Magazine article The Nation

The Bright Side of Life

Magazine article The Nation

The Bright Side of Life

Article excerpt

Like so many others, I read the pre-election polls from Nicaragua and took heart. I'd always marveled that the Sandinistas had not faced more public commotion, particularly after the hurricane. How long can you retain the faith of people who have faced a 90 percent drop in purchasing power, a decade of war, scarcity at every level of material life? But in the end something has to give, and it finally did on February 25. The victory was not for democracy but for violence, administered by the United States via contras, trade embargo and blocking of multilateral credits. I woke before dawn the day after the vote and had the chill feeling, even before I went outside to pick up the Los Angeles Times, that the news would not be good, which it certainly wasn't. I tried to cheer myself up and thought of my father. How had the world looked to him the day the Spanish Republic fell, in 1939? Bleak. I went back to reading the paper; gobs of offal prose from Elliott Abrams, forming by reflected light an image subsequently focused by cornea, aqueous humor, crystalline lens, vitreous humor and retina, thence passed into the occipital area of the brain for analysis and subsequent storage next to reveries of childhood, old recipes and some lines from Empson's poem "Missing Dates": "Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills/di dum di dum/the waste remains, the waste remains and kills." The bright side: This isn't Chile. The enemy has not got, nor in the near to medium future will it have, a monopoly on violence. …

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