Paul Simon and Vergil. What a delightfully offbeat way to start.
"When I think back / On all the crap / I learned in high school / It's a wonder I can even think at all." Perhaps a year after Rhymin' Simon penned those lyrics to his chartbuster "Kodachrome," I struggled bitterly with AP Latin at my high school, Scranton Prep. Not, you see, because I had to struggle; it was, after all, Advanced Placement Latin, and I, as a scholarship student, really had no trouble making the grades to get there. The problem was beautifully summed up by Simon: it had all begun to seem like such crap. What the hell was the point of studying Vergil?
Trojan Horse, Troy
(image by myhsu)
My teacher, the scholarly, wire-framed ultimate classics geek Mr. Long, was really into it. Mr. Long, famed for his "Grateful Dead? I'd be grateful if they were dead" quip, got impassioned about this stuff, making Latin-slug me cringe as if I were the dastardly Cataline during his Ciceronian rants. Mostly he seemed a weird anachronism, as later did his purblind political support for a Reagan empire far more recent than the Roman. But somehow, the beauty of Vergil's verbal music seeped through. As did one of his most famous lines: Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. "I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts." Yes, Vergil's Trojan priest Laocoon, like Paul Simon's high school skeptic in "Kodachrome," could clearly "read the writing on the wall."
But can progressives? Just as Mr. Long's conservative nostalgia for a bygone world made him a sucker for Ronald Reagan's bogus "conservatism," will our progressive PC agendas leave us hapless victims of a second straight Democrat Trojan horse? Timeo Democratos et dona ferentes. I most fear the Democrats when they're bringing gifts--especially PC novelty ones. Obama should have taught us: the gift of a black horse is no guarantee of a safe progressive ride. Nor is the novelty that in Hillary, Democrats will offer us a mare. Blinded by political correctness, progressives have proved dangerously inept judges of progressive horseflesh. And Hillary Clinton is one gift horse we urgently--no, desperately--need to look in the mouth.
In applying the straightforward logic of PC categories, we progressives overlook--to our deadly peril--the far more twisted "pretzel logic" of political cynics. Especially of plutocratic ones. And I know of no better phrase to describe today's Democratic Party leadership than "plutocratic political cynics." See, in the innocent childhood world of PC liberals (too lacking in adult skepticism to count as real progressives), the logic is simple. Blacks and women have historically been oppressed, so if given political power, they will act as champions of all oppressed people--especially oppressed people of their own kind. A certain Barack Obama, bosom buddy of Wall Street, AFRICOM, the police state, and draconian drug laws that mostly harm blacks, should be a permanent poster child for that starry-eyed PC logic's dismal real-world failure. In perversely real plutocrat logic--the type animating Obama's billionaire patron Penny Pritzker--the only minorities allowed political power, are self-seekers willing to betray the oppressed for their own and plutocrats' heartless aims. And who'll ruthlessly exploit their oppressed PC status as a blinding tool of betrayal. Enter Hillary Clinton.
If Hillary ever gets starry-eyed, it's clearly over the lodestar of her own ambitions. Plainly, a little worldwide humiliation over the dalliances of hubby Bill was no obstacle; he was simply too good a hitch for her political wagon not to look the other way. This alone should trigger our suspicions. Indeed, hard-core Clinton cynics have hypothesized they planned it, the wronged-woman role offering a needed "jump-start" for Hillary's political career. While I'm nearly cynical enough about the aspiring-dynast Clintons (don't forget Chelsea) to embrace such conspiracy thinking, it's far more the political nature of the philanderer Hillary forgave that lights my progressive alarm board. After all, this was not some dashing progressive idealist hero who clay-footedly succumbed to an ardent admirer's temptation. As possibly happened, for example, with Martin Luther King. Instead, this was the ideological father of today's stone-hearted Third Way Democrats, the dismantler of Glass-Steagall protections who enabled Wall Street recklessness and global economic collapse, and the imperialist whose sanctions on good authority killed hundred thousands of innocent Iraqis. Not only was Hillary "in bed" with all that political regressiveness, but readily forgave the man behind it when he betrayed her own marriage bed. Whereas, for a genuine progressive, Bill's adultery might have been the culminating epiphany, the private betrayal illuminating the public one and establishing forever that "enough is enough." Clearly, Hillary saw otherwise.
But why? Perhaps because she did genuinely admire Bill, sharing the same anti-progressive tastes and ideals--and ambitions--to an extent that made him worth forgiving. Her own subsequent political track record lends credence to this viewpoint.
Hillary's subsequent regressive track record is a long story, fit subject for the close scrutiny of one or two follow-up articles, which I relish the prospect of writing. But for genuine progressives already acquainted with that story, and convinced of my thesis that Hillary is a second Democrat Trojan horse--indeed, virtually a progressive Antichrist--I'd suggest some useful actions.
Write to Bernie Sanders, stressing the urgency of his presidential candidacy (so progressives are represented) in 2016. Also, write to up-and-coming progressive-wing Democrat stars like Elizabeth Warren and Alan Grayson and demand they not support Hillary Clinton. Threaten to join the Green Party if they do. In fact, if your case is like mine, tell them Warren's pledge of support for Hillary is precisely the reason you've already joined the Greens.