I know.I write about German things and especially Goethe a lot.A century ago that would have been the norm.German was taught in the secondary schools.Until the Kaiser thought it neat to try to link up with the Mexicans in WW1 to invade the US, it was a neck and neck race in public opinion as to whether we would enter the war on their side.
Germans, not Englishmen, were amongst the first immigrants to the New World.Buy the time the English got here, they were so settled in that nobody thought of them as foreign.
So right off the bat, pronunciation.I owe it to the last polymath (universal genius) of the Western world to get folks at least a bit closer to how he would have said his name.
SaY Ger-tuh,Go on, do it—out loud.
Add a little change to the [-er-]:as you say it, try wrapping your lips around it as if you were trying to say the [w] in [wood]. Yes, you who thinks this is rinky-dink, try it.
that little change is called an Umlaut, or altered sound.It appears in today’s German as two dots above [a]. [o] and [u] in certain spots:ä (or in older German ae), ö (or in older German as oe– like Goethe—today his name could and would most likely be written Göte or Göthe—[th] is pronounced just the same as our [t] in Getman) and ü (or in older German as ue).
OK, I am done doing German training for old time’s sake.
He was born in 1749 Johann Wolfgang Goethe, he died in 1832 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.The [von] was added when someone had been elevated into the nobility.The French use, I believe, the prefix d’ or de’ before a family name to indicate nobility, von (of or from) does the same in German.
What he did between those dates made him the very first international celebrity —Napoleon thought his first novel, The Sufferings of Young Werther, one of the greatest works in western literature.He wrote that at age 24—but I am getting ahead of myself.
When you read the short bio of him below, remember this:by our standards, his way of life was hard, possibly even primitive. The shortest way to describe life in 18th and early 18th century Central Europe is the titis of a great book about life before that time: A World Lit only by Fire.
you wrote everything by hand: no spell check, no moving paragraphs around, no grammar checks.Lots of crossings out, arrows, etc.Some of Goethes most famous works were written without any edits at all — including the most famous poem in german, considered by many (including me) to be a perfect work.
he wrote in German when the languages of culture then were French and Italian.
He did some jail time for having taken philandering too far and too lightly.
No easy way to compare notes with other like minded folks. Want to share a document? It had to be carried by a friend, or the Post–but only to the borders of the little dukedom in which you lived. It was one of 100+ German speaking little -doms in Central Europe, and you had to arrange visas permits, yellow coach mail service in every one between your home and the end target. Things were MUCH slower.
Getting sick could well be fatal. No antibiotics, not even antiseptic treatments: bleeding was a favorite, using leeches to draw blood (yours). Surgeons traveled like barbers, announced their arrivals with drums, music: no setting up ahead of time. Some were not too bad, most were quacks.
Democracy? No. At best, an enlighlened absolute monarch/ Goethe lucked out that way with a supportive, enlightend Duke in Weimar – -but still an absolute ruiler. Lots of mother-may-I to do just routine stuff, like go to the next -dom for a vacation.
Travel: by yellow coach (yellow easily seen, meant mail too). Dusty, hot, crowded over rutted, bumpy dirt roads that could and did break wheels, axles out where the only help was passengers and lawlessness was more likely than in town. Rest areas? No–inns, to feed horses, have a fast beer, climb. back up and rumble off again. Overnight: unlikely a room of your own. MOre likely sleeping in same bed with one or two others, and having o keep your valuables safe on your own.
Sanitation? Perhaps partly indoors and private, more than likely outdoors, or even just dump the night pan out the window into the street gutter. That may have been on the wane by then, and bathing … there was a reason for perfumes.
That’s just a short overview. Bottom line is double edged: a life hard physically, mentally, spiritually but at the same time, one that left anyone who lived it on its terms with a very up close and personal experience of all the pluses and minuses of human life. And one that landed in one of the most productive times for great art ever: Goethe, Schiller (poem of Ode to Joy in Beethoven’s 9th Symphon), Mozart, Beethoven and so on. A hard time alive with the spark of learning and creating.
Which is why Faust, which Goethe honed into a great work for a long time, is in its story of selling the soul to the devil not just some theory but the literary-distillation of an unassailable depth and breadth of living by its author.
That legacy is well worth studying, loving, embracing and advocating.100 years of wars with the Germans on the other side has left us out of touch with their huge contributions to Western Civilization. IT needs to be brought back. After all, we almost went into World War I on the side of the Kaiser. That is why I mention him so much..
