Fight the Real Enemy
Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches
I'll recruit my army from the orphanages - Bob Dylan
In the United States, in the forshortened weeks before its next post-modern election, every action appears to have an equal and opposite distraction. Telling one from the other, that's the hardest thing.
This time, the Democrats may do just well enough to revive faith that the system works and that its workings are of consequence. (Like Jonathan Richman sings in "Walter Johnson": "Boys, this game's no fun if you don't get a hit once in a while.") Simone Weil wrote that "imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life," and if we can't imagine a better world than this then we can be certain one will be imagineered for us. A bipartisan soft tyranny that rules by mass delusion will concede the odd happy ending, that is actually neither.
The quote is from Weil's essay "Some Thoughts on the Love of God." They're wartime words, written during the worst of it, and imagination and storytelling remain our best means to interpret our attenuated circumstance that already passes understanding.
And everywhere is war. Fourteen years ago, Sinead O'Connor's storytelling on Saturday Night Live sounded to many like hateful babbling, but I expect today it would sound to more like fearless love. The Pope's picture was remembered, but not the child's. Maybe now, because we know more, it would be.
Mark Foley, we know, had been the co-chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which was formed to provide federal assistance to the National Center of the same name. Its Board of Directors includes Floridian cocaine smuggler Hank Asher who founded the corporation which purged his state's voter rolls in 2000. In 2003 he was hired to help identify potential terrorists for Florida's Department of Law Enforcement. ("This has been highly controversial, largely because of Asher's alleged past links to drug smuggling.") Foley himself played a leading role in suppressing the hand recount. So what are such men with such histories, and in such a state as Florida, doing orbiting about the issue of missing and exploited children?
(And it may be more curious still. A poster on the RI forum links Foley with Bush family favourite Mel Sembler's juvenille mind control enterprise "Straight," and connects Straight to Paul Bishop of the Johnny Gosch snake pit.)
"Don't get distracted - stay focused" - a lot of Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow Democrats will be saying that more than usual this month. Many of them think Foley represents a distraction, albeit a happy one. But perhaps it's the election itself that distracts Americans with a shiny hoax battlefield, away from the real war they would know better if they would heed the dis-ease of their storytellers.