Critical Mass

Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Camelot Moment?


On the eve of Election Day 2008, some thoughts from NBCC Sandrof award winner Lawrence Ferlinghetti, an outtake from former NBCC prez John Freeman’s “Hopes for a Happy Ending: Literary Voices on the American Election:”

“It has been a long idealist dream that someday society life on earth would evolve in such a way that dissident writers and intellectuals would no longer have to be dissident. There are similarities between Obama and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but they do not point to any real political or social revolution. JFK was not a revolutionary, and he would not have turned into one if he had lived.

“Obama too is no revolutionary, even if Abraham Lincoln is his role model. Unbridled capitalism has recently proved to lead to economic disaster, capitalist triumphs often being achieved at the expense of the poor. This leads to the conclusion that such a predatory system is an enemy of true democracy. We might very well have a Camelot Moment if Obama is elected, and we will certainly heave a huge sigh of relief to have someone in the not-so-White House who is an honest thinker and not a rogue President.

“But don’t expect global corporate capitalism to be morphed into some kind of benevolent system in which the gulfs between Haves and Have-nots no longer exists. There may be a Camelot Moment, but dissidents can only hope the new President will succeed in humanizing capitalism, if not taming, and thus might a Camelot Moment become a Camelot Epoch.”—Lawrence Ferlinghetti