Six Stages Toward Hope
There is such a thing as hope. So suggested the scholar Andy Dufresne. He intoned that, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and good things never die.” It was convincing, if a bit pie-in-the-sky, almost as though it came straight out of Hollywood. It might be more accurate to write that hope still exists in some of us, those amongst us who are good people that remain politically engaged to the point that they believe political actions have political consequences.
I, alas, am not one of those people, which is why I wanted so desperately to break things last week after reading the following quote:
”We’ll soon see how seriously the GOP actually takes states’ rights, won’t we?”
But I didn’t break things. I ruminated. And my rumination produced the following responses in the following sequence.
Re: breaking things. My first response was to see if it was possible to throw my iMac through a wall, a plan quickly abandoned as I love Tumblr too much.
Yep. This will be the time. This will be the point at which these hypocrisies suddenly matter. The 236 years of horrifying American history in which it plainly didn’t matter was merely a prelude; everything has building to this singular moment in which Oregon’s marijuana policy (?!?) proves to be the lynchpin that brings down the whole damn charade. Because once Americans see a party picking and choosing when to adhere to its own stated philosophy, they will start asking the sort of questions that can only end in transformational political change. All that is required is finally, after so long, reaching that point. Like the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me thrice, shame on me…fool me a 1035th time, shame on me, fool me a 1036th time, shame on me, fool me a 1037th time, shame on you.”
Although I was a failure as a graduate student, I remember being very taken by an essay we were once assigned to read. It was a Marxist’s critique of the Constitution; it might have been this essay, although that I do not remember for certain is all the evidence you really need of my academic ineptitude. Still, ever since reading it, I’ve been taken with the idea that the American political model is essentially a sham, one carefully designed to protect the narrow interests of a particular class. I tend to filter everything through that particular critique of the system, even if other political options on offer were even more galling than the current structure. As I see no evidence that the critique itself is wrong, I boggle at those who can believe otherwise. I do this in a genuinely academic, dare I say zoologic kind of way way. As in, “Honey, come quick, there is an odd species here in front of me that apparently believes in the system as it is taught to fifth graders and not the system as it actually, plainly exists!”
I don’t often want to drink anymore, but when I do, it often comes after reading things like that, because, dear God, give me anything to make it go away.
It dawns on me sometimes that my responses can stray into territory that might easily be defined as “a bit much” or “over the top” or “entirely unreasonable” if you prefer two words to do work of three. So perhaps credit ought to be given to a (very famous) blogger who apparently believes that although the entirety of American history suggests otherwise, Oregon’s potential adoption of relaxed marijuana laws and the certain conflict with anti-legalization politicians of both parties (and especially the Republicans who claim to favor state policy making) really will be a tipping point of some sort. And once we reach that tipping point, anti-legalization politicians of both parties (but again, mostly Republicans) will be forced to choose between their commitment to states’ rights and their commitment to a drug-free America. And with that, America itself will witness a significant political change vastly different than that which has occurred at any other point in its long history. So three cheers for this man’s positivity in the face of long and frankly daunting odds. After all, nobody thought America was going to beat the Soviet Union either but those Olympians still headed out onto the ice.
After being barely diplomatic about the entire thing, I wanted to do literally anything else, which ultimately produced a kind of catharsis. Remember my aforementioned love of Tumblr? Instead of investing any more thought into the idea that somebody somewhere believes that political inconsistencies between philosophies and preferred policies actually matters, I instead spent my time looking for things that I genuinely loved, and whether it was songs (of all kinds, including something with potential for a Friday Jukebox) or drawings (like Edward Hopper’s Night Shadows”) or photographs (mostly of lonely, rainy days, like this one), I found happiness in simply not focusing upon that which had so enraged me. And for that, there is reason to be hopeful, as in I hope I never read another sentence like that, because I hope I’m smart enough to stay away from places that are certain to contain such observations.
Update: the essay I was thinking of in the Academic/Zoologic section may have actually been something from Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.