I spent the day at a zazenkai, or short meditation retreat, instead of at the climate march in NYC. I think about half of our sangha must have been in the march, though. Just as we were ending the retreat a couple of people who had been in the march walked in and said it was fantastic, with an estimated 310,000 participants. (See also.)
There really are people who give a damn, you know.
If you didn’t watch the PBS Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts you missed out; it was really good. You can probably watch it on the PBS website. It was a bit depressing, though, to consider how un-progressive the country has grown since then. The great presidents, the great leaders, always left the country with the sense that progress is possible; that the nation could do whatever it needed to do. Those days are sure gone.
In my lifetime I think the last President who made me feel that way was Kennedy, and he didn’t live long enough to accomplish much. I know that conservatives got that feeling from Reagan, but Reagan was leading the nation backward, not forward. For all his economic accomplishments Clinton more or less seemed like a placeholder to me. His motto might have been He Managed to Keep the Right From Screwing Us Even Worse. But I also suspect that if FDR came back to the White House today, he wouldn’t be much more effective than President Obama. There’s just way too much retrograde energy in Washington for anything genuinely progressive to happen.
At Salon, Thomas Franks writes that Gov. Sam Brownback has been so ineffective even the people of Kansas have noticed. Kansas is a state in which the governor and the legislature ran everything according to the Tea Parety/Koch Brothers book, and the results are more than pitiful. They are damn near catastrophic.
“What is going on here is so freakishly self-damaging, so bizarrely self-contradicting that it makes you think of a man trying out his new shotgun on his own foot, or of a president putting a meth addict in charge of the nuclear football.” Brownback is trailing his Democratic opponent, although narrowly. How incompetent does a Republican have to be to be voted out of office? I guess we’re about to find out.