Friday, 31 July 2009

"It waved above our infant might, when all ahead seemed dark as night..."

Pudgy columnist Johann Hari is exhorting the proletariat to rise up:
When you are just one person sitting on a warming planet – when you see economies collapsing, wars raging, and reasons for fear on every corner – how should you react? What can you do?
Gosh! I don't know, Johann, what can we do?
The first mood is to feel powerless, and to turn this into a defiant pessimism. You know the script. I can't make any difference. It's all going to happen, whatever I do. The political conversation is remote and boring and has nothing to do with me anyway. I'm going to buy an extra-big lock for my door, hug my kids a little tighter, and sit out the storm.

We all have these moods from time to time, but they have now turned into the default mode of citizens in the supposedly advanced democracies.
You mean, people have rightly surmised that marches, protests and sit ins don't get you anything but scorn, ridicule and corns...?

How surprising...
The second mood seems to be the opposite, but is actually its flipside. It says: what we need is a heroic leader who will save us. Enter Barack Obama. He's clever and articulate and has a conscience. He's the photographic negative of George W Bush. He will sort things out.

Hmm, clever? How can we know?

Articulate? Not with the teleprompter off. And besides, you don't want to yse that particular term when talking about a black man, or your right-on friends and fellow progressives may turn on you!

As for his conscience, well, let's say the jury's still out, shall we?
Both these moods leave you – the ordinary citizen – inert. All you can do is focus on your own personal life and wait, for disaster or salvation. But these twin dispositions leave out the real option that is waiting for you. It is the only one that has ever delivered political change in the past, and it is the only one that will pull us out of the ditch now. It is where ordinary individual citizens – you – come together and raise their voices and offer solutions of their own.
Really, Johann?

Even if what they say is what you don't want to hear?


Letters From A Tory said...

Perhaps Obama was a bit too quick to 'articulate' his recent accusations of racism against the police?

JuliaM said...

Heh! Undoubtedly, looking at his poll numbers plunging even further...