July 6th, 2006

Tramp Drinking

Politics, as usual

A friend of mine took a cursory look at my LJ the other day. I had sent her the link to take a look at the header I made (of which I am kind of proud actually since 1)it required a lot of layers and hence a good deal of time and energy and 2)all of the pictures are pictures I have taken myself from various trips).

Before commenting on the header she said:

Her: (mumbling as she skimmed the entries) ugh, you don't have a political journal do you?
Me: (defensive I, uh, well, no, I mean not really, I mean, I occasionally post interesting political or sociological stuff but it is mostly quizzes and stuff, nothing insightful or anything (this is very true).
Her: Sure looks like a lot of political stuff to me...
Me: Ummm. Okay. What do you think of the header?

It was weird because I like posting about politics. I don't like to post things that are offensive, though I am sure that on occasion what I post might offend someone, I don't do it to acheive that purpose. I do it because these are issues near and dear to me. I wonder if that is useless in today's world.

Why is that? People claim all the time that liberal has become the dirtiest word in Washington, but I think that is untrue. The dirtiest word in Washington or Waco, or Wilmington, or Wabash, or whatever, is this: politics.


From "Why I Write":
It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.

What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience. Anyone who cares to examine my work will see that even when it is downright propaganda it contains much that a full-time politician would consider irrelevant. I am not able, and do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.

From "Politics and the English Language":
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

These two peices, both by George Orwell were cited by the speaker introducing speakers at a Journalism Conference, including "liberal" commentators Helen Thomas and Eric Alterman. (see below)

At a student journalism conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on June 2, 2006, Thomas lambasted journalists whom she said initially did not give accurate, critical reports on the Iraq War. She said she hopes for the return of hard reporting and that the student audience should be "out on the street" in protest instead of sitting in the conference room.

I actually saw that part of the conference (it was near the beginning) and it made me wonder, why with so many people up in arms about Bush we haven't seen even more people taking to the street? I suppose there are myriad reasons, among them, the sentiment that the left has already "lost the war" or at least the battle and that it is best to simply ride it out. Another potential reason is that rallies and marches have been used so long to protest it now feels as if "oh, they're just having another protest..." but WHAT is being protested, few people know, is it immigration reform? abortion? civil rights violations in general?... sometimes it seems that no one really does know and even fewer still care.

This is what angers and concerns me about the current political climate. Real dialogue is being stifled in favor of character attacks and lame half-interested protests without any weight behind them.

Is this the legacy we want to leave to the next generation? A bunch of people who sat around fiddling while Rome burned? And, make no mistake, it will be as much our fault as the leaders we've elected.

I ask this not of the liberals on my f-list but the conservatives too. Why aren't we outraged, not at Bush or Cheney or the liberal media... why aren't we outraged in general that we have given up our government to people on both sides of the aisle, who we consistently say we don't trust???

Would any of you hand over the steering wheel or your car to a drunkard or even someone you think is a bad driver? In most cases, no. It is a matter of self-preservation one would argue, so how is something this large not even more vital?

I'm as guilty as anyone else, and I'm beginning to recognize that no amount of education or concern or pensiveness will, in itself, suffice. Action is what is needed, by each of us.


“Eager souls, mystics and revolutionaries, may propose to refashion the world in accordance with their dreams; but evil remains, and so long as it lurks in the secret places of the heart, utopia is only the shadow of a dream”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
Thomas Jefferson