Dust – Plans – All the News There’s Ever Been – Disappearing – A Ride – Difficult Times – Visitation, a story – with some thoughts on resistance (The following is a work of satire. The people and events depicted, including those based on real people and events, are all entirely fictional.)
These chapters from Coherence were written years ago, and yet they speak precisely to my anxiety now. I mentioned my ambivalence toward the Sanders campaign before: the argument I made certainly feels hollow at this point: I would be more than happy to go back and try it instead if that were possible. On the other hand, that was just the one aspect of my own reluctance I had managed to put into words. I had struggled all along—and struggle still, not without guilt—to make sense of that tepid response. While typically drawn to socialist goals, I find myself innately wary of movements and populism in general, and really of belonging itself, which, somewhat paradoxically, has always seemed to me to be defined by exclusion rather than inclusion. Perhaps it’s only due, as I have sometimes feared, to a sort of pathological contrarianism. Perhaps it’s just that I’m not all that much of a people person. Anyway, these relatively minor considerations will have to be set aside in order to forge the broadest possible coalition for resistance.
It is true, however, that democracy has always meant for me something both deeply personal and admittedly mystical (here I can cite the influence of Leonard Cohen, whose song Democracy I happened to be listening to and thinking about a few hours before we all found out he had died). Our politics, like our religions, art, music, and literature, are all attempts to understand and fulfill—or sometimes even obscure and deny—the one inescapable duty laid upon us by virtue of our humanity:
Love is the responsibility of an I for a Thou. In this lies the likeness of all who love, from the smallest to the greatest, and from the blessedly protected man, whose life is rounded in that of a loved being, to him who is all his life nailed to the cross of the world, and who ventures to bring himself to the dreadful point—to love all men.
-Martin Buber, from I and Thou (Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith)
I don’t believe this truth to be limited to a gendered noun or pronoun.
I should also point out that when I first chose Visitation for this issue, it was because it was the closest thing I had to a Christmas story; yet it seems this too has turned out to be more pertinent than intended. Many of you are expecting a fraught holiday season amongst family; I wish you all the best of luck.
Next issue: January 3rd