Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Casting a Shadow

"Between the Idea and the Reality ... falls the Shadow."

T.S. Eliot wrote that, and it's the stone, Gods-honest truth: There is always a gap between the Real and the Ideal that sometimes makes people feel the inadequacy of reality.

Take campaign promises as an example. Politicians have made promises to the voters since the heyday of Athenian democracy (and that was a durned long time ago, buckaroo) so people shouldn't place too much credence in campaign promises.

President Obama promised a lot of things - getting out of Iraq quickly, among others - but the touch of reality makes demands on a promises. Instead of twelve or sixteen months, our departure from the debacle that is Iraq will be deferred to eighteen months or so, dependent upon the developments in that country. The important thing is that we're leaving.

For a great deal of the Ideas that became campaign promises the Shadow that falls between them and Reality is the shadow of a man.

Not just a man, but an administration.

George W Bush's administration.

Now, before anyone starts telling me to get over the "Bush derangement syndrome" (whatever the blazing fuck that is, because there is no adequate explanation), the first year - even in some cases the first two years of any new presidency is directly affected by the activities of the previous tenant of the Oval Office. There was speculation way back in January that the Bushite Junta was deliberately poisoning all the wells so that Obama's freedom of action would be severely constrained.

And, thanks to the Shadow, the Reality is that we're going to see compromises. Detainees will still be held at Guantanamo, military tribunals will be conducted.

Time is needed. Bush and his cronies cast a big shadow, and it'll take time to dispel it and move out from under it in order to make Ideas become Reality.


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