Friday, September 23, 2016

Dagny Clinton

You know, when I was driving home tonight, I took some time to reflect on the feeling of malaise that happens whenever I think thoughts concerning the current election.  But when I have a quiet half hour to think (the only positive thing about a half hour commute) is that I get to stand back from the fray and analyze objectively.  Today, I finally realized that, one single thing that sends me reeling away from Hillary as a candidate is that she reminds me of something, and today I realized what that was.   She is an aging and embittered, and grown-up Dagney Taggart. 

No, No, No.....Not the politics.  The Person.

While I might take exception with some of the points of Mr.Sale's essay over at Sic Semper Tyrannis today. (The truth is that, I am hoping those differences of opinion will gel later, but one never knows when the act of writing something down and reading it makes was seemed to be a good idea appear pretty shopworn), the article itself is masterful and along with John-Michael Greer’s gentle body slam of Hillary back in February now constitute the Canon in my personal bibliography about what makes Hillary tick.

All that being said, I stand behind my thesis in the first paragraph. 

Let’s sit down and really spend some time with my history with the novel.  I first read it as a freshman in Austin Hall dorms at Utah, in 1972, smack dab in the middle of the cooling slag heap that was left of the sixties, it was heady stuff.  Completely at odds with the zeitgeist of Rachel Carson and Edward Abby and Ken Kesey.  It was an odd sort of mental aphrodisiac, taking thought in a new direction.  This is the period of my greatest love for the book.   

But years passed, the Army, a failed marriage, and entry into the workforce led me to a point where, on a whim, I bought a copy in a used bookstore (one of my favorite haunts) and reread the book.  Boy different take this time.  The book was still solid, but I spent a lot of time performing the required mental jiu-jitsu on the plot and characters and in the end, my opinion shifted, the book now had serious problems, but still worth the read, still thought-provoking.

Then came the rise up into corporate, accompanied by a nice salary, two sons, and a good job helping to eviscerate the productive capacity of this country and training up workers in Asia.  After much thought and pain, I fell to earth and ended up as a low-level bureaucrat plugging veterans into their healthcare. I had raised a couple of kids at this time, and while I was planning my fall, I reread “Atlas”.  “My God” I asked myself; had I really been that fatuous?

You see, that is the problem with Ayn Rand and her acolytes, they take as gospel something that, in my experience, doesn’t do well in the passing of years.  There is an irresistible excitement of this “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” kind of fantasy.  The fact that the creed espoused in the books is antithetical to the Western-Christian philosophy and any notional view of equality is a pretty powerful drug.    

But, as you grow older, you start to notice that the folks who act like the characters in “Atlas Shrugged” aren’t your favorite people.  My opinion of Dagney is that she is one of those people who will not improved at all with the coming of the aging process. The young, pleasantly-perverted Dagney would not age well.

Read Mr. Sale’s article.  I don’t know Hillary, but as have watched her over the years, I start to see the characteristics Mr. Sales describes, and it is not attractive to the old man I have become.  Those very same characteristics that Mr. Sales describes Mrs Clinton s having probably is a pretty good description of the backstory on a fictional character in a decidedly odd novel published back when Ike was President

I hearken back to the fatuous freshman tackle that wore this skin and how what he thought then came to pass and left us where we are now.  What he found sexy and virile and rebellious has been tested over these last four decades and have been found wanting.

And I think about the way that my character has changed.  And I think that maybe Hillary hasn’t changed that much.  Why would she change?  Who she is and what drives her has brought her almost to the throne of power.

So that is why I won't vote for Hillary,  It is just a feeling.  A personal certainty that I know who she is and what drives her.  The character that she plays and her motivations and psychic scars just doesn't suit me.

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