Friday, November 27, 2015

GOPs stir up the hate, leading to sad, unsurprising consequences

This Charles P. Pierce article on how "America Sits on a Powder Keg" is more related to the resentment of minorities by the white working class (60 percent of whom believe white people are as discriminated against as minorities are) and how it is encouraged via racial dog-whistling and other baiting from the GOP. But it still seems appropriate to look at in light of today's shootout at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado that has left at least 3 dead.
There is a wildness in our politics that goes back beyond this administration. But the election of [President Obama]—​and his stubborn insistence that he be allowed to act like a president—​has brought a focused volatility to that wildness that is unprecedented in the years since the turmoil of the 1960s. The lost illusions of American exceptionalism, and the loss of the dominant postwar American economy, make the results of that poll sadly unsurprising. But that basic disillusionment has been percolating around American politics for decades. There is something different about it now that is the result of years of exchanging history for desperate propaganda, a yearning for a past that never was, at least not for all Americans. In the 1960s, protests like those going on at various universities, and like the one that's ongoing in Minneapolis [against an officer that killed a black man], would have been completely unremarkable.

Now, though, thanks to 50 years of steady drum-beating about how it was in the 1960s in which the country began to slide into decline, and how it was in the 1960s that the power drained away from You in the direction of Them, a culture of victimization has arisen despite all the data proving that the victims in question have not been victimized at all, at least not in comparison to their fellow citizens, anyway. What has victimized them are economic and trade policies that have drained the country of decent paying jobs, the decline of organized labor, and a lot of sleight-of-hand political jibber-jabber that continues to this day. It's just easier to get people to blame each other. And that's what's coming to a head in the country now.

That poll is chilling in its detachment from actual empirical reality. The people polled in it are chilling in their certainty. That certainty makes them believe that the police are their Myrmidons holding back the power of their fellow citizens who happen to be black, and who wield so much power that any means of resisting that power is wholly justified. That certainty makes them believe that protesters on a campus in Missouri are some kind of threat against the dwindling promise of a real American middle class. That certainty makes them jump at shadows, predictably. That certainty eventually curdles into a rage that lashes out blindly at all the wrong targets. For too long, too many people have been willing to believe that which is not true. At some level, people rebel against the nonsense they've come to believe. They feel stupid. They feel like suckers. They look for easy targets. Rage is general, like Joyce's snow, all over this country. It is not a good time.
And even worse, the GOP and their propaganda network encourages that that rage and certainty against facts that Mr. Pierce mentions. It has to end, and the way it will end is for the Dems need to tie that race-baiting, Crusade-like religioisity, and "divide and conquer" governance around the necks of the Republicans, and not let up for the next 12 months, leading to a landslide Dem victory in 2016.

The dangerous rhetoric and degrading act won't end until the GOP pays a heavy electoral price for doing so. And I fear it'll get worse until it gets better, because the Republicans have little else to run on at this point.

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