The Gift of Indifference…

In the early 1950s, the Polish poet Wisława Szymborska was a devoted communist and party member who wrote poems in honor of Lenin and those who built Nowa Huta (a soulless communist housing project next to factories that polluted Cracow for many years). She slowly grew disillusioned (since she was not stupid) and started making contacts with the dissident movement and finally in 1966 she officially left the party. In 1996 she was given the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first Polish woman to be so honored.

In 1968, in the face of student protests and repression an internal rift developed in the communist party which led to an “anti-Zionist” campaign in which one flank of the party accused the other of being Jewish and traitors. The accusing side won and a bunch of party members were forced to emigrate (as were a number of Jewish non-party members). As this nasty episode was taking place, Szymborska remembered years later that her first reaction was relief that she was no longer a party member. It was terrible and she hated it but at some level it had nothing to do with her and wasn’t being done in her name and she was very grateful for that.

That’s kind of how I view the current unrest in the US. It’s terrible and I want it to stop and I want the political process to become less poisoned and dysfunctional on all sides, but…. it’s not my problem anymore. As the Germans say: “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.

My reaction is actually more intellectually curious that really upset. I kind of agree with the take that it’s the beginning of the end for the Democratic party as it has failed to meet the test of realignment as parts of the unrest are different factions turning against each other like the attack on CNN (and poor senile Joe Biden has no idea how to deal with it, not that he’d ever be allowed to try). But that’s it. People far away are carrying on about things that really have nothing to do with me. I hope y’all sort it out. I really do. But…. meh.


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