Thursday, November 13, 2008

discouragement with our project

I'm having a rough go of things. My equanimity has left me. I am impatient with change and unsatisfied with incrementalism.

It's necessary for me to confront the possibility that political reconciliation is effectively impossible. I want it, very badly. I'm afraid you'll just have to take that on faith. I could give a damn about compromise. Compromise tends to mean the worst in political moderation, David Broder-style centrism, checklist centrism, where side A gets its own way on abortion, side B on immigration, side A on education, side B on gay marriage.... No. Compromise? Compromise gives us civil unions. Compromise gives us No Child Left Behind. No, no compromise, no surrender.

But reconciliation.... That's what I've always been after here. That's what I want. Fraternal love. Mutual respect. Understanding. These things are worth the fighting for, and I want no part of a political dialogue that doesn't have, peeking out from the cracks, a sense of love, real love, hidden within it. The nicest thing anyone ever said about me was from Rod Dreher. What policy positions, on matters of controversy, do we share? The list would be vanishingly small. Yet if politics require that I excommunicate Rod Dreher from the book of people of conscience, if my political desires require me to disconnect myself from him and others like him, there's a failure there that I don't think democracy can recover from. I can't function, in such a philosophical space. Reconciliation cannot be a matter of pure policy. It just can't.

Can I make my disillusionment, my anger and frustration, with these dual bailout proposals understood? My great and growing displeasure with conservatism is simply this, that it seems more and more that in every situation where there is a conflict between people of various means, conservatism redounds to the better moneyed, or the better connected, or the more powerful. And that discourages me, a great deal. I don't have any great sympathy for the management of the Big Three, but it seems a matter of little controversy that not bailing out the Detroit automakers will cause hardship for massive amounts of people. The simple aesthetics of so many people convincing themselves that the banks must be saved, no matter their incredible mismanagement and incompetence, while the automakers must not be saved-- it is difficult to take.

Can it be mere coincidence that the moneyed overclass, the bankers and financiers, are again the beneficiaries of a certain strata of the commentariat? I don't know. More and more often it is difficult for me to read anything else that this, in our politics: there are those who have, and those who don't. And then there are those who would upset the status quo, and those who would preserve it, and there is no room for real compromise, or for reconciliation.

Strange thing. In my discouragement I'm slouching towards Marxism. In the meantime, it's getting hard to be the kind of voice I want to be.

"someday no one will be able to find me and I'll have walked off into the night, thousands and thousands of miles away...."


Matoko said... know my repeating night terrors?
I can't ever wield the scapel.
I don't have the skillz.

But you do.

Besides, I am totally addicted to Martin Van Buren.

ryan said...

Fair enough, but it's worth pointing out that the monied class overwhelmingly voted for Obama. Bankers, brokers, lawyers, doctors, all strongly blue. You can argue that they're voting against class interest, but the argument that only rich people are conservative just doesn't hold water. Nor does the argument that "the commentariat" benefits from their own arguments: most of them are middle-class at best.

rusty said...

"Reconciliation" - good word. It's specific meaning gives support to your earlier post about the importance of the meaning of words.

Interesting topic, too. I am in agreement. I would like to reach political reconciliation with the right, too. There are too many people who I love who are from that side of the political spectrum, and I feel a little helpless in knowing what to say or do to ease the hurt that they so obviously wear now. Perhaps my friends and family members wear that hurt as a badge and have no interest in giving that up. So be it. But if they are willing to talk reconciliation, then I'm in with both ears.