Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Riding the Polarized Express

I recommend this article by Steven Laffoley via Selves And Others
No torture versus torture. Blue State versus Red State. Liberal versus Conservative. Fahrenheit 9/11 versus The Passion of The Christ. America is riding the Polarized Express - a national train fast approaching a fork in the tracks. One track leads to the republic rediscovered. The other track, to dictatorship and empire.

Consider: we have seen this all before. In fact, just a hundred years ago, at the start of the last century, the politics of the ‘western’ world was disturbingly familiar to ours, with many nations of Europe similarly on the Polarized Express - Germany, Spain, Russia, Italy, and France among others.

These polarized groups fought over economic justice, over ‘family values,’ over national pride, over the fear of anarchists (the terrorists of their day), over religious values, over empire, over ethnic superiority. And as the polarization intensified so did the politics and leadership of each nation, moving, election after election, from left to right and then back again.

And in some nations - Germany, Italy, Russia, and Spain - the polarization ultimately snapped the back of democracy. Extremisms of various sorts emerged with a sureness of purpose almost religious in intensity. These “isms” promised social safety and political clarity.

In one nation, one man’s story and another man’s words were a candle’s light in the dark saving a republic from collapse. It is their story that casts a faint light of hope on the growing darkness in America.

Did I mention that I'm a righteous asshole? You gotta go read it to find out which republic! Ha!
America is riding the Polarized Express. And its democracy may soon be bent to the breaking point. But by repeatedly telling the stories of injustice, and by repeatedly casting light on the truth, America may yet rediscover their republic.

"Casting light on the truth" is a worthy goal, but there's not enough of it yet. We are barely at the "turning over rocks" stage. The media, from what I can tell, may be starting to awaken from their long opium dreams about this administration, but don't count on it.

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