Thursday, July 29, 2010

Politics, reality, and us . . .

Well, folks this morning I hit some kind of blogging wall.

I was doing research on the NRA's campaign against NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign (a campaign featuring a TV ad boosting our own Governor McDonnell), which quickly led me into political rhetoric that I found deeply fatiguing. And depressing.

I then drifted over to taking a look at the "Republican Tea Party Contract on America," released yesterday by DNC Chair (and former Virginia governor) Tim Kaine.

I found the rhetoric surrounding that to be no less enervating. And depressing.

My brother-in-law happens to be visiting. Last night after supper the three of us Woodroofs watched The Green Zone, a Matt Damon movie which makes a fictive argument that politics, rather than information, sent us to war in Iraq. Which Susan Hasler, retired after 21 years of toil at the CIA, argues as well, in her ironically titled novel Intelligence.

Weekend before last Charlie and I drove out to Green Valley Book Fair (a business supporter of WMRA) where I found a treasure trove of novels I'd always meant to read. Among them was V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River, a novel of cultural transition in Africa. While reading it, I underlined this passage in which the narrator assesses differences between his people and the country's European colonizers:
"We didn't lie because we never assessed ourselves and didn't think there was anything for us to lie about; we were people who simply did what we did. But the Europeans could do one thing and say something quite different; and they could act in this way because they had an idea of what they owed to their civilization." 
So what do our politicians think they owe American "civilization?" Not, apparently, the truth. Why let the truth get in the way of effectively scary rhetoric?

And so it seems to me, just this morning, that we Americans are at our own bend in the river; that our politics has divorced itself pretty firmly from reality. Which, I guess, does assume that someone, somewhere knows what reality is . . .

1 comment:

  1. I was watching too this movie The Green Zone and let's say, the conclusion was better yours.