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Right here, right now

by Hoya90 Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 01:14:29 PM EST

promoted from the diaries by Jerome

That's the title of an old song by the band Jesus Jones circa 1990.  If you recall, the song was all about the changes sweeping Europe.

I heard the song again today on the radio.  As always it leaves me feeling pissed off more than ever at the Bush administration in particular and the Republican Party in general.

The lyrics of that song captured what so many of my college classmates were feeling at that time.

I saw the decade in, when it seemed  
the world could change at the blink of an eye
And if anything
then there's your sign... of the times

It was our senior year of college and we watched the Berlin wall come down, changing the entire way we looked at the world.  After graduation, many of my friends traveled to Poland, the then still unified Czechoslovakia, and Hungary to teach English to eager students.  A few friends stayed and opened businesses in place like Prague.

The international scene offered tremendous hope - not only were the U.S. and the USSR voluntarily reducing their nuclear arsenals, they showed a willingness to collaborate on international crises.  The first Gulf War was, for a international relations student like me, a triumph of the United Nations and the international system.  Iraq violated the most basic element of the U.N. Charter in conquering another country and a GLOBAL coalition joined with the U.S. to restore the Kuwaiti government.  In the wake of the war, there was real movement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  There was hope that we could actually begin creating a world that could solve problems in a multilateral fashion.

Right Here, Right Now did more than any other song to capture that feeling of hope and optimism.  It is like the painting of Youth in Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life.  How real did those castles in the sky seem to me then.

Today, I feel like I've robbed.  And never more so than when that song brings back the echoes of youthful optimism.

I can see more clearly, the errors the U.S. and others made at the time.  The Gulf War did more than anything else to set Osama Bin Laden in motion as an implacable enemy of the U.S. and our so called allies in the region.  The pell mell effort to turn East Bloc countries into bare-knuckles free markets turned places like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and some of the Balkan states into kleptocracies.  Absent superpower competition, we pulled the plug on the money we sent to places like Africa.  We also let the civil wars we stoked across the world fester as the U.S. washed its hands of responsibility.  We could have done better, but we chose not to.

What truly angers me today is watching the Bush administration literally wallow in this tide of violence and human suffering, cynically exploiting it to maintain their hold on power and their hold on the ability of the U.S. to suck as much marrow from the bones of the world as possible.

As I sift through fine blogs like ET, BT, and dKos, I keep hoping that the tide is turning.  I keep hoping that we can, even at this late date, get the American people to return to a calling to make the world a better place.  I hope that we can move forward to stamp out disease, pursue global economic policies that will replace a race to the bottom in trade with a race to the top in eradicating poverty, and return to that vision of 15 years ago.

Like the song said, "it seemed the world could change in the blink of an eye."  If it happened once, maybe it can happen again.  

Somewhat related: Le Monde had a fascinating article about the 30-45 generation in France yesterday. I've been meaning to translate some of it, but did not get around to it. Here are the links for the time being:

La nouvelle génération de cadres face à la "société de défiance"

La fracture générationnelle face à l'évolution des pouvoirs

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 01:40:29 PM EST
Promoted to front page.  Wow!  Thanks, Jerome!

Actually, my first reaction was "where the hell is my diary?" since it was no longer under the Recent Diaries list.

Let me know when you get the articles translated.  I can manage in German and Spanish, but I never studied French.
by Hoya90 (hoya90jmk-at-yahoo-dot-com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 01:50:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I came of age later than you, and I guess my generation had lesser hopes.  In 2002 I was staff on a congressional campaign, I remember Labor Day 2002 I was talking with the candidate, and the conversation turned to Iraq.  So the candidate goes off on a riff about how she knew they were going to try to start a war with Iraq and how they were going to send young men to die for a lie. She never would have said that in front of a crowd.

I left the campaign later because I couldn't do it and go to school, but that fall of 2002, even in my very conservative campus there were large demonstrations against the war.  "We must be the change we wish to see"    One of the guys who had organized the demonstration kept saying that. I was so fucking dissapointed that my candidate wouldn't come to speak.  I had gave her all the info, she could have showed, but she was more interested in pursuing the safe and narrow than speaking the truth. I was so fucking dissapointed.

So I started writing letters to the editor.  I was really suprised how many people read those letters, and how often I'd have people I barely knew come up to me and tell me to keep writing.  I'm not talking students I'm talking about grizzly old men who fought in the Second World War.  They knew what war is, and they wished it on no one.  In February of 2003, I left for Spain.

