One of the most insidious undercurrents that has aided and enabled the modern conservatives, as well as the Bush Administration, has been the rise of what, in another era, was called malaise.
For me, the most disturbing failure of Little Lord Pontchartrain’s reign was the Katrina failure, particularly the absent response following the hurricane. I always thought, that despite the politics, letting a city drown, and then not working hard to rebuild it simply could not happen in the U.S. Hell, we were the people who figured out how to go the moon and back. If we tried, and that’s a mighty big “if”, we could solve and fix most things.
But we didn’t even try.
While there was some momentary anger, it seems to have subsided. Conservativism, a necessary counterweight to utopianism, has been transmogrified into passive acceptance. We accept that a city can be demolished, and government will do virtually nothing. We accept that, when compared to the EU, our healthcare system is awful. We accept that, when compared to the EU, our working conditions are inferior. We accept that income inequality can rise. We accept that, now more than ever, there appears to be one law for the wealthy and connected, and another for the rest of us. We accept the slow erosion of our civil liberties. We accept that our blood and treasure can be spent in countries that never posed a threat to us, in the name of lies and the ideology of insecure men.
Our passivity is such that we even accept that non-existent crises, such as the Social Security ‘crisis’, are inevitable.
Yet all of these things can be changed: these are not hurricanes or earthquakes, but problems we have created and thus we can solve. By next Fourth of July, I hope more of us will be independent of this malaise.