Sunday, July 13, 2008


Green Party's Irrelevance

I've been a registered Green since they qualified for the ballot back in the mid-90s. One of those "whose candidate is like your personality?" quizzes from a few elections ago stayed to haunt me: I found myself in the tiny Venn Diagram overlap of where Ralph Nader meets Pat Buchanan, as an isolationist environmentalist! Not even a vegan, no lover of Kapital, no flag-waver, so now I truly have no political comrades to march with, due to my idiosyncratic inability to keep step with any cadre of true believers. Even the libertarians (small "L") love accumulation (not counting CDs unheard on talk-radio or small-press titles absent from Costco) more.

I stay a reluctant Green not because of my agreement with all of their platform (too liberal for me on immigration, not hard-line enough on population control, namby-pamby if in predictable fashion on many foreign policy or nanny-state schemes) but because of my belief in third-party alternatives to our current system. Due to the job market, the need for insurance, and my own necessity to stay in L.A. yes, a capitalist entity pays my wages. But such profiteering keeps us all in thrall to the plutocracy and oligarchy that rules us all. My employer pays for PACs and lobbyists, if under muffled titles. Yet, I can't be a company man. I won't even wear the logo polo shirt on Casual Fridays. Most of my colleagues, being engineers, accountants and so bean-counters, veer far more conservatively than I drift. Perhaps the humanities-- founded within Socratic dialogue-- attracts gadflys who challenge the status quo, mild-mannered though we may have to be to survive within the belly of the beast. I'm guilty by association, by my own surplus labor, Marx might accuse. If you run a non-profit classroom and need a Ph.D. in English with nearly a quarter-century of experience in the gritty trenches and not the ivory towers, you know how to reach me.

However, entangled as I am in my subdued, karmically measured, rage against an unjust economic and political machine, I do attempt to teach others to be critical of any organization or system that favors tokenism over merit. Within any such sporting crowd, anglers favor their own trophies to be stuffed and mounted, in this survival of the fattest bait if not fittest catch. So, I'm not surprised by the GP's nomination of proven race-baiter and committed anti-semite Cynthia McKinney, but I am disappointed.

Now, reading my dense Buddhist tome steadily, I guess I have to try to keep from arousing my resentment leading to samsaric accrual. Yet, in the sense of justice, goodness, and fighting evil, I can make a case. The GP has erred in selecting this disgraced ex-Representative, known best/worst for her manufactured outrage at a security guard when she failed to act with the decorum befitting an elected official. This overshadowed her earlier stance--which doesn't irk me-- against her peers who voted en masse to send our troops in the post-9/11 rush off to war.

There's probably worse candidates than McKinney, who chose a 41-year-old hip-hop artist as her V.P. for an two-woman ticket that perhaps may somehow lure a few voters wanting tough-talking "females of color," Boriquena/Latina paired with African American, and radicals all on one ticket. But you'd have to look pretty hard to find any with McKinney's name recognition and notoriety. This feels as much GP pandering as any carefully marketed PR spin doctor posturing by Obama or Hilary.

What ticks me off isn't the GP's leftist predictability, but the fact that they play so reliably into their fringe status. Sanctimonious, revelling in their street cred, they fail to shake off their spacy, frazzled, dim aura. They perpetuate their sidelines stance, razzing the red vs. the blue team as hecklers. But, as they shout and rant, they fail to work out, to practice, to invest in the effort that would help them get on the team, to make the leap from the bush leagues to the stadiums. The Greens glory in their selection of loony McKinney rather than, as their European counterparts have been trying to do (if as in Germany and Ireland better or worse -- see Tara's example in my next post!-- making backroom deals with devilishly more centrist coalitions who need them to keep power), actually gaining some clout.

No wonder they're consigned to the potheads and hippies compost bin in America's electoral system. They lacked the gumption to support the Sierra Club contingent who themselves failed to sway their softer-hearted leaders away from a foolish espousal of open borders. And, they fail to see that their environmentalism demands tougher restrictions rather than their inoffensive removal if we throughout the world are going to manage to curb our consumption, ease our population, and stop our destruction of the earth.

2003 Cox & Forkum editorial with apologies to Franklin's "Live Free or Die" snake, but applicable today, given position of GP on donkey

3 comments:

Kristen said...

Hello,
Sorry this is O/T. (I do follow politics, but I'm on a desperate search for something else at the moment.) I looked for an email address, but couldn't see it listed, so I'm asking here.

I'm looking for the lyrics (especially an English translation) of the Peadar O Raida song Im Long Me Measaim. A Google search didn't find much, but your blog was one of the listings. I saw by reading your profile that you know at least some Irish, and I'm hoping you can help me (a complete stranger on the internet!). Are you familiar with the song?

If it makes any difference, my maternal grandfather's family were Callahans.

Thanks, even if you don't respond.

Fionnchú said...

I did look up on my CD, which as you know came out barely pre-bigtime WWW in '94, and there's listed a contact for fax/phone via Gearóid: 011-353-26-45507 in Ireland. The general title might be about a ship ("long") and "I think" ("measaim"); Ó Riada mentions Dónal Ó Liatháin & Herman[n] Hesse as two of his favorite 20c. poets, and then notes this is a poem by Dónal. While I could not find any song translation either, or even the Irish lyrics, this may assist you...

Can't find any webpage for DOL, but I did one for a younger, 25-year-old same name on Bebo and perhaps listings for a Socialist activist who I cannot tell if he's also a "singer-songwriter"! Not sure if there's two or three men with this name. Yer man's a neighbor of Peadar in West Cork, and he did contribute to Fintan Vallely's fine "Companion to Irish Trad Music" book, so FV may know how to contact him. Vallely's e-mail I found as "imusic-at-eircom-dot-net". One last try: this individual works in the Cork Gaeltacht area for a company, and this may well be his "day job"-- "Donal O'Liathain, (Fearas Ar Cois) Teoranta, Ballingeary, Macroom, Co. Cork."

ádh mór ort/good luck to you, and let me know what transpires...

clever1 said...

Regarding IM Long Me Measaim, here are the lyrics taken from the CD "Bringing it all back home"

A Ship I Am

A Ship I amd under cargo, under sail
With no haven before me
A book I am, written in a language from the sky,
There is no one out there who understand me.

Poem written by Donal O'Liathain in 1978. Music composed by Peadar O'Riada and is performed by Cor Cuil Aodh. Recorded in the Church in Cuil Aodh on Feb 11, 1990.