Tuesday, September 21, 2004
As soon as you are finished reading this post, go read David Niewert's post on the emergent fascist character of today's conservative movement. It is the best description I've read so far, and I'm pleased to see that it is the beginning of a six-part series. You should also check out James Wolcott and Kevin Keith for some more evidence of the irresponsible and undemocratic nature of the right wing of the Republican party.
Now I don't think that all Republicans are this way- in fact, I suspect that many of their voters are well-meaning people. But the leadership of our opponents has clearly gone around the bend. If they aren't planning ot actually subvert the democracy, they certainly have shown no real consideration about maintaining it.
The question for me is, what do we do about it? How do avert the fate of Weimar Germany- yes I'm exaggerating, but you get the point. If we respond literally in kind, we just feed their extremism and intensify political conflict. If we just play above board, then we allow them to continue abusing us (and the country), which will help them win. It is a bit of a paradox.
My impulse would be to directly confront the radicalism of their behavior, and how it damages our common citizenship. By emphasizing our alternative vision, in sharp distinction to their own, we can not only oppose them but lay the groundwork for our own agenda. I believe what we must do is transcend them. Like Lincoln in his debates with Douglas, we must go to the heart of the problem: how to preserve the American Dream, and how to preserve the Republic. By taking it to a higher plane, we can reveal the right for the tawdry and mean-spirited bunch they are.