Saturday, November 10, 2007

The end is nigh

Saw this essay by Bruce Rodgers at Sooner Thought:
Historians in the future will debate at what point in time the United States started its descent from a world symbol of prosperity and freedom to a crumbling, divided military power intimidating other nations with its imperialistic prerogatives.

Maybe they will point to the 1960s as America sought to “win the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people through carpet bombing and propping up an illegitimate government. Maybe it will be at the election of a former Hollywood B-movie star as president who began the dismantling of government regulations, giving rise to America’s growing income gap between the rich, and the middle class and the poor. Maybe it was in the early 1990s when American-based multinational corporations raced to unload capitalism at the feet of the sleeping economic giant of China. Maybe it was when a golden-voiced politician dropped his pants in the White House bringing on an expensive, derisive and ridiculous pursuit of impeachment. Maybe it was in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court, by one vote, gave the presidency to a self-deluding and privileged son of a Texas oilman.

Maybe a finite timeline doesn’t matter. Maybe the disintegration began when the people failed to heed President Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex.” Such public ignorance opened the door for the corrupting influence of money in politics, the intolerant pursuit of depositing religion into public policy and the consolidation of media, transforming the journalist from an attendant to democracy to a mouthpiece for the status quo.

In the face of such despair for one’s country, maybe it doesn’t much matter that this Congress, the Democratic-controlled body of upper-income agents of this republic, don’t begin the impeachment process against, first, Vice President Cheney. The means to begin is there, courtesy of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
I'd give "the people" a bit more credit than does Rodgers, but we'll come back to that some other time. The seeds of authoritarian dictatorship were sown in the post-WWII years, with the witch hunt against alleged "communists". "The people" may have been a bit more savvy about the dangers of a military-industrial complex, but clearly the political ruling class of the time didn't give a damn. Nor did they give a damn about the consequences of massacring much of Southeast Asia, the human consequences of pursuing a neoliberal economic agenda (what a friend of mine refers to as predatory capitalism), nor with the decay of Constitutional protections that was already beginning decades ago, but escalated by the 1990s and the first decade of this sorry century under Clinton and Bush the Lesser. Arthur Silber and Chris Floyd have been expressing far more eloquently than could I a very simple observation about the ruling class (which, lo and behold includes not only Republicans but Democrats!): they do not give a fuck what you or I think. We are irrelevant beyond fulfilling our duties of donating portions of our paychecks to their campaigns and showing up at the polls come election day. Otherwise, our concerns about unabated slide into the depths of dictatorship are mere trivia that would "distract" them from more important matters such as consolidating power and lining the pockets of themselves and their cronies. There maybe the very occasional member of the political class who "get it", and even occasionally throw a Hail Mary pass in order to stave off further decay, but they do too little too late, and are left with the unsavory choice of remaining with their party and enduring the shame that comes with enabling monstrous abuses of power by their peers, or cutting the Gordian Knot and risk ostracism.

I'll leave you with a few words from Silber that pretty well sum it up with regard to the Situation and those who keep making excuses for their political leaders:
I am sick to death of hearing Democratic apologists, including many prominent liberal and progressive bloggers, make excuses for these loathsome human beings -- or, which is worse, watching them ignore these assaults on liberty, humanity and civilization, just as these presidential contenders ignore ongoing crimes that they could try to stop if they cared to. Try to understand this: the Democrats will not "save" you, me, the United States, the Constitution, or the dying, moaning animal that just got run over in the road. The Democrats are coequal partners in this monstrousness. They have been for many decades. In one critical respect, the Democrats are worse than the Republicans.

But go on. Keep telling yourselves you support the Democrats because otherwise, the state of things will be even worse. How exactly will they be worse? We are now a barbarian, pariah nation, one that officially endorses and utilizes torture, just as the most disgustingly brutal and inhumane regimes in history have endorsed it. We commit genocidal murder against peoples and nations who have never seriously threatened us. The Democrats could stop the murder, but they refuse to do so. The foundations of liberty have been completely destroyed, and the Democrats have no intention of restoring them. Full dictatorship could descend upon us via many routes -- and the Democrats refuse to close off even one of them.

So how exactly could things be worse? Lie to yourselves if you must, simply to get through the day without detesting yourselves as much as some of the rest of us detest you. But don't lie to everyone else any longer.

Decent, intelligent people see through the lies, all the way to your pathetically rotten souls. If you support Democrats as inextricable parts of one of the core institutions of power in contemporary America, you are supporting evil -- while you simultaneously make sickeningly dishonest claims to some kind of superior moral virtue. At present, it would appear that some bloggers can do virtually nothing but lie. In such cases, I have one suggestion to offer: shut the hell up.
Word.

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