“By the time he completed his studies, he had composed a satirical crime comedy, fallen in love with folk poetry, and developed a deep affinity for Shakespeare, the figure responsible for what he termed his “personal awakening.”
Throughout the 1770s, Goethe practiced a unique, progressive version of law across Germany, while maintaining a side career as an editor, playwright, and poet. He wrote his first widely-read novel, the loosely-autobiographical, joyfully-romantic tragedy, The Sorrows of Young Werther, in 1774, at the age of 24. The book was an instant international success. Napolean Bonaparte called it one of the greatest works of European Literature. It sparked the phenomenon “Werther-Fieber” (“Werther Fever”), in which young men throughout Europe began dressing like the tragic protagonist, and brought Goethe to the court of Carl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, where he would become an important advisor….
Despite his success and influence as a poet, Goethe expressed that he took no pride in his literary accomplishments, and believed instead that his work as a philosopher and scientist—in particular his theories about color—would be his true legacy. However, his writings—emotive, far-reaching, prophetic, and formal—stimulated generations of Western literature and thought. Randall Jarrell, who translated Faust from his Poet Laureate’s office at the Library of Congress, called him his “own favorite daemon, dear good great Goethe.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, deeply influenced by Goethe’s merging of science and art, called Goethe the “surpassing intellect of modern times,” and said of his life:
Such was his capacity, that the magazines of the world’s ancient or modern wealth, which arts and intercourse and skepticism could command,—he wanted them all. Had there been twice so much, he could have used it as well. Geologist, mechanic, merchant, chemist, king, radical, painter, composer,—all worked for him, and a thousand men seemed to look through his eyes. He learned as readily as other men breathe. Of all the men of this time, not one has seemed so much at home in it as he. He was not afraid to live.
Goethe died in Weimar on March 22, 1832. He is buried in the Ducal Vault at Weimar’s Historical Cemetery.”
We are nowhere near the end of the Trump-thumping we are taking.. We are not at the beginnig of the end, nor the end of the beginning. We may be at the start of the beginning. And that makes it all even more sad and urgent. We have already lost so much; it is such a great shame.
Towards the end of his life, the great German poet, scientist, lawyer, statesman etc;, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) became very enchanted with the energy, robust freedom and lack of a haunting past in the young American Republic. During those later years he wrote the following poem (here in English translation praising and expressing an important hope about us and our republic:
(If you want to know more about who Goethe was, read my post “Who is this guy G0-ee’-thee (Goethe)?
One of DT’s first targets for negation remains our fragile, wilting ecosystem. We must get it back under control —and fast—. Before DT touched nature with his cold, dead hands, an annual reduction of atmospheric hydrocarbons by 2% would have saved us-but we were barely making that. Now after he has negated our environmental protection, the yearly target for a timespan 4 years shorter than in 2016 is 5%. And we had been barely eking out a scrawny 2%…. If we fail now, there will not be a second chance, the resulting inhospitable, lethal climate will make this planet uninhabitable.
Let us remember the hopes and faith that so many had for us so many years ago.
But let us also start by accepting without filtering where we are today.
Today Goethe’s hopeful poem could only be written something like this:
Amerika, du hattest es besser…
America, you had it better
Than our old continent.
But you failed to save your forests and oceans,
You permanently poisoned pristine waters.
Shame! your present is blighted by leaders of
Useless remembrance and vain strife.
You misused the present in bad faith!
And your children will never write verse,
Condemned by drudge lackeys and their bumbling boss, to
end with a whimper:
as nature winds down in reverse..
Where indeed have all the flowers gone, long time passing? How much pain must good men endure, before they throw off this yoke?
The time for elegant analysis of why we are vulnerable to autocracy, to rule by whim replacing the rule of law has passed. We no longer need be concerned about the advent of autocracy and arbitrary rule. It is our government now.
What we need to know is that Barr and Trump are sparring about whether the President can intervene into cases being handled by the Attorney General. This may be about legal powers: I do not know. More fundamentally it is about norms for behavior. It is about maintaining one of the reasons for the revolution of 1776: making sure that the prosecuting arm of the highest executive function does not become both investigator and judge without jury or habeas corpus.
