Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Post-2020 Prospect ...

Salutem vobis qui legerent -

I don't post much here in the oh-so-crowded vacuum of cyberspace anymore.  The shadows are loud, and the halls echo with resentment and bile.  

Why do people blog and post?  Often it is frustration, too often it is rancor.  Sometimes to seek sympathetic correspondents who will endorse their opinions.  Modern communications result in opinion puddles, echo chambers for bitterness and fury. 

As we advance to election time, I find myself frustrated and gloomy -- fearing the effective discipline and hard-assed rancor of the so-called "Republican" Party on the one hand, and on the other both the relative ineptitude of the Democratic Party and -- worse -- the misandry of the American Left.  If the Republican ticket prevails in 2020 and saddles us with another four years of the same Presidential goon and a Congress of malefactors like Mitch McConnell, whose regressivist bullshit we have come to know so well, THAT is sobering.  

Think about this;  What is a Republic?   It is a society of antagonists who nonetheless cooperate for the general good.  

Who could have imagined that the Presidency of the United States would be reduced to the level of a burlesque show, a "reality show", scripted by and starring someone like Donald Trump?  This week's first Presidential debate, however, brings it home:  violence and vulgarity, anti-intellectualism and racism, are the oh-so-popular hallmarks of the so-called "Republicans".  

This is a dire problem, for the current President is only the mouthpiece of this furious conservative groundswell, rather than its author.  This groundswell may be fostered by corporate money, but it is a real, visceral, long-ingrained disposition that Left-ish politics and Revolutionary loudmouth-ism did much to create.  The giddy cry of the Right is that "Now we are finally being heard!"  None of this is new; it did not begin with Reagan or Goldwater or the John Birch Society or the KKK; and it seems only too similar to European politics of the inter-war years in Europe.  

Because of his name recognition, because he vocally despises the Liberal and Democratic agenda, and because he's rich (and therefore, in the vulgar eye, a "winner"), Donald Trump is a choice representative for many working people in the United States.  This is a visceral thing, not a cognitive one.  No one on the Left has such a similarly broad appeal, except perhaps Bernie Sanders, and he is out of the running.   

Remember that in the 1900s the Democratic Party ITSELF was also an ardent protector of racist and exclusive social values that nowadays we associate with people like Donald Trump.  If the forces of Democracy ever hope to regain momentum in the United States, they will have to stop, examine conservative complaints for their genesis, think about the nature of people, and get a grip on what Middle and Rural America and what money-minded Americans are objecting to.  The Left, if it wishes to resume its dominant place in American politics, needs to understand what conservative resentment is all about, and it needs to champion NOT just the disenfranchised minorities, but also the middle-class and other groups that FEEL disenfranchised.  

How to do this, I cannot say.  But beyond marketing, politics is a Coalition-Building.  When the Democratic activists accept the fact that human beings are innately greedy, near-sighted, and corrupt; that White Males (among others) are not in fact misogynist devils all of the time (just as Black Males are not thugs all the time); and that we live in a Republic (a thing-of-ALL-the-people), THEN they may have an advantage over the more-ardent coalition of hysterical conservatives.  America will not move ahead in terms of realizing its promise of freedom and democracy until the American Left can learn to live with people as they come, always more or less reprehensible, but fellow-citizens, nonetheless.  

If furiously partisan ideologies and a universal ethos of extremism remain the standards extolled on every side (Winnerism on the Right, Self-Indulgent-Equality-of-Outcome-ism on the Left; in other words, Ultra-Individualism both Right and Left), the Republic will fail.  We need a New Center, tolerant but focused on ALL people.  

Valete bene.