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Thursday, June 4, 2020

THE CONSOLATIONS OF FAITH


These are difficult times, dangerous times, times pregnant with possibility.  They lay upon us many demands, one of which in particular causes me to toss and turn at night, to trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, as the Bard says.  It is my practice at such times to turn to the Good Book, and there to seek counsel.  This familiar passage from the Gospels speaks to my distress:


I refer, of course, to the necessity laid upon me by political exigency of welcoming to the fold the likes of George Will, Bill Kristol, Nicole Wallace, Joe Scarborough, Joe Biden, and even ‘Mad Dog’ Jim Mattis, who, after lives of spiritual profligacy have found their way back and now seek to join, nay to lead, the struggle against Donald Trump and his Republican enablers.

“Where were you” I want to cry out, “when Kennedy invaded Cuba, when the CIA overthrew Mossadegh, when LBJ invaded Viet Nam, when Bush invaded Iraq?  Why did you cheer on Reagan as he attacked the unions?  Why did you savage Anita Hill, help write and pass the 1994 Crime Bill whose bitter fruits now sour our stomachs?”

And then I return to the Good Book, where the father replies to the dutiful brother, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”

I know this, and I accept it.  But I will not lie.  It is hard.

20 comments:

Howie said...

A very educated and well read fellow employee at work assured me when Trump won the electoral college and the election, assured me with certainty that the establishment would never let him lead our country
He was as Marxist as they come and he was my comrade
Little did he know- this is a chance to rebuild a better establishment if not set new foundations

s. wallerstein said...

I just see the characters whom you mention above as the rats and opportunists who abandon a sinking ship. I am not a Christian.

R McD said...

I can see why you might want to say that LBJ invaded Vietnam, for he certainly massively increased the American military presence there. But to say it the way you do surely let's too many people off the hook.

One of--for me--the most poignant moments at the Columbia Teach-In on Vietnam was when an anthropologist who'd spent years in South-Easst Asia said to all of us gathered there--rather in the way you're now saying it to others-- (I paraphrase) 'Where were you? I've been trying to get people concerned about this for almost a decade.' (I.e., since the US refused to acknowledge the Geneva Accords which ended the French war on Indochina in 1956, and since the US actively assumed the effort to dominate that part of the world.) Lots more could be said here about interventions, including assasinations and regime changes and eventually the "chickens coming home to roost" which brought LBJ to the throne.

David Palmeter said...

The first snow balls of what, if we're lucky, will be an avalanche are rolling down the hill: Murkowski says Mattis is right. Grassly is put a hold on two nominations until the White House explains the State Dept. IG firing. More likely than not we are seeing CYA statements and not an change of heart of devotion to the Constitution, but I'll take them just same.

Oh-And a local TV station has discovered empty tear gas cannisters in Lafayette Park.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

R McD, I know, I know. I was trying for a pithy phrasae, not complete rundown of post WW II history. My apologies.

R McD said...

I wasn't really looking for an apology--but thanks anyway. I guess I (over)reacted because I worry that, should the Bidenites win in November, we'll find ourselves endowed with the same sort of foreign policy people who gave us Vietnam, Cuba, etc. So I'm sensitive to important history being overlooked. r

LFC said...

George F. Will and Bill Kristol -- their intense dislike of Trump, which is not something new for them, can't make up for all the reprehensible views they've expressed over the years and all the malign influence on policy that they, and esp Kristol, have had. (Pls look up the Project for a New American Century and its role vis-a-vis the Bush-Cheney admin and the invasion of Iraq.)

LFC said...

P.s. Even though I'm not a particular fan of Biden and he has done some regrettable things in his career (as well as at least a couple of good things), I don't think I'd ever mention him in the same breath as Will and Kristol.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

LFC, I am old enough to remember Kristol's parents.

Anonymous said...

I STRONGLY AGREE. But in these tough times we have to welcome support wherever we can find it. As Mark Twain famously said, "Praise God! Another nickel from Abner!"

David Palmeter said...

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

s. wallerstein said...

My enemy isn't Trump, but the system as a whole and the characters mentioned above are hardly enemies of the system.

David Palmeter said...

s. wallerstein

Sometimes I think that not only do we not live on the same continents, we don't live on the same planet.

s. wallerstein said...

David Palmeter,

It's not a question of planets, but of codes and values.

David Palmeter said...

I didn't take you as someone whose values aligned with those of Trump. I'm with Chomsky on this: get rid of the malignancy in the White House:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6-4gh8QhIQ

Anonymous said...

Trump is a secondary complicating disease that now has grown large enough to require treatment on its own...but the main disease that will be left to deal with after his departure is a culture that anointed him as its leader.

s. wallerstein said...

I agree with Chomsky about a lot of things.

I'd say that Trump is a symptom of a deeper disease.

However, let me make my position clear. I have not voted in a U.S. presidential election since 1972 when I voted for McGovern. I will not vote for Biden, but I will not criticize those who vote for Biden or argue against them.

I'm sick of being told that I have to be a responsible adult and to vote for Biden and those like him. I feel no obligation to always be a responsible adult although I often am one.
From time to time, I get back into touch with my inner rebellious 17 year old.

David Palmeter said...

Anonymous, I agree. First, stop the bleeding.

David Palmeter said...

s. wallerstein

I'm often 17 in my mind, and I wonder who that old man with white hair is when I'm in front of a mirror.

Anonymous said...

It might be just me, but I find the sentence "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" quite similar to the sentence "he may be a bastard, but he's our bastard".

Yet Another Anonymous