Those words continue to haunt my memory -- words for which Hillary Clinton was roundly mocked in 1998 but which sound uncomfortably prescient today. This truly disturbing article in Sunday's New York Times offers evidence that the "shutdown" crisis that we face today, and the debt ceiling crisis we are almost certain to face in a few days' time, are the result not simply of the intransigence of a handful of right-wing politicians, but rather of months and years of planning by a cabal of powerful and wealthy men whose puppets these politicians are.
This Dr. Frankenstein -- an amalgam of the likes of the Koch Brothers, with their unfathomable wealth, and Edwin Meese -- has succeeded over the years in creating a monster that threatens to escape what they mistakenly imagined to be their control. With their grotesque and obsequious Igor, the tea party, they have created a scenario in which their monster, now let loose, may well ravage the country they sought to dominate, laying waste its economy, leaving its infrastructure in an advancing state of decay, destroying the great American middle class, and leaving the world to wonder at the antics of this once-powerful, once-feared giant flailing around in farcical impotency.
Is there still time for these megalomaniacs to restrain the monster they have awakened and unleashed -- the dark side of America where greed, ignorance and benighted self-interest lurk in the shadows, manifesting with disturbing frequency these days in the form of senseless rage and violence? Will there come a time when they are forced to recognize -- and perhaps regret -- what they have wrought? Will we all awaken from this collective nightmare and rediscover not only the fine intentions on which the nation was founded, but also the inherent goodness of the American soul? I am, I'll admit it, pessimistic.
Still, the pendulum does swing, so history reminds us. Perhaps what we're seeing now is the extremity of its arc, the nanosecond of stasis as it prepares to swing back of its own weight, with the force of gravity. I hope this is true. But at heart, I remain pessimistic. Will someone out there help me out with a more optimistic view?