On Feb 15 2003 I got to see first hand something truly amazing. Millions of people around the world said no.  It seemed like we might actually win, that the heart or the head of the world (call it a conscience or what you like) would stop the war dead in its tracks. I saw 15000 march in the freezing rain, students,old people, people from every walk of life screaming no.  If only we had, now there'd 1700 Americans alive and breathing, too many Iraqis to count.  Each loss a tragedy, but together just the fucking war. I wrote my last letter the the editor the day before the war began.

That was a mistake.  I had my letter published on Free Republic, and those pricks posted my home phone number and asked people to harass me.  I wasn't there I was in Spain.  The only person there was my diabled mother.   I guess I had a real crisis when my family was threatened for something I said. Do you know what it's like to be 3000 miles from home, and wonder if your family is going to be physically harmed because of what you've said?  This is why I stay anonymous.

I don't think I can ever be a true believer again, I just want to see the people responsible for this fucking war brought to justice.  The things we see in the DSM border on criminal conspiracy, I want to see the Bush gang brough up on RICO charges like the criminals they are.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 02:37:49 PM EST
One of the reasons that a lot of friends went to Eastern Europe was because of the fact that we graduated into a recession.  I'm smack in the middle of Gen X and we felt pretty screwed on a lot of levels.

15 years later,  I'm looking back with far more idealism than I really had at the time.  Part of the reason is that enough of my peers are hitting a point in their careers where they can start to have an impact.  In my own case, I'm becoming far more radical than I ever was in college or afterward.  For the first time, I can see ways I can have an effect.

I'm not going to let this bunch of criminals rob me of my hope.  Nor am I going to let the bastards condemn my children to live in a world of fear and loathing.  We all deserve something better.  
by Hoya90 (hoya90jmk-at-yahoo-dot-com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 06:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm very dissapointed in this American life at the moment.  Ever listen to John Mellencamp?  The whole thought that we're being cheated.  Last winter when I was looking for work I was setting in my car listening to Mellencamps latest CD, and I was flipping through the cover art.  There was this line about his music being about a world were things were terribly wrong, not the way they were supposed to be.

I'm not sure people on the coasts understand what's going on in the heart of America.  There's no work where I live, I know people who've graduated from college 3 years ago still looking for full time work.  It took me the better part of a year to find full time temp work, and for that I have to drive an hour each way.  Right now I have it pretty good, there's a lot of people in a whole hell of a lot worse place than myself.  One of the great failings of the left in the US has been that the party is increasingly dominated by people who come have money, and who want to see their social issues pressed ahead of the real life concerns of people struggling to get by.  

From what I've seen this has not been the case for the Left in Europe.  I think that the European Left is still based in class, while in the US the Left is increasingly defined not by class but by culture.  I could really get into this, replete with Bordieau, but alas I've got to get to sleep....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 09:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
aplaude coming your way from me.  I do not know the times I used RICO myself early on with this group of thugs.

HOw heartbreaking it must have been for you.  How is your mother?  Hope all is well for her now.

by ariell1 (aka brenda stewart) on Sat Jun 18th, 2005 at 03:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really love the painting by Thomas Cole.  I wasn't familiar with it.  Made it my wallpaper now.

On the topic:  things seemed to change in the US pretty quickly back in the 1960's. And in Europe there was 1968.  Could something like that happen again?

La vie n'est de soi ni bien ni mal, elle est la place du bien et du mal selon que vous faites.

by Time Waits for no Woman (time.waits_at_gmail.com) on Fri Jun 17th, 2005 at 09:08:28 PM EST
The painting is the second in a series of 4.  If you ever come to Washington, DC - they are on display at the National Gallery of Art in the West Wing.  The paintings are my wife's favorites and our framed prints of them adorn our dining room walls!

I do think something like the 60s could happen again.  It's all a matter of enough people getting fed up with being told they can't expect any better.  
by Hoya90 (hoya90jmk-at-yahoo-dot-com) on Sat Jun 18th, 2005 at 02:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been wanting to ask the europeans how they feel about the DSM.

What is your advise to us in America.

Can America withstand the turmoil it is going thru without falling apart due to this administration we have?

It seems to me that Amrica is just getting ready to expode.  Got a take on that one.

Does the DSM mean the same thing in Europe as it does here in America?

Would you all please be good enought to at least give me an answer to one of not all of them.

Than you so very much...from Tennessee, USA

by ariell1 (aka brenda stewart) on Sat Jun 18th, 2005 at 03:47:55 PM EST

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