The Third Estate
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What Has It Been Until Now In The Political Order?
What Does It Want To Be?

Well here are

Thursday, February 02, 2017
Like many bloggers I fell out of the habit. I suspect Facebook played a role, as did complacency (and a measure of frustration) during the Obama administration. After 2011 it was clear that little more that was productive could be expected from the Obama years, and so it was safe to take a step back from politics and tend to our own gardens.

I'm not sure whether I'll make a new habit of posting regularly in this space, but for the time being there are thoughts I need to sort out for myself, and writing is (for me at least) the best way to do so. I do not know if I will have any readers in this space, but I'm not terribly concerned if I don't.

So here we are, in a time of great doubt about the future of the republic. It is unclear whether the constitutional order will survive the pusillanimity of the conservative movement or the bungling authoritarianism of the new president. I find myself in the rather strange situation of being far more calm about this situation than most. Many of my friends and colleagues have become obsessed with political news, breathlessly consuming all of the many outrages. I've been oddly detached, since I've always spent a lot of time paying attention to politics and have gotten used to maintaining a certain distance from the froth of the day. You have to pick your moments, and buffer yourself a bit, or risk utter exhaustion and moral paralysis.

Having said that, it's quite clear to me that my self-imposed hiatus from political life has to end. I'm not quite sure in what capacity I'll become involved, or to what degree, due to the practicalities of my professional life and because politics can be all too consuming. Of course, there are times when we can't afford the luxury of remaining aloof from politics, when it demands everything of us that we're capable of giving, and I'm beginning to fear that this is one of those times.

The inspiration for this blog's title may be sadly appropriate. The French Revolution was no time for focusing on our private affairs either.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:56 PM
  • Good to have you back. It's been a while, and I've been through many incarnations. But if you remember any Rebeccas, I was one of them. My main observation at this point is this:

    I was physically sickened by the result of the election, and completely outraged after the inauguration. But when I learned that the Border Patrol was ignoring Federal court orders and saying they were answering to Donald J Trump, I became scared.

    I know that impeaching him will bring us the evil duo of Pence/Ryan, but I feel we will be much more successful in two years cleaning up their messes. They are not anywhere near as scary as Bannon/Trump.

    I am also still disgusted at the weakness of the Democrats in Congress. There seem to be a few hidden gems, like that guy in Texas who finally mentioned impeachment. But I am even disappointed in Elizabeth Warren. We need younger candidates who are in touch with the world as it is today. I hope we manage to have them ready by 2018.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 10:23 PM  
  • It's definitely a scary time, but on balance I think the Democrats in Congress are doing the best they can. They really don't have a lot of leverage, and they have to balance motivating their own base with trying to peel off swing voters who voted for Trump. It's a serious challenge, and not an easy one.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 4:31 PM  
  • I think that all of the unprecedented activism we've been seeing is evidence that the base is motivated enough. We were motivated enough in 2008, and had lots of leverage, but were let down almost immediately by Obama bc he wasn't progressive enough. Between making a shady deal with Big Pharma as his first act of the Presidency and having Rahm trying to turn everyone into Blue Dogs, I blame Obama for demoralizing the base and starting a downhill slide that got us where we are today.

    The rest of the Party has just followed his lead, a few offer strong words, fewer still follow up with real action. We are desperately in need of new candidates, as our two offerings for President this year were pathetic. The fact that Sanders was able to rally as much support as he did, as late as he did, shows that our party is starved for a progressive leader. No one would like to see a female president more than I would, but what we really need is a strong progressive candidate who knows how to lead, male or female. It would be great to be able to have compromise and bipartisanship again in Congress, but first we have to get strong Democrats who can stand up to the assholes like Ryan who are currently so firmly entrenched.

    Frankly, as much as I would love to see Trump impeached, and believe he will be gone in six months or less, I'm afraid that we may lose the momentum and motivation that he has triggered. OTOH, the fact that the Dems have not yet started impeachment hearings, when they already have more than enough cause, is the most glaring evidence of their weakness.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 11:35 AM  
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