Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunflower, the King of Flowers

I used to be very political, but while living in the former Eastern Bloc 1992-1995, my kneejerk American liberalism took a serious blow. 

I truly long, with all my heart, soul, and essence, for a world in which all creatures are treated with respect and kindness. I long with an aching heart for a world of equality and peace. 

Always have, always will.

I am Irish, after all.

But my ideas about the mortal patterns known as "politics" have gone a bit woozy.

I spent a lot of time with American communists in college--I went to UC Santa Cruz, after all. But living in a former Communist nation for three years after graduation was a rude awakening. I discovered that a  lot of great ideas just don't work out so well macro-wise. Which is something Karl Marx really should have thought about. 

I think Karl Marx should have thought about architecture.

The Czechoslovak people had a nice thing going before the Russians stepped in; they really did. They weren't exactly living in the Dark Ages. They had a democracy and beautiful stylish Art Nouveau architecture; they gave women the right to vote before the Americans did.

This was all before the Commies took over.

The Communists built faceless, ominous mega-housing projects, prefabricated monstrosities called panelaks. I lived in one. Humane, but not human.

That experience -- living in Eastern Europe without money for a substantial period of time-- is Reason Number One why my American Kneejerk Liberalism took a blow. 

Reason Number Two is that I found out that people who are politically or economically subjugated can also be absolute jerks, just as much as anybody else. Americans have no monopoly on jerkiness, stupidity, and ugliness. 

Jackass-ness is something that can transcend -- and descend -- class, race, and education. It's something that often exists on the most basic animal level. It has to do with genetics, with family dynamics, with brain chemistry, with a soul's nature. And with socio-economic experience. 

That's what I learned in Eastern Europe.

There's a particular kind of liberal narcissism that thinks Americans are somehow responsible for human evil.

This is a vast and useless burden that benefits no one and hurts many.

Reason Number Three that my liberal politics took a blow: Bill Clinton approved the deregulation of radio, effectively whoring our most beautiful, beloved, and sacred media.

Reason Number Four: The majority of the Democrats in the House and Senate voted for the war in Iraq.

It's not like I had any illusions about the Democrats by that point. But they lay down much more quickly than I had expected--with a few exceptions. 

No comments: