Sunday, February 3, 2008

One Man's Opinion: My Political Rant

Part of this I excerpt and edit from yesterday's entry over at the "Come Back Horslips" Guestbook, one of my daily whistle stops on the Web. An unlikely forum for politics, but one visitor celebrated Obama's candidacy and encouraged discussion, and as webmistress Lee Templeton had recently mentioned James Curley "The Rascal King," and as I found that bio by Jack Beatty (which I had ordered years ago!) remaindered in my college's library, I figured I'd jump in briefly. I watched, for the first time, the two Democrats have at it gingerly at the Kodak Theater last week on TV. A frosh comp class I taught the day after needed context for learning about the argumentation & persuasion mode, so I used the debate for examples. Trouble is, none of the fifteen students had watched it. Some did not know who was running on the GOP side, one asked if Obama was Muslim, and another why the primaries had been moved up. It did not look like many of them would be voting, either.

They asked me who I favored, and I admitted Edwards had been closer to my own thinking, but with him out, I went into watching the debate neutral and left it the same. Hilary surprised me slightly by her ease, and as Layne observed before she fell asleep (easy to do considering the content), Hilary (who she favors) certainly acted presidentially, with poise. Her masterful retreat from admitting any "mistake" for voting for the Iraqi war showed her rhetorical skills at her evasive best-- surely a Clintonian characteristic. Obama lacked the polish, and the command of detail that for better and worse has remained a hallmark of Hilary's style, but his grin and his repetition of "Change" (which Layne thought would be a great drinking game, every time he mentioned his buzzword) swayed many in the limousine liberal crowd.

So, from someone who years ago took a newspaper test and found out that the two candidates way back then he had most in common with were Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader, here's adapted a CBH short political rant/ editorial before I retreat to my customary intellectual arcana.

Caveat lector. As this does edge into politics and since this thread was raised [. . .], my sourpuss snarl[. . .] Obama or Hilary or McCain, not to mention Romney, merely gives us a new boss same as the old boss-- look behind the curtain to the money and lobbyists, not the wizard's smile, coiffure, or complexion.

That Rascal King charm's hoodwinked many a son or daughter of the oul' sod. That's what the Curleys & Kennedy's twigged on to about our supposed democracy-- it's a plutocracy. And despite all of us Celts supposedly engendered from the loins of princes, notwithstanding the coats-of-arms toting genealogists or the heirs to a dubiously elevated nobility, most of us have been the wage-slaves or indentured servants a long time to the service of another man's wealth. Which candidate's seriously going to challenge-- not in platitudes but programs-- the fatal dependence upon our PAC's, corporate contributors, balkanized identity politics, disloyal employers, and widening income inequalities? Those candidates have been or are about to be sidelined, ridiculed by the media, shunned at debates, and their messages drowned out by their better-funded opponents.

As I read last night in a novel of an affluent scion-- "for him, his money, his education, his background, had made certain that he'd never needed to be anything else than he'd wanted to be. The desperation of necessity had never belonged to him." The major candidates of nearly every party in every Western nation meet this description.

I guess I'm showing my middle-aged depression correlating to this week's studies putting many of us in the lowest depths midway through life. I feel like Dante in his first canto. But, on the other hand, freed from the bog and the bedding, we aren't speeding ploughs as we scan our screens. We can listen to Horslips, celebrate Chevron óg's [Radiators' front man diagnosed with cancer] recovery, fight along with Éamon Carr [drummer of Horslips] to save Tara, and imagine ourselves both heroes in the Táin and emigrants on the famine ships, lowly and highborn both. For that, the leisure and the progress of our age deserves thanks, and I duly note that differences exist between parties and policies. Even if out of "noblesse oblige," the Ivy League's legacies may throw out a few more life-preservers rather than merely rearrange 300 million deck chairs on our Titanic. (Built in Belfast!) End of (un-)paid rambling man's editorial. Thanks for listening. Back to our entertainment previously scheduled. Dance to yer Daddy.

Image from a brief bio of James Michael Very disappointing ratio of pics for Dickie Barrett & the Mighty Mighty Bosstones compared to the longtime mayor who inspired that annoying Beantown band's biggest (only?) hit.


Miss Templeton said...

Oh Fionnchú! You were SO the topic of conversation Wednesday night at The Purple Shamrock (Boston, next to Fanuiel Hall and across the street from Curley Square.) There were Robin, Roger (coworker/Beatlemaniac) and me under a HUGE wallpaper photo of downtown Boston in its neon art-deco glory and our Joseph Curley haranguing away silently forever at a bank of RCA/Victor era microphones.

Earlier in the afternoon, Roger and I walked along the neo-classical purity of Beacon Hill up and we could not help but temporarily appreciate that this town had once been Little England, puritan jewel and colonial pride. The box hedges in the front gardens, the brass door-knockers, the severity of all this steepled and fanlight window beauty. Roger and I took to addressing each other as "Goodman Hunt" and "Goody Templeton" as we sauntered along in the wintery Commons. "It was all Nathaniel Hawthorne and Waldo Emerson in these parts," I said..."And then the immigrant boats started arriving."

And with that we went off to a bar where everybody knew our names.

Scudbob said...

I suppose the good news is that Ralph Nader announced this morning that he is running yet again as the Independent Party candidate for President.

At least fiesty firebrands such as Eugene Debbs, Norman Thomas, and Nader don't mind losing to win. For this we can hold out some hope. Fortunately we now have a candidate who has specific plans to challenge PACs, corporate contributors, disloyal employers, and widening income inequalities.

With any luck Nader's candidacy will raise many issues that both major parties have thus far avoided.