January 20th 2009

In Pittsburgh I drink less than London for the simple reason that unless I have guests I do not have drink in my apartment. Particularly in deep mid-winter I can go days without alchohol but today I do something very rare. I have brought a good bottle of claret and I open it at 11.30 am and sit back to watch Obama’s inauguration.
I have been politically numb for over two decades. That capitalism is subject to recurrent crises of over-production is evident but there is no evidence that a more advanced social organisation will arise from the ashes.
So, like the boys in Empson’s poem, I am simply waiting for the end. But Obama has unnumbed me, made me feel political enthusiasm and fervour. It’s not that I think he can provide an answer, the world’s problems are surely now too grievous and too multiple but I do think that if anyone can, he can. The speech is brilliant – the full resources of American English, the cadences of the black church and a speech in which every paragraph addresses the American people but many bring specific messages to his global audience. Obama is the first leader of the global village.

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One Response to “January 20th 2009”

  1. carle Says:

    Thing is, I’m probably not telling you what you don’t already know but, and am unsure of Hesiod or another, in the story of Pandora, the last evil out of the box was Hope. How it came to be in there was probably out of a need for symmetry; you can’t have despair, truly, without its opposite.
    I’m getting off point.
    I see you spend time in Pittsburgh. I was outside of Philadelphia, a place called Doylestown, during the campaign. (I started my own blog with this subject.) Reason I mention, and for this comment, is the bona fides–to say I feel almost exactly the same as you.
    At this moment, my friends are all carping about the failure of the man I’d put all my faith in. I hadn’t canvassed door-to-door since McGovern because of, pretty much, the same sentiments as expressed above (w/r/t the New Labour Party–which the Democrats are beginning to resemble) and a general development of a cynical shell.
    So, to be brief, this is just a show of hands, then. I have decided to stop following the slag of commentators and to elide the subject whenever the critics bring out the knives. The world was so fucked up when my man took office, he’d have to be Gandalf the Black to fix it. If he can’t withdraw from Afghanistan or Iraq at the speed I’d like, I can be disappointed without cursing him for betrayal of trust. If he can’t get single-payer option through the Senate, I can be sad but I don’t have to turn sour. If the Noble committee is having second thoughts, they shouldn’t have given it to someone still active in political life.
    We may not be in Paradise, but we are not on the road to Hell. Not even on the off ramp.

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