Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Out in the Alley a Dead Horse is Beaten

We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.

This is what they came to Washington to do -- to break the government of the United States. It doesn't matter any more whether they're doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party's mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural Address in which government "was" the problem, through Bill Clinton's ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being "over," through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find "common ground" and a "Third Way." Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country's higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.
I prefer the term "Rovine Spongiform Encephalopathy" (tm, driftglass, 2006) but there isn't much to quibble with here.

Instead I get an uncanny sense of walking past a room with a teevee playing an old movie. A classic. Casablanca, maybe, or The Big Sleep. Something so familiar and well-constructed you can almost recite all the lines by heart.

And that's a problem.

I have been using this same color palette for almost a decade now, the only thing I am sure of this morning is that I am tired. Tired as Hell. I'm sure Mr. Pierce will understand that I am being complimentary when I say that this sounds so very much like everything I wrote on this blog in 2005.

And in 2006.

And in 2007.

And in 2008.

But now it's 2013.

More from Mr. Pierce:
The first and most important thing is to recognize how we came to this pass. Both sides did not do this. Both sides are not to blame. There is no compromise to be had here that will leave the current structure of the government intact. There can be no reward for this behavior. I am less sanguine than are many people that this whole thing will redound to the credit of the Democratic party. For that to happen, the country would have to make a nuanced judgment over who is to blame that, I believe, will be discouraged by the courtier press of the Beltway and that, in any case, the country has not shown itself capable of making.
Nearly 10 years ago, when this kind of writing was almost entirely the province of reviled Liberal bloggers, there was a sharp, minty slap of recognition to it.

We found ourselves staggering into Digby's or The News Blog or Talking Points Memo with the same palpable sense of relief and gratitude as one who had been shipwrecked alone on a hostile ocean and who washes up one day on the shore of a verdant island. There was a jug of clean water waiting for us there.  There were sturdy lean-tos already built and ready.  There was a mess of fish cooking over the firepit.

But most of all, there were people. People like us! People who spoke our weird language, shared our concerns, saw the world as we did. There was a shared vocabulary that put the events that were shredding our country into an understandable context.

And there were things we could do! Actions to take. Maps to help us navigate the lonely oceans and a means through which we could stay in touch with each other. Learn from each other. Share our victories and lessen the burden of our defeats. Finally, finally, we had the tools to begin to push comprehensively and comprehendingly back against the mudslide of arrogant ignorance and preening bigotry that was burying the country we loved.

But now it's almost a decade later, and the arms that sound the alarum bells are getting almighty stiff and sore.  10 years later, (Hell, 30 years later if you count all the warning flares Liberals were firing off during the era before blogging) and the riders who raced through every digital Middlesex village and farm warning that the enemy was at our gate have now retraced their midnight rides a thousand, thousand times on horses that are now gaunt and exhausted.  

And those Middlesex villages and farms remain either asleep or heavily armed and pissed off at all the racket.  

I fear we are mostly documenting the atrocities now: giving future generations something pick through when they get around to trying to figure out what went wrong, because it's sure as Hell the case that no one is listening here-and-now.  We make little digital notes and put them in little digital bottles to be tossed out into an indifferent sea in the hopes that someone, somewhere will know we tried, but that in the end the concentrated might of Liberaldom could not make Rush Limbaugh or Fox News stop lying even a little, could not persuade the Great Wad stop shoving money and votes into the pockets of lunatics and bigots even though it was killing them, and could not prevent Beltway clowns like David Gregory from inviting obvious frauds and hucksters like Bill Kristol and Newt Gingrich over for Sunday brunch at the Wise Men's Table even once.

Now, I fear, like Josephus, it falls to us to write the history of a nation that is being slow-motion sacked before our eyes by an imbecile and carefully targeted mob -- a mob which will no doubt find a way to blame us Liberals for the ashes once the pretty fires they are setting finally gutter out and die.


KaJo said...

There may be no way to dislodge the morons of the Tea Party, because they're firmly ensconced in so-called "safe" gerrymandered districts.

But there are a large number of not-quite-so-radical or even moderate Republican congressmen/women in more representative swing districts who are vulnerable to a OFA onslaught of Dem challengers with campaign platforms that might be attractive to voters in those districts.

Time to flip those districts to Dem representation.

Another thing Dems could do is mobilize RIGHT NOW a number of free-to-move young folks into those so-called "safe" districts, register as voters according to all the restrictive new requirements, and turn those districts to a more representative moderate lean (surprise!).

