Old Saws

Old Saws

Saturday, January 7, 2017: recent endings and new beginnings, the worm ouroboros continuing the annual cycle, perhaps time for reflections on the recent past.

So, … about Bernie Sanders, the fire starter who doused not only the flame, but perhaps, for a while, the spark. I never fully embraced him, he had a whiff of Clinton’s love for conflict, an echo of Islamophobia and blind spot for Zionist atrocities I could not ignore, but he seemed the best of a very bad first tier lot, at least for those who lacked the patience to vote their consciences, and on many issues, especially economic issues, he was spot on. He filled the apparent vacuum left when Elizabeth Warren proved a feckless tease but then followed her to perdition as a Clinton apologist.

Souls sold, they continue zombie-like, the walking dead, seeking to reignite the movement they betrayed. But now they’re just in the way, an obstacle to realization of the changes for which they purport to clamor. Having abandoned us, having failed to lead, they ignore the reality they seemed to recognize and if they don’t get out of the way American progressives will find themselves in the same position as too many other leftist, progressive movements all over the world: ineffective splinters subverted by egos grown much too large to see very much further than their proboscis, while their purported causes whither and more and more people suffer, too many dying or forced to survive under conditions decent people should never seek to justify (even when politically expedient).

I supported Jill Stein who held out for quite a while but in the end she too blundered, felled by this season’s political leprosy, betraying her wonderful platform, her supporters and her perpetually fledgling party to shill for the Clintons, perhaps earning a few bucks in a Quixotic gesture that served only to sideline her future prospects. That was very, very disappointing. Many of us had actually believed not only in her excellent platform, but in her sincerity. Many of us no longer do and there were always too few of us to start with.

Which to me leaves Dennis Kucinich. At least for now.

I advise my students that there are three very different traits that a great elected leader requires: real ethics, a capacity to govern effectively and an ability to get elected. The absence of any of them leads to either disaster or failure, or both. Unfortunately, our political tradition emphasizes only one, the most superficial, the one most easily bought by those who have only the interests of their faction (or themselves) at heart, thus, we are where we find ourselves.

So, … how to make Dennis Kucinich electable?

Fascinatingly for those of us with absolutely no faith in either major party, Dennis was the political victim of bipartisan gerrymandering, the only way to keep his honest voice off of the Congressional Record, but rather than fade away, he and his amazing wife are still who they’ve always been, just what so many of us keep clamoring we need but can’t find. But, … that damned third rail we are collectively too stupid to overcome.

There must be others like him, there should be many, but the mass media have made politics such a filthy enterprise that most decent people won’t sully themselves or their families in its maze. That’s a shame. I recall one of my professors who did have electoral success but who, in 1992, declined to run because of foolish ethical lapses by his son, now a purported contender. He would have been a great president and the world a very different place. But things just seem to keep getting worse.

I recall several decades ago corresponding with a friend, a Libertarian Party leader at the time with a great name for politics, Charles Champion, about how at least things couldn’t get any worse, and then, commiserating with him every four years about how they had. I haven’t seen or heard from him in a while and my political views have changed significantly but the theme has apparently not changed, … at all.

Remember that old saw about fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?

Just how much more foolish can we get?

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved

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