Wednesday, July 21, 2010

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23 The Mister of Agon

The word "agon" comes from ancient Greek and has a number of meanings. Here it is being used in the sense of struggle with one’s self before (at last) one becomes the tragic persona.

Generally, the public expects the agon to end in a tragedy. This is because there is no other way for the tragic persona to get the last word—as the Anti-Strophe of the Chorus in the Greek tragic theatre does. The last word always belongs to the Chorus and, moreover, not to the Strophe, but to the Anti-Strophe. The Anti-Strophe is of such a nature that it speaks even after death of the tragic hero. The trumpet of death has its own charisma.

Mr. Guntis Ulmanis, addressed while in retirement by the honorific of Mr. President—in deference to his former status and the ex- going unmentioned—has decided to come out of retirement and run for another term. The edge of it is in the desire to prove himself all over again and risk joining the ranks of Mr. Citizen for the rest of his life. There is something of a self-presumption of innocence in this. By choosing to join two right wing political parties (the argument applies also if the parties were left wing) to further his political career, Mr. Ulmanis has refused a deference earned for deference for the future to decide.
The agon of the tragedy may express itself in a number of ways, but one of the worm-holes of the story may be in the struggle Mr. Ulmanis will have to do to be heard above the others. As it happens, the twin leaders of “Visu labu Latvijai” (“All That Is Good For Latvia”), Shkhehle and Shlessers, are untooned twin trumpets, who because of minor juridical quackery may own, or may be part owners of, or may be large stock holders in a newspaper. Let us imagine that the name of the newspaper is "Daylight". It presents Mr. Ulmanis as his own voice even though it is not. In the heat of elections, who needs other than slogans, right? Slogans can keep one busy.

Later, when the election is over, one discovers that the true name of the voice is Shkhehls&Shlessers. One could do worse than get a fat check for the help. However, if it is gratis, then one would wish to be proud to have done “All That Is Good for Latvia”. The idea of democracy as “a not for sale political system” cannot be an honest one if one speaks for all three or a party of two overrides the third party. Therein lays the mystery of this tragedy. Does a former President allow himself to be overridden by two bushwhackers and, thus, become a third bushwhacker? Or do the two bushwhackers take wows of deference and the former President becomes President not only de jure, but by the brawn of his brain also de facto.
What is the evidence that Mr. Ulmanis understands that he has bound himself to the role of King Lear and that his two daughters, Goneril and Regan will not send him to the Retirement Home and then do as they wish?

The public may chose this scenario as a pre-election favorite to watch. It may indeed be interesting to see a modern-day reenactment of a Sophocles-themed tragedy. It may even trump the Not-Vote scenario that I have been propounding in this series.

“All That Is Good for Latvia” could become an interesting theatre and/or play that come “LIVE” or farce. The potential of tragedy is an interesting alternative. The situation bears watching.
One wonders if the recent firing of a journalist from the staff of “Daylight” has any connection to the play on stage. One would think that “IS” (another newspaper) ir interested in following the event. No agon leaves one indifferent. To Not-Vote gets one’s attention as well. We live in days when to vote for the system as is is to invite delay reaching the future a long while.

Asterisks & Links of Interest
Compulsory voting in the EU Parliamentary elections
The abstentionist elephant
Electronic polls
On the Meaning of Voting
British Government Attempts to Bracket the Constitution
Ground Zero for Thought
Why Forced Positive Thinking Is A Lot Of Crock?
The Trap

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