Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Change

"Change" is in the air, I mean the word, amplified by microphones, broadcast by networks.

Obama and McCain both represent change, according to their campaigns. The credit-crisis is alleged to foretell enormous changes in global economics.

Last week, when the market "crashed"--it didn't really crash; otherwise, it couldn't have glided a bit higher this week--I told a colleague that, if the stock-market gets really awful, all people will have left is change (you know, quarters, pennies). Okay, so it wasn't a very good joke. But I can report that he chuckled.

After either Obama or McCain become president, I wouldn't mind if he sought to rein in the powers of the Executive Branch, not just as expanded by Bush II but by presidents since and including Roosevelt. I'd like the shared-power concept (not really a balance of power) embedded in the Constitution to be effected more greatly. This is a kind of change that would please me. I'd like a lot more, and more transparent, judicial and congressional and private oversight of corporations, banks, and surveillance-organizations, including a review of how civil liberties have, arguably, been eroded.

In that spirit, and without veering into non-clinical paranoia, I did notice that an army brigade had been redeployed from Iraq to the U.S. to join the newly created Northern Command. That is, the 3rd army isn't just coming home from a tour; they're being redeployed to a nation called the U.S. Bush II created this Northern Command. Is he preparing for martial law? Is that an outrageous question? I don't know the answer to either of these questions. That I don't know the answer springs, I hope, from ignorance, and not from concern that is somehow valid. I can live with my ignorance. I'm used to that. I'm much less comfortable with the possibility of martial law, or, less dramatically, with the concept of a Northern Command. Anyway, here's a link to a discussion of that redeplyoment:

http://www.kinism.net/index.php/forums/viewthread/397/

The redeployment bears on the issue of the "posse comitatus" statutes, and that issue goes all the way back to the brokered presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, who effectively ended Reconstruction. It's a wicked web, pax Robert Burns.

Anyway, all this talk of change, as alteration or as quarters and dimes, led to a poem:


Unsparing Change


Ritual, routine, and regulation distract
us from noticing the universe is never the
same, is reconstructed every second or less.
That King's Boulevard intersects with
Alpine Avenue is a sad wee show of stasis,
reminiscent of the joke Joe told every Friday
at the tavern before he lost his mind and the joke
and the tavern burned down. Every day,

every human's supposed to act like one
not bewildered by constant crashing change.
Sometimes we pull off this performance
of counter-reality to an audience of one or two,
or fifteen or more. Otherwise, nothing much
disguises disintegration, space's silent
screaming alteration, time's vulgar variety
show starring rot, riot, and ruin. This
is not a happy poem, but I'm determined
to be more upbeat, but not beaten up, I
hope, later today, when things will have changed.

Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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