Susie and I returned home from our Kenyan safari after a trip that seemed to go on forever. It started, idyllically, on the Maasai Mara plain, at a luxurious lodge, where we enjoyed one last view of the endless herds of Wildebeest and Zebra preparing for their migration south to the Serengeti. A small plane landed on a dirt strip, loaded us up, and took us to Nairobi, where we spent eight hours in a "day room" at a luxury hotel in downtown Nairobi. It will give you some idea of the hotel if I tell you that liveried servants greet you with hot towels. The hotel has both a Karen Blixen room and a Baden-Powell room, and is named the Stanley! A midnight flight to Heathrow was followed by a seven hour layover in the airport, and then by an eight and a half hour flight to Raleigh-Durham. American lost one of our bags, but returned it the next day. I got home totally whacked out, and sick besides [I seem to be recovering.]
On Wednesday, I fly to Rochester to give the keynote address at St John Fisher College's annual Philosophy Day [God bless the Catholic Church, the only major institution that still believes in philosophy, it seems.] So it is going to be a while before I solve the riddle of transferring the pictures I took to my computer and then integrating them into a narrative of our safari.
I thought I would be blessedly isolated from the disaster that is called American politics, but I did not reckon with T-Mobile. As we walked up a trail on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, at 8000 feet or so, one of our group was checking New York TIMES headlines. So it was that I learned we had lost the House and held the Senate. I will comment on all of that a bit later.
To my great delight, I discovered that while I was gone, some of you continued to post fascinating comments, which suggests to me that this blog has become a space in which people can exchange views, not simply read mine and comment on them. The safari had the effect of distancing me from the immediacy of electoral politics, and I do not feel an urgent need to plunge back into them, so perhaps I can try to follow JaneyG's lead and at least try to imagine something we on the left can do to begin the re-creation of a radical politics.
And now, I must go to the Post Office and collect all the catalogues that have been accumulating, together, it is to be hoped, with some donations to USSAS.
Wait until you hear about the cheetah that walked right up to our van!