RAMdom thoughts

I watched Jon Stewart's statement at the Rally to Restore Sanity again tonight, as well as clips from the Stewart/O'Reilly debate; here are some riffs off of their words.
  • We cannot control what our actions are to others, or how they will be interpreted. We can only control our intentions, praying that the trusts we build can sustain us when we fall short, in substance or superficial appearance.
  • "We live in hard times, not end times." - There were those who thought America would not survive 2000, 2004, or 2008. But elections do not single-handily change this country - instead, they express or facilitate long-standing patterns or shifts that may be as subtle as they are powerful. Also, if the US can survive Harding, it can survive anyone. Just sayin'.
  • Hate speech is the result of capitalism; some people pay for it, and want it. Those who provide it can and do get rich.
  • Sometimes the issues at obvious play in an election are less important than the issues that "everyone" agrees upon, which then go relatively undiscussed.
  • "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." - one of the travesties of music today is that in seeking to provide a stronger sound, music tracks must play at a constant high volume, giving up the artistry of dynamics in the pursuit of pushing as much out as possible, in order not to suffer in comparison to the next track. The same goes for speech, and a press that acts like an auto-immune disease in overreacting just makes us sicker. We don't have the national RAM to process all of this.
  • "There will always be darkness" - Original sin is in us, with us, and must be accounted for and expected, as much as we seek to go beyond it.
But talk is cheap, including my own. Obama knows and gets most of this; The Audacity of Hope discusses most of it, including the poignant image of senators speaking without listening from the floor of the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body." To some extent we have traded some sins for others, like overt racism and sexism for more subtle forms, or a willingness to overlook adultery with a heightened scrutiny that destroys lives and relationships. These trends are products of our technology and no one can see where they are actually going - though many will guess, some growing rich in their accuracy.

So how do you pursue systemic change? Matt Yglesias said:
"But I'll say that as I've gotten older and wiser, I've learned that fewer problems than I thought are due to misconduct on the part of individuals and more are due to rotten systems.....The design of the game really constrains what people do. And if you try to act in ways that are contrary to the game architecture, you end up getting replaced."
Thus the only people that can change the game are those that have won it - the "statesmen." I've met some of these guys and I don't know if they have the answers, or if I do. It will take an old-young partnership, and a particular moment where Rahm Emanuel isn't the WHCoS.