Thursday, September 20, 2012

Messianic Vs. Empty Time

After lecture on Tuesday I left class re-imagining Romney’s speech and the
rhetoric he deployed. Romney promises that he will bring the return to the ideal
of America, the pillars of the constitution, the vision of the founding fathers, all of
which he says were desecrated by Obama and the Democratic Party. Thinking back
on Romney’s cloud like words, grand and uplifting, but pretty empty on the inside it
sounded a lot like something else that I have heard, namely the story of a Messiah,
the return to a promise, the idea of a chosen one, except that here Romney reminds
us that “we”, Americans, are in control, the power of democracy stands in for the

I thought about this while reflecting back on Anderson’s discussion of the
rise or conception of nationalism. I thought back concepts that had broken down
in order to make way for a new way of positioning one’s self in the world and
suddenly I wonder if we have come very far, or maybe have back tracked. I follow
the notion of print-capital desacralizing language, but maybe now it is the rhetoric
and words themselves that have been made sacred because of their symbolic
invocation, certain discourses and statements become unshakable and points
of extremity, “freedom of speech”, “pursuit of happiness”, really anything in the
preamble of the constitution.

Furthermore, I am not sure if we really are living in a homogenous empty
time anymore of if we have fallen into a messianic time, “a simultaneity of past and
future in an instantaneous present (Anderson, 24).” I am not sure how exactly to
articulate this, but elections seem less and less about progress and more about
a return to something, a dream which no longer exists in reality, but also was
never the reality of America, the “American Dream” is vertically located and every
president refers back to that dream as where progress is headed, but really the
dream is just that a fiction to organize Americans in their heterogeneity under.
Actually, maybe the dream is nationalism and I have misunderstood the
time concept, I am not sure, maybe it isn’t correct to locate the “American Dream”
vertically (also the term is problematic because on most days it is a relative idea but
during election time there only seems to be on American dream, freedom).

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