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Saturday, June 14, 2008

This will be a problem 

Glenn Greenwald writes about the increasing level of hysterical right wing fascism-- talk show host Laura Ingraham saying that the Bush administration should just ignore US Supreme Court rulings, while talk show host Michael Reagan says anybody who believes that the Bush Administration was responsible for 911 should just be shot outright :
... people like Laura Ingraham and Michael Reagan are crazed and absurd figures, but they have large audiences. There is a sizable portion of this country's population that has been fed a steady diet of ideas of this sort for years, a view of Government and political power that prevails in the worst tyrannies on the planet. The Leader has the right to break our laws. He should defy court rulings that enforce constitutional guarantees. The Government has the right to put people in cages for life with no process. People should be imprisoned or shot by virtue of the views they express.
As the Right comes to accept that their political movement lies in ruins -- as evidence of their rejection by the country becomes too compelling to ignore -- the desperation and frustration level increases and much of this rhetoric will become more extreme (note that Ingraham cited the President's low popularity ratings as a reason why he should ignore the Supreme Court's ruling; National Review's Andy McCarthy on Thursday suggested that in response to the Court's ruling, we should take all of the Guantanamo detainees and just slaughter them en masse). Having millions of citizens inculcated over many years with truly deranged, extremist tripe of this sort -- and Fox just announced that Ingraham would have her own show beginning next week -- obviously has consequences. We've seen just some of those over the last seven years, and the reaction is likely to intensify as that movement grows more impotent and marginalized.
Sometimes I think the US is heading toward some sort of cataclysm.
Politics in a democracy has a normal range, an ebb and flow -- we see this in Canada where the Liberals give way to the Conservatives who give way to the Liberals -- but where individuals including politicians still have a respect for government and where government has a respect for its own standards and traditions. Thus, however much I dislike Harper for his policies and his budgets, for example, I can give him the credit he deserves for actions like the residential school apology; however much Harper disagrees with the NDP he can still meet with Jack Layton to talk about issues like this. I think this is the kind of respect for each other and for the common good which Barak Obama is trying to achieve when he talks about making Washington less partisan.
But I wonder if this can still be done in the States or have they already moved too far away from civilized politics. Greenwald says their movement is in ruins, but millions of people in the States are still apparently so far down the rabbit hole that their only moral arbiter is whether the Bush administration is for something or agin it. These people want Bush to have a third term, and will happily vote for John McCain to provide it.
There is nothing more important to these people than their own personal safety, and they think they have made a bargain with Bush that he can do whatever he wants as long as he keeps them safe.
It's called a Faustian bargain, and generally it doesn't work out very well.

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