I have nothing useful to say about this past Tuesday’s U.S. elections.
Well, gol dang it, William, I was genuinely hoping you might. No one else is making any sense of it. Maybe, that’s because there is no sense to be made. Wishing you well!
Thanks bystander — good to hear from you.
The key word is useful. With the country divided the way it is, a minor shift in the national vote totals always seems to leave half of us proclaiming the New Jerusalem and the other half preparing for Armageddon. Then, in due course, another national election or two comes round, and more or less predictably since 1968, we swap places on the bliss/agony scale. Much of the current bleating from our side of this standoff is coming from those who’d hoped that whatever our post-Obama concerns, we’d never have to don sack cloth and ashes again.
It’s difficult to extract much wisdom from the details of this process, and even more difficult to see how any of it could serve as a reliable guide to future action, punditry notwithstanding. Punditry has its own imperatives, and isn’t likely to deterred more than momentarily by the seeming malice of events. Lacking that sort of confidence in my own wisdom, I don’t see much point in adding to the din. We do what we can from day to day, say what seems to need saying at any given moment, and plot our course through these interesting times as best we can.
After a Tuesday like the one we just experienced, such comfort as there is to be had resides for me in a triplet of quotes, one from William Faulkner: The past is never dead, it’s not even past, another from WIlliam Gibson: The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed, and finally one from my favorite master of Biblical English, Abraham Lincoln: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Cold comfort indeed, but at least for the moment, it serves.
Thanks, WT. I am about drunk/glutted on all of the “takes” from all over the spectrum. Your triplet of quotes goes further than any of them in getting to the nut of it all. And, they’re probably better than the one I reached for: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Einstein) because it does not seem that – given the structures in which we live – we can ever get to any other level of thinking. We are forever imprisoned where we are?
I recall my once mentioning in a thread at Glenn’s old joint at Salon opining that neuro-science had evidence that there was no such thing as free will. And, your reply that – regardless – we’d best act as though we did. Maybe that’s the only hope we have of escaping our imprisonment. It might not be “free will” that gets us beyond the level where we seemed to be trapped, but a rough approximation might do it… Someday.
Thanks for being “out there” in cyberspace. More than once during the primary and the election I longed for the exchanges you used to have with L.W.M.
Continuing with my default – pessimism of the intellect – but trying to reach for an optimism of the will – albeit, often failing. You afforded me that observation, too; haven’t forgotten it, and thank you for it. Especially, now.
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