Hamilton and The Eye of The Pyramid

I expected “Hamilton” to be a rather elaborate defense of The Eye of The Pyramid and it was certainly that.  I did not expect a serious downplaying of Jefferson’s role in the Revolution, in a bit of New York slight on DC, even if Jefferson and Hamilton were rivals.  There was some amends made in referencing Jefferson’s diplomatic work recruiting French support, while referencing Hamilton’s political neutrality on France’s own Revolution.  And certainly, in terms of Character assessment, Hamilton’s enthusiasm for duels – that most manly of 1700 pissing contests – at the expense of his wife and family speaks far greater volumes than a brief adulterous affair; the effects of this were not down-played.

I cannot help but write my favorite Jefferson quote: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”  He wrote it in the context of religion, but that wisdom applies to money all the same, as Jefferson knew.  Still, in so far as popularizing interest in American History, I do think “Hamilton” does more good than harm; and I think we can all agree with Burr’s sentiments in the end: The world is wide enough for both Hamilton and Us.

Beyond He-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless

“He was a strange type, yet one frequently met with, precisely the type of man who is not only worthless and depraved, but muddleheaded as well – one of those muddleheaded people who still handle their own little business deals quite skillfully if nothing else. […] Again I say it was not stupidity – most of these madcaps are rather clever and shrewd – but precisely muddleheadedness, even a special national form of it.”  – Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

He who shall remain nameless has left us with some difficulty.  We must always remember the pen is mightier than the sword, but when only one person is allowed to speak and all the rest are left to react, then we are drawn into the muddleheadedness ourselves and it is better to just ignore it as best one can.  I am left to wonder what America is left with without him, and that is a great divide tilting in a distinctly un-American direction.

Cruz and Sanders represent dueling polemics and make for wonderful satirical caricatures of the positions they represent.  This leaves two sensible candidates – in principle – though one – in Kasich – who has far less backing than the other – Clinton – who despite the Clinton legacy, continues to drift toward Socialism. Clinton’s drift can be seen as a matter of positioning for the general election – in addition to stealing Sander’s thunder – but if Clinton is being forced that way in part under fear that he-who-shall-remain-nameless is a threat to her blue collar vote, and into socialist promises which she must later live up to, then the putsch on the Republican party can be seen as an eventual win for Socialism.

Socialism in Sander’s form and Conservatives in Cruz form are each equally damaging to America’s ideology in general – equally ‘un-American’ if you will.  But America must quickly become firm in its ideology or they will lose a greater war.  This may eventually entail a viable third party – properly libertarian, with a broad view of national security and broad protection of civil liberties.  For now, Kasich is the only candidate who appears firm in American ideology as long as Clinton continues to drift.

Obama’s Diplomatic Legacy

Whatever you might say about Obamacare, whatever you may say about a certain lacking in decisiveness, whatever you may say about his general inability as a superhero, you can say that Barack Obama did more for Americas image abroad than any president since Lincoln.  I am not, in saying this, assessing the merits of the presidency in any other dimensions than image abroad.  Though there are other areas in which such merits exist, it is my belief that the single greatest contribution was this. I have seen it personally. The making of amends with “Old Europe” was a step in the right direction, not a step back.

The problem, you must remember, was the previous administration.  You can make the argument that the previous administration needed to be the way it was: cold, tightlipped, brash… because they were fighting to maintain American culture, not in its oil consumption and general opulance, but in its protection of those things we must maintain: freedom of religion and both dimensions of freedom of speech, in addition to our general right not to be the property of another. But the lack of communication created a stir among those left out of the know – including Europe – and it was met, appropriately, by a President that did not stop talking.

Importantly, he was also not dumb. Here was a very charismatic individual who honestly tried to say what he could while attempting to reenergize america. Occassionally it was too much, but such slips should not be considered worse than consistent stonewalling. In the long run, slips that don’t destroy do engender trust, and it is trust which america lacked after the Bush administration. That trust itself was not lacking between the american people and Bush as much as it was lacking in the administration as a whole, which was largely viewed as an occassional puppet show by more than one intelligent critic.

So hope was a skinny Black man with a talent for communication, whom with honest courage, worthy of a Nobel, ran for president to put old problems to bed. He cared about people, and he tried to show it in his policies, but better, he showed America could also think and tell – tell enough to show that America was not just grabbing power. He has failed in many things, but one of these things was not representation. And through it all, he stood by the Military and even, in many ways, vindicated Bush. Given Americas presense in the world, there is little to complain about for the image reparations made. You can only flex your might for so long without loosening the reigns. Diplomacy is oftentimes the better part of valour, even when you are strong.

Our president shouldn’t always be focused on diplomacy and many worrying things remain for a tired America, but given a measure of diplomatic success, what is missing in the grander scheme is a systematic way to overcome the cycle of stonewalling and reparations. I don’t believe we were so very far from something terrible in the days after 9/11. I think much more could have been lost, and into the immanent “forever”. But it wasn’t. And in our recovery, it is important that we do better to understand how to avoid the rift between those who know and those who don’t, which threatens America and Americas image, whenever a call to arms is necessary.