Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Turning the Page on D. H. Lawrence

I first offered this on 1 May last year. Very little of what I had so deeply hoped would happen this time a year ago looks like it will actually happen, but many of us gave it a try and for me at least, along the way, we had ourselves a time. Okay, here goes.

A glance at the calendar suggests we have a year before we vote in  the US Presidential sweepstakes. If that descriptive offends you, please come up with a more suitable one and I’ll be delighted to start using it. 

As it is, what do you think we should call it? A Beauty Pageant? A Mud-Wrestle? Laboring Greatly and Bringing Forth a Mouse? Those may have to do as I have no term not filled with contempt to describe a rigged game that neither of us will ever win, nor is/was it the intent of the game to benefit us at all. Ever. 

Don’t tell me it’s an opportunity for us to choose between our best and brightest because it’s anything and everything but that and has been for most of my life. I’m not suggesting cause and effect but we Boomers turned our attention inwards to ourselves and in case some haven’t noticed, that small, wicker container bursting into flames at our feet with a miniature globe in it, is our world going to hell in a hand basket. And all most of us can do is shrug. 

I got to thinking hard about this yesterday as Senator Bernie Sanders, a Don Quixote if there ever was one, announced he, too, would seek the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in a contest that has long been regarded as already promised to Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and former Senator from New York and oh yeah, wife of former President Bill Clinton.

I guess Sanders chose the Democrats because the Republican Party is still accepting job applications. As a matter of fact, the GOP clown car is already the size of a double-decker bus with no signs that the net cast to find interested candidates is even close to being filled. 

As you may know, and/or not care about, I’m a registered Democrat, hence the shot at the Grand Old Party, but I see myself as a relentless pragmatist, which is not a political party (yet) but really should be, who has a difficult time believing that the folks already in the arena (and bless them for that) are the best we can or should do.

Quite frankly wading in the Republican Presidential talent pool doesn’t even come to my ankles and listening to Mrs. Clinton advocate on my behalf after cashing checks of six figures for speaking engagements causes me to throw up, just a little bit, in my own mouth. 

I’m not from Vermont, home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Phish, but the people who live there have voted consistently in large majorities for Senator Sanders every time he has offered himself for public office and while I have no illusions about his chances, I like his positions on those issues I see as important. Meanwhile back at those chances, on a sliding scale between ‘slim’ and ‘none,’ I’m thinking he only has the former on a good day, downhill with a strong tailwind. 

But, and when, you get old as I am (which is a function of the calendar vice the maturation process) I see him as Gene McCarthy, who was the junior Senator from Minnesota at the time the senior Senator, Hubert Humphrey, was selected by Lyndon Baines Johnson as his vice-president in 1964 (Johnson/Humphrey beat Goldwater/Miller like a rented mule in the popular and electoral vote). 

Senator McCarthy declared himself a candidate, seemingly in defiance of his own party, against an incumbent President making his opposition to the war in Southeast Asia a key, though not sole, issue and built a coalition of crazies, don’t know what else to call us, who didn’t know he stood no chance so we busted butt to help him. I was sixteen and still needed a permit to shave so I’m not sure I did anyone any good but I was thrilled to be part of something that had the potential to change history. 

I’ll save you looking it up. Senator Robert Kennedy, the younger brother of the murdered President, John Fitzgerald, announced he, too, was running right after McCarthy gave Johnson all he could handle and more in the season’s first primary in Wisconsin.

Senator Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles moments after winning the California Democratic primary and his mantle was taken up by Senator George McGovern of South Dakota who along with running mate Thomas Eagleton (and then later, Sargeant Shriver) was beaten by Nixon/Agnew in 1972 by margins even larger than the pummeling Barry Goldwater took at the polls in 1964. 

So, it wasn’t the ending for which many had hoped but it was that first taste in 1968 of the brilliance of the process and the terrifying variations of the results it produced that convinced me to subscribe to Sir Winston Churchill’s description of democracy; it’s only been in the last decades that I’ve more seriously read and then re-read George Bernard Shaw’s The Applecart.  

As for 2016, we shall see what we shall see, or what those who labor for the mass media conglomerates wish to allow us to see. When I started this screed years ago, I opted to call it Tilting at Windmills. I’ve yet to get a single pony ride for my birthday, but I’ll bet I can ride a donkey which could well be what I do throughout this election season. 

That, for many, it will be impossible to tell me from my beast of burden is just a small part of The Sane Revolution since as a relentless pragmatist, I hope it spreads across this nation if we are to have any hope at all of saving ourselves from ourselves.
-bill kenny

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