Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Better Way?

the scribe took a day or two off. He’s been tired what with the holidays peppering the daily schedule, the big reading with Omar Torrez at 33 1/3 Books just 8 days away, and Mrs. Scribe moving her stuff out of office at the Cooper Building in Downtown L.A.

Not that it has been easy to keep the big trap shut while Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice runs around Europe, denouncing torture in some cases, in all cases, in cases where Americans are overseas and therefore not subject to the law, in cases where the tortured are "suspected" terrorists (to which they confess after being tortured and wouldn't you?).

Aaaaay. To quote Mark Twain (“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”), “Sometimes one would like to hang the whole human race and be done with the thing.”

It is, as Jimmy Carter says, embarrassing (“Unreal America,” November 16).

After a book review and a large installment of the soon-to-be-released “The Sidewalk Smokers Club,” highwayscribery will weigh-in on the issues of the day, spurred on by another e-missive from Sen. John Kerry (blogger).

He’s riffing on the success of fundraising done in response to Dick Cheney’s Texas trip designed to help the embattled Tom DeLay raise his own money. It was a kind of counter-fundraiser.

He’d like some more money now that a Texas judge has waved DeLay’s request that all charges against him have been dropped.

Here’s Blogger Kerry himself:

“The Republican Party and its candidates are getting more desperate by the moment. They can feel the power slipping out of their hands. Their record of failure, incompetence and corruption has worn out their welcome with the American people.

And we know what kind of tactics the DeLay-Cheney Republicans use when they have their backs to the wall. That’s why our Fight Back Fund has to be ready at a moment’s notice.”

So he wants more money.

the scribe bemoans the “perpetual campaign” associated with politics today. He gave Kerry $100 bucks during the big election, but gets miffed at the endless calls from Democrats asking for more money. Folks need a break. We really can’t keep up with those corporate donors, and the leaders of the American left need to be more creative in countering that reality.

There has to be a better way.

Over the past few issues, “The Atlantic Monthly” has been running a series of essays by the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy designed to retrace the steps of his countrymen Alexis de Tocqueville and his “Democracy in America.”

Both pieces are excellent examples of highwayscribery and the reason whereby they are focused upon here.

Anyway, Levy attended a conference of progressive democrats (Goreiors, Clintonites, Kerriers) in Washington as part of his travels and this is what he had to say about it:

“The results, I’m afraid, didn’t measure up either to my hopes or – far more serious – to what anyone might reasonably expect given the quality, intensity, and strength of the ideological argument mounted by the right...”

After talking about the party’s pathetic pandering to the morality crusaders and far too abstract radicalism of the Michael Moore crowd, Levy takes on...

“People who supposedly fight for their ideas: activists who explain that they have only one objective, to regenerate the ideological substance of their party; heads of think tanks who, as genuine or feigned progressives, as people who are nostalgic for moral order or who advocate steering away from it, present themselves as ideologues and assure you that their aim is to vanquish the right and especially the neo-conservatives, on the battlefield of doctrine. But when you push them a little, when you ask them what their time-line is and, within this time-line, what their tactical or strategic priorities are, their only common ground is talk!

“During the presidential campaign I had already observed this phenomenon. I had noticed the frequent press releases that informed us, day after day, like so many victory bulletins, about the status of the party’s finances. I had seen how, here, money is the very sign and symptom of excellence, whereas in France money is What Must Never Be Discussed.

“But now the campaign is over. Now is the time for reconstruction. So let me take the instance of this joint conference. I’ll choose those three hours of debate in which the participants, myself included, were meant to question one another about the profound reasons for the increased electoral turnout that occurred during Bush’s re-election.

“The fact is that two-thirds, maybe three quarters, of the speeches were devoted to talking not about ‘party lines,’ not even about ‘communication’ or ‘advocacy,’ but about marketing, fundraising, the relative merits of the ceremonies financed by [r]epublicans or the Democrats, the role of the Internet. The fact is that these brilliant pioneers who were supposed to set down the cornerstones for the people’s house of tomorrow had only one idea, one obsession, and, fundamentally, one watchword: how, in four years, to fight the [r]epublicans on the battlefield of fundraising.

“I have nothing against money as such. And there’s a part of me that doesn’t hate the complex-free, offhanded manner Americans have about approaching the subject.

“Yet on that day, I wanted to hear about something else. I looked for speeches about why this money should be raised. I yearned for one voice, just one, to articulate the three or four major issues that, given the current debate and balance of power, might constitute the framework of a political agenda. A defense of Enlightenment against the creationist offensive. A Tocqueveillian revolution extolling, certainly not atheism, but secularism, and maintaining the separation of church and state. A new New Deal for the poorest of the poor. An uncompromising defense of human rights, and a rejection of the ‘exceptional’ status of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.


“Money, and then money again.”



highwayscribery wants to thank Stefanie at the “So Many Books” lit blog for being only the second site to link with us after 10 months of pissin’ in the wind (as Jerry Jeff Walker would put it). It’s a fun site if you like reading put together by a reader’s reader reader (heh).

L.A. Observed is the other site to hook up with the highwayscribery.

Maybe you’re saying, “Well scribe, what are you moanin’ about. Who’ve you linked up to?

And that would be a good point to which there is an even better answer: the scribe doesn’t know how to do that "link field" thing and is therefore condemned to a cyber-life of solitude.

Have a good day and don’t forget the reading on Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. 1200 N. Alvarado, Los Angeles, Califas.


Stefanie said...

Hey, thanks for the mention!

highwayscribery said...