Sunday, May 27, 2007

Al Gore Rising

For The Free Market News Network; diary on Daily Kos and Raising Kaine 5/27/07

They come in twos. But which is the Emperor? Which is the Sith? – Star Wars tradition

We are reaching the end of things now . . . best for Congress to hold quiet. The culture is about to flip. And when that happens everything gets different. The poles reverse their electrical pull. The Emperor becomes the Sith, the Sith the Emperor.

I’ve seen it flip before. Practically in my high school football field in Newport, RI. From Eisenhower Optimism & the Positive Face. Then a little known and undernourished Magical Animal came out of the borderland forest and lake lands of Minnesota. It is said in hindsight that the Sixties started in a minute, when Bob Dylan switched form a wooden guitar to an electric one in Newport, in the summer of ’65. Then everything was different.

And now it is flipping again. In September it will flip.

History has its gatekeepers. They open doors and they also close doors. Ronald Reagan was a gatekeeper to the third post-war generation of culture and politics, now in the last 15 minutes of its 11th hour.

George Bush the Little is gatekeeper too. Since he first arrived in national politics it was clear that his fate would be to close the gate that Ronal Reagan opened.

‘Twas ever thus. Strauss & Howe’s remarkable perspective of post-war politics draws on Spengler and on Carl Jung: History runs in cycles and follows archetypal paths, the one compensating and balancing the other. History’s picture is generational, each generation with its own Monkey Gods and goddesses, heroes and siths. Replaced then every 20 years with countervailing gods and siths. Toynbee read Spengler and Jung half way through his history of the world: Yin becomes Yang, he wrote. The Sith becomes the Emperor, the Emperor, the Sith.

Boy George’s fate, since the day he was born, was to crash. It showed from the beginning. He was chosen by his father’s friends to oppose his own generation and he had the tendency from the beginning. He was always unstable; an alcoholic who transferred his obsession direct to religious fanaticism in the classic pattern. Other issues: He has no friends his own age; he is an introvert without the introvert’s path – poet, artist, preacher – and was driven instead to govern by his family, tempermentally ill-suited for the task. But this is characteristic of the cycle’s natural path to failure. And all must fail in history but the last standing: Washington, Grant, Eisenhower, the final figures in the previous three “saecula” of Strauss & Howe. Worth pointing out that all were Generals.

We are at the end, but only at the end of the middle: It is the deep gulf between historical big changings in the world - a gulf of mischief and incontinence, illusions and imitations of life, false premises and sociological vanities and follies – history’s forgotten realms.

This end is the beginning.

The Strauss & Howe books, particularly The Fourth Turning, are easier to understand than the Vedic wanderings of Spengler, Jung and Toynbee. And as far as I understand it, they follow the path with some accuracy: History comes from its own nature and the seeds of the third generation are sown in the first. The seeds of the fourth generation are sown in the second. In between, the avatar which will rise later lives in shadow. (Like the “Sleeping King” in the Tolkien stories.)

John McCain is exemplar of the third generation, taking his inspiration from the first and finding his “Fathers” in first generation - the WW II warriors. But it is a feeling thing, don’t you know. The third generation warrior wants to be like the first: He wants to live again the culture of valor because it is good and true. But first generation didn’t get to valor from book, movies, and memories of blood relatives. It came to them instead direct from necessity and the survival instinct.

The second generation sleeps as the third rises or sends forth it’s sith and its shadow side. It is time for it to rise now and it will rise with this picture: Earthrise. Earthrise is the picture taken from space of the earth rising in the distance with the moon as ground in the foreground. It is time for this to awaken.

The picture was taken in 1968 from the dark side of the moon. Mythologist Joseph Campbell said at the time that this image would change us. It would change the way we would see ourselves, much as the discovery that the world was round changed the way we were centuries ago. The Al Gore movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” opens with this image and the fourth generation will also open with this image and this movie.

It was 90 degrees thereabouts yesterday here in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Our third day of North Carolina weather so far this year. In 1968 we’d have a day, maybe two or three of these between late July and early August, but no earlier and no later.

The new generation will awaken now with the awareness that we and the planet are in danger. And Al Gore opened the gate.

Of all people my age who think of being President, Gore generates both general interest and generational cache with Millennials – fourth generation types. On DKos polls where 60-year-old Democratic Leadership Council probe droids rate only three to six percent, Al Gore jumps to 65% and higher. On Larry King last week when the audience was asked how many thought Gore should run, 82% said run.

They come in doubles – the Emperor and the Sith are one. But which is which? We see this everywhere: The Beatles/Rolling Stones, Woodward/Bernstein, Emerson/Thoreau, The Bronte Sisters Light and Dark, Bill Clinton/Al Gore. When the one rises to its fate, the other submerges. Then the culture flips.

It is flipping now. The Republicans seem to understand that it is all over for their ride by September. But it is the Democrats who lag. They were right from the start with Wesley Clark on Iraq/Iran but selected otherwise. To their detriment.

As well, the Democrats these recent years have largely supported Bush/Cheney on Iraq, from the beginning a kind of third generation fantasy play created in Dungeons & Dragons warriors who have never worn the uniform of their country or fired a shot in anger. It was to the Democrats an occasion to “act strong.” In that it was indeed the true test of leadership and the Democrats failed on this issue of authenticity. As the Lion King said to his cub: “I’m only brave when I need to be brace.” Indeed. Otherwise it is dress up and play theater, the fate of draft dodgers and cowards as they grow increasingly older.

The war in Iraq and the Bush/Cheney quagmire is now second cause in the world. Environmental disaster is imminent. And if no one else will lead, Arnold Schwarzenegger will.

This week, with Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut, the Governator has all but threatened secession if the feds don’t take action. Yet the feds refuse. Texas, threatened most by desertification, remains in denial. But California’s southern places will be turned to sand as well if action is not taken. Arnold appears to be building his own alliances of blue states, Canada and Europe in opposition to the tradition since 1865. And New England is joining.

Both Wesley Clark and Al Gore have been insinuating Mario Cuomo style “hovering” strategies this past year in the run up to ’08. They have both been critical of the early primaries and the consultants, cash and press hype which have turned our honored tradition into political novelty of trash TV like American Idol. They are not actually running, but haven’t said they won’t enter. For Al Gore it is working, but without greater secondary publicity, General Clark’s numbers are low.

There are two great problems for the U.S. in the world today that need to be solved. Environmental destruction is one. The Iraq/Iran disaster which has destroyed U.S. legitimacy in the world is the other. Al Gore brings Best Practices on the environment. Wesley Clark brings Best Practice solutions to Iran/Iraq.

This is an Al Gore/Wes Clark diary rather than a Wes Clark/Al Gore diary because it is hot today in New Hampshire and it is getting hotter. The climate crisis now supersedes the Iraq disaster.

Al Gore leads the charge.


Anonymous said...

Although Al Gore has better poll numbers I don't think it makes him more qualified than Wes Clark to solve both these problems. Al Gore is preferable to the other Dems who have announced for 2008, but Wes Clark is best on both the "Iraq disaster" and on the "climate crisis" because of his experience, and strength of character.

Clark understands the climate crisis we're facing and agrees with Al Gore on the principles that need to be followed to solve the problem.

Al Gore has changed dramatically since 2000 and would fight for what's right but I think Clark would fight hard and well for what's right and give us our best chance to overcome entrenched interestst that have co opted policy in a very destructive way.

Bernie Quigley said...

Gore/Clark would give us 16 years of good government. And as I pointed out, all previous cycles have ended with a General.

Anonymous said...

Not only that, Al Gore will not play second fiddle again.

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