A Bigger Hammer.
For reasons undoubtedly having to do with the mysterious ways of the Gods of synchronicity, I have run across the word “stewardship” over and over again in the last few weeks.
Maybe, like Dante populating Hell with lots of Italians -- or seeing VWs everywhere the day you buy a Beetle (a comparison I'm sure I lifted from somewhere, but my mental attic is a mess these days) -- it's a matter of filtering and projection.
Or maybe beneath the stasis of deadweight GOP strategies and tiny armies of timorous Democrats, something is moving below the surface and just out of sight.
It’s a good word.
A vital word: one that is central to understanding the competing and irreconcilable cultural visions of America.
Stewardship is the ground on which we must fiercely and fundamentally disagree with the pig people who doll themselves in the shredded pages of “Atlas Shrugged” so they can call their misanthropy an ideology.
Fact is, while we are not born into sin, we are born in obligation. We owe the past. We owe the future. And ferrying the best of one safely into the arms of the other is the sacred charge of each generation.
And it is that obligation - the hallowed duty that powers the engine at the heart of every noble faith -- which the Right loathes, mocks and tries fanatically to make us forget. So, in the service of their degenerate agenda, they casually sling around terms like Communism, Collectivism and Slavery to describe what is nothing more or less than the insistent defense of our social contract.
Fuck these people.
Indebtedness to a long-term proposition of accreting value doesn't make you a Slave any more than a mortgage makes you a peon.
Duty and service to each other and to the future of our species does not make you a Commie.
It makes you a good Christian.
Or a good Buddhist.
Or a good Muslim
Or a good Jew.
Or a good atheist.
A good man or good woman.
And what buys us a future worth living in is the patient moral capital of Progressivism.
But how do we get there?
This from The Hill at least asks tries to pose the question correctly:
Internal Dem memo faults party message
By Mike Soraghan
October 26, 2007
Democrats are losing the battle for voters’ hearts because the party’s message lacks emotional appeal, according to a widely circulated critique of House Democratic communications strategy.
“Our message sounds like an audit report on defense logistics,” wrote Dave Helfert, a former Appropriations spokesman who now works for Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii). “Why are we defending [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] instead of advocating a ‘Healthy Kids’ plan?”
He said the meeting left him cold because it focused on what polling shows voters want rather than how to present persuasive messages. Republicans have done a better job by developing poll data into focus group-tested messages like “culture of life” and “defending marriage,” along with attacks like “cut and run” and “plan for surrender” in Iraq, he argued.
In particular, Helfert points to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who helped develop the 1994 “Contract with America” and is credited with helping Republicans come up with terms for polices like “Healthy Forests” and “Death Tax.”
“Republicans have been kicking our rhetorical butt since about 1995,” Helfert wrote.
Democratic leadership aides were not impressed, and indicated that the memo did not have a vast and immediate impact.
“Everybody’s a message expert,” said one Democratic leadership aide. “The fact of the matter is Democrats are working hard to communicate our accomplishments. There is work to be done and that’s why Democrats are working together and mounting an aggressive campaign to discuss the real victories we have won for the American people.”
On the record, they were a bit gentler, if not enthusiastic.
“We appreciate input from those who have been on the front lines, and we value their opinions,” said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
But another Democratic aide said Helfert’s memo reflects the frustration of many of those with a role in getting the message out. Several hundred of them assembled for Monday’s meeting in the Ways and Means Committee room.
“I don’t agree with every point he’s making, but the sentiment of exasperation I totally agree with,” said the aide.
We have a lot of work to do, because of all this riches that the Right has plundered from our national treasure house, the most vital and irreplaceable is our language.
The Right has not merely destroyed our public discourse; they have destroyed our ability to have public discourse.
And it was all so terribly, tragically premeditated -- far from running away in shame, the arsonists who burned down civil society stand in the smoke and ashes laughing and looting and talking of glorious new slaughters.
So before we can move past the battlefield triage of temporary fixes and temporizing rhetoric, we must decontaminate the Commons.
The everyday language of politics.
