Thursday, 10 February 2005

Squeezing Out Joy

Four dozen years I've lived now on this wondrous troubled planet. The source of its greatest peril is doubtless the activity of its most marvelous and awesome lifeform. That species capable of sharing its awe across the expanse of the planet in a virtual instant. Humanity has succeeded in the tiniest recent fraction of its existence in comprehending more about its own origins and the origins of the universe, than most would have thought possible a mere 300 years ago. We are indeed, in a sense the universe becoming self-aware. And yet we repeat age-old errors, and cannot reasonably be trusted with the technology of our own making. Wisdom is still meted out in similar percentages as it was to humans thousands of years ago, while technology puts power in the hands of anyone clever enough to use it, regardless of their judgment. Evolution is too slow to compensate for such an explosion of invention, and yet so much of that invention is so enthralling. I scarcely could wish it away. Forgive my bombastic musings, but I will allow it of myself on my birthday. Hell, I'll allow it of myself anytime, but a birthday is a good excuse.

Now where was I. Oh yes, my regular readers were subjected to an onslaught of frenetic ravings about a certain attorney general nominee, followed by a week of silence, immediately following his expected confirmation. I call them ravings I suppose, because far less effort was made to build the case, than to proseletyse against him. It was a practical consideration borne of perceived urgency. I was preaching to the choir, and I wanted to contribute to raising its voice to the loudest crescendo possible. In actual fact I'm willing to believe it possible that Alberto Gonzales himself is a likable enough person, but I cannot see his appointment as anything short of an insult to the huge minority in this country who find the behavior of this administration appalling, as well as the huge majority of those in liberal Western democracies who must be outraged that the architect of the apologia for torture is appointed and approved as the chief law enforcement official of the world's remaining superpower.

But to those who must have been saying enough already with the Gonzales focus, I agree. Four years is but a blip in the arc of history, though the coming four years are fraught with fears aplenty. I'm personally more disappointed by the unanimity of the Republicans than the non-unanimity of the Democrats on this one. But as Eric noted, it's early in the new term, and politics prevailed.

The nature of hope, unlike optimism, is that it doesn't die in the face of failed efforts. Rather it thrives on the seeds that are planted in those efforts, and in fact the activity gives energy to purpose and purpose to energy. Connections were made, techniques were tried out, people were awakened if only briefly to the passions that were shared in the process. The highlight for me was the leafleting itself. I heartily recommend to anyone to find a way to act on your passions, and find others with whom to do so. The summit may be unattainable, but there is joy in the climb. As Paul Loeb observes, "possibility is the oxygen upon which hope thrives."


-epm said...

Cheer up, my friend. Less than 24 months till the mid-term elections!

Perhaps even more powerful than writing your congress-critter is writing to your newspaper(s). This is ground zero for spreading a true grass-root message... It's cheaper and more credible than a mass mailing. Fence-sitters read your letter printed right there in a newspaper they bought and -- bing! -- a light goes off. It gives power to the timid when they read the common sense words of like minded progressives...

Well, that's my theory anyway.

Walker said...

I hadn't meant to sound so cheerless!

Letters to the editor are a good idea. I plan to indulge your suggestion more in the future than I have in the past.