Is our long political winter ending? To listen to the lyrical hopes
of many Obama supporters (and I am one of them), you might think so:
the dark night of the soul of the Bush years is fading at last, and
come January, there can only be a new political sun.
We are hungry for heroes in a villainous time. American culture routinely
deprives us of heroes; we are shown idiot savants who accidentally
become famous, called celebrities; we are then invited to despise
even as we envy them~which may explain our need to believe in Barack
But I have seen too many political cycles renew the vicious circle
of hope and disappointment to rejoice too soon. I still hope, but
moderately, since the powers that
lie, briefly cowed by the mess they have landed us in~ from the harshness
of two stalemated wars to the delusions of a financial system divorced
even more severely from reality than the White House, from the baroquely
self-destructive impulses of a civilization founded on a suicide pact
written in fossil fuel to the self-indulgences of a culture bent on
proving that humanity is even more mindless and heartless than I,
for one, believe it to be~these forces are more deeply entrenched
than I think we give them credit for: they are wounded but not dead,
bruised but not defeated.
I hope we at least can offer a small oasis in the cultural darkness
of our glazed-eyed and cheerfully nihilistic America.