If you are a Liberal blogger of a certain vintage, over the years you have probably been many things. Lover. Fighter. Drunk. Outcast. w00ter. Shouter of "Thread!". Survivor of Haloscan. Survivor of friends burning brightly, and then falling away for one reason or another.
You have also been a combat correspondent during a decade's-long conflict here at home. The conflict between the Left and the Right. Liberals and Conservatives. Democrats and Republicans. "Conflict" because almost no one dares to call it a "war", even though that it what it is. Conflict, because the implications of the word "war" are too fraught for most people to bear.
And of the fronts in this conflict, one of the most pitched and terrible and silent and sinister has been the all-out, no-quarter siege that the Right has laid to the Past. For the Right, the Past is fucking lethal, which is why Memory is their fatal flaw. The Past is why the Right hates us out of all proportion with anything the Liberals have ever said or done: because Memory if our superpower, and we defiantly set up camp in the one place they dare not go.
For the Right (and their enablers in the media) The Past is where all their bodies are buried. All the incriminating evidence is warehoused. All the damning witnesses are queued up to rat them out. And so the Past, as you and I know it, cannot be allowed to be. It must eradicated and rewritten, repeatedly, faster and faster, because over the past few years the fresh victims of the Right's crime spree against democracy have been piled atop the rotting heap of their older treasons faster than the boys and girls at the Ministry of Conservative Truth can wish it, shout it and editorialize it out of existence.
And with the Past now bursting at the seams with horrors the Right does not dare acknowledge, all subtlety and gentle re-contextualizing has long since gone by the boards. Now they just exploit whatever high ground their fellow-travelers in the media give them as a mean to indiscriminately carpet-bomb the past with Republican "go-away bombs" and hope for the best (from Wikipedia):
It tells the story of the unnamed main character and his best friend Gonzo Lubitsch and their experiences during and after "The Go-Away War", a conflict that reduces the world population to 2 billion. The "go-away bombs" and similar weapons used by the belligerents were designed to simply make anything and anyone subjected to them cease to exist, leaving no carnage or wreckage behind. The weapons, however, produced an unanticipated after effect. The matter that had "gone-away" was still there but merely stripped of the information which formerly differentiated and defined it. This "Stuff", as it's called, floats around the world in great storms and pools in various locations. When it comes into contact with people, a process referred to as "reification" occurs. The Stuff takes the form of whatever those present are thinking about. The results are often horrific...
Which brings us this little skirmish in the wider war by Mr. Bret Stephens -- The New York Time's emergency second-auxiliary backup conservative, who is kept on-tap just in case the algorithm that generates Mr. David Brooks' columns happens to break down on the same day that Ross Cardinal Douthat is raptured to Conservative Catholic Heaven.
See if you can spot the gaping holes in the Past left by Mr. Bret Stephens' go-away grenades:
Bush 41, Trump, and American declineGeorge H.W. Bush once vomited on the prime minister of Japan. It was a mortifying but innocent incident, the result of a nasty stomach bug. Donald Trump has spent the past couple of days effectively doing likewise on France’s Emmanuel Macron.
What’s Trump’s excuse?
The contrast between the 41st and 45th presidents comes to mind this week as millions of Americans mourn the passing of Barbara Bush and pray for the health of her bereaved husband. It’s a study in American decline...
This is followed by nine straight paragraphs of "Bush was whatever. Trump is the anti-whatever" and concludes as follows.
The intense interest in Barbara Bush’s funeral, as well as the concern for George Bush’s health, no doubt reflects the ordinary human sympathy for a couple that has been such an enduring part of our common political landscape. But it reflects something else, too: They — that — was what we once were, too, at least at our striving best. In the age of Trump it’s a reason for mourning and nostalgia, along with a prayer for resurrection.
A conspicuously unexplained gap of 28 years is missing. George H.W. Bush is elected in 1988 and everything is terrific. Then Trump is elected in 2016 and everything has gone to shit. In other words, all of American history as it transpired during Bret Stephens adult life is missing.
Lee Atwater is missing -- the infamous, racist, Republican hit-man Saint George H. W. brought in to make him president.
Lee Atwater's protege, Karl Rove, is missing -- the infamous rat-fucking Republican hit-man that Saint George H. W.'s son brought in to make him president.
The entire rolling clusterfuck of the Reign of Bush the Younger is missing. The Iraq War is missing. Abu Ghraib is missing. The rise of Glenn Beck in missing. Fox News is missing. Katrina is missing. The collapse of the global economy is missing. Terri Schiavo is missing.
That whole Republican rebranding scam known as the fake "Tea Party" is missing.
Michelle Bachman is missing.
Sarah God Damn Palin is missing.
Birtherism is missing.
And, most conspicuous of all...
would be easier to describe this as “American decline” had we not just experienced two terms of a president (Barack Obama) whose behavior and personal qualities are exemplary https://t.co/F0d2IqTqAg— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) April 26, 2018
Because the nation is not in decline, Mr. Stephens. The nation would, in fact, be doing pretty well were it not being dragged inch by inch into the grave by the shambling, zombie corpse of your Republican party. A party which died in all but name decades ago, back in that dark and incriminating Past against which men like you wage such desperate and disgraceful war.
Behold, a Tip Jar!