and it’s not incumbent on Democrats to save US democracy
This week, Joe Biden traveled to Georgia, that bastion of color-blind equality, to make a hell-raising speech in which he drew a line in the sand:
Which side are you on? Are you on the side of democracy, or the side of authoritarianism? Racial justice or white supremacy?
It was a necessary, ineffectual speech, delivered only to give Biden his place in the history books, the place where he’s the last President to speak up for what’s right before the storm clouds gather and the storm troopers assume power.
And it’s a shocking question, shocking because it needs to be asked. On January 6th, 2021, an out of control mob of racist thugs, incited by the former President, set upon the Capitol, looking for members of Congress with murder as their intent, evidenced by the weapons they carried and by their words. Yet slimeball Republicans deny that reality, insisting that it was “just the usual bunch of tourists”.
You know, the usual bunch of tourists waving weapons, killing police, threatening Nancy Pelosi, and even Mike Pence, who grew a temporary pair and refused to “nullify” the vote, with death, taking selfies sitting in the Speaker’s office and shitting on the floors.
This is the point you’ve reached: Where being Republican no longer matters, only if you’re the right kind of Republican—one whose loyalty to Trump is total, one who believes what the de facto ruler believes; where it’s held to be all on the Democrat, democratically-elected President to stand up for democracy, because the other party in power in your two-party system now holds democracy in contempt and already, as I write this from my Canadian socialist igloo on a whale-blubber fueled Dell computer running Troo-doh 3.0, our nationalised operating system, has put in place laws that will enable them to flip the votes in any state to the outcome they want.
The outcome they want is a fascist, one-party state based on white supremacy and expressed as Christian theocracy, enforced by a compliant military.
You don’t buy it? You think I’m joking? I invite you to look up the histories of Mike Pence, Jim Barr, and that eerie, smirking baby factory and total partisan hack, Amy Coney Barrett. They, and I would wager a six-pack of Bieber Bits, all of the top brass in the Republican camp, are fully committed to Christian theocracy in America, and it’s their long-term, generational strategy to cement the systems in place that will guarantee it.
Trump? That orange-headed goofball was just the short-term means, the idiot they had to manage for a few years to further massage the idiot electorate into compliance. The shadow government, corporations (“people”) speaking through their bought political mouthpieces, spent decades destroying the only weapons progressives have, those weapons being systems of thought: Science, Philosophy, and Art.
Science, philosophy and art represent the best of humanity, science (from the verb “to know”) being the best attempt at explaining an objective reality, a reality that, because it is demonstrably separate from our ideologies and opinions, is not open to denial; philosophy (“love of wisdom”) being the best attempt at explaining what it means “to know”, how we can know that we know, what constitutes “knowledge”, of how from Socrates and Plato and Aristotle to the present day, we might struggle to answer the question of how we might live the best moral life and how virtue could possibly be its own reward .
And art represents our longing to make the unreal, real, to express how we might communicate beyond words, how we might say in palatable form what is most unpalatable, to demonstrate how the best copy of what we see is not, in fact real, that we can be outwitted; how physical laws can order sound, how we can snatch music out of silence and build in time the equivalent of bridges and skyscrapers that remain standing and bear the weight of our ideas. Art is ecstasy with a retaining wall, joy with a four-level parking garage and an automated sprinkler system.
All three systems stand in for freedom, for neither science nor philosophy nor art—which is to say, reality and reason and truth—can exist under threat, in a climate of fear.
Now let me continue with a proposition, with which you can agree or disagree, always bearing in mind that if you disagree, you are wrong:
All political leaders, so-called right or so-called left, are supposed to be working for the public good. That’s the solemn commitment they made simply by asking for our vote: that they would work for our common good.
But our shadow leaders of the right have spent their time working only in the service of their own continuing power with its ultimate goal not a shining city on the hill, but a torture chamber in a squalid basement, where fetid water trickles down the walls and rats slither into the corners, where the only light is from the flames heating the irons which will brand your flesh as your screams dissolve against the concrete; the only truth the self-righteousness of the new Inquisition.
For decades now they’ve been bribing their idiot electorate with shiny bits of useless technology, immediate gratification, social media platforms run by teenage psychopaths focused entirely on profit to the detriment of truth, walling up three hundred million people in silos that echo with the worst ideas and instincts of humanity, destroying in a heartbeat the delicate web of trust and belief in the equal worth of all women and men that flowered briefly over two hundred years ago.
That delicate flowering was quickly stamped out in Europe by autocrats who realized the threat it represented; only the export of those ideals to the American Republic, and the reckoning after WW2 that resulted in the creation of a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, saved even the memory of those ideals.
The American idiocracy is dumbed down to a culture of pure, don’t-rock-the-boat, feel-good kitsch, resembling the “approved art” favored by the Man-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named. The American idiocracy has been stripped of enlightenment ideals, as the powerful spend their air-time obfuscating the meaning of science and marginalizing artists, even as well-meaning anti-racists tie themselves into knots judging the US Founders, eighteenth-century idealists who were ahead of their time, according to twenty-first century hindsight, thus throwing out the baby of the enlightenment with the bathwater of undeniable imperfection.
And the shameless, self-centred so-called progressives of the electorate, the Gen-whatevers (do these brats and baby misogynists even merit a second thought, let alone their own label?), the whiny “no one likes Bernie so I’m going back to bed” teenyboppers who wouldn’t even push the button on the microwave themselves until they were starving or wipe their own asses until they smelled their own stink, are turning out to be the biggest idiots and—unintentionally, or maybe not— the worst traitors of all.
Have you seen the latest efforts of Rand Paul, who is fund-raising on the concept that Anthony Fauci is a corrupt cynic fooling the public for personal gain? Do you know that Marjorie Taylor-Greene has put forward five bills whose sole purpose is to fire Dr Fauci? Or that extremists, on the basis of these lies, traveled across the country, armed, to kill him, in other words, to kill science?
Have you forgotten the protestors in the summer of 2020 who disappeared into the unmarked vans of Trump’s anonymous goon squads? The unrelenting demonizing of protest generally, which has been going on for years? Have you forgotten the creation of that invisible, non-existent enemy, “anti-fa” (the morons of the right don’t even realize that the epithet means “anti-fascist”) mere mention of which stirs up the inchoate lumpenproletariat like a conditioned scent raises the hackles on a pack of Dobermans?
Did you hear Amy Handmaid ask, during the recent Mississippi shadow docket attempt to rescind reproductive rights because “women have progressed so far they no longer need Roe vs Wade” ask, in all seriousness, whether it wasn’t possible simply to dump your unwanted baby at the nearest police station, after, of course, carrying it unwillingly to term after you’ve been raped by your step-dad? How’s that for a nightmare scenario worthy of Atwood?
Biden’s obviously thrown in the towel on the filibuster. He has to. Manchin and Sinema, those simpering, cynical, air-head DINOs, those Trojan horses, have made it clear that their power comes before what’s best for your country.
To state the obvious: If the Republicans return to power in 2022 and 2024, it won’t be Joe Biden’s fault, nor the fault of the mainstream Democratic Party. It shouldn’t need the end of the filibuster for Democrats to muster the bi-partisan votes necessary for voting rights legislation. It shouldn’t even take voting rights legislation for Republicans to refrain from gerrymandering and racist voter suppression. But that would assume a Republican party committed to freedom, the American Dream, the public good.
And that’s long gone.