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John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

I was sitting in my Lincoln rocker the other morning, ruminating on some political problems or another, when I was struck by a vision of myself, standing in a field of clover, chewing on my cud as I watched the world go by.

But my cud is a stage in my mental process, rather than a function of my digestive process.

That is the function of the real-world “cud,” as I’m sure you know. But, since it’s not a particularly pleasant topic for mealtime conversation, we’ll forego the details.



The mental cud, however, can be discussed with detachment and even a tad of intellectual glee, thereby avoiding the revulsion brought on by a chat about the, ah, other cud.

Anyway, as I was saying, there I was ruminating about Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, and about the remarkable political and social transformations taking place there at the top of the Dark Continent.




At least, we hope they’re taking place. If they’re not, and the people of those nations find themselves dragged back into the nightmare of tinpot dictators, megalomaniac despots and thuggish police states … well, what?

It’s possible that the rest of the world will simply turn away, muttering something like, “It was a nice try, and it looked promising for them, but hey, better luck next time.”

Already, the world’s attention seems to be shifting to other things, to rebellions in other countries, to financial Armageddon among nations and peoples, to insane politics in the land named after Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine cartographer and explorer who followed Christopher Columbus to the New World.

Speaking of the politics of insanity in our broad patch of Earth, the presidential campaign for 2012 has begun in earnest, with portentous proclamations from various seekers of the pinnacle of power.

The March 27 edition of The New York Times, for instance, focused on the prospects for Iowa, that troubled state that insists on being the opening battleground for the quadrennial political wrestling match.

One of those who hopes to come out on top, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, has hitched his wagon to the anti-abortion cause, and was quoted as predicting that the race must be one “focused on policy.”

And, he added fatuously, “The American people agree with us on policy.”

What?

If he views abortion politics as the ultimate policy gambit, how does he account for the fact that poll after poll for decades have found that a majority of the national electorate believes a woman should be the one to make that choice, not a bunch of right-wing religious zealots, not the government, and certainly not Haley Barbour?

As noted previously, this is politics based on insanity, so we should not be surprised.

To take another example, one of the least consequential people in the world, Donald Trump, seems to have decided that the best way to get his name noticed is to stand firmly on the tired claim that President Obama is not a bonafide U.S. citizen by birth. And how did The Donald do this? By releasing his own birth certificate, and daring Obama to do the same.

Oh, wait, Obama already did that.

Of course, that act didn’t make a dent in the passionate bleating of Teabaggers, Republican strategists and their ilk.

These are, after all, the false prophets of greed and privilege, who make it their business to do everything they can to divert the attentions of the electorate away from real issues and toward partisan scaffolding erected upon the clouds of anger and frustration of the population in general.

And so we come to the dawning of another day in the world, and I really do begin to feel more and more like a metaphysical ruminant, standing in my field of ideals and hopes shaped like clover leaves, chewing away on my intellectual cud and wondering what the hell will happen next.

jcolson@aspentimes.com


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