I can hope for the quite extraordinary change myself.
The first decade of the 21st century seemed very like a continuation of the 20th. Maybe it's only now that the new century is getting into gear. Historians sometimes say that the 20th century only really began in 1914. Maybe future historians will say of the 21st that it only really began in 2010.
The indictment of Goldman Sachs has been brewing for some time. It's the sort of thing that would never be reported by the BBC, but there have been much more serious allegations floated against the firm than the formal charges. And in reality, I suspect this has little to do with actual wrong doing, though of that there is no doubt plenty. This is probably part of the government's attempt to re-institute financial regulation and oversight on Wall Street, which our beloved banksters oppose, for some reason.
There are other big changes, obviously, at least here in the US. The Reopublican party over here is openly embracing the Confederacy in order to bind itself evermore tightly to ignorant, disaffected, Protestant whites.
My wife is a school teacher and had a confrontation just yesterday with a girl over her claimed "right" to wear clothing portraying the battle flag of the Confederate States of America. This girl insisted that it had nothing to do with slavery and was merely a symbol of her "heritage". Her rant was speckled with "them" and "they" and all the imaginary grievances she claimed to suffer at "their" hands, despite the fact that "they", her black classmates, were sitting in the classroom beside her. When confronted with this fact, she refused to even look at "them".
My wife's been there for twenty years and this is a first. Other teachers are reporting incidents of the same and in another class another white kid called one of his black classmates "a nigger" - which for those in my wife's lunch group was a first, curiously.
I grew up in this area and there was nothing like this in the classroom thirty years ago, either. Of course 'reasonable' conservatives say this is mere coincidence and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the Democratic president of the US is black or that the Republican governor of this state proclaimed April "Confederate History Month", with great fanfare, but never once mentioned the word "slavery".
I think there are momentous changes afoot.
I think those who benefit from the status quo, and their handmaidens in the media, are trying desperately to down-play such change, but it's there.
So, what do you think- are these Republican leaders just playing around- like a kid with a box of matches, or do they really want to bring back the old Confederacy and split the United States?
Would a reborn Confederacy be a viable nation- or would it swiftly slip into third world status? Maybe I'm out of touch, but I'm thinking most of the parts of the States that generate money would stick with the Union- and there'd be a mass exodus to the North and West of Southerners with brains.
These Republicans are mostly just children playing with matches, best I can tell, albeit greedy, stupid children, with a truly breataking indifference to the suffering of their fellow man. I suspect they lack the self-awareness required to understand the shamefulness of what they do. Men like McDonnell, the newly-elected governor of Virginia, are opportunistic parasites, not neo-Confederates as such.
Poor and middle-class whites in this state do indeed have serious grievances - rural poverty, sub-standard medical care, rampant drug abuse, decrepit infrastructure, industrial flight, gentrification, the list goes on and on. They are all the sort of problems that could be addressed successfully by the state and Federal government, but it would involve increased taxes and public spending on social programs, something these reptiles are obviously opposed to and violently so.
Consequently, in order to remain in power and continue shilling for their corporate masters, the Republicans must substitute these imaginary grievances istead, the lost cause of the Confederacy and the system of institutionally enforced white supremacy it represented. Shocking as it might be in this day and age, at least out there in the civilized world, these symbols have amazing power among certain voter groups and not just in the South, either, I'm am very sad to say.
There's nothing like a lost cause to get people going.
It's like Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highland uprising. Charlie was a weak, arrogant, stupid man and his victory would have been a disaster for the country- a return to Stuart autocracy with theocratic trimmings- but all the romance, all the good songs, are on his side.
Bonnie Prince Charlie is an excellent parallel, in part because his supporters and the core of Confederate dead-enders are ethnically, and in some sense culturally, the same people. The Highlands were pacified by relocating the population to Ireland. From there, they came to the Colonies in overwhelming numbers, landing mostly in Pennsylvania and then traveling down the Valley Road to Virginia and North Carolina and subsequently to Ohio, Kentucky, Tennesse and beyond.
Among other things, it's one reason the Indian wars were so incredibly vicious. One tribal society started a blood-feud with another and the result was entirely predictable. As a friend of mine of both Native-American and Scots-Irish descent once noted, the problem was not the disparity between the two cultures. The problem was that they understood each other's motives all too well and were both capable and eager to respond in kind.
My vote is for "extraordinary change."
I also note that in the North and West there are just as many nut cases as there are in the deep South. Ihave a feeling that not only the Union would split in such a case, but so would many of the states. Wouldn't THAT be a puzzle for Someone to solve?
The USA has done very well to hold itself together over the past 150 years, but the cracks go deep.
is this a freak in the time-flow- a brief cross-current- or are we living through a period of quite extraordinary change?
I hope extraordinary change. Assuming it's the survivable kind, of course. The Second American Civil War would suck.
I'm an enthusiast for change too, though I realise I'm sitting in a rather comfortable place where I may not have to face the full force of it.
though I realise I'm sitting in a rather comfortable place where I may not have to face the full force of it.
You seem to be having very rapid renaissance in sea and train travel, which is neat.
Yes, I'm very happy about that.
I hate air travel. I'll go a long way round to avoid having to fly. It's not that I'm scared. I just find it a horrible experience. When we went to Annecy earlier this year we went by train.
May you live in interesting times, eh?
It doesn't seem we have much of a choice. :)
And is it such a curse? Interesting times are....well....interesting!
It does make one wonder...
BTW, a friend told me he had seen a cartoon showing two Mayans doing their hyeroglyphs in the temple, and one Mayan turns to the other and says, "Hey! I just ran out of room!"
Yes, no way are we going to come to an end in 2012.
I remember so clearly a day in fourth grade, we'd returned to school after a blizzard and the snow was dripping outside the long windows while our (morbid) teacher told us about a prediction that the earth was going to "bubble up and sink under" on December 21. I didn't hear the year. I thought she meant RIGHT AWAY, on December 21.
I thought the dripping of snow outside the windows was the FIRST SIGN of the bubbling up and sinking under, and my next memory is of standing outside the Girl Scout house in my red coat waiting for my mother to pick me up, wondering if the earth was going to start bubbling even as I waited.
All those years, and I remembered the date: December 21.
I suppose even then, in the fifties, that Mayan Date was in the--Zeitgeist...isn't that amazing? Sort of closure, actually, for me...
I remember sitting eating my school lunch sometime during the 50's, waiting for the tidal wave that someone or other had said was going to obliterate civilisation. I had it all worked out- how I was going to rescue my best friend and we'd live happily ever after on a desert island
PS, I posted again.
I feel convalescent but okay.
I'm so glad to have you back.
It is rather fun!
Like how good it feels to walk really fast.
Extraordinary fuckups due to short-sightedness and greed.
Short sightedness and greed drive human progress. As Blake said, "If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."