The Politics of Despair

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting
“Which side are you on?”
– Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row “

A snippet of lyrics that are as apt a metaphor today as they were 50 years ago. Within the constraints of a blog, I attempt to write of the unfurling of events in Baltimore and throughout the country.

Penetrating debates are problematic as it appears that most people view events through shallow and ideological lenses. Rather than insightful discussion, slogans are shouted at each other and reflect a paucity of critical thought.

Bob Dylan wrote this masterpiece, “Desolation Row,” way back in 1965. His 11-minute epic depicted the barren landscape that results when robotic ideology and thought control transcend true freedom.

I view the political system as broken in so many ways. It has devolved to a sporting event or a dramedy that parodies real life. Spiritually and in the context of the vast cosmos, politics may be an illusion or delusion, though it impacts people’s lives for sure. What a paradox.

I’ll take the liberty and privilege to offer up some pithy (or not so pithy) comments:

  • Obviously, there has been far less progress in race relations and racial equality than many people have believed. Economic disparity has exacerbated the issue and is proof that the American system does not work for an increasing number of people.
  • Ted Cruz exemplifies a politician devoid of critical thought, seeming almost demagogic.
  • Rand Paul’s view of drug policy, prison reform, and foreign policy are more progressive than Hillary’s. He has no chance for the Republican nomination, but shows the need for a third party.
  • Representative Elijah Cummings is a courageous man, emanating beautiful human qualities.
  • Jack Kemp was on to something all those years ago in attacking economic and racial despair. He called for the establishment of enterprise zones in blighted areas, offering massive tax and other government sponsored incentives to entice the private sector to invest in jobs and businesses. It is too bad that his own political party offers nothing these days.
  • I like Bernie Sanders for his transparency. He, in a similar way to Rand Paul, has no chance for the Democratic nomination. Once again though, his presence demonstrates the need for multiple parties and the constraints of a two party system.
  • As for Hillary, the question is: can she sincerely and deeply reinvent herself in a way that resonates? Can she separate herself from her vested past and the moneyed interests that have supported her and her husband for decades?
  • The State Attorney of Maryland, Ms. Marilyn Mosby is a very courageous woman. Her actions illustrate that even the police are accountable for criminal acts, something that was sorely neglected in past incidents of police brutality.
  • Police unions prove that not all unions are good. Notice how they say that there was a rush to judgment and that the investigation is still going on? In their next sentence they say that the police did nothing wrong! No rush to judgment there. I have issues with other unions but that’s for another post.



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