Because the simple, sorry truth is that we cannot even begin to rebuild our municipal institutions and revive our vision of a great and good nation as long as the 27% -- the issue- and electoral-drivers of the Right -- are treated with anything other than contempt.
Until they are flogged and laughed back into the mildewy ruins of their Confederacy of the mind, we have no hope, which is why we cannot disarm until they are dispatched. Sorry, but the time to discuss the ethics of silver bullets is not when the town is being overrun by werewolves.
The fact --- the heartbreaking fact -- is that their tactics work. I wish they didn't. You wish they didn't. But calling liberals yella while skulking behind bodies of the troops you have pushed into the grave for your insane vision of foreign policy...works.
Slandering good men to ram through your evil policies...works.
Screaming “9/11” and “Traitor” every time someone points out that their Dear Leader is a falling-down failure and a monster...works.
Bringing down the wrath of their Bogus Jebus and his fake saints of Laissez and Faire whenever the subject turns to genitalia, reproduction or science...works.
And because we now have the metrics to put under Lincoln's famous adage, we can say it exactly:
"You can fool 27% of the people all of the time."
All currently in one Party. All goose-stepping in unison like Lucifer's own fucktard kick-line.
And it turns out you can scare the Chicken-in-a-Biskit-and-Cheez-Whiz right out of another 22-24% if you just swear by Almighty God -- in as sepulchral a voice as you can hire -- that if you don't vote for the Party of Clusterfuck's Last Stand, your children will die horribly at the hands of islamofascists.
So, y'know, if you want them to perish in a pillar of fire while you look on -- knowing that if only you'd voted straight Suedeshirt Party Line they would still be alive -- fine. Go ahead. Side with Socialists and kill your babies.
And it works.
It works because when it comes to advancing their corporate/theocratic agenda, the last 7, 15, 30 years have demonstrated one fact above all others: There is absolutely no bottom rung on this ladder. There is no sewer low enough that they won't backhoe it another layer closer to the Earth's core to give them a new depth to which they can sink.
There is no mile-deep latrine trench which they will not mine to its gooey, gagging bottom if Rove Republicans believe they can exploit one more vein of triggerwords that will freak one more suburban mom into panic-voting for their Party of Death.
Because they do not possess a functioning conscience between them -- because the modern Republican will always put Power and Party above Conscience and County -- they will never see reason. They will never wake up, shut up and apologize, and as their power wanes, their blizzard of insanity will only drive on ever more wildly.
They are tiny and vicious and their own absolutist language has left them no room to retreat or maneuver. And for exactly that reason the tiny berserkers will never stop until they are stopped.
(Ann Coulter shown here in 2006 shortly after what is referred to on the Right as "The unfortunate tanning bed incident.")
It will never occur to them to feel even the faintest flicker of remorse or concern for the long-term effects their poisoning of our public dialog has had on our ability to solve anything.
Because like their Dear Leader, they never look into the rear view mirror to see the devastation they leave in their wake; they look only ahead, through dead, sealed eyes, seeing only their Leader's power drunk Unitary Executive retinal flashed and believing utterly that they are really looking at a bright, shiny, White Christian Republican future.
That is always juuuust over the horizon, but worth an infinite amount of (other people's) blood and treasure. And which can be reached if only they hate harder, scream louder, and plunge deeper into the darkness.
And if the slow, civilizing power of progressivism is to succeed in healing the deep- shit-smeared wounds the Right ia inflicting on everything they touch, we need to give it space to grow.
Which means creating (to borrow a headline from the California disaster) a firebreak.
To misquote JC, the 27% will always be with us. They will always be happy to exchange for their votes and voices for a promise of the apocalyptic reacharound of their dreams. Their tiny wangs will always grow turgid at the thought of playing Caesar by proxy on CNN under a thermonuclear spotlight.
Of the Wingnut win-win of a few billion dead and subjugated brown peopl, and monster trucks full of cheap gas.
That will never change.
What can change is the social, political and economic price that can be exacted for siding with them. For pandering to them.
To make the way clear and straight for progressive change, it means using the tools at hand to continue making the choice of quietly and privately siding with and appeasing the 27% -- whatever you pretend your political loyalties to be -- a loud and public humiliation.