Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Reich Here, Reich Now
If a morbidly obese man is a year away from a heart attack, but choking on a piece of steak right now, which should be our immediate course of action: Should we pester him about changing his diet and getting more exercise, or apply the Heimlich Maneuver right now?
The answer is obvious, as is the reason why this rhetorical question serves as a perfect Election Day metaphor.
Yes, the process of restoring some semblance of liberty through the rule of law will require long-term treatment of the deeply entrenched corruption within our body politic. Whether this can be done at this late stage of our decline into outright despotism is a question I'm hardly competent to answer.
But any progress will require, first and foremost, that we deal with the most acute threat to what remains of our liberties: The emergence of an unabashedly totalitarian Republican ruling elite that emits the unmistakable aroma of Fascism.
Assuming that the GOP's fortunes aren't favored by Diebold, as it were, the Republican death-grip on the political system will be loosened, at least somewhat, by tomorrow.
Of course, there's always the possibility of a lame-duck session of Congress.
And we shouldn't assume that the “Democrat” brand through which the Ruling Party retails some of its programs would be any better, were it to achieve the same political dominance that its “competitor” presently enjoys.
The case made by the Bush-led GOP for preserving the Republican majority seems to be nothing other than this: As long as we're “at war” -- and this will continue into the foreseeable future – One Party Rule is a patriotic imperative.
The Wee Decider made that point explicitly yesterday in a campaign speech before a throng of auto-lobomotized Bu'ushists in Pensacola.
"As you go to the polls, remember we're at war," commanded the Bushling. "And if you want this country to do everything in its power to protect you and at the same time lay a foundation for peace for generations to come, vote Republican."
Statements of this sort help explain the bizarre difficulty Bush displays with the English language: Clearly, his native tongue is Orwellian.
Assuming, once again, that a Democratic congressional majority, or plurality (with a Democrat majority in the House and the Senate still under Republican control) emerges as a result of today's elections, the Brownshirt wing of the Republican Party – which, to be blunt, seems to be the only fully functional wing – will be given a handy rationale for the failure of the war in Iraq.
We can expect that the GOP's media auxiliary, having execrated the mainstream media for supposedly ignoring the “good news” out of Iraq, will perform a lock-step pivot and start describing the debacle in detail, while insisting that this is the fault of those who “stabbed us in the back” -- not a failure on the part of a president and party who have faced no significant opposition since November 2002.
Charles Featherstone offers this perceptive analysis:
“What I've seen on the web tells me that some [Republican leaders and apologists], at any rate, are willing to blame the media and Democrats exclusively for the defeat. How that works mechanically, especially given how little power they have in determining policy, is anyone's guess. But we are talking about magical thinking after all. It also means that Republicans, if they take this line of thinking to its logical conclusion (and thankfully most of them don't), are going to demand something akin to one-party authoritarian government the next time they wage war. A government with the power to keep all possible secrets, detain all possible opponents and control all domestic media. Why do anything less if success in war – and thus the future of civilization itself – hinges on it?... Which means the next logical step is the rack and the inquisition – `Do you support the war? Do you love and trust your leaders?' --and torture and death for those who do not. That is, after all, what the state does when it demands the allegiance and support of all its citizens.”
Featherstone's assessment is contingent only on the continuation of the war in Iraq through the rest of Bush's reign, and into that of his successor. The Democrat Party leadership, unfortunately, has repudiated the “cut-and-run” option. It has become committed to “victory” in Iraq. In a curious way, the Democrats have dusted off Michael Dukakis's 1988 campaign theme: The election is about competence, not ideology.
When we're mired in a war we shouldn't have fought, and continuing the war actually exacerbates the threat, cutting and running is the only rational course of action. Since we're looking down the barrel of immediate bankruptcy and financial ruin, a radical – and immediate – change of fiscal policy is imperative. And Americans of all backgrounds should be able to appreciate the need to blow up the foundations of the Garrison State and wartime dictatorship that have been laid during the past five years.
So we'll have plenty to do, and lots to talk about, no matter what happens at the polls today -- but first, we need to get that chunk of gristle dislodged from the trachea of the body politic....
at 10:29 AM