Those who say that nonsense words have no place in serious conversation might get an argument from my birthing person. The following is something that zie might have read to me when zie held me on zir lap to chestfeed me.
“Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves and the mome raths outgrabe.”
“Jabberwocky,” the poem from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice through the looking glass,” and a wonderful bit of nonsense, would not sound so strange were it to be presented by the current administration’s press secretary. The main stream media would immediately extol its virtue as an example of wise governance and determination to take the fight to the enemy. Nonsense is the order of the day in our nation’s Capitol and Humpty Dumpty is their arbiter of word usage.
By “Humpty Dumpty” I am not referring to Brian Stetler, the CNN correspondent so dubbed by Fox’s Sean Hannity. I mean the character Alice encountered after traveling through the looking glass. When
Alice questioned Humpty Dumpty’s use of the word “glory” the narrative went: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a scornful tone, “it means what I chose it to mean, neither more nor less.
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things, that’s all.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be the master, that’s all.”
This is not to diminish the creativity of that other Humpty Dumpty, CNN’s Stetler. We cannot forget his reporting on the “mostly peaceful” Kenosha riots while over his shoulder were seen blazing arson fires.
George Orwell introduced us to “doublethink,” the ability to hold opposing views on a subject while firmly believing each to be true. Such mental gymnastics have been elevated to an art form in D.C.. There is no better example of doublethink than Mitch McConnell’s defense of the 13 Republican Senators who crossed the aisle to vote for Biden’s (20% infrastructure, 80% pork, “let’s bankrupt the country), legislation. Those stalwart GOP legislators, all sworn to uphold and defend the constitution, should be forgiven, says China Mitch, for turning their backs on the notion of saving this country from the disasters being visited by the current administration because they needed to protect their ability to become lobbyists when they leave the Senate, as if profiteering from one’s political position is ever a good thing.
McConnell said the quiet part out loud when he admitted that those 13 “honorable” men and women, far from casting their votes based on ideology, party loyalty or duty to the voters who placed them in office, followed their own narrow interests and cast their lot with the swamp.
Problems caused by confusing fantasy with dreams are not exclusively American. Vladimir Putin dreams of recreating the Soviet Union and “restoring” it to a level of power and glory that never actually existed in historical reality. Xi Jinping dreams of an earth inhabited entirely by the Chinese. His vision can only be accomplished by eliminating everyone who isn’t Chinese and to do so without destroying the planet would require a dedicated effort spread over centuries. The time factor is not a deterrent for a civilization that has already spanned millennia. The European Union dreamt of becoming a second USA minus the federalism and all those pesky states rights. Their dream, relatively new, is already fracturing. It just doesn’t work without federalism. And as a final example, the Taliban, de facto government of Afghanistan, dreams of a worldwide theocracy with their version of Islam the only religion, a world rooted in 5th century law, ethics and morality but blessed with all modern conveniences for the male population to enjoy.
In America greed is the primary motivator of politics, greed for power and wealth. Our ruling class envisions a world divided into private fiefdoms, unburdened by borders and international law, held together solely by the pursuit of mutual interests. And while all the different dreams are being pursued around the globe, millions of uneducated, unskilled people are dreaming of coming to America where they fully expect to be given their rightful share of the American Dream.
The problem with all these dreams is that they are not really dreams, they are mutually exclusive fantasies. Success for any one of them would make it impossible for the others to be realized and that would inevitably lead to armed conflict. We have twice proven that world wars solve nothing, but when have we ever learned anything from history?
So far the only governing model that has been proven to lift populations out of ignorance and poverty is a free market capitalism based on the premise of providing useful goods and services. Everything of value to a civilization can be accomplished under that philosophy but while it is a worthwhile reality, it requires a degree of mutual altruism and degrades into the realm of fantasy rather quickly when greed is introduced into the equation.
Somebody tell Mitch McConnell.