Saturday, May 26, 2007

Democrats or Whigs?

I should be writing a thesis rather than speculating over historical implications for the present, but of course I’m a procrastinator who will do anything to avoid actually doing what I should be doing. Therefore I will now take the time to put down some thoughts I have had on the recent Democratic surrender to Bush.

The political game they are playing is highly dangerous. For 2008 the Democrats are betting on this highly unpopular and costly war in Iraq to sweep them into the white house, not to mention unbreakable majorities in the House and Senate. The gamble they are taking is that the current large anti-war constituency will forgive them and continue to support them, despite the compromise they have made. In fact, they are counting on its growth as increased support for their party, though they are unwilling to stand up and support the voice of this growing majority at this moment because it is not large enough yet.

Before I go into my historical analogy, let me explain what beliefs make up this group of people so generally referred to as ‘anti-war’. There are those who are purely anti-war, no matter what the war. There are those who realize we need to combat terrorism, but this misadventure had nothing to do with it and is in fact exacerbating the problem. There are those who realize our economy cannot handle the deficit required to continue the war. There are those who see that we have strategically lost the war and that it is not worth sacrificing more American lives for a war already lost. There are many more, but this brief sample shows the diversity of understanding, both practical and principled, of those of us who are simply labeled ‘anti-war’.

With their compromising and unwillingness to support the values and views of their constituency, the Democrats are in danger of following the footsteps of the Whig Party. In the two decades before the Civil War, the Whigs unwillingness to unite behind an abolitionist platform caused their downfall. They continually ‘compromised’ giving the slave South everything it wanted. They knew abolitionist sentiment was growing in the North, but they did not yet see it as a powerful enough force. Their mentality was that it would all pass over, give the slave holders what they wanted and in a few decades there would be no more slavery. The fact that they chose to wait out the problem rather than confront it head on lead to their downfall.

Now, the ‘abolitionist’, just like those referred to as ‘anti-war’, were much more diverse than the general label given to them. Sure, there were those like Gerrit Smith, Garrison, and Frederick Douglass, who were abolition agitators, fighting for the abolishment of slavery. There were also those in the business community who resented being marginalized or even locked out in southern business since free labor was discouraged. Also, there were those who didn’t give a damn if slavery remained or not, but once they became required by law to help in capturing slaves that escaped to the North, then you can bet they were quite unhappy about that. Just as today’s ‘anti-war’ activists, those labeled ‘abolitionists’ were diverse and included those who supported the cause on both grounds of practical and principled.

Even more parallels could be made, like that between the slave industry of the 19th century and the military industrial complex of today, but that would be deviating from my point just a bit. The Democrats, like the Whigs, may have ended their party by agreeing to this ‘compromise’. I must admit this would not sadden me, as it would leave an opening for a new party to take up the banner of principle and liberal values that would actually fight for it’s beliefs rather than compromise it’s principles in order to ensure a political safety net. To their surprise, the Democrats might actually find that safety net to be unsecured.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bigotry to the right

It would seem that the conservative cluster-fuck has gone supersonic and is heading straight for a catastrophic implosion. I don’t know why the hell they say something moronic, and then after heavy criticism, repeat it! One would think there would be some form of learning going on rather than creating a canyon out of the rut they already have themselves in.

Let’s start with CNN host, and chronic idiot, Glenn Beck. Apparently he would not vote for Joe Lieberman for President "because of the complications it would add in this country or on the planet right now because of the way the Middle East would use it. That's not saying the same thing as I wouldn't vote for a Jew for president" (Media Matters). Um, yes Glenn it does since the only reason it could be used in the Middle East was for the very fact that he is Jewish! This is the same sort of language he used when asking Keith Ellison if he was enemy of the United States due to the fact that he is Muslim.

Meanwhile over on Oxycontin radio, we have Rush going off using the phrase 'Magic Negro' in a parody song of Barack Obama. Of course he tries to wash himself clean of it: "If I keep referring to Obama as the "Magic Negro" from this day on, I will eventually get the credit and/or heat for this. "Magic Negro"" (Media Matters). The fact that he even makes this statement makes it all the more disgusting by excusing his own racism because he was not the first to mention it.

This bigotry on the part of these two is even worse since it is intentional. They know that what they are going to say is bigoted and wrong and yet they go forward and say it anyway. If their bigoted statements were unintentional, then they would not include a statement to try and excuse their behavior. It's either 'I'm not saying/asking this but I am' or 'I know it's bigoted, but someone else said it first so I'm clean'. They make these statements knowing full well their meaning. They should be sent packing for their inhumanity.

Also this week we have Tom Delay popping up trying to recapture the media attention he has deservedly lost and he has continued with his use of the Nazi reference when referring to liberals. "I only thought it was the radical left in our own nation which enjoys likening the United States to Nazi Germany" (Think Progress). I do not recall any liberal making any comparison between the United States and Nazi Germany, unless of course he equates himself, the president, and the Republican Party the United States. It also seems he may have a little memory problem since he made such a reference in his book.

One more point on the continued rhetoric of the right when referring to liberals as Nazi's. Just because they were called the 'National Socialist Party' does not mean they were socialist. Any basic knowledge of 20th century German political history would lead to the realization that the name was taken only to get votes. Socialist parties were popular among the working class, so the Nazi party decided to call itself something it wasn't in order to get votes. You wouldn't believe that the People's Republic of China is actually a Republic would you?