Saturday, December 15, 2007

TOM SELLECK, HILLARY CLINTON AND THE LITTLE INVISIBLE PEOPLE

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I guess they're so small because they don't eat any protein-- or much of anything-- and neither did their parents, grandparents or ancestors. I'm not in India anymore; I'm in Thailand. You don't see much of that kind of grinding, horrific poverty in Bangkok. Nor do you see the levels of garish displays of conspicuous consumption like you see in Delhi. You see some and you do see some people in appalling poverty. But it isn't anything like the extremes you see in India. In Delhi wherever I went on the streets there were always clusters of small, very dark, very skinny people. They're everywhere, but no one seems to notice. There are hundreds of millions of them-- more of them in India than the entire population of the United States! And no one seems to notice them. They don't own anything but the rags on their backs and I've never been able to figure out how they exist. The begging can't possibly support them, even if every tourist and every trendy call center-walla gives (far from the case; no one notices them).

I didn't cry the whole time I was in India. It was simply too horrible to fathom. Families laying in the filth and dust with stray dogs night after night, wrapped in their rags, bundled around a little fire burning garbage. Delhi's cold. I've being seeing it since I started coming to India in 1969. It's just unfathomable. Has anyone cared about these millions and millions of people since a right-wing religious fanatic assassinated their champion, Mahatma Gandhi 60 years ago?

I cried tonight though, here in happy, happy Bangkok. In retrospect I think the reality of India caught up with me. But what set me off was a speech on TV, a speech by Tom Selleck, playing fictional Michigan Governor Jim Pryce who had just won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency in a 2000 film I had never heard of, Running Mates. What set me off was the juxtaposition of "Pryce's" spontaneous, inspiring, courageous acceptance speech at the end of the film with my own musings about the unlikelihood that Hillary Clinton (or Barack Obama) could ever be moved to give such a heartfelt and edgy, populist speech.

The movie paints a realistically tawdry picture of U.S. politics. The big money interests, it is asserted, control it all. Pryce, acting out of his basest instincts-- like too many Insider Democrats do, substituting fear and ambition for courage and the public interest-- decides to throw his lot in with the Establishment Insiders who haven't been able to prevent his nomination but are willing to donate $100,000,000 towards his campaign for a piece of the action. At the last minute-- on the podium of the Convention-- he tosses away the second half of his prepared speech and reneges, reverting to form as a populist and reformer, denouncing the plutocrats and their stranglehold on the American political system. He tells the whole nation that "The government of the United States is not on the auction block and America is not for sale."

It was thrilling and depressing at the same time-- inspiring in terms of what could be, disheartening in what really is. I have a stronger and stronger feeling that I will kick myself for not having jumped in and gotten behind John Edwards' campaign months ago.

Not Tom Selleck:

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6 Comments:

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, lately John Edwards is looking better and better. Not ideal but better than the rest.

 
At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Yes AND remember back in July when Clinton and Edwards at the NAACP debate got caught on mike talking about reducing the number of debate participants?
Kucinich's response then:

ā€œImperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our democracy as an imperial president,ā€ Kucinich said, adding that his campaign would take steps to stop any effort to limit participation in the forums.

I like Edwards too but have not forgotten that "on the record collusion". (Hillary has been toast since her Iraq and then Iran vote). The thing about Kucinich is that he is RIGHT a lot, a little whacky ok, but his exclusion by "Car Wash" the manager and below average moderator at the Des Moines Register is Scary AND Shocking when you realize they included Keyes who is not even listed as a candidate on the RNC.

I would like to see Edwards come out condemning the Des Moines Register, Gannett press discrimination against the only consistently anti-war candidate, Dennis Kucinich. Edwards is supposed to get a big endorsement next week but I think there a lot of us still watching him. And I frankly don't picture Bonnie Raitt liking that exclusion shot AT ALL (or Edwards-Hillary's collusion).

"It's a Wonderful Life" got to me last night ' ' ' Jimmy Stewart for President!

 
At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Lee said...

I truly believe that Edwards still has the capacity to want to change things. He still gives a shit

I hope that I never lose the ability to cry about inequities in the world..

Thanks Howie...

 
At 3:48 PM, Anonymous me said...

I like Gravel and Kucinich, and will almost certainly vote for one of the two.

Yet I'm realistic and can see that neither has gotten the respect they deserve.

I'd like to see all the progressive candidates rally around the most electable of the acceptables, which would be Edwards. I look forward to the time when Edwards publicly embraces some of Kucinich's and Gravel's ideas, and both of them endorse an Edwards/Richardson ticket.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Kool Me,
Or maybe an Edwards/Webb ticket?

Could it get much FUNNER than electing Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy with the Populist Edwards? "Reagan" is about the only word you hear in a Repug debate other than 9/11, or illegal immigration. Remember Webb took out Macaca Allen, who WOULD have been a stronger presidential candidate than the remaining dwarfs.

Even better, Webb has dissed dub (W for short) several times in public and on record when dub has asked about his son serving in Iraq, he won't even answer dub. Webb's got stones, LIKE Kucinich. We don't know about Edwards yet, his wife has some. Actually I take that back. I thought Edwards did a very commendable job debating Cheney in the VP debate. They beat hell out of each other for 45 minutes and then were so exhausted they made nice for 10. Edwards held his own I thought. I loved the part where after Cheney said Edwards Senate record wasn't very impressive, Edwards went off on a litany of Cheney's Neocon votes ending with voting against "MEALS ON WHEELS"! That cost Cheney mom AND Aunt Minnie's vote! LOL

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Dee Loralei said...

Howie,

I'm glad there are people who still cry and rail against the inequities of this world.

Edwards needs you. He's my choice too.

If Huckabee wins the Rep primary, he'll get independents and conservative dems with his populism, and he's personable and funny. (Yes, seriously flawed, as well.) But, I think he could make it much harder, especially for Hillary in the general.

I love Jim Webb and think he'd make a fine Veep or Pres. But I don't like 2 Senators in the race. I'd prefer Richardson or even say a Wes Clark as Edward's running mate. And it'd be most excellent if say Webb were majority leader. Imagine one with a spine, damned Harry Reid and teleco immunity.

Oh, DesMoines Register backed Hillary tonight (sigh). There last 3 or 4 have not won the nomination, so hopefully that will start her death spiral, electorially.

Oh, and good choice of Drifty for the music gig at C&L in your absence.

 

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