Saturday, May 12, 2007

Building Democracy and Gulliver's Troubles

Speaking of "Nixon nostalgia" and comparisons with the current crop: Here is an eloquent, and passionate, plaint cross-posted (with permission)from my college classmates list:

From: Ezra Gottheil []

I agree that the Bush administration is qualitatively different from everything that came before. This isn't a right-wing conservative administration; it's a criminal enterprise. These people are no more conservative than I am. In fact, they're far less conservative. They don't want to conserve anything. Not our government. Not our nation. Not our democracy. Not our environment. Not their precious "market economy." Not our values, which for many people are based on their religion. And not even the political party that gave them everything they have.

This is the big con. Fool the yokels and pluck them. Bush is yokel in chief. Offer the religious yokels their Supremes. They're primed by the televangelist con artists and megachurch con artists who get rich on people's fears and hopes and anger. Offer the Jewish yokels greater Israel. Offer the Republican yokels the majority and the big donations. Offer the racist yokels code words. Offer the media yokels leaks and invitations to play poker with the big boys. And offer the fearful majority of yokels assurances about power and strength and safety.

This isn't just politics, just a more efficient version of the game everyone else plays. This is qualitatively different. Everybody uses limited versions of these tactics, but everyone except that drunken decompensated wreck, Nixon, had limits. And everyone served, or thought they served, the good of the people. Is it the conscious
villainy of an evil genius or just a mutually reinforcing circle of rationalizers and self-justifiers? I don't care. It's different from before.

In fact, the idea that it's just more of the same is one of the myriad myths that fuel this train wreck. This monstrosity, which does, I believe, threaten our democracy, grows out of the very real Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, one tenet of which is, "Always make fun of people talking about the VRWC."

The VRWC is a systematic well-funded program to make us stupid, fat and happy. I don't believe the funders ever planned to use the government to scare people out of voting, or kidnap people and torture them. They just wanted lower taxes and more corporate welfare. But they succeeded far beyond their wildest dreams. As a people, we tossed the Constitution like a MacDonald's wrapper. Until a year or two ago, most of us couldn't figure out that "We're fighting them there so we won't have to fight them here," made absolutely no sense. And even PBS and NPR "balance" reason with lies, and thinkers with shills.

I agree with [...] that the pendulum will swing back toward the left, which is what we used to call the center. Polls always indicated that most of us knew they were robbing us to make their rich friends richer. But how do we recover our intelligence? How do we stop being chumps?

I think we spoke more frankly back then. Some of us still do. Thanks, Ezra! AJW

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