Trump has callously violated the rule of law and the life of liberty. That is not an inference, it is a manifest fact. Regardless of the toady subversion called the Impeachment Acquittal, if we want our almost three centuries of building, trying failing re-trying to have been for naught, we just let DT continue to intimidate and subvert. If we want to say that our national heritage leaders —Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, TR, FDR, Reagan, etc — all were wrong, we just let DT continue to twitter his way to crony governance, crony economy, and broken nation.
The love of that tradition, pride in our achievements in that tradition, highest respect and honor to those who did their duties in liberty, who gave it all in war, who challenged us to be better with their own words and examples, who taught us what our past and our heritage are—that all was made part of my soul starting on De ember 7, 1941, three months after I was born. The lessons continued — uninterrupted but often taught in grave conflict and meted out in dangerous situations—until the 2016 election. It was there to see in Trumps behavior: read the motivational tea leaves—he wanted and wants to control it all. Worse, he believes he can do it— just as did Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and every other tyrant who has ever made life for the rest of us close to unbearable.
The hope that being in office might shape DT to our historical norms was in vain. It died when the Senate acquitted him and in so doing, thumbed their cowards’ noses to liberty under the rule of law. Breathing the sweet air of liberty has been the foundation, the sine qua non, of me, my soul. It is the first joy upon awakening, the last gratitude before sleep. It was The Default.
Now I can see that I was wrong. Shame on me for having been unwilling to accept that sad development. Shame on us for having spawned it.
One exception to that shaming,however: : a hesitant attaboy to the A. G for having told Trump to keep out of the Attorney General’s affairs, to stop tweeting about ongoing cases in the Department of Justice. That was the right direction, it was the right thing to do despite Trumps threatening response that he could take over if he wanted to.
Here are some of the examples of commitment to duty and the sweet land of liberty, that make me proud and drive me today:
The situation is clear, at least to me: this is unacceptable. It violates my own sense of self. Standing for our constitutional structure, honoring our heritage of democratic norms in leadership, defending them as the right moral way —that will always be what our duty is. It boils down to two important burning questions:
How much will I give out of love for the sweet clear mental, physical, spiritual air of liberty under law?
Do you and I know in our souls that it is our moral and patriotic duty to oppose Trump’s American Tyranny—and if we, the weak, do not, the US will be Trump’s forever? Am I clear that if we do not, then who will?
This is the time to be ramping up defenses against Coronavirus. Does it look in the picture above that Donald gives a damn about anything besides his fake tan? Well, he does not and we will pay a huge price for his malfeasance. Just when we face a pandemic with no treatments and need to put on the greatest push, he takes away the funding.
The German Robert Koch Institute reported yesterday that the number of cases of the Coronavirus in China (yesterday 45000 with 1100 deaths) had possibly stabilized. That was cause for tentative, cautious relief. In the same breath, however, it warns that a worldwide pandemic of Coronavirus is still entirely possible.
And today Die Zeit reporrts that a professor at the Berlin Charité said that the worldwide count had reached 60000 with ~1300 deaths from the virus. (ca 2%–about where it has been all along). He also said that a new variant of the disease is spreading, and that experts estimate high numbers of infections worldwide, although for most the infection would be mild and not life threeatening. The major concern was and is Africa where public health institutions are weakest. Africa could be the cannon that shoots the virus around the world and soon. The best estimates are, according to the DIe Zeit reports, that the virus could infect 60% of the worlds population.
From the report yesterday, it is clear tha despite all out efforts around the globe to hold back the virus and then to stop it, help is not just around the corner. There are three or four good candidates for vaccines, but human testing will not begin for ar least three months. And the WHO reports that a working vaccine distribution is probably still 18 months away.
The US had in 2018 a population of 327.2 million. That would mean 196, 320,000 people sick with corona virus. If the death rate remains around 2.1-2.4 %, that means 4,711.680 people dyiing from this. It could happen very soon. And there will be no vaccine.
We, those 327 million people, who rely on CDC and NIH to help us in such emergencies, have been thrown under the bus in the President’s budget proposal. Ir will reduce all Federal funding for just about every aspect of healthcare we have. And as is usual with the Reaganomics infected Republican minds, those least able to defend themselves will be hit the hardest. That means Trumps base still some Evangelicals and the blue collar sector. As they as a group will certainly rely at least as much as the rest of us on Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid, vaccines, hospitals which take Medicare and Medicaid, this time their boy will be goring their ox.
