Sunday, November 28


Watched Gone With The Wind for the fortieth time the other night and had some new thoughts. While I always enjoy the typical elements of drama so well done in this film, the romance, conflict, humor, performances, direction -- I also have always taken away a horror of the feudalistic society the South harbored for so long. Our kids, though born and raised in the South (as I was), reflected our teachings well enough that Silmarill once asked at about the age of eight or nine, when watching the movie with us, "When are they going to make a movie about our side?" I was suffused with laughter, but got out an explanation that this WAS a movie about our side (The South), only Our Side, to us, meant Home, since Our Side was clearly in the wrong morally and politically.

I think, though, that many Americans, maybe even a majority of non-Southerners, identify with the ruling class both in this film and in reality. They either fantasize about becoming one of "them" or think that in their own way they ARE one of them. This partly explains why so many vote against what would seem to be their own interests. When you oppress another class or group of people, when you condescend to them and treat them as less than equal to yourself, you in effect declare yourself as a part of an elite, or superior, group. Venal businessmen/industrialists and cynical politicians have used this tactic to their advantage forever in the unreconstructed South; it works to keep lower-income white Southerners pacified with their own pitiful economic lot in life by giving them a still more disadvantaged class to sneer at, whether it's blacks, gays or heathen Yankees. It's a pride-builder, and there are few emotions more motivating than pride and self-respect.

Unless it's hatred. And that's the other greatly effective Southern tactic the Repugs have adopted: use of religion to demonize groups of people and ideas, further dividing the populace.

These devices are clearly working for the Repugs. And now some Democratic strategists are suggesting that we can't win unless we adopt some of the same tactics. To this I say: absolutely not. First of all, pragmatically, we can't do it because we're not that kind of people; we can't beat the beastmasters at their own game. Second, it's wrong, it's against everything we stand for. Third, if we try it, we'll lose our best citizen supporters (including me) to a third party or a cynical dropping-out of the political process.

When they said, "The South will rise again," I thought it meant we'd revitalize our cities, bring in new industry, improve our standards of living, etc. I didn't think it'd be this way, that the whole nation, at the beginning of the 21st century, would adopt the worst excesses and eccentricities of the nineteenth century feudal Southern states.

Revenge of the merdes:

The Confederate electoral strategy consists of manipulating working class Americans to become accomplices to their own demise. This cynical goal is accomplished by economically depriving blue-collar voters and then producing scapegoats that are identified with the Democratic Party. The whipping boys keep changing – the targets have included gays, feminists, immigrants, and the perennial favorite, blacks – yet the sleight of hand remains as effective as it is ancient. While people are being robbed of their freedom and treasure, they must be distracted, no longer with bread and circuses, but instead with fairies and darkies.

The Confederates face no relevant opposition in their quest to corporatize and theocratize every dimension of society because the Democrats are unwilling or unable to confront them...

In the aftermath of the election, Senate Democrats have prepared for future battles by replacing their defeated feeble red state minority leader with an even feebler red state minority leader. They are publicly musing about abandoning the party’s stated principles, specifically its commitment to equality for gays. Despite being on the side of a human rights struggle that is inexorably gaining ground and destined to achieve victory, the Democrats fail to appreciate that the acquisition of equality is an agonizing process rather than a glorious event. They are on the verge of unilaterally surrendering the moral high ground in a futile attempt to compete with the Confederates for the votes of bigots.
Things are bad in America, and they are about to get much worse. The Confederates finally have the power to remake the country in their own image. They are determined to fulfill their longstanding dream of destroying the crown jewel of the New Deal, the Social Security program that since its inception has been deeply offensive to the right wing. The reactionaries long to codify their religious beliefs and prosecute a culture war that features the blacklisting of art they deem to be subversive. They also intend to revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it provides equal legal status to those whom Confederates consider less than equal.

Under continued Confederate rule, the poor will get poorer as the wealthy get wealthier. Government polices will be designed to benefit rich white people at the expense of impoverished black people, and anyone who notices will be marginalized for playing the race card. As the economy worsens, it will require the stimulus that can only come with upper income tax cuts and elimination of regulations on big business.

The most influential religion of the country will continue to be a version of Christianity in which Jesus Christ bears a striking resemblance to Tom DeLay. Children will be taught biblical facts such as Creation Science in lieu of being indoctrinated with mere theories like evolution. The federal judiciary will be overflowing with people who prioritize the word of God over the word of man, including the words of the men who wrote the Constitution.

The environment will increasingly be used as a corporate cesspool. The endangered species list will continue to shrink as more and more endangered species become extinct. Global warming will be airily dismissed as a manifestation of liberal hysteria, even as the temperatures soar and the oceans rise.

Marriage will be reserved for heterosexuals, ensuring that this nation’s deeply held set of Judeo-Christian family values (seventy percent adultery rate, fifty percent divorce rate, twenty-five percent spousal abuse rate, ten percent child abuse rate) will be protected from the homosexual agenda. Gays are reviled by the bible thumpers, and they will continue to serve as the bogeyman that keeps the right wing rank and file in a state of frenzy.
Although homophobia was the conduit to electoral success in 2004, the primary targets of the Confederates will be women. Americans consider themselves to be highly civilized, but human beings are just a few millennia removed from the caves, and just a few years beyond the time when women were officially the chattels of men. American conservatives, both male and female, have never accepted the sexual revolution that granted women control of their own bodies. Consequently, there is going to be an all-out assault on reproductive rights, driven by the unexpressed but very real intention of coercing females back into the status of brood mares.
Liberals are forever seeking comforting rhetoric to obscure their compulsion to capitulate: “the need for bipartisanship”, “seeking to raise the level of political discourse”; “refusing to stoop to the other side’s gutter tactics”, “holding ourselves to a higher standard”, etc., ad nauseum. It is all transparent camouflage for a lack of toughness. The Confederates may not be particularly bright (or sane) but the right wing does possess resolve. It took guts to impeach a president when the polls showed two thirds of Americans were opposed, and even though the motives for the action were entirely malicious, the Clinton impeachment was a show of backbone that is foreign to the invertebrates in the modern Democratic Party.

The Confederates will continue riding high until they overreach and self-destruct; their only real foe will be lack of discipline. Eventually, the zealots are going to be so intolerably provocative that desperate liberals will nominate a presidential candidate who identifies conservatives as the reprobates they are. It is impossible to know when the point of critical mass will be attained, but Democrats are still not even close to relinquishing their delusional goal of achieving national unity. There is going to have to be a cataclysm before progressives are willing to fight fire with fire.

Until that time, America will be governed by hatred and fear. The Confederates are keenly aware that they must hoodwink the electorate by brandishing a loathsome domestic patsy and an imminent foreign threat - the last three elections that lacked these factors resulted in the Republican presidential candidate losing the popular vote.

Over a century after his death, the United States has degenerated into a nation that Jefferson Davis could deeply respect, a land where the gentry control society by skillfully manipulating the prejudices of the public. Ironically, if Davis were alive his political upward mobility would be limited in this environment. The leader of the Confederacy was an advocate of raising taxes to balance government budgets, so the old slave master could not become the president of America as it exists today.

He would be considered too liberal.


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