Tuesday, August 16, 2005[posted by jaed at 10:47 PM]
The autism of politics
The New York Times' hagiography of the day for Cindy Sheehan includes this tidbit, trivial and idiosyncratic but all too revealing:
Casey Kelley, 61, a semiretired real estate broker from Colorado who drove 1,000 miles in her camper with her dog, Lucky, to help Ms. Sheehan, said: "It's us versus them again. I haven't felt this since the Vietnam War."Glenn Reynolds has occasionally remarked that people like this are not anti-war - they're just on the other side. There's a lot of truth to this truism, of course, and Kelley's wording ("them" are neither Baathists nor jihadists, I think we can take as a given) bears it out. But really, that last sentence says it all. It's the feelings, nothing more than feelings. Deadly fascist movements, the human rights of millions living under tyranny in the Arab world, the more immediate fate of fifty million people... all, all are as nothing before Casey Kelley's desire to feel something. If the only thing that will get her emotions boiling is ignoring the actual enemy while picking a safely illusory one to be against, oh well. If the only way she can restore the passion and commitment she felt in late adolescence is to act against her own country, endanger the Iraqis and Afghans, and incidentally spit on a hero's grave, what of it? These things are not significant. She, and her feelings, are the only things that exist. The rest of the world is nothing.
Truly, some of these people are far too solipsistic to be on the other side. The other side is barely real to them.