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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 29, 2006

 
This Ain't Yer Grandpa's Democracy

by tristero

Well. Now what?

The first thing to do is apparently quite controversial, why, I have no idea. But it is imperative that we fully recognize how seriously godawful the situation is.

I'll say it again: Americans are living in a fascist state. Don't like the word "fascism?" Neither do I. So what? It's ludicrous to call the gutting of habeas corpus, etc, etc, by near unanimous consent merely "authoritarian."* We are living in a fascist state. [See update.]

Some commenters in the post below said I am being too discouraging. Hardly. This country's government has been transformed and is no longer recognizable as a working democracy. That's simply a fact and we better accept it.

Because when you're dealing with fascism, "We can beat this, people if we just fight harder!" is naive win-one-for-the-Gipper fantasy-land. It's gonna get a lot worse than it is now before it gets better. We're gonna be lucky if more of us don't end up "persons of interest" to the Bush administration. Remember, if you're not with Bush, you're objectively pro-terrorist and I can't tell you how many times when commenting on rightwing blogs I've been accused of "aiding and abetting" the terrorists.

Does that mean not to resist Bush as some people suggested yesterday? I have no idea where that comes from. It never occurred to me.

I fail to see the connection between being realistic - that the situation is absolutely godawful - and giving up. Perhaps it's my experience as a composer, where confronting literally intractable obstacles - aesthetic, personal, and professional - are often an hourly occurrence. Of course, it's difficult to stick with it. Of course, it's discouraging, probably impossible with the odds of failure 10 to 1 or worse. Understanding that - truly understanding that - is the first step towards fighting with competence. You still very well could fail, but at least you're reality based.

And that makes you a lot more agile and street-smart than most of the folks you have to fight. And that increases the odds in your favor. And your chances of capitalizing on luck. Maybe not enough, but there's something downright satisfying about giving the bastards the worst possible time you can give them.

But in order to resist Bush, it's not enough to understand that we are in the early stages of a major catastrophe. We must also recognize exactly how it is bad, awful, dangerous, and the full extent of it before we can craft an appropriate resistance. What is clear is that the strategies used by the Democratic party to resist Bushism are useless.** We need much better ones.

Finally, we must realize that we will be fighting what this unspeakable bastard has done to the country and the world for a very long time.

*Only Republican votes count. And even then, a signing statement can easily finesse where they deign to restrict the god-inspired power of Oedipus Tex to do whatever he wants.

**Of course, you have to vote and of course you must vote for Democrats. Why? Because.

You think that's no answer? In the amount of time it would take for you to type out all the reasons you and I shouldn't bother, including gleefully pointing out that in the footnote above, I "admitted" it doesn't make a difference (which I didn't, btw), you could have saved yourself all that tedious effort and just voted. So grow up and just do it.

That's the least you can do. But if you're serious, you have to find ways to resist Bush in addition to voting that are less futile.

BTW, don't waste valuable electrons telling us how voting legitimizes a corrupt system, blah, blah, blah. I've heard it all before and it doesn't sound any more plausible the more it gets repeated. And yes, I know full well that the machines are rigged and it is not a paranoid fantasy to think that. It doesn't matter. Get off your lazy ass in November and vote for Democrats.

Don't wanna vote for Democrats who voted for torture? Agreed. Don't vote for them. Vote for other Democrats.

[Updated slightly after original post.]

[UPDATE: Some in comments and elsewhere have disputed my use of the F word here. Among the arguments: fascist states don't have elections. Well, in fact they do. But they're rigged. Computerized voting machines anyone. Another is that free speech is curtailed in a fascist state. Well, in fact it is. What matters freedom of speech in an era of megachurches if you don't have access to a significant microphone?

I deliberately chose one the most "extreme" words available because it sets off alarm bells. I am aware that this eruption of American fascism is quite different than classic examples. I am also aware that the extent of fascistic repression is small compared to other countries. American fascism doesn't resemble European models, or Asian, or Middle Eastern totalitarian states. But that doesn't make it any less fascistic.

If the cult of a leader inspired by God and Manifest Destiny, deeply beholden to corporate interests, which condones torture, heaps contempt on habeas corpus, plays the race card whenever it can, passes laws based upon the whim of the leader, and severely restricts the free discourse of ideas on the truly mass media isn't fascism, then please tell me what is.

More active use of the repressive powers Bush has seized? More censorship? That's simply a quantitative argument. The "quality" of fascism is undeniably here.]

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