Dream of the Dragon

Tag: history?

The Past, Exploding

by Justin

Remember the glory days when we met our enemy on the battlefield, certain of our cause and confident that no amount of diplomacy could check the engines of terror?

I don’t, of course, but my oldest brother and I like to talk about World War II with a sort of desperate longing and an endless admiration for the men and women involved in the Allied campaign. These days the lines are muddier (oilier) and the enemies of freedom seem to be more products of post-industrial greed than any real ideological schism. The terrorism of radical Islam can’t be met directly on the battlefield and offers the quagmire we’re still struggling to escape in the wake of George W. Bush’s presidency. Which is not to say it isn’t a battle worth fighting, but not by traditional means.

The reckless agendas of corporations, however obviously villainous, aren’t generating the outrage one might hope for. The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico may be some sort of tipping point, but it will require President Obama to mobilize the public and articulate their frustrations. Something remarkable began happening this week as Obama’s careful reactions to the developing economic and ecological disaster gave way to action. Read the rest of this entry »

Sarah P. and Susan B.

by Justin

In the wake of Oklahoma’s anti-abortion bills and a resurgence of militant opposition to a pro-choice America, feminism is again a popular buzzword. At least among conservative candidates whose only skill is public manipulation. Insulting the intelligence, competence, and depth of Sarah Palin is well-worn territory and I don’t have much to contribute. Except to say that at any given moment there’s something sort of manic and rabid in her eyes, a cocaine fervor that is simultaneously threatening and vacant.

Author Jessica Valenti, who seems legitimately interested in the welfare of women, wrote a short and biting piece for the Washington Post addressing the ways in which Ms. Palin is dangerous and calculating. I’ve never understood the place of pro-life activists in feminist circles, but I’m also generally incapable of pronounced and willful ignorance. How limiting freedoms could possibly promote liberty remains a mystery. What Ms. Valenti does well is illustrate the insults slung at the trailblazers of the ’60s and the backwards agenda of Palin and the like: Read the rest of this entry »

On Unrealistic Idealism

by Justin

It’s become more and more apparent to me that the extreme polarization of politics in this country isn’t only among the politicians, figureheads, lobbyists, talk-show hosts, whatever – it’s grassroots, too. Sure, the liberal extreme will never match the fevered fanaticism of the Tea Party. That sort of militant (as in gun toting) ignorance lends itself better to insane slogans and rallies than the so-called informed opinions of their liberal opponents. But both camps seem incapable of listening to one another. More importantly, neither side understands the way this country works.

Extremism has its place in politics. It’s useful to demand impossible degrees of excellence, because otherwise the eventual compromise would be laughably insufficient. Read the rest of this entry »