Saturday, July 27, 2019

#208 / "Good Old Tom"

Tom Englehardt
The picture above is from a recent posting on AlterNet. Tom Englehardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and is the author of a history of the Cold War. Englehardt's book on the Cold War is titled, The End of Victory Culture. Englehardt runs and is a fellow of the Type Media Center, formerly The Nation Institute. Englehardt's sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books). 

All that information comes from an attribution footnote in the AlterNet article I mentioned, which is titled, "Turning 75 in the age of Trump."

I liked the article, and I invite you to read it. It is too long to quote in its entirety, but here's a representative sample: 

If you had told me that, in those years to come, the American military would be an “all-volunteer” one, essentially a kind of foreign legion, and that those who chose not to be part of it would endlessly “thank” the volunteers for their service while otherwise continuing their lives as if nothing were going on, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had also pointed out that economic inequality in America would reach levels that might have staggered denizens of the Gilded Age, that three Americans would possess the same wealth as the bottom half of society, that a CEO would, on average, make at least 361 times the income of a worker, and that for years there would be no genuine protest around any of this, I would have considered it un-American.

If, in those same years, you had assured me that, in our future, thanks to a crucial Supreme Court decision, so much of the money that had gushed up to the wealthiest 1%, or even .01%, of Americans would be funneled back, big time, into what still passed for American democracy, I would have been stunned. That a 1% version of politics would essentially pave the way for a billionaire to enter the White House, and that, until the arrival of Bernie Sanders in 2016, protest over all this would barely be discernable, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

"Good Old Tom" and I are soon to be the same age (he is catching up to me). We have the same thoughts! I concur in every one of his observations!

I do have a comment, however, on what Englehardt says. I know from my personal experience (admittedly small scale stuff, compared to the nation or the world) that making accurate observations of the world is just step one. Then, we've got to do something about it. We have to change the world. 

Accurate observation, by itself, can never do that. Seeing where we are and then charting the trajectories, plotting where the currents are carrying us, is vitally important, but we can't let the accuracy of our observations convince us that what "is" is inevitable. Extrapolation of the existing does not provide a clear vision of the future. Take it from Tom! He is amazed at what has happened (as well he might be). But what "was," or "is" is not inevitable. We have to change the world

I am absolutely convinced that we can do that, too. I have had some rather extraordinary personal experience along those lines. Small-scale experience, certainly. But not irrelevant! 

Proof of concept, is what I call it!

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