Print Story Cynicism
Politics
By aphrael (Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 04:09:35 PM EST) (all tags)
It is easy for those who are engaged in politics - or, worse, those who are not engaged, but feel its effects from afar - to become cynics. Nothing ever changes; the game is rigged in favor of those who can buy influence and against those who have nothing to spend; the words of politicians are bright shining lies signifying nothing. There is something to that, and I feel the call of the disappointed no less than any other man.


And yet ...

Nineteen years ago, the people of Czechoslovakia stood up to the dictators who had abused them for twenty years and told them, no more; and they stood down. Within months, the entire edifice of the Iron Curtain had collapsed, and the Czechs, as well as many of their then-allies throughout Eastern Europe, are now our allies.

Seventeen years ago, after a long, drawn out struggle which had lasted a generation and more, the apartheid regime of South Africa filed itself into the dustbin of history.

Sixty years ago, after a decades-long fight, the English British walked away from their Indian Empire, leaving the people of that subcontinent free, again, to choose their own destiny.

None of these changes yielded utopias; none can. But they were proof that, with struggle and perserverence, things can be changed, and that the cynics among us are, at best, wrong.

Today yields proof of that same proposition.

Forty-five years ago, a man whom the FBI considered to be a dangerous revolutionary led a protest march in the nation's capital; a protest against the great American evil of that generation: laws which mandated discrimination based upon the color of a man's skin, and which demanded that men of different colors be seperated. Those laws were, above all else, directed at black men; they were a legacy of centuries of oppression which swept other minorities up merely as an afterthought.

Tonight, a black man is accepting the presidential nomination of the Democratic party - the party of segregation.

I do not know if that man will be a good president; I do not know if I will vote for him. And if he is to be our president, that presidency will not yield a utopia, nor will electing him solve all of our nation's problems in one swoop.

And yet the power of this moment cannot be denied. With work, and with perserverence, we can change the world. It has happened before our very eyes.
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Cynicism | 35 comments (35 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Yes. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 06:17:27 PM EST
And thank you. 

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

tonight by garlic (4.00 / 2) #2 Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 06:17:46 PM EST
tonight was the first that I payed any real attention to what was going on at the convention. I heard Bill Richardson's speech, Al Gore's, and Barack Obama's. I haven't paid any attention to this convention or the other ones before it. But hearing these speaches tonight gave me the same sort of feeling inside that I remember getting from church revival's growing up.


We shouldn't be handing out cookies by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 07:18:06 PM EST
for just now contemplating a black president. To do so is to set the bar well below what should be expected.

The problem with my philosophy, of course, is that mankind is incapable of rising to my standards. Regardless, this is not a problem which can be solved, much less solved by carrot as opposed to stick. Mankind has proven, time and time again, that it is unworthy of compassion or support. It's motherfucking stick time. 
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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
What? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:23:16 AM EST
I'm not saying we have reached the promised land.

But it's a good opportunity to see just how far down the road we have travelled.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
I think we live in separate worlds. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:38:34 AM EST
When I look at the "human progress" we've made so far, I am entirely unimpressed, and find it all completely unacceptable. Where as you see a half-full glass, I see a glass that likely has never had water in it, despite the mineral crust around the bottom of it. I suspect that was largely the result of rain that evaporated before it was drinkable. 
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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
you lack perspective. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:53:18 AM EST
I lack no such thing. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:01:50 AM EST
Compare 1920 to 1600BC. People are now, and have always been, selfish, self-absorbed, capable of great cruelty, and malice towards their fellow man. Since the dawn of written history, people have always been at war with other people. Basically, if there was a single species on this planet that was smarter and better organized than us, we would have been downsized centuries ago. There is no amount of polish that will turn a turd into a shiny pair of shoes, though I imagine if you set the bar low enough, you may be constantly pleased when tiny stepping stones are made, though this is largely due to the ignorance of the three steps back that are made elsewhere by the species, simultaneously. 
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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
I still don't understand. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 09:50:56 PM EST
Why the black label?

I'm blacker than Obama, for Christ's sake.
Let's just note that another rich lawyer was anointed as the candidate and move along.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

well by garlic (4.00 / 1) #6 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:19:35 AM EST
he's only newly rich, vs rich for generations.


[ Parent ]
But it's McCain's second wife who has been rich by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 04:43:23 AM EST
for generations, John is just an underprivileged son of an Admiral.



[ Parent ]
good point by garlic (4.00 / 1) #21 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 07:03:32 AM EST
I'm not really a fan of the "he's a rich guy, he's an old guy" don't vote for him stuff.



[ Parent ]
are you quite serious? by R343L (4.00 / 2) #11 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:08:43 AM EST
Do you have any idea his family history?

Yeah, he's a "rich" lawyer now but he surely worked to get there. He wasn't a legacy admission by any means. So being rich -- however you got there and whatever "breaks" you got (or however few) -- disqualifies one for public office? Note: in the US, being smart makes you pretty qualified for office. It also notably often results in you figuring out how to make some dough.

