I find politics depressing these days. (My political reading is limited to Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald, along with occasionally reading Daniel Larison.) Despite the election of Obama, Guantanamo is still open and Dick Cheney is on a book tour bragging about his war crimes. The National Security State grows, sucking up money and distributing it to corporations, while civil liberties continue to be stomped on. There’s a huge gap between the wealthy and everyone else. The rich get bonuses while everyone else gets laid off. It all seems so overwhelming.
But I guess I had one useful thought. It’s easier to be depressed when these are seen as symptoms of decline. Things are getting worse, we think. Yet I wonder, where is the Golden Age that we declined from? When have the rich not used their privilege to get more money at the expense of others? When have politicians not abused power?
It seems as if some of these issues have root causes that are really old problems. Stuff that can never be solved. Sometimes, these problems can be ameliorated, but never permanently. So, I should toss aside the idea of being able to “fix” this. But it’s not impossible to make some improvements.
Plus, haven’t things gotten better in some areas? Tolerance of gays is improving. Gay marriage will be legal in every state within my lifetime. So, I can’t view things in a manner of strict decline or progress. I don’t think it’s cyclical either. Things are just mixed.
I don’t know what conclusions to draw from this. These are just some thoughts.