January 20, 2009

Is it over yet?

I always felt that through some kind of cosmic paperwork mixup I was born in the wrong time. Given the choice, I think a birth sometime around 1915 or a little earlier might have worked.

For most of my life, I was right there with Hamlet: "The time is out of joint..."

I've always felt more affinity for the world of the 1930s and 1940s, as hard as those times were, than the world I was born in--and was always a little jealous of my parents for having the chance to live under a president like FDR.

It seemed that it was my fate that during all my adult life, the political forces that I hated the most would be triumphant: market fundamentalism, one-sided class warfare from above, with divisive cultural issues providing a smokescreen. The first election I could vote in was 1980 and I still recall what a miserable night that was. The decade the followed was disastrous for West Virginia, with double digit unemployment and a crashing standard of living.

The 1990s were a little better, but the dominant ideology was still that of pseudo-conservatism, a toxic mix of plutocracy and prejudice. And those were the good old days...

It is the peculiar distinction of the Bush years that by comparison, almost any administration of the past looks pretty good.

At many points over the last 30 years, I kept wondering if it was ever going to be over. Every ebb of the tide seemed to be followed by another peak. Like one of the bad guys in a slasher movie, it seemed to revive every time you thought it was dead.

I guess we had to drink the cup to the dregs before the bankruptcy of the agenda became apparent.

Is it over? Lots of people think so, but I'm not going to drop my guard. Meanwhile, here's to the changing of the guard.

IT'S ON. The fight over the Employee Free Choice Act and the role of the labor movement in rebuilding the middle class, that is.

NEEDED: a better bailout.

TOOL USING ANIMALS. You might be surprised at the list.


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