On a little trip through blogland, I stopped by for a visit at a place where I occasionally hang out.
I have been there before. Several times. Over a period of one or two years, but I am NOT a regular.
One of the things that struck me today was the increasingly strident, agressive rhetoric of this author, who resorts to scapegoating more and more often, as his disillusionment, frustration, feelings of helplessness, even despair, increase in the current U.S. economic and political crisis.
I have warned him that he is beginning to sound like someone who had a volcanic impact on 20th century Europe : Adolf Hitler. An extremely intelligent man, Adolf, with pertinent and perspicaceous political and economic analysis about the maelstrom crisis HE was caught up in. A man who, contrary to current public opinion, fought... earnestly and hard against the... EXTREMISM and RADICALISM that was eating away at his spirit. A man who fought against the all too human tendancy to scapegoat, to find a flesh and blood person, or class of people : Jews, but perhaps also.. Roms ? or.. the rich ? to INCARNATE the bad guy, the OTHER responsible for OUR predicament.
A man who... LOST that fight. With the consequences that WE can LOOK BACK ON, and SEE NOW, over 70 years later, from a point of view that DEFINITELY was not that of... Adolf or the millions of OTHER PEOPLE, Germans, Jews, communists, Roms, Christians, homosexuals, French, whatever, who were affected by this PERSONAL (to Adolf...) and COLLECTIVE tragedy (because it could NOT have happened without, shall we say... THE HELP of lots and lots of people in addition to Adolf. People who were.. LIKE ADOLF, caught up in a maelstrom of seething, raw emotion, despair, rage, hate that made the appeal to reason... inaudible).
If I say this today, it is because, Heraclitus notwithstanding, I am ill at ease with what appears from my vantage point to be an increasing radicalism, and extremism in the U.S. social body in response to a relatively new economic situation for the country : massive unemployment in spite of increased "objectified" productivity.
The situation that Western Europe, at least France, my home, has known for quite some time now, and which is eating away at ALL of our spirits, causing frustration, despair, and a desire to scapegoat almost EVERYWHERE these days, I'm afraid.
I think that it is extremely important to say these things because...
Well, the very idea of history, of locating something in the past has some unfortunate, and unintended consequences. Among which... the consequence of making us feel that no way in hell could WE ever behave the way those people back there in 1939 behaved.
THAT was the past. WE are not in the past. WE could NEVER do the things the GERMAN people, those INHUMAN, ANIMAL, BRUTISH NAZIS did from 1939-45...(!!!!)
THAT was then. THIS is NOW. WE have made PROGRESS since then.
See ? Look at.. all those LAWS, those declarations, those INSTITUTIONS we have set up to INOCULATE OURSELVES against THE IDEA that WE could behave like our ancestors did.
(In France, this is particularly true, how about in GERMANY, TOBY ??)
This particularly... RATIONAL way of looking at the metaphysical problem of HOW AND WHY WE can commit atrocities (REAL EVIL) WILL NOT stand up ALONE to the beating that it is getting right now.
Unless we can find a way to REINTEGRATE, REINTRICATE reason AND emotion, for example.
Unless we stop telling ourselves lies about what WE (not "they"...) are capable of BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN, and this is a part of being human.
Unless we learn to become an INCLUSIVE society, NOT an exclusive one. Not one that labels... "Jews", "the rich", "homosexuals", and slants people off into little boxes to keep them.. outta sight and outta mind in some instances, or... the constant objects of our hate and attacks in others.
Unless we ALSO learn to CONTROL OUR tongues, our speech, and learn how to BELIEVE IN something/someone ? to give meaning to our lives. Using our tongues and speech to GIVE HOPE. To comfort, for example.
Unless we REALLY learn what it means to become.. MEN and WOMEN. Fully human.
With our weaknesses, that we can look in the face without turning away, or sweeping under the carpet. With our STRENGTHS, AND OUR BEAUTIES that we can also see, and not disparage.
I tremble for my fellow Americans these days...
There is so much at stake.
For US all.