"... How does it feel when you're 95 and almost every ideal you ever cherished is under threat; when your nation's government has become less peaceful and more bloodthirsty; less equitable and more shamelessly driven by greed? What's it like, towards the end of a lifetime devoted to civil-rights activism, to find your country led by a president more right-wing and nakedly acquisitive than any other in your memory?"
I once wrote a book called Hope Dies Last. I believe that. I might feel hopelessness, except for one thing: the young. I don't mean the young as they're portrayed in TV commercials: whores, bimbos and dummies. There are many who do not fall into those categories. The big problem is that there's no memory of the past. Our hero is the free market. People forget how the free market fell on its face way back in the Depression. And how the nation pleaded with its government and got help. Today, all these fat CEOs say we don't need government. And these fat boys get away with it, because of our collective Alzheimer's, and the power of Rupert Murdoch and CNN. There is despair in this country, sure. At the same time, we are waiting."
"For new voices."
"Do you see any good ending to Bush's war in Iraq?"
"You say 'Bush's war'... I believe he is just an idiot. It's more a matter of those who advised him, looking for oil."
"Is there a politician who could make a difference, at this point?"
"That's the big question. Hillary Clinton won't. Al Gore I think could – if he ran. Barack Obama might. And I mean, might."
"So where is the hope that you talked about going to spring from?"
"From young people, like I said. From their ability to organise. I believe the internet may have an even stronger influence than people have realised. Albert Einstein said that when you join an organisation – and that could be anti-war, anti-pollution, or pro the rights of lesbians and homosexuals – Einstein said that, once you join, you have more individuality, not less. Because you are another person who wants to count."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Here are some excerpts from a year-old Robert Chalmers interview with Studs Terkel