I took a bit of time this morning to sit on the back porch (actually, it’s a step) and read through a bit of Derrida/Caputo (Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A conversation with Jacques Derrida). I’m not finished with the book, but I will be through this evening. This morning, I was amazed, thrilled, and inspired by the following excerpt:
For example, and this is not just an example but the very idea of deconstruction, everything in deconstruction is turned toward a “democracy to come.” For even if the existing democracies are the best we can do at present, the least bad way to organize ourselves, still the present democratic structures are deeply undemocratic. They are corrupted, among other things, by the money that blatantly buys votes, by corporate contributions to politicians and political parties that frees their corporate hand to fill the air and water with carcinogens, to encourage smoking by the youngest and poorest people in our society; by cowardly politicians who believe in nothing, who change their views with each new poll, who perpetuate themselves with demagogic promises, who appeal to the worst and lowest instincts of the populace; by media that corrupt national discourse, that fuel the fires of nationalist resentment and racism and stampede voters.
American politicians regularly predicate their careers on promises to lower taxes, exclude immigrants, throw the weakest and most defenseless people in our society - usually black and Hispanic women and children - on their own under the cloak of ‘reform’ and ‘freedom,’ thereby filling the pockets of the richest members of society. In the highest hypocrisy of all, they try to ram down every one’s throat a right wing, xenophobic, reactionary Christianity that has nothing to do with, which flies in the face of, Jesus’s prophetic fervor and his stand with the weakest and most outcast among people. They claim that the United States was founded on Christian principles while dismissing the mass genocide of native Americans by the colonizing, Christianizing, missionary Europeans. Their ‘Christian’ message of hatred for the other and self-aggrandizement, their skill at turning the crucifixion into a profitable business, has more to do with the self-righteous hypocrisy of what Kierkegaard called ‘Christendom’ that with Jesus’s prophetic denunciation of the powers that be (42-43).
So, who says deconstruction doesn’t lead to truth? So far, Deconstruction in a Nutshell is proving to be a good, thought provoking read. I’ll know more when I am finished with it. The above quote is worth the read, if nothing else rings profound. Too, I’m glad I sat down with my theology prof. and had a serious one-on-one conversation about postmodernism and deconstruction. Hauerwas was beyond helpful too. Light bulbs are clicking on all around me.