Ides of March in America

“You know, people have totally forgotten the true spirit of the Ides of March. It’s not just about vilifying the great. You have to create a power vacuum when you dump them so that everybody gets sucked into the dirt.”
~ Nialle Sylvan, Owner of The Haunted Bookshop

This is why it’s so important to treat politics as preventative medicine.

If we had the long-term vision and moral courage to have fought hard for progressive reform in recent history, there never would have been Reagan voodoo economics, Clinton New Democrats, Bush security state, Obama more of the same, and now crazy Trump populism. If not for decades of lesser evil voting that shifted politics right and built the corporatist state, we wouldn’t be worrying about a possible power vacuum. If instead we Americans had voted for the greater good, there wouldn’t now be righteous outrage whipping up fears of greater evil.

There are different ways of thinking about the Ides of March.

It is the infamous day of Caesar’s assassination, by his friend and fellow ruling elite. In that light, it can be seen as our past choices and actions coming back to haunt us. We are betrayed by the very system we’ve become invested in. But this also represents a change of power and of the social order.

The Ides of March originally was the Roman new year celebration and a time of religious worship and festivals. It did represent the death of the old, but also the birth of the new or else rebirth and transformation. So, it is a time to contemplate the past and an opportunity to dedicate oneself to a different vision and course of action. It is a reminder that change can be a good thing and often much needed.

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”
Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks

One century has ended and now here we are in this new century wondering what the future holds in these tumultuous times. Resisting change won’t stop it. Might as well embrace it and make the best of it.

Word of advice to the ruling elite: You might want to watch closely the rest of the ruling elite. While you’re worrying about the growing mob with pitchforks, there might be a dagger at your back. During times of change, those with the most to lose are often the first to go. Remember, the French Revolution that beheaded a king began with an uprising led by aristocrats.

As for the rest of us, onward and forward. It’s a new day.

2 thoughts on “Ides of March in America

  1. It’s been awhile, but I couldn’t resist a comment here for today I feel quite cheerful and outgoing. First, I never cease to be most positively impressed with the volume and quality (stylistic, not necessarily in terms of interpretation) of your writing.

    Regarding the “Ides of March,” playing the “what if” game is great fun, but there’s no hard evidence that conclusions derived from it are true. So I’m surprised that you, who frequently told me that among my major flaws is a failure to provide evidence you considered satisfactory, would assume (albeit with some logic) what happened was solely the result of what you said it was. If what you say is true, we should be able to accurately predict the future, thus know exactly what to do to reach desired goals. After some time off from our exchanges, I still believe you seek perfection and are unwilling to accept ordinary good. As my doctor once told me while attempting to fix one of my many physical defects, “Perfection is the enemy of good.”

    Since you have little patience with some viewpoints and tonalities (among others), if you choose to respond, I am braced for your assault and look forward to reading your usually far-ranging attempt to undermine my notions.

    • “It’s been awhile, but I couldn’t resist a comment here for today I feel quite cheerful and outgoing.”

      I’m feeling in a good mood as well. I was happy to see you comment again. Despite some of our disagreements, I like your straightforward manner. Other people who I more often agree with have personalities that simply irritate me. Life is like that.

      “First, I never cease to be most positively impressed with the volume and quality (stylistic, not necessarily in terms of interpretation) of your writing.”

      I’ll take that as a compliment. To quote Karl from Sling Blade, “Well I like the way you talk.”

      “Regarding the “Ides of March,” playing the “what if” game is great fun, but there’s no hard evidence that conclusions derived from it are true.”

      I assumed that it was obvious this was an opinion piece. I have my reasons for my opinion, based on evidence, but it inevitably requires interpretation.

      For example, the Southern Strategy kicked into high gear with Nixon. Nixon won partly because a bunch of Democrats voted him as the lesser evil, in terms of being the most establishment candidate representing the perceived status quo. The rise of the New Democrats was those in the Clinton crowd learning from and copying the Southern Strategy, which was easy to do as Bill Clinton was a Southerner.

      It’s just my opinion. I’ve never criticized anyone for having an opinion, as long as they were being clear that is what they were stating. I personally think the evidence is fairly strong, but you are free to disagree. Still, that isn’t the same thing as “no hard evidence.” I consider documented historical events as hard evidence. And if you made an argument based on documented historical events, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. In that case, I’d consider the evidence and then decide whether or not it seemed sufficient.

      “If what you say is true, we should be able to accurately predict the future, thus know exactly what to do to reach desired goals.”

      I’m not sure where you get that idea from. I’ve never claimed to make specific predictions about the future. Even my argument here based on the past is quite general. Knowing the past doesn’t always easily lead to knowing how to act in order to reach desired goals. Certainly, I’ve never claimed that. I’m too wary to make those kinds of arguments.

      “After some time off from our exchanges, I still believe you seek perfection and are unwilling to accept ordinary good.”

      I still disagree. My support of Sanders is actually a support of a lesser evil choice. He isn’t my ideal candidate. On principle, I’d vote for Jill Stein. But I see Sanders as a lesser evil than both Trump and Clinton.

      To me, Sanders is a well within what I consider ordinary good. He is no radical left-winger, as he is clearly not as far left as FDR. Sanders is a fairly moderate, mainstream professional politician. It’s only because the country has become so right-wing that he can even call himself a ‘socialist’ and be taken seriously. He is simply an old school progressive and nothing more.

      If I was aiming for perfection, I might vote for Captain Jean-Luc Picard as president. Or if I was really to go to my own utopian extreme, I’d advocate dissolution of the government in favor of anarchism—I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for the idealism of anarchists.

      Apparently, your notion of ‘perfection’ is simply my notion of ‘good’.

      “Since you have little patience with some viewpoints and tonalities (among others), if you choose to respond, I am braced for your assault and look forward to reading your usually far-ranging attempt to undermine my notions.”

      Actually, I have immense patience. But I do express my emotions. There is a distinction there. I believe in emotional honesty and personal authenticity. I’m a straight shooter.

      It is true, though, that I don’t tolerate certain things based on principle. As an INFP personality type, my dominant Introverted Feeling is rather dominant. Still, don’t mistake my emotional expressions to be anything more than what they are. Emotions are like the weather—they come and go.

      I let my emotions out and then I let them go. It’s the wisdom depression has taught me. I try to not hold grudges, for that seems pointless. Life is too short.

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