Listen up for once! Your Man on the White Golf Cart threw me and you under the bus so that his rich buddies and controllers can keep on sucking the wealth out of your pockets.
Wake up Red State dreamers! Forget all the blather from the highl paid verbal bullies at Fox News. Follow the one thing that their well greased propaganda cannot hide for long: the money. It is NOT GOING TO YOU OR ME. It is going to those at the top of the wealth pile here who do not need it, who have not earned it and whose loyalty is to their own assets, not us the people who do the work that keeps their systems alive.
Is this what a Great America looks like: 60% of its citizens ill, 2% dying and no resources, no care, nothing at all available to help?
Does a Great country have a President who will sacrifice YOU so that he can set up an economy to do only for himself and his controllers what he has never been able to do: grow wealth–?
What is wrong with your perceptions? Follow the money, it does not flow into your pockets or mine.
The emergency alarms are all clanging frantically. He is letting pollutin slow down cleaning of your air, when we must MUSTR speed it up to save our planet. And if that were nor bad enough, now he wants to cripple your health. Both the budget and its dangerous, callous, dead-soul champion are categorically unacceptable and deserve only maximum contempt . Pray for him, yes: and until God exacts His vengeance onto DT, give Donald the gold treatment: do unto Donald only Donald has done unto you.
Hoodwinked? Anybody with two eyes and a brain can see that the US is divided very deeply, as deeply as it was in 1861 when the Confederacy opened fire on Fort Sumpter.
Funny. I hardly ever meet up with a streetfighter version of Sean Hannity or Dr Rachel Maddow I’ve seen bumper stickers, some window decals, an occasional lawn sign. If you listen to the news and the politicians, everyone in the United States is either angel or devil.
Right, I’m wary of devils being around. You never know these daysif yuou are about to step on yet another political landmine until it is too late unless you are wary and hold back. It is not OK any more to be in error and apologize. So, with some, I parse my words when it comes to politics. But I’ve always avoided talking politics with strangers anyway, it is just that now it feels llike the choice is not mine any more, unless I am willing to pay a large price.. Some may like it hot so to speak, but it is not my cup of tea. Never was. Many do want robust debate but apparently the all-out, no-holds-barred, but we are going to have dinner tonight anyway debating of days gone by is just a memory now.
I can remember my parents’ monthly cocktail party with old friends. I heard afterwards that Bill was upset by what Jane said about his need for status as a Republican (what my parents were) or how Muriel and Jack, devoted New Deal Democrats, thought the Republicans in the group too wary of civil rights, and so forth. They discussed heatedly, but they all kept coming to those discussions at the monthly cocktail parties year after year. I wonder today if I am lucky or cursed to have known that political climate.
But i have a duty to participate. Democracy: use it or lose it. We are already all too close to the latter. I have to speak out about what I think I have learned, about my opinions, but not in attack. It is my duty to conscience, to this country and all who have struggled, suffered, died to keep the experiment alive and moving. It is my duty.
So, in that spirit, just what is our political constellation, once we turn off the 24-7-365 news that needs to attract viewers to stay on the airi and turn off the politicians whom Mark Twain called the only native American criminal class.
While trudging the hopeless, dusty path of the Big DIvide, I stumbled onto proof that the Big DIvide does not exist outside the Beltway.
We do after all know how the political landscape actually is segmented, and we know it in detail, and with very solid grounding. I read about it in Die Zeit online just around the time of the 2018 midterms.
It upset the applecart of all my assumptions about American political sentiment. It gave me hope — but it showed that if we want out of this dreary, dead mess in DC, we the people will have to get up and get going. Now.
It is all there to read, but it has not been talked about very much in the US. Imagine my surprise…. I was unable to google up any US talk about this more than a few sentences no matter how hard I searched. I first read about it in the reputable and very thorough German weekly online paper, Die Zeit (Time or The Times) in an article called Americas Exhausted Majority.
Is it that important? You bet it is. But you judge for yourself from what comes next..generally about these two questions:
The actual political segmentation of our country: what is it and how is it that we are set up to be hoodwinked by autocrats?
What are we going to do about it?
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US? PANE 1B: HOODWINKED. How? What is the real segmentation of our country politically? A study published on 1 November 2018 comes to a very different conclusion than the one we are being manilpulated to believe. Instead of a split society, the study, Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape [https: hiddentribes.us/pdf/hidden_tribes report.pdf, documents the US today as a society with highly nuanced political segments. I am summarizing here. The whole study is fascinating and ought to be crucial to political campaign planning. Get it and read it, and then do something — speak, write, volunteer for canvassing, party office work, whatever.
