Friday, September 05, 2008

The stranger's pyre

So it begins, the final stage of the contest between the two sides of the coin we call our political parties. I do want to try and sum up what I've seen and heard of the past week as the GOP has strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage.

But I'm tired, and I'm still at work. And I'm working again, tomorrow. I'm so sick of not seeing my family in these last Indian Summer days of September...

One thing I did note today with a cynical smirk was the headline in The World's Worst Newspaper: "McCain pledges change!"

WTF? Electing the man who has publicly discarded every ideal he supposedly held to embrace his former despised enemy is change? Another four years of the rule of the oligarchs and the plutocrats and their Congressional creatures is change? More war is change? More tax cuts for the two-yacht familt is change? Less concern for the nation's poor, the nation's infrastructure, the nation's economic breadth rather than its height...that's change..?

Jesus wept, John...

I'll let my man Thuycidides have the last word, in his commentary on the effect of the Pelopponesian War on Athenian Democracy:
"Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries.... The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions... not with a generous confidence. Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation... only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity offered, he who first ventured to seize it... thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one, since... success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence....

The leaders in the cities... on the one side with the cry of political equality... on the other of a moderate aristocracy... [recoiled] from no means in their struggles... in their acts of vengeance they went to even greater lengths, not stopping at what justice or the good of the state demanded, but making the party caprice of the moment their only standard.... Thus every form of iniquity took root in the Hellenic countries..."
I'll be back later. Right now I need a drink.

Damn, I think I need a couple.

1 comment:

pluto said...

What a magnificent and timely quote from one of the great masters of history. More than Jesus wept...