08 December 2012

To Be Felt

Keith Jarrett said about playing in the legendary Miles Davis's band:
"When I joined the band I didn't know any of the tunes, and when I left the band I didn't know any of the tunes!"
By all accounts Miles Davis was a genius of immense talent. He was also an iconic figure whose mysterious persona grows as the years pass. Perhaps none of his tunes were meant to be known or comfortably understood. Miles Davis launched many of his improvisational riffs with American standards - a familiar launch pad into the unknown.

Improvisation seems much too fluid to score with the sheet music of certainty. A Miles Davis tune was meant to be felt more than understood.

The Jarrett quote sums up what it feels like to be in the tribe of adulthood. For Keith Jarrett, being in Miles's band was like being in the universe.

Age has not tempered my reckoning of how little I understand. The truth is that I am just as existentially awed now as I was when I entered the tribe of adulthood.

Like some brilliant hard bop phrase repeated over a changing melody, the universe is to be felt more than understood.

01 December 2012

The Fiscal Rift

A Geologic Rift

Politics in the US is theater of the absurd. It's remarkably absurd theater particularly to pragmatic problem-solvers.
Goodbye to Yankee Ingenuity. Hello to Dixie Dogmatism
Many of the solutions to the problems we face are so blasted simple.

The Fiscal Cliff is the current sideshow featuring a spray-tanned Speaker and his unruly band of tea-bagging nitwits. The Speaker's theme is posturing over pragmatism.

The Republican majority in the US House is a profoundly inept body of ideologues.

The solutions to many of the nation's challenges seem so clear, so obvious, and so cut and dried, yet nothing gets done. NOTHING gets done. The hate-filled ideologues who dominate the Republican party have proven incapable of negotiating.

Informed, thoughtful people are compelled to discount much of what today's Republicans say because:
  • it's not well-reasoned (e.g., "the government doesn't create jobs"), 
  • it eschews analytic tools like basic arithmetic (e.g., goofball economic plans), or 
  • it's incoherent, hate-filled gibberish (e.g., "legitimate rape"). 
Prepend the phrase "Republicans claim" to any sentence and it sparks an steep asymptote toward scant credibility.

Many pine for the moderate Republicans of old. Moderates like Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr. were capable of critical thinking. And more importantly, they were capable of cutting a deal. Today's Republican party desperately needs an infusion of moderates capable of reasoned thinking and negotiation.

If the Republican party could somehow marginalize the intransigent right-wing ideologues, it wouldn't be so blasted difficult for Congress to agree on the most obvious groundwork for any negotiation -- the facts.

The Fiscal Cliff is really a Fiscal Rift - a rift between right wing ideologues and moderates.