Sunday, November 20, 2005

I found an interesting article that criticizes the Democrats' turning away, about the time of the McGovern presidential run, of a key constituency of their 30-year winning formula: working class Catholics.
This is something that I've mentioned here before -- we need to get the working class back into our fold. This must be our base, from which we expand the coalition to intellectuals and others. Red States should be the focus of lots and lots of attention, and I'm not talking about candidates taking pictures in front of tractors and hayfields every 2 or 4 years.
I'm talking about touring red states for months, begging their forgiveness for abandoning them, for allowing their debasement at the hands of right-wing snake-oil salesmen and religious extremists. LISTEN to them, with an attitude of humble contrition. Listen. LISTEN.
When we listen, we will hear stories that will break our hearts of incredible economic loss, cultural marginalization, and suffocating, ever-present worry that two guys in dress blues are going to stop at their house this time and delivery the awful news that fuels their nightmares - "The secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deep regret that your son, John, was killed in action..."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jim Kunstler's latest lecture: like dad in the den

Jim Kunstler is the author of a couple books ("the Geography of Nowhere" and
"Home From Nowhere") that have given me, and lots of folks, a vocabulary to
describe what has always bothered me about the setting of lots of American
namely, the suburbs. He has a "blog" of sorts (updated about once per week) in which he rails
against the stupidity of the "modern" way of doing things. Worth a

While I doubt that the President and his posse are too dim to comprehend
energy trap we're in, there certainly is plenty of plain stupidity in the
rest of our elected leadership, of which Senator Grassley's remarks are
A. To be more precise, actually, Grassley's statement displays
something closer
to childishness than sheer stupidity. It comprises a set of
beliefs or
expectations that are unfortunately widespread in our culture,
namely, that we
should demand a particular outcome because we want it to be
so. This is exactly
how children below the age of reason think, in their
wild egocentricity, and it
is the hallmark of mental development to grow
beyond that kind of thinking. But
the force of advertising and other
inducements to fantasy are so overwhelming in
everyday American life that
they may be obstructing the development of a huge
chunk of the population,
something that becomes worse each year, as
proportionately more adults fail
to grow up mentally. This state-of-mind is made
visible in Las Vegas, our
national monument to the creed that people should get
whatever they want.
What I wonder is: when will my fellow citizens discover
that their
thinking and their behavior are unworthy of their history? That we
entering a time when these things simply aren't good enough, aren't enough
to meet the challenges that reality now presents. Or are we too far gone?
possible that we are. After all, life is tragic, meaning that happy
outcomes are
not guaranteed and that people who forget that usually come to