Sunday, April 05, 2015

10 Years After: 2010 -- I'm A Fighting Liberal

We come now the the pivot year of 2010: the year when Conservatives would finally, fully disavow reality and swear obedience to their darkest impulses forever.  As of 2010 there could be no going back.  No reflection.  No forgiveness asked for, because for the Right, history would simply ceased to exist.  What they swore yesterday, they flatly disavowed today.  And as we on the Left knew all too well, whatever they would swear today, they would disavow tomorrow.

And so on they would go, until the end of the age.

In a sense, they were no longer truly human citizens of a democracy with whom one could debate: in exchange for a promise that they would never be held accountable for the awful things they had said and done, they sold themselves into bondage, becoming eager, reprogrammable political Golem, with passions and principles that could be flicked on and off as Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh saw fit.

2010 was the year in which "town hall" meetings became hysterical wingnut performance art pieces. When the worst economic plans imaginable were offered up by the Most Serious People in town.   When the Centrists  reasserted total control over the mainstream media.

And it was also the year the Left lost whatever momentum it had gained in 2008, because it was the year that far too many otherwise intelligent people -- including the President of the United States -- were desperate and delusional enough to swallow David Brooks' New Big Lie: that if one just kept offering appeasing olive branched and compromises one could create a bipartisan peace and find common ground with an insatiable wingnut lynch mob that had been whipped into a psychotic frenzy by an unbroken torrent of lies.

Welcome to 2010, ya bastids!.

"I'm not writing to make conservatives happy."

"I want them to hate my opinions.
"I'm not interested in debating them.
"I want to stop them."
-- Steve Gilliard
Ah, Conservatives.

From them I get comments, all kindsa helpful emails in this persona and in my civilian life, and eyeballs-full of hot wingnut mess from newspapers, magazines, teevee and all over the interwebs.

And they all seem to fall into one of three hilariously predictable, overlapping clusters:
1. The ones who think the “real” problem is that legitimate Liberal anger makes the issues which prompted that anger somehow illegitimate. In the wingnut Universe, getting angry with the serial arsonist who burned your house down makes you and the arsonist somehow equally wrong. No surprise that the only people who dare to try and sling this tripe are the fucking arsonists themselves.

2. The ones who think that the sheer decibel-level of their red-faced, pig-ignorant wingnut rage over trifles (ACORN!) or the wholly fictional bullshits churned out by Fox (Obama’s Kenyan Commie Death Panels Will Kill Granniel!) trumps Liberal anger over actual Republican crimes, foreign policy disasters, lies and treason.

3. The ones whose concerns I may share – deficits, affronts to the Constitution and the rule of law, terrorism, banker bailouts, etc. – but who have spent so long in the Hate Media Wingnut Re-education Camp that they are now are unable to acknowledge that recorded history began before January 20, 2009.
They fill the teabagger mobs seven deep and are full of fury and tirades, every one of which prompts the same question: Where was all of this UPPERCASE RIGHTEOUS PATRIOTIC OUTRAGE when it counted?

Where was it in 2002? 2003? 2004? 2005? 2006? 2007? 2008? Or in the 90s for that matter?

Where were the protests when Bill Clinton was being demolished and impeached? Where were the marches as President Cheney was lying us into war, and then botching it while enriching his cronies? Where were all the 101st Chairborne Jingonauts when Dubya was wiping his ass with the Constitution they claim to love above all else?

I have yet to meet the Conservative who will candidly answer those questions, because there is no way to square these kinds of circles:
"I cheered the impeachment of Clinton for lying about sex, but raged like a drunken Minotaur whenever anyone threatened to hold Bush accountable for lying about matters of life and death because..."

“I was thrilled when Liberal Dan Rather got fired for getting his facts wrong, and yet I have no problem getting all of my ‘news’ from a network that employs unrepentant felons, liars and war criminals who routinely lie to me because…”

"I was cool with Bush outing a CIA agent during wartime because..."

"Although it was the Bush Administration and Conservative deregulatory policies that destroyed the economy, I didn't start protesting until Barack Obama took the oath of office because..."

"Although I believe running deficits is worse than eleven Hitlers, I never bothered to object while George Bush was racking up record-breaking deficits because..."

et cetera a dozen, dozen times over without Lying Big, sinking into blabbing delusion or sounding like a worse kind of skeezy, toadying fuckweasel.

These people are spoiled children and moral cowards who will never summon the guts face up to and atone for the hundred different catastrophes they’ve have visited on the Land of the Free. Instead, having spent 30 years wrecking this country, the Grand Old Party of bigots, theocrats, Neocons and gangster-bankers, are all uniting in one, last cause: figuring out how to blame their epic, collective failures on imaginary hippies so they can finally drive the last nails into the coffin of the beautiful, pluralistic, tolerant, Enlightened America that the hate so much and replace it with a tidy, White, Corporate, Jesusland Police State.

I do not see any point in trying to persuade or reason with these people; if you’re still flying Conservative colors in 2010 (or hiding your filthy, discredited ideology in a new suit of “Independent voter” rags) you are ipso facto impervious to persuasion and reason.

Instead, it seems like an opportune time to unfurl the late Mr. Gilliard’s famous “Fighting Liberal” essay once again. Probably something we should do once a year: his rousing 2003 sermon on who and what we are has never been more timely.
I'm a fighting liberal

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful home life? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.

The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slave owners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?

Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed, the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.

For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.

Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.

Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.

It's time to regain the sprit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi satellite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accommodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?

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