Saturday, May 17, 2008

Always Beginning by Anthony McCarthy

If someone could find a way to change the past, it would probably be worth doing sometime. I deduce from the fact that no one has fixed the mistakes of the past century, including the worst our species has devised, to date, that no one interested in us will ever find a way to do that. Though it’s possible that the discovery is in such a remote future that they have no idea we are waiting here for remedial relief. It’s fun to think of the possibilities. In a dark Irish sort of way.

he past includes the recent past, from what happened the beginning of the presidential campaign to the last insult posted by a Republican posing as a Democrat on some blog thread or radio call-in a minute ago*. As said in one of the pieces I posted this week, the future contains the near future. The future beyond it has to go through next year and will be made from what happens next year.

We go on from now. Now is the ever renewing beginning of what comes. We have the present to work with, we can’t fix the past, deleting blog comments possibly excepted. We don’t have access to tinker with the future. We never do.

We’ve got to heal the Democratic Party now, if our first attempt doesn’t work we have to keep trying. Like it or not the Democratic Party is our only tool to gain political influence in 2008, 2009 or the foreseeable future. When the stakes are the future of the planet, democracy and a decent life, giving up is no option, passing up an imperfect vehicle for another alleged to be superior but which isn’t in sight, is foolish. The line for that one has been forming for the entire modern history of the left and there’s no sign of it turning into the road yet.

We are always beginning. If not us as individuals, those who continue on and come after us. The faster we all grow up, take what is useful from the past and overlook what will only make the future worse, the faster we can begin to succeed. We leave a legacy to those who come after, it can be useful or it can be a burden to them. The left seems to be better at leaving ideological burdens than it does something useful. A lot of times the ideological white-elephant was never more than a personal or cult indulgence of no importance or practical value. Sometimes the thing was pretty shoddy to begin with. You wonder why the heirs of our messes feel obligated to take the useless, out of date, doodads along with a small collection of useful tools. They aren’t under any moral obligation to us to take it all. No rule of logic, fairness or equity binds them to take everything we leave them. Taking it to placate the feelings of those insisting on it seems kind except that the resulting costs to the work to save and improve lives are a far greater price to those least able to afford it. Prolonging those ridiculous feuds indulged in and beloved by cults on the left is criminal insanity. I hope those coming after will junk a lot of what comes down to them. I hope they will look around other places to find whatever works to make life more secure, more equitable and more just. The politics of equality and justice isn’t an ideological game played for the entertainment of a ruling elite or those with a published record to defend, it’s a matter of who lives and who dies too young. And that includes all of us.

Giving up is no option, our opponents won’t. They never will. That’s why we have to do what’s smart instead of what we might most desire or which will gain us the most status. More than just our most cherished self and its fixations are at stake, infinitely more than that. We have to put those aside and work together on the basis of collaboration and compromise. That’s the only means to a better future. What the future makes of what we provide them is in their hands, not ours. That’s their beginning.

* Heard a most obvious call-in Republican plant posing as a McCain Democrat on Diane Rehm’s show yesterday.