From the study:
The segments have distinctive sets of characteristics; here listed in order from left to right on the ideological spectrum:– Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.– Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.– Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.– Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic,conspiratorial.– Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.– Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.– Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,patriotic.
The Study Summary: from Die Zeit.online
In welche Lager teilt sich die amerikanische Gesellschaft? =
Into which camps does American society divide itself?
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Traditional Conservatives+Devoted Conservatives+Progressive Activists: the political leatherlungs, 33% of the electorate
The Exhausted Majority, the rest: 67% of the electorate. The ones who want this to stop, will find common ground and are ideologically significantly more flexible.
“The relevance of the segmentation is evident on a wide array of subjects, from issues of race and prejudice to gender and sexuality. Progressive Activists, the most liberal group, and Devoted Conservatives, the most conservative, show strong degrees of consistency within their ranks, while being almost perfectly at odds with each other. Middle tribes, by contrast, orient themselves incrementally on the ideological spectrum.
Further evidence of the relevance of core beliefs and their associated tribal identities is that tribal membership predicts differences in Americans’ views on various political issues better than demographic, ideological, and partisan groupings. This can be seen on subjects such as approval of President Trump, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and approval of the modern feminist agenda. On these questions and many others, the differences between the most ideological segments are greater than the differences between, for instance, self-described “strong Republicans” and “strong Democrats” ….. “ Members of the Exhausted Majority are considerably more ideologically flexible than members of other groups. While members of the “wing” groups (on both the left and the right) tend to hold strong and consistent views across a range of political issues, those in the Exhausted Majority tend to deviate significantly in their views from issue to issue.Furthermore, the wing groups, which often dominate the national conversation, are in fact in considerable isolation in their views on certain topics. For instance, 82 percent of Americans agree that hate speech is a problem in America today, but 80 percent also view political correctness as an issue. By contrast, only 30 percent of Progressive Activists believe political correctness is a problem.” ….“
Yet it would be a mistake to think of the Exhausted Majority merely as a group of political centrists, at least in the way that term is traditionally understood. They do not simply represent a midpoint between the warring tribes of the left and right. They are frustrated with the status quo and the conduct of American politics and public debate. They overwhelmingly believe that the American government is rigged to serve the rich and influential, and they want things to change.With that said, there is nevertheless one segment within the Exhausted Majority that matches the traditional understanding of centrism: the Moderates, who comprise 15 percent of the population and whose views are consistently very close to the center of public opinion.The Exhausted Majority may be the key to countering polarization. Traditional Liberals and Moderates instinctively support compromise. Their voices would be strengthened if the Passive Liberals develop greater confidence in the value of their participation. On the other hand, the Politically Disengaged are at risk of being drawn into polarizing us-versus-them narratives, especially given their comparatively high levels of distrust and suspicion.”
The study characterizes these groups as hidden because they seldom occur as part of the daily discourse, the extremes are much more likely to be heard. “The people at the extreme ends of the spectrum are more strongly interested in politics and are more likely to use the social media to announce their opinions.”’ says Miriam JuanTorres, one of the study’s authors. “They understand the political discourse as something binary and perceive the respectively widely separated opposite side often as just a caricature.”
Last night I saw a new documentary on Amazon Prime about the history of liberal and conservative. If you would classify yourself in any one of the Exhaused Majority groups, you must see this. All I will say is that we need to get ourselves loose from the tastemakers because the divide into the concrete of which the political preachers have buried our political feet, does not exist. We have been hoodwinked, and hoodwinked hard.
Read a foreign, well respecrted newspaper. Die Zeit has a good englilsh verson online. The knowledge and insightfulness of their reporters are impressive, without an axe to grind.. And you get to hear a different point of view, see how Germans respond to our doings here, and read a bit about our most important European ally (or now, with the clear distaste that the Germans show for our President and his cronies, an ally at a distance.)
Or google how to handle situations like this–and find the good list in Psychology Today:
Better yet, get a copy of On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. This is the bible of democratic citizenry wanting to prevcent dictatorship in their own country. Kindle version available.
What if we all decided that we were fed up with the slanting, editorial comment posing as reporting, suggestive innuendo, character assassinaations and lies of the so-called News Media?
