Thursday, November 10, 2016
“Our names may perish” said the boy, Kolya, at the funeral of the little peasant boy, Ilyusha, in Dostoevsky last masterpiece. And they will. Time will fly on by, like the sparrows that the boy wished to flock to his grave, to keep him company.
The election now seems like a funeral, so that is why the reference to The Brothers Karamazov. And for those who dislike veiled references, I point out that the progressive movement which hoped to push the nation into the future space of its past promises, Ilyusha, the poor peasant boy struck down by a mixture of peasantry and bad luck, is that very same progressive movement; a movement that hoped to quell the poverty and homelessness of a sick, anti-Christian austerity, heal the earth from a despoilment of over a century of greedy oilmen, and finish the social movement built on equality and fairness for all: gays, refugees, immigrants, Muslims, and the transgendered.
It was all going so well. Until it wasn’t.
Now we face the shovelfuls of dirt pouring down on our shocked faces.
Not forever. But long enough. At least for a generation. Until this pitiful “Boomer” generation has passed on and we make space for our children and our childrens’ children, only then can the earth hope for some respite from our clawing, grasping hands. Has there ever been a generation more deserving of its name perishing?
The world needed one more “greatest generation.” It got instead one that can be described as miserly and measly. Another conservative court will abscond with its corruptible Citizens United verdicts, its shackling of the EPA, its allowance of Republican voter fraud (known as gerrymandering).
The novel ends hopefully. Alyosha, the true hero of the novel, spiritual heir of the author, expounds on the beauty within the ties of humanity, how they will remember their friend forever, will remember their brotherhood on that day, when they stood around the grave, humbly, together in humanity and love.
Dostoevsky hoped for great things from his countrymen. Love, brotherhood. One generation after his death came the 1917 revolution and decades of death and repression. Standing over the grave of the progressive movement, after this victory of an alt-right racist, misogynist, and it also must be said, idiot, we can remember our brotherhood as Alyosha did. That is what I prefer. But I wonder about the revolution of 1917. The progressives will always be a force. Now though one does have to wonder if it is all just too late.