"The old world is dying away, and the new world struggles to come forth: now is the time of monsters."
Antonio Gramsci, _Selections from the Prison Notebooks _ (via tsparks)
A possibly more poetic and concise version of the Saul Williams line I mention all the time—that this country (the world?) is undergoing a cleanse, but when that happens all the scum rises to the top.
"Monsters" sounds less optimistic, of course—but monsters are liminal creatures, things that defy categorization, personifications of our fears. If Jon Stewart was right about anything at that damn rally, he was right that we tend to overhype the evil of the other side.
I spent my post-work downtime last night calling Wisconsinites to get out the vote for Russ Feingold. I have a very hard time this time around convincing myself that a lot of the Democrats who are losing don’t deserve to lose, but Feingold? I would’ve taken a year off grad school to work on his campaign if he’d run for president, because he’s possibly one of the only truly principled politicians in Congress.
And I heard one woman repeating Glenn Beck talking points at me, about how she supported health care “but not the way they did it” (um, by holding votes on a bill in Congress?) and that she has no use for “Those people” (meaning the Obamas, or, you know…)
I wrote a long time ago about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and monsters and I still think it’s true. And maybe we have to embrace that identity more going forward. Revel in what makes us scary, because what makes us scary is also what makes us strong and seductive.
Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin aren’t monsters. They’re people whose political ideology amounts to sitting on top of a pile of gold and breathing fire at anyone who tries to snag a little bit for themselves. It amounts to one word: “MINE.”
Campaigning, organizing is the art of finding common ground. Ideally, creating solidarity out of it, but the election tide we’re seeing rolling in this year is mostly made out of a lot of people whose common ground is fear.
I’m trying to salvage some hope, but I’ve deleted four different versions of this paragraph because each one sounds like I’m embracing some form of “It has to get worse before it gets better” and I just don’t believe that at all.
There are lives on the line here. Watching the “austerity” measures in the UK, I was horrified—and then realized that hell, “cuts” for them still don’t bring their social safety net to the level of ours, even decimated as it was. Cuts to what we have will crunch people already on their knees. We can’t afford cuts.
So what to do after today?
Just remember: the monster always returns. We don’t give up, we come back stronger.
That’s what I tell myself, anyway.