Saturday, July 17, 2010

The American Experiment and Ralph Ellison's Endless Blues

We tend to focus on hot button issues and ideological battles, but the American Experiment is is an endless improvisation of the unfolding of the realization of what a human being can be. If we can rise to the challenge and craft a vision of America that articulates this in a way that transcends ideology then we will have really achieved something:

In its best sections, this mysterious draft is full of wit, satire, and the chaos that Ellison concluded was so central to the ongoing surprises of American life and for which the United States was uniquely prepared to handle, improvisation by desperate or even surreal improvisation.
That sense of the importance of improvisation beyond measure was written into the founding documents and appeared over and over in the national life and the national response to need or threat. If the chaos is sufficiently epic, so must the improvisations be if anything close to an actual “solution” is to be achieved. That is the fundamental tension at the center of the national life, and Ellison’s fundamental sense of American life.

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