How Can They Say That?

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OK, I know I’m a partisan, but—

Imagine a specfic novel set in a place called, say, Demossia. The people of Demossia have created a floating city for their capital, a thing of strange beauty, forbidding aspect and tempting luxury. The glittering court of the city of Poubasson is comprised of space earls and augmendukes and whatnot, as well as a Star Executive who commands the legions of bureauclones and thundertroops and so forth. And, of course, the various viziers and privy counselors and psofficeholders of various kinds, all coming together in various and shifting combinations of ambition and idealism, greed and fear.

Until one day…

On the eve of the Star Executive’s annual departure for the Summer Station for rest and relaxation—this signals, of course, the doldrums in Poubasson, when the space earls retreat to their estates on their various moons and the bureauclones wilt in the humid air, dreaming of access to holographically cooled snowbeaches while they deal with the neverending stream of Demossian petitioners—it is discovered that the Grand Space Earl of the House Marq’servays has instructed the other members of his House to quarter the country rousing the rabble under the slogan Fighting Poubasson for all Demossians.

Now, I’m just asking—isn’t the Space Earl, kinda, sorta, you know, a traitor? I mean, isn’t the next part of the plot that the Star Executive sends the thundertroops to throw the Space Earl into the mekkadungeon, but he escapes to his fortress in the Impassable Mountains, and… I’m just saying that by announcing that you are fighting against Poubasson, you are declaring yourself the enemy not only of the capital but of all Demossia, aren’t you? Even if you claim to be doing it for Demossians. It’s the Demossians who made the glittering, floating, corrupt, distant, dangerous and degenerate place. And its enemies are necessarily the enemies of the people.

Because when (according to Roll Call’s Matt Fuller, who seems to have gotten his hands on one) put out a planning kit for its member called “Fighting Washington for All Americans”, Left Blogovia mostly mocked this thing with the idea of a Congressman leaving his office at the Capitol to go back to the district and beg voters to return him to that horrible, horrible place. This is indeed risible; when it comes to those things that sustain the American people’s affection and respect for our august legislature, the House Republican Conference was, to put it mildly, born and bred in that particular briar patch. So, yeah, funny.

But more to the point: Washington is America, even more than Poubasson is Demossia—we have sent our representatives to Washington for two hundred years to make it however we wish it to be. Is it awful? That’s on us. And since, in fact, Washington—This Town—is a magnificent mix of awful and awe-inspiring, of greed and fear and idealism, persistence and pragmatism and paranoia, of arrogance and humility and self-service—well, how could there anything more American than that?

So. I wish my Party would defend Washington. Not to defend the indefensible bits, the status quo, the historical awfulness, but to say: this glittering, floating, corrupt, distant, dangerous and degenerate place is Our Place; its enemies are our enemies, whether they are overseas or across the aisle. This city is America’s firstborn child and America’s mother, and any insult to Washington is an insult to all Americans. And we take that personally.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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