Monday, August 01, 2011

Democracy's light fading

sunset artsy.jpg

I'm sure I'll write much more about the horror show that has been the Washington fight over the debt ceiling, but for the moment I think I'll give the floor to my wise friend Darlene:

When our government was formed I am sure none of the wise men involved could envision a time when a handful of stupid dolts could destroy our democracy so effectively. .... This is one of the lowest times for our country that I can remember. I just can't bear to watch this charade we call 'government in action' much longer.

It's beginning to feel like watching a dear friend die. Link.

We are seeing a movement of radical rightwingers successfully break the institutions through which we the people democratically express our common needs and hopes in government.
  • We elect a President on a promise of change. The Republican right refuses to cooperate even minimally with letting him implement his programs. Okay, some of that is just politics as usual.
  • But in addition, in the Senate, the Republican right overthrows the principal of majority rule by abusing parliamentary customs and privileges, forcing every measure to get 60 percent of the vote rather than a majority.
  • Thwarted by the checks and balances that prevent the legislature dominating the executive (and vice versa) in Constitutional system, the Republican majority in the House and the minority in Senate hold payments on the US national debt hostage while demanding Democratic legislators and the President agree to substitute undemocratic super committees and automatic spending cut mechanisms for an up and down vote on their budget ideas. Apparently they know they couldn't win an honest majority vote.
  • Wherever they can, through state legislatures, Republicans are making it harder for people to vote who they fear might disagree with them. If they could, they'd deny the vote to Black, brown and young people entirely. They can't quite pull that off (yet), but they can push in that direction with difficult procedural hurdles and unnecessary demands for identity documents.
There's no point in sugar coating what we are seeing acted out in the debt ceiling fight: Republicans can't win in a fair participatory process, so they are willing to trash every historic achievement of U.S. democracy in order to get their way. Democrats and the President have been pathetically weak in responding to extortionate thuggery. We the people lose.


Nell said...

The aggressive, fascist right is real. But the culprits are the President and the "leadership" of the Democratic Party. I'm a little disappointed to find no hint in this analysis that Obama has been seeking these cuts since before his election.

Too clever by half, this smooth, self-regarding front man. He set up this hostage-taking himself when he allowed the Bush tax cuts to be extended. He made "debt reduction" -- not job creation -- the priority.

And still somehow it's all the fault of the open fascists...

Nell said...

I share Darlene's feelings, and yours, about the sad spectacle of dying democracy.

And I'm just plain more angry than is healthy; maybe that's partly a result of not allowing myself to take in fully the grief and loss.

But -- to the extent that we deal with this situation with our heads: Richard Seymour has the most succinct and true-ringing analysis I've read.

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