It was an odd coincidence to see this image when I clicked on a link regarding the Nikon School. It seems a multi-purpose image which might address a variety of sentiments.
The arc of political action—especially the latest dismantling of the Roosevelt legacy, the suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, does not bode well for getting the elephant off our necks any time soon. Each day brings more news that the “compassionate conservatives” are more than happy to keep the gulf between rich and poor widening each day. But the liberal response, as always, seems to tilt at another windmill. Mark Woods pointed at an article by Lakoff. In part, it proposes that:
Unless the real truth is told starting now, the American people will accept it for lack of an alternative. The Democratic response so far is playing right into Bush’s framing. By delaying a response for fear it will be called “partisan,” the Democratic leadership is allowing Bush to frame the tragedy. And once it is framed, it is hard to reframe! It is time to start now.
Hurricane Katrina should also form the context in which to judge whether John Roberts is fit to be chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. The reason is simple: The Katrina Tragedy raises the most central issues of moral and political principles that will govern the future of this country. Katrina stands to be even more traumatic to America than 9/11. The failure of conservative principles in the Katrina Tragedy should, in the post-Katrina era, invalidate those principles — and it should invalidate the right of George Bush to foist them on the country for the next 30 years.
John Roberts, as chief justice of a conservative court, would have enormous powers to impose on the nation those invalid principles. Do not be fooled by the arguments of “strict construction,” “narrow interpretation” and the avoidance of “judicial activism” that will be brought forth in the hearings. What Roberts is brilliant at is the use of “narrow interpretations” to have maximal causal effect. Narrow interpretation, in his hands, can serve the purpose of radical conservative judicial activism.
I agree with the projection of what will happen with Roberts at the helm of the court—but is there any chance that Roberts won’t be confirmed? I don’t think so. So shifting the emphasis from the day-to-day pork which has emerged in the wake of Katrina to the long term judicial effects of Roberts helps how?. However, the distinction that Lakoff draws between the “common good” versus “every man for himself” is particularly instructive in the light of current events. I suspect that the split between these two moral stances in the US would be as ambiguous and divisive as the red/blue split of the election.
Casting the problem in such bipolar/bipartisan terms does not reduce the pressure on the necks of the poor, nor does it police the profiteers. I wish that there was reason to hope that it wasn’t going to continue to be business-as-usual. “Conservative principles” are not just an empty rhetoric forced on people by George Bush—they are a moral stance that a majority of the American people actually subscribe to. I’m not optimistic that this will change. Though I try to quit thinking about elephants, I’m not having much luck lately. I think that Lakoff does a good job of identifying the root of the problem. It is not a matter that can be solved by partisan politics; it is a moral crisis of staggering magnitude.