mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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greed & arrogance index


11.04.04 What Are the Options?

What is a person to do?

Run away? It's the first temptation. Slate published an article yesterday on how to move to Canada. In the sixties, draft dodgers were welcome. Apparently, there is a little more paperwork these days.

I continue to have a fascination with people who get up and go. But I'm only mad, not in danger. I'm already in self-imposed exile from my first career. New places can be liberating, but émigré communities are also angry places, full of longing for "home."

Disengagement? A bigger temptation is to turn off the news, uninstall my newreader, unsubscribe from my political newsletters. Peasants and laborers in countries ruled by generations of dictators and military coups learn how to live their lives far, far from the political fray. When rising up and revolting means sacrificing yourself for the next bully, you don't see the point.

Dive headlong into the fray? Running for office? Not me. Becoming a rabid supporter of a third party? I was at a holiday reception once where a middle-aged woman in Birkenstocks was yapping to everyone about how the country needed third-party presidential candidate Jerry Brown. I don't want to be her. But "the fray" is something I need to explore. I know some people get involved simply because it's social and it's fun. But I'm the thinker, not the social butterfly. I take things too seriously. Cynicism is always lurking around the back of my eyes. (I got on the condo board at my last place. I lasted one meeting.)

Sublimation? Turning anger into art? Sure.

Sublimation into dissidence? Becoming an artist-dissident? Now there's a romantic notion I could live with. But there's a continuum, isn't there? Some artists, like Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, make their work deliberately confrontative and are willing to go to jail or spend years in a gulag for their beliefs. I became sort of a mouthy dissident in my old job, so I'm familiar with the territory. There's a certain glee in making the big boys squirm. I suppose Michael Moore falls into this category -- along with the thousands of talented comedy writers and parodists that populate the TV channels. (Maybe our American equivalent of the gulag is the lawsuit.) The challenge is that you have to have both talent and (to do more than yuk-yuk spoofs) courage. The talent I can plug away at. The courage -- it would be an interesting goal for myself.

That's all for today.





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