver has gotten stuck on the tracks, unable to effect the promised change and move forward or give up, and move back.

The President, who pioneered a new level of modern campaign organization looks, at this moment, to be headed toward electoral disaster -- a product of failing to deliver, and failing to use the participating progressive base to enact good policy.

Right now, speaking for myself, I feel like voting in 2010 for the worst cretin Republican I can find.

My hostility is not to the clown show on the Right, which is the Republican Rump. It is the moderate, muddled political center -- centrist Democrats, in the Congress and the Administration, and ostensible independents, especially as represented in the Media punditry -- who seem to simply not care about the country's problems, or to be aware of root causes in irresponsible elite behavior.

The country has not gotten change it can believe in, has not gotten the change it so desperately needs, morally or economically.

We are still torturing people in secret prisons. Unemployment and underemployment plagues a quarter of the population. Median income is declining. The financial sector remains a prosperous, powerful parasite. Health care reform has been stymied.

It really is hard to see that American Constitutional democracy, or its capitalism, is working. Maybe, it is time to bring the system down.