Saturday, March 13, 2010

Words Words Words

Words used to mean something.  It used to genuinely matter what concepts you claimed to support, and which you rejected.  In particular, there was a universal set of values that you really had no option but to at least publicly claim to believe in with all your heart.  But one cannot help but notice that the American far right movement conservatives keep breaking this 'rule' without consequence.  Which, I suppose, means it never was a rule in the first place, just an accepted tenet that nobody ever wanted to put to the test.

First we saw people come out for starting aggressive wars, followed shortly by explicit support for torture, indefinite detention, wiretaps without warrants and international targeted extra-judicial killings.  These were not things you could support in American political discourse and be taken seriously.  To support this sort of historically un-American and beyond-the-pale behaviors was to permanently place yourself firmly in the fringe, outside of anything allowed in the mainstream.  Except it turned out that people took them seriously, and even after their implementation led to disasters followed by debacles, they continue to be a serious part of the public policy debate.

And it has gone that way for more than a decade, with the American far right coming out against civil rights, affordable health care, voting rights, just about any concept or value that you can name that as recently as 1990 was an unquestioned American "value", undoubtedly good and never to be questioned.  And time and time again, supported by an increasingly lazy and politically conservative, corporatist media, it turned out to not be an automatic political loser, but quite to the contrary, it put them in the position of driving the debate and framing the issues.

So now Glenn Beck has come out against "Justice".  Yep.  It turns out that the very American concept of Social Justice, fair outcomes for all, not just for the rich and powerful is now unacceptable to patriotic Americans.  At least the subset of Patriotic Americans who are the sociopathic bigots who watch Becks televised hate-athons.  Beck claims that "social justice" is a code word, perhaps in the way that "white culture" is a code word, but I think we all have a pretty well established understanding of the term justice, no matter how it is used or applied.

The Republican party is poised to do well in the 2010 mid-terms.  I don't think there's anyone who disagrees with that.  But what doesn't seem to get said in all the deep analysis published every day is that the midterm elections are all local or statewide.  There is no national office up for election in 2010.  Due to what can only be described as their "anti-people" agenda, the Republicans have no hope for national office.  They can win in local elections where the population feels the same way as they do, but when you're flat-out against gays, hispanics, blacks, poor people, unions, affordable health care, a social safety net, public education, appropriate government regulations, clean energy, even public transportation, you have no basis to build a national constituency.  And ultimately, the number of even local elections you can win when your platform stands explicitly opposed to social justice will decline precipitously.


  1. I admire your faith in humanity (let alone the American electorate) but as they lose more elections their paranoia will only increase.

    Prying power from their cold dead hands won't be easy or pretty, especially when they don't yet realize they're dead.

  2. Perhaps my faith in the ultimate marginalization of the Republican party is predicated on the tendency of populations to seek homogeneity. Thus, all the crazy clumps together, so even if they are a plurality or even a majority, their power remains localized.

    We may well come to be thankful for our ridiculous electoral college system.

  3. There's a bit in Herodotus in which a canny power-hungry guy hires a tall hot babe to ride a chariot around saying she's Athena and to back him.

    On the one hand, ha ha yokels, and on the other people must really not have had experience with bullshit.

    An alien state to be sure.