... And why should it matter that he isn't black as-if-he-came-from-Watts? The racists don't really care, if you hadn't noticed.

Rachael


"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Because 50 years ago by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #24 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:25:02 AM EST
He could not have been nominated.

And, as for his wealth, he grew up pretty poor; like President Clinton's wealth, it's relatively new.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
I'll agree with that. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 09:46:24 AM EST
How's school going?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
good. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #33 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 10:27:34 AM EST
the summer classes sucked, but i'm still in the top 10% (yay!).

i'm thoroughly enjoying crim law and property. law review will be a lot of work but will, i think, be good for me. :)

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Bollocks. by yicky yacky (4.00 / 3) #5 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 02:11:29 AM EST

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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
Yep by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #7 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:39:24 AM EST
Pakistan has certainly been a roaring sucess since independence from the UK.



Those Czechs by sasquatchan (4.00 / 2) #9 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 04:54:38 AM EST
that were earlier stomped to the ground the last time they tried to be a bit more LIEbral in the summer of 68 ? (Prague Spring).

Am I bad for thinking, "So what, a black guy is running for president. BFD" I think that and wonder, is that  horribly racist or enlightened. Then I wander off to ignore politics for a bit longer.


I think by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 04:58:39 AM EST
There's this posh, half white guy running for President.

[ Parent ]
He doesn't pass the paper bag test by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:11:40 AM EST
so he's black.



[ Parent ]
dunno the paper bag test by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:19:56 AM EST
I do know the coffee cup test.. From a great movie

John Shaft: Warms my black heart to see you so concerned about us minority folks.
Vic Androzzi: Oh come on Shaft, what is it with this black shit, huh?
[Vic holds a black pen up to Shaft's face]
Vic Androzzi: You ain't so black.
John Shaft: [Holds a white coffee cup next to Vic's face] And you ain't so white either baby.


[ Parent ]
If you're darker than a brown paper bag by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #15 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:25:47 AM EST
you're black. I think it was from New Orleans, or some place similar. See also octoroon, quadroon and quintroon. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_Bag_Party">i'm wrong</a> it means you're less black, even high yellow.



[ Parent ]
absolutely by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:15:59 AM EST
be-freaking-zarre. (Links are a bit different in the new editor..)


[ Parent ]
"Posh" by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:44:37 AM EST
I hadn't realized that Brits were like Americans, and considered anyone who could string a coherent sentence together "posh".

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
there was a line in there at one point by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:28:11 AM EST
about how the most amazing thing about it is how banal it is.

Sen. Obama running for President changes nothing; it doesn't make America any different today than it was yesterday.

But, from a historical context ... this was unthinkable when Sen. Obama was born, and now it it's banal. That's pretty fucking amazing.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Politics is crazy by duxup (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 05:20:21 AM EST
n/t

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wha by tps12 (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:11:52 AM EST
I do not know if that man will be a good president; I do not know if I will vote for him.

srsly?


racist by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:19:41 AM EST
not voting for the black man must make him racist. Figure that's the only thing that would get you to post here.

Did you read the rest of that paragraph ?

[T]hat presidency will not yield a utopia, nor will electing him solve all of our nation's problems in one swoop.

Saying that is against the new orthodoxy of dems/kossacks/Obama supporters.
 



[ Parent ]
Yeah. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:30:25 AM EST
From what I can tell, he's a good speaker who was a mediocre Senator. He's definitely a smart man; he comes personally well recommended to me by someone who knows him; and I voted for him once already.

But ... he's a good speaker and a mediocre Senator. That's not enough to convince me that he'll make a good President.

I'm certainly not going to vote for Sen. McCain, even with Gov. Palin as his vice-President; the man sold out on the treatment of prisoners of war, the one thing I thought he would never sell out on, and I can never forgive him for that.

But there are other options.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Good presidents by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:36:29 AM EST
I don't think I can recall a presidential election in which anyone even close to being the best candidate for president was even nominated.  I am convinced that the advantage of Democracy is not so much that it creates the best leaders but rather that it is better at ditching the bad ones.

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The path of least dissatisfaction by cam (4.00 / 1) #35 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 03:45:47 PM EST
rather than maximum satisfaction.

cam

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]
bill richardson nailed it for me last night: by garlic (4.00 / 1) #34 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 12:26:06 PM EST
3 potential supreme court nominations in the next 4-8 years.


[ Parent ]
Promises by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #19 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 06:43:18 AM EST
Listening to the litany of promises in that speech, I couldn't help but think of every other speech containing litany of promises that would then go on to be unfulfilled.  I just hope Obama realizes that this is what he is doing, because otherwise he is likely to start out his term with some political debacle ala Clinton and thereby poison the rest of his term.

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
It was the British Empire, by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #22 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:16:35 AM EST
Not the English Empire. Scotland was certainly a victim of misrule (although it was mainly confined to the Highlands), but it was also a very large exploiter of The Empire. Such is obvious if you've seen Glasgow's Merchant City.

that's fair. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Aug 29, 2008 at 08:30:59 AM EST
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