War Cry Heal Union: The series (3rd of 10)
The United States is the Other today: Hannah Arendt cast in lead.
The painting of the assassination on June 28th 1914 portrays the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie being shot by 19 year-old Gavrilo Princip on a Sarajevo street corner.
The painting encapsulates an era of endemic militancy that fueled 1914 Europe and the catastrophe called World War I: fired shots, stunned chauffer, blank-wall, sabered rider, plumed officer, soldiers sashed, lurched and rifled, and a grounded headless hat.
Those times and today’s circumstances are nicely summed in the Wall Street Journal article, Scars of World War I Linger in Europe on Eve of Centennial. The author notes war’s carnage is never simple (or just) and 15 million dead also means 15 million destroyed homes, families and relationships. Lyrically apropos war is not: it thrives and embellishes disharmonies in order to live off the discord. War needs Others, that is clear. One take home lesson for today is that Peace needs Others just as much (maybe more).
Hannah Arendt, who found citizenship in America, is today’s representative example of the Other. Born in 1906 in one of the Empires about to fall (the German one), Arendt “moved” to the United States running from the Nazis and their ideas of Otherness: Arendt became a US citizen.
Representative Arendt? ~ Yes, it has a nice sound to it.
Citizens like Hannah Arendt in Congress representing a district of thirty thousand as our constitution commands? That too sounds nice. Geez ~ she wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) and The Human Condition (1958), and would have added much to any mid-century policy debate.
Maybe that’s one of our political bad habits we can grow away from, this always thinking it can’t matter who’s representing us.
We will learn the constitutional lessons of representing We the People, or, like the generations before us, some will survive the carnage and do what the Others always do – start building again.
Bryan W. Brickner