The People Have Spoken. Would that They Would Shut Up.

I didn’t see any of ’s coronation hoopla, but many of my friends were overcome by emotion and emitted yelps of excitement in various on-line fora, so I couldn’t just let the event pass without notice as I would have wished.

I am embarrassed for my friends and my country that we still enthusiastically install royalty at such great expense at this late date after the success of our revolution. And unlike the former monarchies which have devolved into republics and divested their crowns of significant power, we seem largely determined to attach all of our hopes and most of our sovereignty onto our king (or even, as showed, some court jester).

The people have spoken. If the people had any sense of shame or any self-awareness, they’d shut the fuck up. They’ve been speaking for a long time now and casting terrible, hateful imprecations that have called forth demons that they refuse to accept responsibility for or attempt to control.

…the bubble that we’re living in now — still — is the bubble that’s all our own. It’s the Moral Bubble, and it will not be pricked until we take responsibility not just for the forty-third president’s actions but for our inaction — for all the agreements we’ve made without awareness, for all the awareness we’ve come to without vigilance, for all the times we’ve touched the easy, insulating button of our assent.

And that button has just gotten better-insulated and more satisfying to fondle, hasn’t it? For all of Obama’s talk of “responsibility” yesterday, you can be damn sure nobody is going to be asked to accept any. For instance, I noticed — crestfallen in spite of myself — that Bush escaped Washington without having issued a much-expected midnight blanket pardon to the people who designed and implemented the U.S. policy of torturing its prisoners — so confident was he that no prosecutions (at least of anyone important) would be forthcoming.

Is there any hope that in my lifetime Americans will grow up and begin to take on the responsibilities of adults, instead of superstitiously appointing royal messiah-scapegoats to absorb our agency and take the blame for our sins?

I followed the story of Cindy Sheehan while she was in the limelight, keeping the heat on the powers-that-be — especially when she added tax resistance to her repertoire of civil disobedience.

But in the last election, she decided to try to run for office — making a quixotic campaign for Nancy Pelosi’s House seat. I was disappointed to see her wasting her time and energy, and that of her supporters, on what seemed to me a poorly-chosen quest.

In this transcript of a talk Sheehan recently gave to the Yale Political Union, she gives an interesting and nuanced explanation of how she sees the relation between dissident protest and mainstream political power, and why she feels the need to keep a foot planted in both worlds.