All I could think of as I watched the misshapen Orcs toiling in a Mordor that resembled a nuclear wasteland, as I watched Saruman willingly turn his beautiful home of Isengard into a smoking hole, was Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the modern conservative movement.
In my mind, we humans are in the same desperate case as Tolkien’s fictional Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits. The craze for industry, without a thought to its effects on the world’s natural beauty and resources, has polluted and destroyed much of our planet. The ice shelves in the Antarctic are starting to crack and melt, raising the possibility of the sea level rising several feet and drowning major American cities. Of course, the endless strife we have caused and exacerbated in the Middle East, has done its share of destruction as well. Besides the bombing of “shock and awe,” we have also been poisoning the lands and people (including our own soldiers) with depleted uranium.
As a person who is not caught up in the elaborate Orwellian fictions of today’s conservatism, you have to sit back and marvel. How can anyone see the results of this philosophy all around them – tens of millions in poverty, war that never ends, an environment turning blacker and uglier by the day – and still feel comfortable with the Mordor-ization of their world? Do they want to be nothing but Orcs, never achieving their full humanity, slaving away at dead-end jobs, living in filth and squalor, and being thrown into the grinder of the military machine whenever their Dark Lord deems it necessary?
The answer is simple. As John Dean points out in his invaluable book “Conservatives Without Conscience,” today’s conservative already sees the world as an ugly and essentially evil place. Human beings are not noble, they’re sinners and fatally flawed. Thus, there is no hope for a better world. The religious conservatives, indeed, are actively trying to bring about Armageddon, in the hope that Jesus will return and Rapture the true believers into Heaven. In their case, the more destruction, the better. Praise the Lord!
No wonder we non-conservatives have been so despondent for the past 28 years (with a small eight-year respite during the Clinton Presidency). We are seeing the darkness of the conservative mind take shape all around us. Yet, like the characters in the Tolkien books, we are late and slow in taking action, and the Shadow appears to be too strong to be defeated. Many are taking the Elvish route of non-involvement, whereas others have joined the Enemy out of a lust for power and wealth.
Yet we must not despair, for the Shadow can never win. The forces of creation and renewal will always triumph over the forces of destruction. So it has always been, and so it shall ever be – as long as we are committed to defeating the darkness.
We do have hopes and dreams and plans for a better future, for we are liberals and progressives and moderates and independents, and we don’t want to live in the Land of Mordor. And though we may suffer greatly at the hands of Bush, Cheney and their enablers all over the world, in the end, if we fight for our country and our globe, we will triumph.
Peace and love be with you today, and always.