Saturday, June 04, 2005

"Our current slow motion coup d'état"

As is often the case, Billmon nails our condition. What causes the horrid sensation of gasping for air while drowning that accompanies reading the morning paper (or the blogs)? We are experiencing a "slow motion coup d'etat." Something is awful happening here, happening to the historic fabric of our democracy and society.

I remember being in the board meeting of a progressive activist organization when the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore and saying, "well, that is a coup." It wasn't so much that they gave the election to Bush (after all the election was for practical purposes a toss up) but that their reasoning was so obviously partisan, so without respect for any need to come up with a plausible rationale.

The US response to 9/11, our wars of revenge and aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, our torturing gulag, are all cut from the same cloth.

In reflecting on Mark Felt's "coming out" as Deep Throat, Billmon observes:

What the health of the Republic requires … may not be a new crop of leakers and whistleblowers, or a fresh young generation of Woodwards and Bernsteins -- or even a more independent, aggressive media. What it may need is a new population (or half of a population, anyway), one that hasn't been stupified or brainwashed into blind submission, that won't look upon sadistic corruption and call it patriotism, and that will refuse to trade the Bill of Rights for a plastic Jesus and a wholly false sense of security.

That's a much taller order than asking the Gods to send us another Deep Throat -- or even a Luke Skywalker. It's also not an easy thing for liberals, with their old-fashioned faith in democracy, to face: That the Evil Emperor might have a majority (a narrow one, but still a majority) on his side.

What seems to broken is any expectation of burdensome participation in the direction of the society. Democracies do demand some of that. A majority of us (and this includes Democrats as well as Republicans and the actual fascists, imperialists, and theocrats) apparently look for leaders who will take care of us, preserve our accustomed standard of consumption, and promise that we won't suffer from living in the global village ever more intimately with the rest of an impoverished, angry world. As many have pointed out, all those rabid war supporters aren't signing themselves (or their children) up to go get blown up in Iraq. The majority mood is simple: we don't want to be bothered.

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