October 11, 2008

Fortunate son

Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, theyre red, white and blue.
And when the band plays hail to the chief,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord,

It aint me, it aint me, I aint no senators son, son.
It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, no,

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, dont they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It aint me, it aint me, I aint no millionaires son, no.
It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yoh,

It aint me, it aint me, I aint no military son, son.
It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, one.

It aint me, it aint me, I aint no fortunate one, no no no,
It aint me, it aint me, I aint no fortunate son, no no no,

Creedence Clearwater Revival, folks. 40 years ago, and still right on the money.

I think it's almost appropriate that Ayers has become an issue in this election - for the right wing nutters at least. When it really gets down to it, the ideals of the sixties were never realized in the US. At least not to the extent they were in most western countries. The loss of the US's lead in social progress was a bitter pill to swallow for many like Bill Ayers, and clearly they went way overboard in their attempt to stop this. Rejecting progress made the seventies so aimless. Embracing deficits and brainless nationalism in the eighties set the stage for a fake rebound. The nineties were an honest, serious and almost succesful attemp to get the nation back on track without a revolution. But it was flawed, and in 2000 whatever hopes were left, burned.

But perhaps.... perhaps. It's scary to even mention it. Perhaps this is the time to revisit the basics. Perhaps this is the time that the US finally joins the rest of the modern western democracies. Maybe there will be real freedom of religion - even for muslims. Maybe everyone will have a shot at greatness - and not just the fortunate ones. Maybe free speech will really exist - or rather, people will be willing to hear speech they don't like.

Honestly, until about a month or two ago, I believed that having McCain as president would be better. He's a deficit hawk, a dare-devil that likes to take risks he doesn't understand, and someone who is desperate to make a mark on history. I figured that, with a thoroughly democratic congress, he'ld be willing to undertake fairly big reforms that would get the US in line with modern society, and get it into a healthier financial situation.

Okay, fine. I wasn't wild about it. But I did think that Obama would overreach and the popular backlash would stop anything real getting done. Think Clinton before Newt.

But now... perhaps now is the time to reengineer the US's economy and society for the twenty-first century. Not along the socialist lines that the Republicans are advocating right now (or at least Bush and McCain), but along progressive, democratic lines that are well-trodden in western Europe.

Here's hoping...


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