Sunday, October 26, 2008

Algerian reflections

Perhaps McCain is "doing fine" despite a drop in the polls because he is counting on the Bradley, or Wilder, Effect; that is, he is hoping that the polls are out of sink with convictions, beliefs, and opinions. Although these effects have been broadly mentioned throughout the media, some counteract their conventional wisdom and Obama, himself, clearly understands that polls are fickle. McCain may also be confident because he knows that many voters are paralyzed by fear and that reason alone rarely prevails against it. McCain has done a good job of sidelining the major issues in a world that enjoys divesting risk through derivatives and hiding in ACDC's music. Palin made a gutsy and brilliant move by going on SNL and softening her image. However, some voters remain confused.

This would all be fine if we could hide from the $2.8T loss banks have suffered, the price of the Iraq War, and the moral degradation of sites, such as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. We cannot. Consider this quote I gleaned from Dahr Jamail:

... for seven years, France has been a mad dog dragging a saucepan tied to its tail, everyday unaware that we have ruined, starved and massacred a nation of poor people to bring them to their knees. They remained standing. But at what a price! While the delegations were putting an end to the business, 2,400,000 Algerians remained in the slow death camps; we have killed more than a million of them ...
--Jean-Paul Sartre, "The Sleepwalkers," Les Temps Modernes, April 1962

Jamail, of course, freely amends this quote for Iraq: America for France, 4.7m for 2.4m and 1.2m for 1m. Although it will likely take a few more decades for the average voter to comprehend how we got here and how bad it was ( is), we do need change. It is not hype and cannot be for the worse.

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