May 10, 2005

It's a pretty depressing list

A guest blogger at Eschaton links to a list of things that "if someone had been saying five years ago that electing George Bush would result in any of the following, they would have been branded as a paranoid conspiracy nut". It got me thinking about the election five years ago. I voted for Nader, and while it seems people who voted for Nader then tend to either lie or admit they made a mistake, I have never felt my vote was wasted or wrongly cast, even though I wouldn't vote for the man today if you paid me.

Four and a half years ago, in the presidential debates, the only perceptible difference between Gore and Bush was in the delivery of the same bland policy talking points. This was even a joke at one point -- a moderator asked the candidates to name a difference they had on matters of policy, and they failed to come up with a single one! Bush's six or seven months in office -- much of which I spent in Europe, watching BBC news -- confirmed the theory that a moderate with a slightly rightward tilt had squeaked his way into office thanks to a partisan Supreme Court. It was bad for democracy, of course, but the worst Bush was going to do was make some pointless bluster about withdrawing from anti-proliferation treaties that probably wouldn't have gone anywhere and shift the tax burden onto the working class a little bit more. No big deal.

Then the right-wing wingnuts got an early Christmas present from some like-minded Saudis, and the Republican party forgot all about compassion. September 11th did two things for movement conservatism. First, it galvanized the conservatives themselves, unified the free marketers and Judeo-Christian fundamentalists against a common foe of medievalist Islam, staving off the infighting and cognitive dissonance which continuously threatens to cleave conservatism in two. Second, it scared most Americans shitless. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis, September 11 was a graphic indication that there are people who hate us, and would be quite happy to see us wiped off the planet. In this state, the people were easy to herd behind a strong father-figure: Daddy was going to Make Us Safe Again. Deferring to the Presidency extended to deferring to his party and the party's ideology, while the media -- just as scared and uncertain as the rest of the people, and willing to do anything for a buck in any case -- were happy to collaborate in the name of Security. The Republican orgy began.

1 comment:

Nick Burbules said...

Thanks for the link. I have added you to my blog list.

Nick Burbules (PBD)