A rising sun in the east.
Watching the “The Founding of a Republic” from 2009 yesterday, there were some very interesting history lessons and new discoveries.
The movie roughly covered the time period between WWII and the founding of the Peoples Republic of China by Mao in October 1949, with Mao and Zhou Enlai as chief architects.
After Japan quickly surrendered after the bombs in 1945 – a civil war in China continued for some years between the Nationlist Party and the Communist Party. In the end the communists won, and Mao became the supreme leader of China from 1949-76, spanning almost three decades as Chairman of the Republic.
The movie was state sponsored and released at the 60th anniversary of China two years ago. Thus, it is an interesting study in nation-building and what kind of identity and perspective on history the country and the young might have today. General impressions as an outsider were a selective account – and mostly all positive about Mao and his party. Two small things though, they smoke all the time, and they do a couple of swipes at the US for not helping Mao in his efforts to win the war. Truman is too busy with Europe and other things. Also, China owes America money and keep talking about repayment and more credit. So for the younger generation of China today, it’s clearly portrayed as a negative indifference from America in desperate times and great need for help. Probably feeding nationalist pride and little sympathy for US decline and debt problems these days. Effective storytelling on many levels.
The movie ends with a “rising sun” and the founding of the Republic in October 1949, after a thorough discussion about flag design and national anthem and lyrics. Lots of smiles and pathos, huge armies, happy young people and big speeches and applause. A new era had begun.
All in all – an interesting watch and useful starting point for exploring recent chinese history.
Little news – other than treading water,
and bad job numbers.
And July could quickly become a repeat of the lame-duck hoopla over an inept President going 4/5ths of the way to the right. Only more anger this time, a lot higher stakes, and some even stronger basic moral and value-based choices of how to fix things. More to the 1% and worse for the rest is not ok – even to prevent a default. Accepting those kind of terms would in practice be a surrender of the Republic.
There are some very strange and contradictory things about the whole “Tea Party” movement. It is funded by billionares, but claims to be grass roots and anti special interests. They strongly reject unfunded spending, but vote for the party responsible for 11 of the 13 trillion in debt. They oppose all tax hikes – even when Bush and Reagan tax cuts never worked – it just added to debt, which they claim to oppose even stronger.
The slogans are good (in neutral economic terms) when it comes to cutting spending and reducing the debt. The insistance on tax cuts fully unrelated to existing levels – and historical experience – when indeed hikes worked under Clinton, and cuts didn’t work (with a balanced budget) under Bush or Reagan, is still puzzling.
If the bets from GOP and the funders have been foolish masses, pinning all debt on “the left”, and sourcing public anger over hard times into more republican power in congress – it might turn out dead wrong. Just this day the national office of Tea Party Patriots are calling on millions of their members to bombard the Republicans on Capitol Hill with sharp pleas to stop the current “Tax Deal” in process. Because it’s unfunded spending, and because it adds to the debt and deficit.
They even say it violates Boehner’s “Pledge to America”. Bravo.
Posted in Misc
Tagged america, boston, changes, column, debt, dems, news, no, op-ed, politics, republic, tp, wait..
NyTimes wrote about collapsing humanities yesterday – departments of language, history, philosophy, literature shutting down because of loss of demand and the loss of funding.
Young people are looking for jobs.. and a wealth of knowledge from the Golden Age of Athens or 15th century Florence won’t pay the rent. It’s that simple.
But the problem here is on a larger scale – the need to combine short-term and long-term thinking in shaping a country and making decisions about the future. The 1980-2010 era, and the collapse of ’08 is not really about economy – but about human nature and the dynamics of a Republic in shifting times and context.
And a narrow focus on quarterly results or two-year election cycles blocks the long-term stuff. This is a problem.
Posted in Misc
Tagged culture, education, history, humanitites, literature, long-term stuff, middle road, mixing views, news, nytimes, philosophy, politics, republic, society, state