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Things fall apart

Things fall apart

The center does not hold.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

That brilliant poem written by Yeats in 1919* came to mind after 9/11, expressing the sense of chaos and foreboding that was so widely felt. It’s easy to forget how obvious it appeared that many attacks of similar magnitude would be forthcoming, particularly since 9/11 was followed quickly by the mysterious anthrax letters. However, as the years went by—despite some setbacks in Iraq and elsewhere—things seemed to be going better than many of us would have expected on 9/12/2001.

But ever since the inauguration of Barack Obama as president they have been going steadily downhill, with an especially steep decline since November of 2014. Obama is not responsible for all of it, but I lay a great deal of it at his feet. Almost on a daily basis, we have been reading and writing about the ways in which his actions have worsened things around the world.

In this post I will take just one example, however, and a relatively simple one compared with some of the others such as Iran/Israel: the Bo Bergdahl desertion charges. I wrote “relatively” simple, but that doesn’t mean the incident is simple at all.

The Bergdahl story actually has several layers of horribleness. The first was the prisoner exchange, which would have seemed a bad deal even if Bergdahl had been innocent of any wrongdoing—bad because it involved negotiating with terrorists, releasing captives of extreme dangerousness (five of them!), and also bad because Obama had omitted giving Congress notice although he was bound by law to do so. Then there was White House intransigence and denials in the face of mounting—and even compelling—evidence that Bergdahl was a deserter.

Then there was the delay in charging Bergdahl, which was rumored to be the result of White House pressure on the military not to charge him. And maybe there will be further travesties, such as an exoneration despite convincing evidence of guilt, or an attack masterminded by one of the Taliban Five.

But worst of all, really, was how the story dropped off the radar screen relatively quickly. That was understandable, though, because so many other terrible things were happening. That’s part of the plan, of course; to get us to play an ever-escalating game of whack-a-mole.

It was possible to have realized back in 2010 (see the last paragraph of this post, for example) that a second Obama term was to be dreaded because he would then be released from the need to answer to the electorate at all. But the electorate bears some responsibility too, as does the press and Congress. Why oh why are not more people screaming out that the emperor has been completely naked for quite some time now?

That “why oh why” is rhetorical on my part; I suppose we know the answer[s]. But in a more basic way it still is puzzling, because as things become worse and worse, and Obama’s actions more extreme and more revelatory, I keep thinking there must be a tipping point, both for the press and the public as well as Congress.

But even that is probably an illusory hope. Events make me more cynical, but I don’t seem to be able to ratchet my cynicism up quickly enough to meet them.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

[NOTE: I originally had copied the date of Yeats’ death (1939) instead of the date he wrote the poem, which was 1919. That 1919 date is interesting in terms of the history of the Middle East, because the end of World War I triggered the division of that region (mostly during the 20s) into something more similar to its modern, post Ottoman Empire form. World War I was a cataclysmic event with enormous repercussions, and I submit that we have never recovered from it.]


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Keep your head up, sis.

We have a long road to tramp, and we all need to keep our hope strong and bright.

There may be some very dark days ahead, indeed. IF we avoid some of the darkest, it’ll only be if we haven’t folded.

    MattMusson in reply to Ragspierre. | March 27, 2015 at 9:46 am

    “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

I am not at all convinced that the electorate is to blame for Obama’s reelection. If you look at the electoral maps, only about a dozen states elected Obama. Now look at just one of them – Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania electoral map was solid red – except for Philadelphia, Erie and Pittsburgh, so very very blue that in more than a few precincts in Philadelphia 110% of registered voters cast ballots and those ballots were a statistically impossible 100% for Obama. One precinct had not a single vote for anyone other than Obama – not even a third party candidate.

I’ve taken too many statistics classes to believe that Obama actually won the election. I’ve also become convinced that our electoral system drastically needs immediate revision. I live in a state with but a single electoral college vote. As long as 12 states can steal an election like this, why should I even bother to go to the polls?

    John Sullivan in reply to Granny. | March 26, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Obama won both the popular vote and the electoral vote in 2012. The electorate unquestionably deserves a share of the blame for re-electing him. However, the center and left do not deserve all of the blame–the mainstream Republicans also deserve significant blame for insisting against all common sense that Mitt Romney stood the best chance of defeating Obama. People like Ann Coulter said early in the process that Mitt Romney could not win, but then she and countless others turned around and later insisted that we had to nominate Romney. Shame on them.

      Obama did not win by a narrow margin. So is there any blame assigned to the large number of conservative and evangelical voters who did not vote because they rather “teach America a lesson” with a 2nd term Obama than rescue the Republic with a less than perfect but pro-Israel, pro-free market Mormon?

    GrumpyOne in reply to Granny. | March 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    …and let us not forget the fact that the Republican vote total nationwide was considerably less than that in 2008 with a large part of the difference being made up of the Religious Right AND those that just felt that Romney was not conservative enough.

    IOW, “we” are responsible for our defeat…

Humphrey's Executor | March 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm

I was always kinda partial to Pope’s “Essay on Obama”:

… Let Earth, unbalanced, from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl’d,
Being on being wreck’d, and world on world;
Heaven’s whole foundations to their centre nod,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God.
All this dread order break — for whom,? for thee?
Vile worrm! — oh madness! pride! impiety!

Alexander Pope, 1688-1744

I keep thinking there must be a tipping point, both for the press and the public as well as Congress.

I used to think that, but now I think that Obama could order the U.S. military to drop nukes on a U.S. city, and the left/MSM/Hollywood cabal would just shrug and say the city had it coming and even though the loss of American lives was regrettable, of course Obama was justified in doing it.

Midwest Rhino | March 26, 2015 at 10:33 pm

The Newsmax channel had a military guy on saying we had options for getting out of Yemen without just fleeing and leaving intel open. But they were ordered to flee without calling in the forces ready for such a situation. Obama keeps overriding the military, aiding the enemy.

That is reminiscent of Benghazi and the “stand down” non-orders, and leaving documents in the open. Apparently the AP (iirc) came a few days later and found papers laying around.

Then there is the “stand down” order of the National Guard in Ferguson, where the governor was on the phone with Jarrett three times, but would not talk to the Lt Governor or the businesses.

It seems clear the the area where the initial riots were, including the store Brown had robbed, were left unguarded to let the rioters demonstrate to the world the power of the racist mob, coordinated in many cities with the anarchists. Then Holder threatens to dismantle the police department if they don’t yield, so of course all PDs are on notice.

Obama uses his powers to pave pathways for our enemies, terrorists or Trayvon/Browns. The center is holding, it is our leadership that is on the wrong team. Hollywood and the MSM are showing their true colors backing every illegal act.

But it may be our enormous debt that is most destructive. Insane monetary policy has covered a multitude of sins.

How about this poem:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Obama is a traitor,
Or did you not know that, too?

Democrats have their heads shoved so far up either Obama’s ass or their own that I truly believe that not even Iran nuking Israel off the map TOMORROW would make them realize how utterly incompetent and dangerous Obama is.

Henry Hawkins | March 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm

The media will spike any negative on the Obama admin unless it is so egregiously bad, they can’t not report it. Even then it will come with spin and blame-placing. The first black president MUST go down in history as a great president.

As for Obama, the problem is that he does not proceed on what is good for America, he proceeds on what is good for Obama, liberalism, and the Democrat Party, in that order. Should he actually achieve something that is good for America, it will have been entirely a coincidence.

November 2014 because that’s when we decided to commit ourselves to losing a new Cold War?