Mister Roboto said...

It's definitely not both sides, because Republican demands for raising the debt-limit are essentially the implementation by the Obama Administration of their full agenda from the last election that their candidate lost.

That our arms are tired and our horses are gaunt is a good example why I've come to the conclusion that whatever is going to happen will happen, and it probably won't be good. But if there are people who still want to "do something", then I certainly recognize that the source of that impulse certainly isn't all bad. But it could just end up resulting in further frustration.

Anonymous said...

We just got the word that we have six months of funding stacked up and that USAID and the State Department (the agencies we contract for) are OK for a while as well. USAID has funds that should last a few weeks, and State has a ton of non exempt people anyways.

Other people here in DC are not so lucky as to have funds socked away from multiyear projects. On the plus side the traffic is good, for a change. And the building is deader than usual which means I can go back to playing Outlast on the 200inch screen with the 3d projector in our conference room.... err... monitoring the network.

JerryB said...

I've had a few days like that over the last couple of years. The frustration wells up inside you when you see insanity playing out right in front of everyone and no amount of shouting into the wind seems to have any effect.

Even when there is some glimmer of hope from something like OWS or the election of Obama, it turns to dust when those things are either ignored or perversed by the forces of inertia or are far less than they promised to be.

We either give up or we keep going. What's it gonna be?

Anonymous said...

That driftglass used to be a hell of a writer. Thank God for Mr. Pierce.

Lately all you seem to do is write about yourself and your glory days.

Kathleen said...

Driftglass, ignore Anon 1:57. You are still in your glory days. And I still seek the respite you described. I so need your blog, and LGF and Cesca and Spandan and SmartyPants - you all keep me going and give me a sense of "home". Blogs have saved what little sanity I have left. Thank you so much, Driftglass.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

it's kind of scary, though, to think that my little single-shingle professional services life is now more viable than most of the gubblement.

Thanks, Republicans! not to mention the Both Siderists that make it all possible!

blackdaug said...

What Kathleen said...

Demian said...

Regarding nuanced judgments, no way. Yesterday after some discussion of the documented (self-documented, actually) GOP intransigence with representatives of the voting class with whom I work, one of them forwarded an email piece about how millions have been unemployed since Election Day 2008 and nobody gave a damn, yet a few public sector employees get their checks held up and we're all to pieces. There's a picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker for some obscure fucking reason, perhaps because they couldn't find the 'shop of Obama as The Joker. So the internet's already awash with the familiar, specious, Goebbels-like material.

Demian said...

Commenting further on the instant spin, Bobby Jindal issued a paid tweet saying that "the dysfunction in Washington is the fault of President Obama." (Link available on request, don't bother, you've seen plenty like it.) In case anyone needs help with that nuanced judgment thing.

n1ck said...

Honestly, 1793 redux is the only thing that will actually clean up the problem.

Very radical, very unserious, and very true.

kfreed said...

Well, we first pull our noses out of Libertarian arseholes (they are NOT progressives, for the eleventy millionth time).

We start working together for a change, give the emotarians the boot, and instead of jumping on every distraction and fake scandal offered up by Libertarians LIKE GLENN GREENWALD and his BFFs the Fraud Pauls, we tell them where to shove it.

We STOP taking up the crusade of every dipstick Tea Bagger faking victimhood. The IRS scandal comes to mind. The NSA busllshit that you now know is a mess of deliberate misreporting is high up on the peeve meter for many of us. The round the clock Obama-bashing from the left which the baggers convenietntly pick up and wave in the faces of independents and dems (SEE????) can be knocked off for once.

Massive blowback is in order. Push back, howl bloody murder, GOTV now. We get these tea bagging fucknuts out of office, ASAP.

Get up, we've got work to do.

If you can't do that, then you might as well curl up under the bed in a fetal position and good riddance.

I'm fucking tired, too. Too fucking bad.

kfreed said...

@Demian If the right is spouting bullsit, we storm the comment sections, Twitter feeds, reddit, facebook, whatever the hell, with constant corrections. If they can do it, we can do it. My Twitter feed is on fire daily doing just that. People are pushing back. Enough with the defeatist victim act. Whining can be done in private. Get mad already or get out of the way. Too many people who have no fucking idea what's upon us are going to suffer if a whole lot of somebodys who DO know don't get off their arses.

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