Monday, January 27, 2020

#27 / Essential, II

A few days ago, my blog post featured an old time picture of Bob Dylan with his guitar. It ran under the title, "Essential," with that title referring to a book I was reading at the time, Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews. The picture above is a more current image of Dylan with a guitar. I am headlining this blog post, "Essential, II."

The main point of that earlier blog posting was to contest the idea that we should be looking around for some Master Politician to solve our problems for us. 

I have now come to the end of that book of "essential interviews," which is pretty long at over five hundred pages, and I can report that Dylan himself seems to agree with what I said in that earlier blog post. The next to the last of these "essential interviews" is a discussion between Dylan and Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone magazine. Here's the pertinent question and answer: 

Wenner: What do you think of the historical moment we're in today? We seem to be hellbent on destruction. Do you worry about global warming? ... It seems a pretty frightening outlook.
Dylan:  I think what you're driving at ... is we expect politicians to solve all our problems. I don't expect politicians to solve anybody's problems. 
Wenner: Who is going to solve them?
Dylan: Our own selves. We've got to take the world by the horns and solve our own problems. The world owes us nothing, each and every one of us, the world owes us not one single thing. Politicians or whoever...

Now, I happen to have a high opinion of the possibilities of politics. In fact, as the overall title of this entire blog says, I think "We Live In A Political World." That doesn't mean that I think that "politicians" are going to deal with our difficulties and solve our problems. Dylan is right on target in what he told Wenner. 

I agree with Dylan that we are going to have to "solve our own problems." That means that our "politics" needs to derive from our own collective action and engagement in the efforts we need to make to change the realities that seem so daunting. We should not think that we can elect someone, who will probably then hire someone, who will solve our problems for us. 

We need to get organized and do it ourselves. That is, in fact, what a genuine politics is all about. 

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