The world—as always—is more than slightly FUBAR. Putin seems to have gotten his ego ahead of his vision (and one wonders what that ego might really be, given his darkness, his homely visage, his Leningrader Avis complex). Pervez Musharaff in Pakistan is saddled up again with the CinC badge in his civilian suit pocket. Africa contains fully 70% of today's failed nations and seems quite hopeless, and on it goes! President of France Sarkozy has incited about 70% of his population to riot in fewer days than Napoleon's second attempt and ride to Waterloo. Truly, mankind's dance at the end of the year seems especially drunken and conflicted between the passionate and the pretense of formality.
Watching the Democrats sort themselves out provides some comic relief and, though, some serious questions. Hillary looks more and more like the eponymous hinge-legged guardsman from the Nutcracker Suite. Barack seems to fade in and out of focus, the philosopher king one day and the Clark Kentish hero the next. John Edwards emerging slowly as the Progressive standard-bearer may be emerging too slowly. Who knows? The grain and texture of the Democratic campaigns all point to a growing sense that we are approaching the fulcrum and that hereafter things will be, nay, MUST BE different.
As an historian I know that there are vanguard people and events and that the body politic ambles along in their wake, but that like a school of fish, the body can move quickly and change course dramatically. The Truman election in 1948 was such a turning. People just knew better than the presswonks and pundits and voted for progress and for a new way of looking at world and national affairs. I see this again, now.
Edwards has the key, the reflexes for the people, the knowledge that the middle classes are in peril, the less privileged are already in serious trouble, and that the role of government is to protect, not only from the armies and agents of foreign enemies, but from the inadvertent and irresponsible actions of corporations and corrupt leaders. The message is not quite ringing true yet, though, and I suspect that the corporate media are partly to blame. I also suspect that the Edwards campaign needs to embrace a planetary strategy, to hike up their Progressive ideals and standards to a truly international scale, so that Americans can see themselves as part of a larger process, leaders at times, beneficiaries at times, but always on the side of planetary progress.
With Al Gore taking his stand, his leap, his mission into his own hands, leading the world, so Edwards should summon that passion that glows and abandon the plodding formalisms of media dictated campaigning to truly excite the nation with a new direction for a new age!