Sunday, April 10, 2011
How bad is the drift in American national government? Is Minerva's Owl flying yet?The drift that I mean is the domination of both parties, especially the Republican Party, but what in Andrew Jackson's day he called the Money Power. Turning points look more clear in retrospect. The Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, as Hegel famously said.
But it seems to me that a long "democratic moment" (as Jerry Brown might call it) that started around the time of the Katrina hurricane and flood in 2005 and peaked in Obama's election as President in 2008. The labor activism this year in defense of workers' rights against aggressive, reactionary Republican Governors is a sign that there is plenty of popular energy and fight left. So I actually hope we're a long way from the "dusk of this "democratic moment."
The idea of the democratic moment would be difficult to define in social-science terms. But it is a useful concept to understand situations like the ones Juan Cole defines in Hundreds of Thousands of Arabs Protest their Governments Informed Comment 04/09/2011:
On Friday, the US Congress endeavored to decide whether American democracy has irretrievably broken down because the representatives of the Billionaires refused to compromise with the representatives of the People ("cutting spending" while "cutting taxes" means "shifting the cost of running society to the middle class from the filthy rich"). The answer was that it had not, as long as the representatives of the People showed sufficient deference to the Billionaires, shuffling, keeping their eyes down, and obediently emptying their pockets. The middle class, successfully distracted by racial and religious hatreds and by attempts to impose patriarchal fundamentalism, was wreathed in vapid smiles as the billionaires sent movers to their homes to pick up the belongings they had just fleeced from them via their enforcers, the tea baggers.Something's got to "give" in this situation. Democracy and the Constitution seem to be "giving" an awful lot to make our
Tags: democracy, juan cole, us economy
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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