A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So Now What Do I Say?

I am sitting staring at my CRT screen wondering what to say next. The United States and Israel were the only two serious opponents to the idea of the United Nations creating a permanent human rights body. The only ones. A couple of tiny Pacific archipelagoes fell into line, probably because the United States is absolutely the only one who pays any attention to them, attention in the form of direct or indirect financial subsidy. One hundred and seventy separate nations voted for this. The United States and Israel voted against it.

Is there any better indicator of where the real battle lines are being drawn for this next century? I am willing to entertain any assumption for the argument's sake, and I often entertain the pretty disturbing one that Karl Rove may be right, that there may be just enough leverage available on American public opinion to keep the Republican Party in power indefinitely. If that be so then America, and its Israeli sidekick will become the blackguards and the pariahs of the world. Woe to us then if our money runs out, because, at the moment, no one will treat with us for anything but their own financial profit, and that while openly holding their nose.

For the Republican faithful have simply talked themselves into a psychotic and paranoid space of total arrogance where no amount of feedback from anyone else or anything else can reach them. They are in the driver's seat on a road that has only destructive destinations, destructive to our wealth and well-being, destructive to our status as an international good neighbor, and destructive to the political values for which we have stood as a model since 1789.

Our former friends, the British, are withdrawing their involvement with our ventures in their quiet British way, and they will be gone before anyone notices. The Republican faithful, though largely anglophile when they think about it, have done very little noticing and very little thinking about how their philosophical counterparts, the Conservative Party, have responded to the American adventures of the past five years, particularly things like our Guantanamo prison camp. As I say, they are beyond the reach of any advice or response the world can give.

I was over on the Anchoress' blog. She is still my best friend on the net despite all this. And she was in the mood for opening up one of her posts for a donnybrook over my own two posts on the Tragedy of Political Conversion. She asked me for links. I thought about it. And then I discouraged her. After all, if she really wanted the links they appear easily at the top of your computer screen, and, if she was truly interested in an alternative point of view to her own, she would have linked to them when I wrote them. Under those circumstances, an artificially induced commentfest over them seemed futile.

I post comments on Conservative blogs because I am actually interested in what Conservatives have to say, and, insofar as I can find a common ground of questions worth asking, I don't mind a little tussle if my answers happen not to be the Flavor of the Month. I do not write over there to convince anyone, but to engage questions put in a form developed from presumptions quite different than my own. And I know that it is futile to introduce the questions I ask on this blog, because I am perfectly sure that none of my Conservative friends have the least interest in engaging my own questions, alone, and without reference to the world of their own opinions. So our mutual interplay has been asymmetrical.

But this common ground of questions has been shrinking. The world view among the Faithful has become so disconnected and paranoid that fewer and fewer of their opinions are interesting.

Those in the drivers' seat, and unreachable, comprise 35% of the country. Those of us who are sufficiently exercised to want to point out that we are headed over a cliff, perhaps 25%. The rest, the other 40%, largely see the same world we do, and hold milder versions of the same opinions we 25% hold, with sketchier details. We both know, for example, that things in Iraq have been going badly and that, for three full years, things in Iraq have never gone as well as the President and his people have been telling us.

I, and my 25% cohorts, are steamed about this and know why the failures have been occurring. For the rest, figuring out that there are failures, so far, is sufficient. But we are at least on the same page. As to the 35% in the driver's seat, who knows?

The future of this country depends upon that still sane but indolent 40%. Will they finally act on the knowledge we share and demand to be driven in a new direction? The final stop on the road is but months away, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. After that, our destination under a lame-duck President whose party is in control of Congress, will be largely set in stone.

Will they act? I haven't a clue. I really haven't had a clue about them since November of 2004. And the constant squeezing of my adrenals to convince them to act is rapidly wearing out my heart and soul. When it is totally worn out, I will no longer care one way or the other. And I will have joined the 40%.

Perhaps that's what Karl Rove is counting on.

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