Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn: Death is Life

My death waits there among the leaves
In magicians' mysterious sleeves
Rabbits and dogs and the passing time
My death waits there among the flowers
Where the blackest shadow, blackest shadow cowers
Let's pick lilacs for the passing time
My death waits there in a double bed
Sails of oblivion at my head
So pull up the sheets against the passing time

~ Jacques Brel

Leaves are falling and blowing across the streets and lawns as cool winds whip through my suburban landscape. Gone are the long evenings of slow twilight. Gone are the slow and relaxed gaits of movement. There is an urgency to get through the more turbulent atmosphere and arrive more purposefully at a destination now. The darkness falls quicker and returns slower. The mud and buds of spring time renewal are far away, both in the past and future. Forgotten and not yet imagined. The reality is currently stressing the cold and the process of going dormant. There will be a long stretch of trying to hold on to the promise of renewal ahead of us.

The chill in the air that appears this time of year is incrementally more chilling with each passing year. We feel the slow transition from summer to autumn as becoming less tangential to our own life's cycle. Yet there is a familiar assurance and reassurance that greets us in the annual dying off. We have been through it so many times before that we can feel comfortable knowing the many intricate variations of what we can expect of winter in these temperate latitudes. Imagine the shock if we had never been through a winter before.

The shorter days can be depressing. The cold wind can be painful to endure. The sense of impending death can be a source of dread. Then comes the revelation of our long experience: There can be no renewal without this dying off. There can be no promise without this finality. There is a reason to this season.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good Fucking Riddance

Finally and at long last, the year 2010 has delivered some good news. Rahm Emanuel, the destroyer of Democratic congressional majorities, is leaving, supposedly to try to get a piece of the action in Chicago. No one really believes the motive, the more likely scenario is he is bailing out to avoid the stigma of potentially once again presiding over a huge (and hugely avoidable) Republican renaissance. In 1994, it was his DLC strategy of pushing through NAFTA by the Clinton administration that persuaded the Democratic base to stay home, opening the door to the Newt Gingrich-led raping and pillaging of the middle class. In 2010, it was his continued strategy of allowing corporate cash to rule over all else that is similarly demoralizing all voters that aren't batshit crazy, or millionaires (or in some case, both). History repeats itself and the crooked campaign-finance money machine never misses a beat.

President Obama's hiring of Mr. Emanuel right after the 2008 election was the first clear indication that the hope and change rhetoric of the campaign was not going to amount to much of the susbstantive change as we had hoped for. Two years later, we can clearly recognize it as Clinton redux, the corporate and Israel lobbies still rule the day and the rest of us are still serfs populating an ever-growing feudalist chasm between what needs to be done and what cannot be done as long as the real change, a fundamental restructuring of the campaign finance system, is not implemented.

Let Rahm Emanuel be a symbol, the poster boy, of the need for this change. Twice now he has squandered the hopes and dreams of working people and sold them out to the highest corporate bidder. But we must not focus narrowly and concentrate our disappointment, frustration and anger on the player. We must put our effort into finally changing the game.