Sunday, October 29, 2006

What’s the point? What’s the point of shouting into the abyss? What’s the point of speaking if no one listens? Or if they listen, but don’t care. Or, if they care, but are obdurate and unrepentant? It doesn’t matter. If they hear, and they must hear if one speaks often, and loudly, and eloquently, then the words will penetrate their barricades of ill-formed opinion. And, by the constant repetition of fusillades, the barricades will crumble; dispelled by the force of logic. Or, so one hopes as pen touches paper, or fingertips keys.

When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

Or, so John Keats’, “Ode On A Grecian Urn,” would suggest. Are Truth and Beauty truly inseparable? Can we live without either? Both? Does lying tarnish the liar’s soul? Does lying diminish the lied to, for believing? Or, does the victim’s innocence remain intact? I think both are scarred, and both pay for the liar’s transgression in the currency of hope, that wellspring of human fortitude. And hope, once lost, is almost impossible to restore. The hopeless must stumble into oblivion, clear the stage, before a new generation of ideal seekers can grab hold of our destiny, and guide us out of the darkness imposed by cynicism.

Perhaps that is our fate, to stumble into oblivion, blinded by the stinging social and political miasma emanating from the babbling fool that is our leader. Our ideals, our guiding principles, our Truth and Beauty, have been dragged through the demagogic effluence of this President and his muttering sycophants. They assault national integrity on all fronts: political, social, economic, and environmental. And for what? Well, you would have to ask those that rallied around him, the ones who ordained his ascendance. They apparently chose this man because he offered himself as pliable facilitator to the background operators. He offered fertile fields on which they could conduct their self-serving, marginally competent business dealings. This man is devoid of grounding philosophy, yet full of pretense and conceit. He need only utter a single, un-coached sentence to confirm that charge. His notions of God and religion, it seems, are the result of his search for absolution and purpose without effort. Having managed the mental acrobatics to conjure the conviction that God speaks to him alone, he acts decisively; free of the burdens of informed contemplation. This man holds our highest elected office, and during his tenure, has wrought inestimable damage on our laws, our economy, our environment, but most regrettably, on our hope. The perpetual tide of bad news batters and bruises our hope; the tide comes in waves of assault, breaking on the shores of our once un-erodable American optimism. And the bad news does not spring from forces beyond our control, acts of God, but from sheer incompetence, and the blindness of ambition and greed.

Maybe Truth and Beauty are inseparable, but they are fragile. They must be cultivated, nurtured, and celebrated. They can not exist in a vacuum, nor can we in their absence. There is a useful lesson to learn from this failed President and his supporters – that self-interest alone, regardless how it gets “framed” by media savvy courtiers, will not prevail in the face of thoughtful scrutiny. It should be the goal of all thinking men and women to provide that scrutiny, and give voice to nagging misgivings. Speak your mind, and let Truth and Beauty give us hope.

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