Peacefully Into the Night
Like those Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, America's liberals refuse to accept defeat. Eric Alterman makes an especially impassioned plea in this weeks Nation magazine but it is the sad voice of someone who should be moved from intensive care to hospice. Ironically, he just finished a book called The Fight For American Liberalism, an especially sclerotic version, and tries his hardest to sell it by breaking out all the icons, Waltzer,Trilling, Hofstadter, Galbraith,FDR, Dewey and Niebuhr. He still calls for a "humble" Government to intervene and find new remedies in a "militant and optimistic" spirit. What could he possibly be smoking? To add injury to insult he also tries to describe Bruce Springsteen's "political voice". Talk about irony! Springsteen was John Kerry's Vote for Change puppet. His new album Wrecking Ball is all populist anger against greed and now the opening song "We Take Care of Our Own" has been adopted (co-opted) by the Obama campaign. A classic, clueless liberal, Springsteen keeps bleating about the working man but other than the Woody Guthrie anthem he sung with Seeger at the inauguration, he refuses to see the connections, to do the intellectual work of digging below surface effects to try to uncover causes.It's the reason so few wish to identify as liberals any more. A static, stagnant political philosophy needs a kick into the grave. The magazine goes a way towards redemption by including a piece by Lee Siegal on the new production of Death of a Salesman. The disturbing play is the classic expression of Marx's pronouncement that "all that is solid melts into air." We need an Arthur Miller at this point in time, a new Willy Lowman caught in the crushing jaws of late capitalism. Galbraith the Younger will be in Missoula tomorrow night for a lecture. We'll see what he thinks about the capitalist state.I saw two college age jazz groups on Monday night that gave me the will to fight on. Jazz lives. The revolution will swing.