Saturday, October 21, 2006

Interesting times

Reading Antigone again, and it is impossible to read these words and not think of the GOP:

Man the master, ingenious past all measure
past all dreams, the skills within his grasp--
he forges on, now to destruction
now again to greatness. When he weaves in
the laws of the land, and the justice of the gods
that binds his oaths together
he and his city rise high--
but the city casts out
that man who weds himself to inhumanity
thanks to reckless daring. Never share my hearth
never think my thoughts, whoever does
such things.
The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats will take the House, but not the Senate. However, the conventional wisdom a few months ago was that no GOP incumbent could be defeated, and only a handful of seats were in play. I"m not saying, either, that the Democrats will necessarily weave the justice of the gods into the laws of the land. But the public mood certainly does seem to have shifted toward the last lines of that chorus: "Never share my hearth/never think my thought, whoever does/such things."

Katrina. Abu Ghraib. Iraq. Guantanamo. Habeas corpus. Some pieces loom larger than others, but ultimately it is all of a piece. There may be no Antigone in this public drama, but there is certainly a Creon who has overplayed his hand, and done so just as badly as the fictional king. Creon is a nervous, suspicious, insecure ruler who throws away all the respect for his authority he intends to garner, precisely because of his fear and his insecurity. He ends by nearly taking the kingdom down with him, all because he is the one who weds himself to inhumanity. It looks more and more like George W. Bush is going to bring down the GOP.

What is disturbing is how much the situation resembles a Greek tragedy.

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