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.