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Shake on It?

July 14, 2016

Can I believe?

There is a crucial moment, near the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, when Huck’s Pap, a notorious alcoholic and child abuser, having learned that his son has come into money, appears at the home of Huck’s trustee, Judge Thatcher, to claim redemption and lay claim to the money. With profuse tears, Pap assures the judge that he is a changed man, born again. The room is awash. He reaches out his hand towards the judge.

Pap is the image of the con. His charming devises are his story-telling, his tears, and his ability to move others to join him in those tears. In other words, sentimentalism, a falsification of emotion by detaching it from reality and substituting it for fact and reason. It’s a romanticization of life, like Tom’s vision of the party in the woods as a gang of “A-rabs.” Huck sees that it has “all the marks of a Sunday school picnic;” but like Tom, we believe what we want to believe, we believe our lying eyes.

In that moment, the con knows that if he can get a touch, he succeeds. If Judge Thatcher grasps that hand, the lie has its assent, and Huck will have to light out for the river, and Arkansas, or even the hell of Mississippi.

(Of course the Big Lie that mark Twain presented, the biggest of falsifications, is the prevailing American belief that it is right, in the eyes of Man and God, to own a human being as a thing, and treat it accordingly, for the owner’s profit).

The NYT poll released today finds that 67% “of Americans” do not consider Hillary Clinton to be trustworthy.

Here’s the thing, for me. I gushed at Hillary’s amazing, moment by moment, affirmation of Bernie’s Progressive agenda. It was like an epiphany, a conversion experience. I was holding my hand in the air and waving it (I’ve been there).

But can she get a Progressive amen?

In a more sober moment, can I believe? Can I shake on it? She does, still, represent the Dem version of the global status quo of governing and money.

An epiphany is a shining forth of the nature of a true thing—“raindrops darkening the roof of Fukazawa temple”—a realization of a reality that changes one’s perspective, within and about oneself. Is this happening to Hillary? Is she undergoing a profound change, a self-realization and revelation of her true self?

I realize that that is a lot to ask of anyone. But the truth about it is very important, beyond the election.

I do believe that the Dems will nominate Hillary and that we must all work to get a Dem president and congress. But this core distrust, visceral, of the Clintons, is something serious that we are up against.

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