Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Warning: Political opinion

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

William Blake: On Another's Sorrow, from Songs of Innocence, 1789
(from Tom Clark, Beyond the Pale)

Once the 9/11 observances were over, media types and political spokespeople stepped up and began sticking forks in the economy. My belief is that way more people are no longer even part of the economy than anyone will acknowledge. We have been here before.

On his blog, Tom Clark has been sharing researched and collected photos commissioned by the Farm Security Administration when last America was in (let's call it by its name) a Depression. His postings go back several months (certainly back to July 27, the topics are listed along side the posts) and illuminate, sometimes with photos alone, sometimes with accompanying text, who and where we have been. As the child of parents who grew up during the Great Depression - what would they call this one? - and a reader of Steinbeck and others who took up the cause of the afflicted, I saw in the photos the stories we are not meant to forget.

There may be nothing that makes me angrier than being mistaken for a fool. I know our government lies to us, I'd hate to see just how much dirt they've tried to sweep under the rug and I have no idea who will ever be able to clean it up.

The photos tell a far more compelling story of lessons unlearned than I can. We may not have answers, Congress may block President Obama's every attempt at repair, but we can still know how deeply too many of our countrymen have been wounded by a government that implied it cared for them and would see them through hard times.

One thing we can do is recognize how far from our national purpose we've drifted and at least share our hearts with those whose only constant is jeopardy. We may have no answers but we can, we must, care that such is the case.

8 comments:

grrl + dog said...

Something about the great depression stirs my soul.
I cant wait to see this new blog.

And all the more reason to speak out continuously and monotonously while we all stillhave a right to speak at all.
They likened the post 9/11 evetns to the the events that took place allowing Hitler to come ot power, even suggesting it was his party that burned the Reichstag in order to create chaos so he could step in.

Eerily familar if not accurate.

Laoch of Chicago said...

When I was in College I read "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," by James Agee and Walker Evans about share cropper families in the South during the depression. I found it unforgettable. Unfortunately the past is prologue.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Although we like to point fingers at our government, I think that government bends to pressure applied. Unfortunately, the pressure, the influence, are from moneyed interest, in my opinion. It was corporate greed that caused the first Great Depression and the same cause can be laid at the feet of free-market capitalism for the most recent "Depression".

The fact that the courts have ruled that a Corporation has the same rights as an individual has crippled our democratic form of government. The rich and powerful are almost always listened to and I don't see that changing. They are too powerful.

Lisa Hoffman said...

I'm trying hard to escape the feeling that we're re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
We can only watch, listen, be aware that there are filters, vote (although I feel that the system itself is broken) and keep talking.
I always want to know:
what will Marylinn talk about next?
I'm always inspired after reading your words.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - If you haven't seen them yet, I believe you will be moved by the photos, then saddened as I was by how national (or international) amnesia or indifference has brought us back to this place. Sometimes it feels that all we can do is be the upstarts who mention unmentionables. My personal jury is still out on what 9/11 information has not been generally revealed.

Laoch - The Agee/Evans work was really my introduction to those who documented the Depression, too. Then Dorothea Lange. There is something in me that, while not having anything resembling answers, cannot tolerate how many people are nodding off during the important parts. I want to keep elbowing them awake, even though it will likely not change the outcome.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - Sadly, I don't see that changing either and I know you have much greater knowledge of how the "system" works than I do. Once upon a time - like the 60s - I had the energy, strength and belief that demonstrating could make a difference and it may have, then. Those days are gone on so many levels but making some kind of a fuss, little as it is, feels better than doing absolutely nothing.

Lisa - I would have to agree that it all seems to have gotten away from us, The People, embezzled while we snoozed...or tried to hold our piece of it together. So let's keep talking, pointing, not playing dumb, voting (though I agree I have my doubts about that, too). Thank you.

I'm glad for all of you who shared your views of this. At times it feels so breathtakingly sad and I end up yelling at the tv. Too long of too little control over our lives is bad for the psyche.

Artist and Geek said...

And then I found your blog....So much to say and comment on-a general awareness that something is very, very WRONG with current society. An Apathy: too tired, too busy - just too...I've never participated in a demonstration in my life, but now I'm seriously contemplating it, except the demonstration I'm looking for has millions in attendance, the millions who suffer because no one seems accountable. Vive la revolution?

Thank you for this blog. But if we all feel the same, why aren't we doing anything?

BTW, a big component of depressions are ill-fated post world wars financial recoveries

Marylinn Kelly said...

Artist and Geek - Welcome, how good to find you here. The artist/geek/disenfranchised trifecta, I know it well, at least geek in spirit. At the risk of the black helicopters and men with weaponry and no senses of humor, the word revolution has been coming to mind for several years now. Foolish me, I thought it could go back on the shelf in the current administration.

Other than massive civil disobedience - with the lurking awareness that our sides could be very unevenly matched - all I know to do at the moment is speak. This is a forum and some of us have used it. In your geekdom, are you a fan of "Firefly?" Sad, valiant images of failed revolution...I think some of us are simply too weary for that path.

I hope you will return...thank you.