In the midst of writing on matters economic, philosophical, cultural, and whatnot, it is impossible not to notice some of the scarier aspects of our political culture right now.
Some charming examples of xenophobia are in the news lately. One is this preposterous claim that illegal immigrants are coming over here to have "terror babies." That's right. The plot is that they will have the child here, so that they can be an American citizen. They will bring them back overseas somewhere, where they will be trained to be a terrorist. Then, when fully prepared, they will destroy America.
Another, of course, is the intense Islamaphobia in our nation today. It is actually deeply disturbing and alarming. For anyone not aware of just how intense and widespread it is (spreading throughout the entire country), watching this Jon Stewart clip might help bring you up to speed. Although I can barely even laugh (notwithstanding that he is, of course, doing comedy) because it is just so heartbreaking.
The latest in the not-knowing-whether-to-laugh-or-cry category: The Museum of Tolerance has come out in opposition to the proposed Islamic cultural center near ground zero. The Museum of Tolerance. Seriously. The Museum of Tolerance finds the Islamic cultural center intolerable. (NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" had this take on the matter: "But in other news, an exhibit about the Museum of Tolerance just opened up at the Museum of Irony.")
As if Arizona's nativist antics weren't enough.
And here I am writing about wanting to move beyond capitalism, and perhaps towards something like a Solidarity Economy. And the question I ask myself is: What sense does it make to speak of such seemingly radical notions, when the country appears to be moving in such a fantastically reactionary direction?
Perhaps there is a slightly more optimistic way of viewing the matter. It's obviously not uncommon for reactionary forces to gain steam under poor economic conditions. So perhaps one way of viewing the matter is: if we can see another way out. If we can imagine another world, one in which economic relations are fundamentally restructured, such that the working class wasn't forever getting the shaft, maybe there would be less bitterness and hatred?