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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Third Parties

Here is another comment that I just now posted on Common Dreams, swimming against the tide of anti-Democratic sentiment that is so fashionable there nowadays.

The recent war funding vote in Congress has certainly given many readers of Common Dreams a great opportunity to attack Democrats, liberals, and the like in a huge variety of ways, while largely giving the real enemy, the Bushies, a free ride, and at times even praising them for being so single-minded in pursuing their policies of perfidy – an attitude that strikes me as being no different from admiring members of the SS for having been effective soldiers.

However, assuming that these commenters still retain a touch of common sense -- which their extreme anger makes nearly impossible = it is easy to suspect that what is actually happening here is that the Republicans have turned loose a pack of operatives to infiltrate this site, agents pretending to be progressives who have, with this vote, finally seen the light and now are pledging to end their support of the one party, the Democrats, that has any chance of heading off the steady drift ever deeper into an American form of totalitarianism.

The alternative that many of these outraged souls cite is a third party. But they’re not taking into account the fact that this country is huge and quite possibly even oversized, which means also that it is embedded in inertia, in which things have a very hard time turning on a dime. Nothing illustrates this better than the fact that ever since the campaigns of 2000, the U.S. has operated without a real government in place. Instead it has had a bunch of gangsters operating out of the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Supreme Court building. Yet the U.S. as a whole is still functioning, though in a noticeably impaired state.

Therefore third parties are just wishful thinking, unless a way can be found to change the model for them, which so far has been to serve as mere vehicles for single figures with low inspirational quotients, like Nader and Perot.

Meanwhile the Republicans would loudly applaud this splintering of their opposition, and after reading all this anti-Dem invective from supposed progressives, they will laugh and say “Keep it coming!”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lately Common Dreams

In the last few days I've written several posts, not for this too often neglected weblog, but for Common Dreams. But so far I’ve only posted one of those there.

Time goes by too fast for me.

I’ve often said that in the past, but each day only increases that rate of acceleration. By the time I’m nearly ready to post something on Common Dreams, it’s another day and they’re running a dozen or more new articles, each with an already long stream of comments trailing out from it. Sometimes it takes me a while even to find the article on which I intended to comment.

So time races by too fast, and Common Dreams is too much of a good thing. It’s the reason why I’ve never commented on sites like Kos and Atrios. Each post in those huge sites is followed by hundreds of comments, most of which I am certain were permanently lost in the ether the moment they were submitted.

These several comments that I’ve written lately all have to do with the present Iraq Warfunding furore. Sometimes I wonder if the Democrats will survive all the attacks it is enduring in numerous Common Dreams threads, because of that vote.

I have noticed that it is a popular pastime for the erstwhile supporters of the Democrats to be even harder on them than they are on the real ogres, the Republicans. The Bartcop site is a good example of that.

I always feel uneasy when Democrats are attacked, because I feel they are the best hope for a better U.S.

These Common Dream critics and article authors have more faith in the public than they do in the politicians. But I wonder.

Through all my three-quarters of a century, nearly all the many fellow Americans that I have encountered have acted decently toward me. I would never deny that. But that was as individuals. The group stuff that they often support and tolerate and which creates so much fear in so many directions is another matter entirely.

As just one example of that, take the Jim Crow culture that most Americans today have never experienced but of which I was a victim through all my formative years. That same public that so many people still think is capable of great things was in general comfortable with Jim Crow for generations, and it took a Herculean and still incomplete effort to change their minds, and for that I will never excuse them. And that was just one part of the continuous indignities that have been part of the Rainbow (“black”) experience in this country for nearly three centuries.

My experience, therefore, has led me to believe in individuals more than in groups, to the point where long ago I cooked up the motto, “You show me more than 10 people gathered together, and I’ll show you a bunch of slobs.”

It is easy to refute that motto, but I keep wondering how well those refutations hold up in the long run.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anger at the Democrats

The following is a comment that I posted this morning on Common Dreams, in answer to an article titled "Iraq War Funding? 'Compromise' or Sellout'?" by Robert Naiman, published yesterday.

Actually, the question as to whether Democratic support of continued war funding without a timeline is a sellout or a compromise is a moot point, as the vote is really an accurate reflection of the tolerance of the U.S. public for the highly grievous suffering and destruction that has been going on in Iraq ever since the Bush invasion of 2003 and even earlier. You can take all the polls you want about the public’s disapproval of the war, my impression is that Iraq is not of much concern to Americans as a whole. How many discussions do you ever hear about Iraq in everyday life? Very few I would bet.

During the Vietnam mess there was a draft. It did nothing to “win” that war, but it did heighten American awareness that the war was going on, because of the fact that so many young male relatives and friends could be snatched up and dropped into that slaughter willy-nilly. But in the present instance there’s no danger of that, and those dozens of Iraqis and the several Americans who are being maimed and killed daily are true “expendables,” over whom few tears are being shed on this side of the globe. So a majority of presentday Americans can just keep scratching their oversized behinds and coveting their neighbors’ spouses and otherwise keep bopping along in relative comfort and do not have to think about Iraq. And they can’t and won’t nudge Congress because that body is just a big, ugly reflection of their own ice-cold indifference to the suffering overseas.

A century ago Mark Twain said that the U.S. Congress is the nation’s only true criminal class. That continues to be true, though in the several years since 2001 the malady has been thoroughly injected into the other branches of government as well, and it makes one wonder about those who sent those office-holders, mainly Republicans, to infest all the big buildings in the Gray Zone of downtown D.C.

Meanwhile the Democrats must have reasons for following the Republican lead in voting to prolong the American contribution to the agony in Iraq, maybe for years more. Neither in this thread nor in the news have I seen such reasons as yet. Maybe those people know something that we don’t know, though I absolutely doubt it.

Most of the other commenters were outraged by the decision by the Democrats to support more war funding without imposing a timetable for withdrawal of the American troops, and they made all sorts of attacks and threats against the Democrats.

That reaction troubled me at least as much as the vote. It reminded me of the reaction of so many erstwhile liberals at the O.J. Simpson decision, when, absolutely certain of Simpson's guilt, they were outraged at the reaction of so-called "black" people in cheering the decision. In retaliation they made a big thing of jumping off the liberal train, just as these people were promising to do with the Democrats. It made me wonder if all along they had been waiting for just that sort of chance to jump the Civil Rights ship, just as today these people seemed glad for the excuse the verdict gave them to desert the Democrats . I know that that anger gladdened the hearts of Republicans everywhere, while to me it suggested that the commitment of these people to progressive thought and action was only skin deep after all.

==Because the question I've asked in the past in other situations like this remains the same today: what else is there, other than the Democrats, between us and the sinkhole of neo-Facism that still threatens this country just ahead?