Saturday, April 16, 2005

GOP and Intelligence/Diplomatic Community Wavering on Bolton...

2 Thoughts:

Blogger Tela Zasloff said...

Bolton appeals to U.S. superpower-go-it-alone, tough-as-nails types out there (mostly Republicans, it's safe to say), that is part of our present worship of authoritarianism, as discussed by Doug in a recent email. Here are the emails we exchanged, provoked by Ellen Goodman's very good piece in The Boston Globe on wrong praise for the Pope.

I'll ask again: Can we get back soon to political leadership that is broad, thoughtful, and intelligent?

From: Doug Tarnopol
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2005 8:49 AM
Subject: RE: Ellen Goodman's Hollow homage to John Paul

Great article. We like firmness because we are in an early-empire stage now; we are turning into authoritarians and worshippers of authoritarianism.

Question: has anyone totted up some reasonable total of deaths caused by unwanted pregnancies and HIV/AIDS over the past 24 years throughout the world? I should think that the Pope's support of condoms would have helped, arguably. Thus, he is at least partly responsible, through both an act of commission and of omission, for, I would think, a hell of a lot of needless death and suffering.

Question: has any other world leader caused so much death in the past 24 years? An open question.

But we can't say that, now, can we?

We're simply a childish culture -- with guns. We can't face facts. We just want our circuses; you can even hold the bread. Interesting that the 20th century's worst political inheritance, totalitarianism, may find its most effective "moderate" voice in the United States of America, in which camps and outright censorship aren't needed. It's automatic: a combination of profit motive and a terror of nonconformity even Tocqueville noted combines to render us ideologically blind to any alternative that doesn't fit the master narrative of a good and ever-innocent America that sometimes does stupid things, but always, always, always out of the best of intentions.

Doesn't take a mental gymnast to project that view of self (or nation-self) onto, say, Diana, or Reagan, or the Pope.

Best, Doug

Reply, from Tela Zasloff:

I like all your comments, Doug. And you’re right on, on your mention of Diana as another present-day hero because of her strong opinions and good intentions. I found all that laudation of her extremely annoying and frustrating.

Where are our national leaders who speak for thoughtful and deep analysis, rigorous national debate and questioning of motives and goals? John Kerry came the closest to this Lincolnesque/Founding Fathers/Old Testament prophets quality and I sorely miss working on his national campaign. When I want to get cheered up, I go on Eliot Spitzer’s website. Watch him.

Sunday, April 17, 2005 7:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Tela:

I'm a big fan of Spitzer...wonder if he'll really run in 2008? Even a "failed" run would publicize what he's been up to beyond the NY Times-reading public.

Great post!

Thursday, May 05, 2005 9:38:00 AM  

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