The Results Will Have to Come In
I’ve been reading the great Hilzoy of the Washington Monthly and her posts about Republican slander against liberals with acute interest; tactically the politics are crucial to the liberal cause, of course, but from a singular political science perspective it’s critical this kind of behavior must be watched very closely, fervently hoping it can be obliterated, for it has the greatest potential to tear a country apart.
Commie faggots! Commie faggots! Republicans yelled at my liberal brothers and sisters peacefully holding protest signs as the authoritarians waited in line to see Sarah Palin. Tom Harkin, the Tokyo Rose of Al Qaeda. Barack Obama is a Muslim, he’s a terrorist, the leader of the liberals isn’t an American, none of them are.
The demonization of domestic political opponents as The Other, traitors to what makes up our core existence, the real cause of all of our problems. A very old political tactic of the most desperate and arrogant among us with a certifiably horrifying track record, when employed successfully in extreme the Holocaust and Spanish Civil War were the results, for just two examples on a long list of human tragedies.
Anecdotal evidence suggests so far that this kind of politics in the United States is going down in flames, McCain and the Republicans are set up for a rout and Sara Palin is viewed unfavorably by a small margin (almost un-heard of for a VP slot). Assuming the hoary disaster of domestic demonization becomes the political suicide it should be, how far in fact did the Republicans take us down that road in their disastrous reign of power?
Americans should never assume civil war or widespread violence against liberals and ethnic groups could never happen here, of course our history is totally awash with it, yet modern Americans have blithely allowed a horrifying advance of authoritarian politics that not only demonizes liberals but has also crushed the Bill of Rights (FISA) and made a total mockery of our legal system (Guantanamo).
Many would argue that the United States has already slipped into authoritarianism, demonization of liberalism seen recently is a just a natural American manifestation of a Republican Party run amok. Krugman and Kissinger describe them as revolutionaries, and at least small comfort can be taken before the election that enough Americans have seen we have seriously, seriously lost our way as we look at all the ruins of what used to be our greatest strengths and institutions.
Yes, at this point it seems as if the Republican disaster of our century will be rejected, but the answer to how far the United States has regressed in its democracy is always the same: too far. Demonization should never be allowed, it’s potential for horrifying disaster is too great.
We shall have to wait 10 days to see how great that rejection will in fact be. Hopefully crushed enough so Republicans finally realize how stupidly offensive and suicidal it can be, that if they never want to win again go ahead and blame liberals and Democrats for our troubles.