06 November 2008

Making Change

Likely not the sort of post I should attempt on the outside of a couple glasses of wine, but here goes.

Various people have been commenting—typically sensibly—about what they'd like to see from the first 100 days of an Obama presidency.

The difficulty with these things is that they are, even when obviously just and right, like closing down the CIA's secret prison system or delivering Dick Cheney and boxes and boxes of evidence to the Hague, events. Not a tendency, and not as such stable change.

Most reactionary right wing political movements are after something that can't happen; a return to the pleasant remembrance of childhood or an imagined former days, where things were simpler and better and much more shiny.

The US neocon and theocon movements are fundamentally after a return to two things; the economic conditions of a world just devestated by war everywhere developed but North America, and to an explicit and unquestioned social caste system in the US. (Gay rights are the current leading edge of the work of removing that system; they're not separate from the long struggle to make people who didn't happen to be white, male, and protestant human.)

So no amount of events is going to do anything lasting, no matter the events.

What matters is closer to a theological problem; getting lots and lots of people to believe that fear is not something you can kill with knives, that the future is a better place (true for the last couple-three hundred years, and potentially stably so hereafter), and that the increase of general realizable access to choice is what society is for, its purpose and its justification.

That is one tough row to hoe; things repeated become true, and there are a great many people repeating all manner of counterfactuals all over the place, all to the amount that change is death and that fear must be fought outside your heart.

Change, well, reality gets to weigh in there in a functioning industrial or post-industrial society; that's a lot of why the theocons would cheerful have everyone back tilling the soil. So there's the long trend of the last hundred years, fought tooth and nail by diverse wealthy upper classes and the people who think money is a thing, rather than an idea, but ultimately looking more successful than not. (Though the idea that the natural condition is a labour surplus needs to be taken out and knocked on the head good and hard.)

Fear, well, the example Barack Obama needs to set there is possible, if he is sufficiently indifferent to his short term survival; it's more possible because he's good with words.

The guy who planned that campaign, and started with logistical transformation through public involvement through hope for a better future, I am pretty sure he knows that fear is not something you kill outside your heart.

Now here's hoping that guy really was Barack Obama. :)

2 comments:

piranha said...

there is some evidence that that guy really was barack obama: http://www.newsweek.com/id/167582?tid=relatedcl

huh. blogger no longer likes my openID.

Graydon said...

Interesting article; thank you!

I do hope the planning has reached an advanced state for days 1 through 150, though.