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No, no, no, no, no, don' wanna

So. Your Humble Blogger has not been posting regular rants about Our Only President and his pack of grifters, nor about the Other Party in our federal legislature and their stunning, implausible incompetence. In truth, I don’t have much to say. Picture me with that open-mouthed look of bewildered horror, occasionally gathering my chin up enough to sputter But—

When I do manage to half-formulate an idea of something to write about, I put a couple of sentences together and then have to go and take a walk. Or eat some chocolate.

So this is a note to more or less check in and let any of y’all Gentle Readers that might have been expecting me to write about today’s news or this week’s or any of the mishegoss going on right now that, well, no. It doesn’t seem that I am going to write about it.

Among other things, primarily my having no handle whatsoever on what the hell is going on in our government, there’s the fact that I don’t actually enjoy spitting vituperation about the Other Party. I do, honestly, believe that Conservatives are an important part of Democracy, and that a functioning Conservative Party is vital to our constitutional system. I don’t think it’s my job to provide one, and I don’t see how my talking about it would help anything, whether I take up a tone of reason or vent my righteous anger. There ain’t no Republicans reading this Tohu Bohu, nohow. Sigh.

So yesterday I was trying to write up some ideas I had about political resolve. Well, resolve generally, but specifically as it works in politics. The high regard in which we hold the resolute; the contempt for the flip-flopper. The Green Lantern theory of diplomacy, the Art of the Deal, the sense that the House Freedom Caucus seems to have or at least project that they believe that if they simply refuse to cave in Obamacare will be repealed. I wrote a few sentences and stopped. What’s the point? Yes, their authoritarian impulses led them to accept as their leader an incomprehensibly unqualified television star whose ignorant vacillations were only thinly masked by the bluster of resolution. Yes, Our Only President gave an rambling interview in which he claimed that when he said things that weren’t true, they later became true, and that therefore anything he said that seemed false just hadn’t come true yet.

It’s not that I don’t care any more, you know.

It’s that I care too much. It hurts to blog about the failure of our democracy, particularly when all Your Humble Blogger really has to offer is the usual combination of heavy humour, stretchy metaphor and occasional insight into rhetorical technique. Meanwhile, as a nation we’ve elected into the White House and majorities in our Legislatures a Party that wants to implement policies that I find appalling, disgusting and dangerous—and through incompetence and dysfunction, they are failing. I don’t want conservative policies to be implemented. But elections really ought to have policy consequences, and there is a terrible price to pay when they don’t. Of course, in this case there will be a terrible price to pay if they do—a literal price for a lot of people and a metaphorical price for a lot of others. You know, the ones who will die. I care too much about them to want stupid, impractical and mean-spirited bills to pass. I care too much about America to want the Other Party to fail like this.

What is the path from here to a working federal government? What are the steps along the way? At one point, a few years ago, I thought that one step, unfortunately for my preferred policy outcomes, was the Other Party gaining legislative majorities and the Presidency: having to govern, and paying the political penalty for failing to govern, would realign the incentives. That sure doesn’t look likely right now.

Look—let’s be clear: I was wrong about that, I was wrong about Donald Trump, I was wrong about how the whole damned government would respond to all of this. I’m scared as hell that the country won’t properly survive all this. Not just Our Only President, who is bad enough, but the utter failure of the rest of his Party to respond. And how should they respond? I have no fucking idea. Not how they are responding, that’s for damned sure, but given who votes for them and why, what should they do now? I have been wrong about so much; now I know only that I am baffled.

And for that matter, what should My Party do that moves us along that (I hope not completely imaginary) path from here to working democratic self-governance? Obstructing everything reinforces the new and terrible norm; co-operative compromise in fuckery and incompetence would be a disastrous betrayal.

And I surely don’t want to preach despair. Which I don’t really feel: there is hope in America, I do believe it. The resistance is a thing, which was not a thing before—it is in fact many things, which is even better than being a thing. Young Persons these days are (in my experience) broadminded and kind and aware of how they’re getting screwed and who is screwing them. Thirteen million peopled voted for a Democratic Socialist, and sixty-five million voted for a woman running on a progressive platform. Even some of y’all Gentle Readers have gone from being election-day citizens to year-round citizens, and maybe even some of y’all are finding that kind of active participation in self-government a good thing in your lives. That’s great! It may even be enough! I don’t know!

Well. That’s pretty close to a thousand words that pretty much demonstrates why I have not been writing about politics lately. I don’t know if I will be inspired to in the future; I have to balance how much it depresses me to try it with how much it depresses me not to try it. I find it easier, unsurprisingly I suppose, to write about books and Scripture and whatnot, so I think that’s what I’ll concentrate on for a while.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

I feel your distress: I am trying not to spend too much time fretting obsessively about the governance catastrophe unfolding in the United States in federal and state governments, so I would look forward to a Tohu Bohu focused on other topics.

I would offer the suggestion that you could decrease your own worry by not worrying about obstruction. The Democratic Party is not going to forget how to compromise, and compromise will most likely return to American politics when it is taking place within stable Democratic majorities or between the Democratic Party and a party that has replaced the criminal conspiracy that the Republican Party has become in our two-party system. A reconstituted Republican Party might one day in the distant future be capable of participating constructively in a pluralistic political system, but now it is not.

I would venture to disagree about the need for a Conservative Party. To avoid the corruption that is an inevitable consequence of one-party rule in a large state, multiple political parties are necessary, so that voters have some authentic choice between representatives who are in competition with one another rather than in collusion. It does not follow, however, that one of those parties must be Conservative. In a two-party system it is likely that one party will defend the status quo and the other work for change, so in that sense, the defense of the status quo will be conservative. If the status quo is acknowledged to be untenable, however, then Conservatism has nothing to offer politically, and there's no necessity for it to be part of the political discourse. If Conservatism coms to mean, as it has in the United States, fascism and white supremacy, there is no need for it, and the restoration of civil political discourse may depend upon its exclusion. Competition between parties and between political ideas is vital to our Constitutional system. Conservatism isn't.

Insofar as some people will always think of themselves as conservatives, there will presumably be conservative participation in the political process, but there's plenty of room for debate among positions that don't seek the destruction of the democratic government and the immiseration of the American people. If that's what Conservatism has become, we can make shift to do without it for twenty years or so while it takes a time-out and relearns how to mind its manners.


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