What if we in the finely nuanced dispersion of the real USA decided to ask others what they believed, why and tried to find common ground rather than being on attack or defense all the time?
Do we want our country and history back?
Well, what are we waiting for? Any or all of the actions suggested by any of the sources I’ve seen can do the one thing that will turn the tables: energize us, . the Exhausted Majority. Accepting this debacle does not mean being a speedbump. Remember: American ends in I CAN.
COMING UP:HOW OUR CULTURE MAKES US VULNERABLE TO AUTOCRATS.: PANE TWO: OUR CULTURAL INVENTORY, PART 1: SHE’S OUR QUEEN TOO..
COMING UP: OUR CULTURAL INVENTORY, PART 2, THE P-47 THUNDERBOLT SYNDROME
Just as Die Zeit describes the losses yesterday on the field of battle for democracy: losers, losers, everywhere losers. Democracy a loser, the Democrats losers, the American system of (former) separation of powers loser, the people losers and govenment of, by and for the people, loser.
How sad is this? I just cannot say in a word. Everything that I knew growing up (born before WW2 in 1941), gone or now in danger. Remember that great ad years ago about stopping littering: a native American stands by an expressway where there is litter lying around. He may even see some being jettisoned from a passing car.
And wordless tears begin to run down his face at the loss of the pure nature he had always known. Same here but for the polluting of the sweet air of liberty by this right wing almost coup.
Throw onto the pile Brexit and England. There was even a Fuck Brexit Party in Brussels yesterday, before the Brits got out. Brits who lamented this painful step wrote moving letters to the EU. EU members read them and shed tears.
First, it is a sale of Republican Senatorial souls to the devil. The devil –the man in the Prez Office is best described by a few immortal lines in a 19th century German drama — the premier work in all of world literature about evil, Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749-1832–statesman, government administrator, international traveler, natural scientist, poet, dramatist, novelist, celebrity. It is a work on which he wrote and rewrote for all of his mature adult life–decades. The more he knew of the realities of human life, the more he had to refine his work. Only his death finished the drama. He knew what he was writing about.
History since then has been confirming Goethe’s wisdom over and over and over.
In the first part of Faust, Doktor Faustus, a learned man who has exhausted all the fields of learning and yearns for more and more experience, is visited by the Devil, who is called Mephistopheles. Slowly Mephisto plays with Faust, to lead him into selling his soul in return for the experience that he, Faust, craves — and more. Mephisto is not at all the medieval red horned, hooved, devil with a tail, not at all. He appears as an attractive man, but one who to Faust has some sort of agenda. Faust finally wants to know, who are you? Mephisto answers: Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint: I am the spirit who constantly negates.
There could not be a better description of the man in the Presidents Office. And the situation is just like that of the advent of that man in DC: luring people who crave something else into selling their souls to him in return for more position, power, status and prestige: keeping their PAC money, keeping their Senate sinecures and not having to think it all out on their own any more. The Mephisto/DT appeal is just too much to resist.
When Faust learns of the proposed contract, his question is: how will I know when the deal has been signed? Any Republican Senator after the vote yesterday not to have live evidence against DT, could have said to and about DT what Mephisto says that Faust would have to say: verweile doch, du bist so schön — stay on with me, you are so charming. And in not so long, Faust says it, just as the Senate Republicans clearly said it yesterday.
So that is a first reason: selling out to whatever devil happens to show them the apparently easier, softer way.
If you don’t like that, try this from Bertolt Brecht: erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral — first of all gorge ourself on fodder, and then maybe get to morality (my translation). Same deal as selling your soul in return for keeping your Senate Sinecure: a sad but realistic capturing of what moves the quietly desperate mass of men.
No wonder Mark Twain wrote something to the effect that there is (was then) no native American criminal class — except Congress. The Senate Sinecure Republican Peanut Gallery proves Twain’s point. Same for those who jumped onto Johnson’s isolationist dream wagon in the now hardly great Britain.
And we wind up all losers, losers, losers — at least for the time being.
Are we really split in half across this nation a small group of independents in the middle? What is it that leaves us Americans vulnerable to autocrats? What can we do about it if we want the oldest experiment in multicultural democracy on earth –the USA– to continue?
Stay tuned, but fasten your safety belts in the meantime. The road to happy destiny just lost its smooth surface and dirty flood water drainage systems. Or maybe it was already gone but we still were in denial about that large loss.