...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
      ( 11:43 AM )
A Look at the Bright Side

And why not? I found this article in Mother Jones as I was perusing some of my favorite reading sites today and thought I'd share:

After all, we are the creation of George Bush. In a mere three years, the flickering of a historical eyelash, he almost single-handedly has given life and vitality to the political Internet, while creating an antiwar and anti-him movement of surprising size, one that nearly lifted a recalcitrant candidate into the presidency. What took the right in America years and years after the Goldwater debacle of 1964, we -- whoever or whatever we are in this strange, new world -- seem to be doing at a double-march pace. It's invigorating to watch. Imagine, then, along with all the expectable destruction and mayhem, what our President might be capable of producing in the four years to come.

The article's author, Tom Engelhardt, goes on to reprint an article by Rebecca Solnit, called Hope at Midnight. She mentions that while our own world may seem drearily hopeless in the wake of the recent election, there are actually places and people who are breaking out of the downward spiral mold and things are looking up.

But there are places we hardly notice where it looks like the future is being invented -- notably South America. When I think about this fall's elections, I think of them as a trio. You already know all about the one in the U.S. In Uruguay, after not four years of creepy governments but a hundred and seventy years -- ever since Andrew Jackson was president here -- the people got a good leftist government. [...]

The U.S. is in many ways the world's big problem; South America is one place that looks like it's coming up with solutions. In Chile, huge protests against the Bush administration and its policies went on for several days, better than any we've had at home since the war broke out. Maybe Chile is the center of the world; maybe the fact that the country has evolved from a terrifying military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet to a democracy where people can be outspoken in their passion for justice on the other side of the world matters as much as our decline. Despair there in the Pinochet era was more justified than here under Bush. And as longtime Chile observer Roger Burbach wrote after those demonstrations, "There is indeed a Chilean alternative to Bush: it is to pursue former dictators and the real terrorists by using international law and building a global international criminal system that will be based on an egalitarian economic system that empowers people at the grass roots to build their own future."

In Venezuela this August, voters reaffirmed "Washington's biggest headache," anti-Bush populist Hugo Chavez, in a US-backed referendum meant to topple him. This spring, Argentina's current president, Nestor Kirchner, backed by the country's popular rebellion against neoliberalism, defied the International Monetary Fund; Uruguayans voted against water privatization; Bolivians fought against water and natural gas privatization so fiercely they chased their neoliberal president into exile in Miami in October of 2003.

Even as our government, the managers of the world's richest and most wasteful economy, bows to public pressure and gives a measly percentage of our wealth to help the devastated people of Southeast Asia, while at the same time spending billions more to continue to kill and cause the death of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan with our massive and indescriminate weapons and cause the deaths and permanent injuries of our own faithful soldiers, the rest of the world is attempting to overcome evil with good. People have joined together and are winning out over fascism (that is still promoted by the US) in Latin and South America. (here is another article about Venezuela that is heartening: The Chavez Phenomenon and the U.S. )

The question is, will it take us decades of oppression until our country is in economic, ecological, moral and social disaster to fight back, or will we learn now and build the solidarity that creates change sooner rather than later?

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