Sunday, March 1, 2009

Strange Days

A movie came out a few years back, starring Angela Bassett, as a member of this partly all-star cast, called Strange Days. No it's not the movie I wish to review here, nor to critique Angela Bassett's performance in this Science Fiction look into a future where technology is used to capture experiences for later viewing and reliving as though they were just happening.

It's the title that intrigues me.

We seem to be living in Strange Days, a departure from those saner days when we could pretty much predict with some certainty how people might behave.

During the last few days, I caught a little of CPAC, not because I'm a Republican, or even a conservative, but because it's good to know what the political parties of our nation are contemplating.

Now a days, politics is shaping not only our economy, but some of our social interactions.

Strange days, indeed.

Rush Limbaugh's speech before CPAC resembled a pep talk of a sort, receiving so many standing O's that the people were standing more than sitting, with the ovations more than rivaling Obama's first address before a Joint Session of congress.

Rush restated his unequivocal position, "I hope Obama fails," as a way to further defy opposition from the left, and from some members of his own party.

In an equally defiant tone, he gushed, "I hope liberalism fails. Liberalism is destroying the country."

That's going to be hard sell. But then gullibility thrives because too many of us prefer the laziness of ignorance over the industry of knowledge.

You don't need that much of a fact check to learn that Republicans not only controlled both Houses of Congress for six years, but own the presidency for eight.

It wasn't liberalism that was in charge during that time, but conservatism, and it was this conservatism, this laissez-faire approach to the economy (few or no regulations in the financial sector of the economy), that led to our economic meltdown.

We're told: "Greed is good for the country. Capitalism flourishes under Greed."

Perhaps, but unregulated greed has only led to disaster for most, and has plunged the world's economy into a "black hole," one that is sucking up the light of opportunity, and the world's financial stability.

Strange days, I tell you!

Limbaugh called for a taking back of the country, "We can take back our country," he insisted, with a hubris that suggested that it belonged exclusively to Republicans, and we must do it because of our love of country.

(Of course, only Republicans love their country.)

Liberalism was equated with "socialism," that insufferable evil and anathema to capitalism, despite the recent foray into it with the TARP funds, and years and years of flirtation with it in our economy through subsidies of one sort or another.

Most Republicans believe that the party failed, not because it failed to articulate its advantage over its opponent's, not because it has become irrelevant to a growing number of Americans, not because it has been unwilling to distance itself from the failed policies of the Bush years (we're seeing some of that now), but because Republicans strayed from their center, their core values.

And if the party succeeds it will be because of its willingness to reconnect with those values. They believe that in a showdown, liberalism fails. When conservatism is compared with liberalism, the differences of the two will be blatantly obvious, and the superiority of conservatism over liberalism will be self-evident.

In that case, why all the urgency to supplant conservatism with liberalism. If liberalism is the self-evident evil that conservatives insist that it is, then, why do anything?

Liberalism will die of its own accord. And Republicans can be the vultures to pick away at the little flesh that's left on our economic bones.

Yet, this is not what Rush and company want: They want to destroy liberalism, to take back the country, to save the country from this liberal evil.

Republicans tell us that they can't allow liberalism under Obama to succeed. If it is allowed to succeed, the country, as we know it, is doomed. The statement, in and of itself, is contradictory. Liberalism, according to Republicans, can't succeed, since it carries within it the seed of its own destruction.

So what is it that Republicans and conservatives are afraid of? They're afraid of this: They're afraid that if Obama is allowed to succeed, then that success will spell the end of the Republican party as it is now constituted, and will signal their eventual demise, as it will be all but assured.

If Obama succeeds, they fail. It's as simple as that.

So the party has to root for the home team, rather than for the league, the league being the country.

Better the country goes down along with liberalism than allow it to stand strong under it.

Strange days, to be sure!

And what is the Republicans' prescription for fixing the economy? It is their "core values," of course, those values that we hear so much about these day, those principles that should govern the actions of every Republican, those "core conservative values" that will clearly, once and for all, show the country, and indeed the world, just how evil, and destructive (of human happiness, success, and enterprise) that liberalism is to the economic, social, and political landscape.

Some conservatives identify so much with what they call their "core values," that I don't think that they can survive without them. Those values are linked indelibly to their self-image, and their self-worth, and is the cornerstone of all things holy and righteous for them.

This self-identification is intractable, it can't be compromised, can't be modified without damaging a holy allegiance, or a Mount Sinai handing down of godly commandments filled with Thy Shalt Nots.

Here are the conclusions I've reached: Republicans and conservatives cannot allow, will not allow, Obama and liberalism to succeed, because it will steer the country further and further away from those core, conservative values that are quickly becoming the party's new/old identity, and prescription for saving the country from itself.

They see their mission as a holy, and just one, because we Americans just don't know what we're doing by our flirtation with "socialism," and the supposed direction that the liberals are taken us--perhaps Marxism, or outright communism.

And they point to the class warfare that Obama is fomenting between the haves and the have-nots, the rich, the middle class, and the poor, by taxing those who earn more than $250,000 more severely than those making less than that amount (not taking into account that it's merely reversing "top-down economics" with "bottom-up economics" that has favored the rich at the expense of the "working poor," and not taking into account that the gap between the two are still growing exponentially), as proof of their claim.

Robert Reich's Blog discusses these two models on his blog, not to say that those making $250,000 are being punished for their success, and are in the same boat as corporations, but that the models underscore a difference in the tax direction that's been prevalent for many years in our flagging economy, along with all its assumptions that rich corporations and individuals will take care of those who work for them, as long as corporations and individuals are doing well financially.

I said earlier: These are strange days. And I can only imagine just how strange they must seem to some Republicans and conservatives who are now seeing their "core conservative values" under attack by the liberal party in power who're pushing a so-called liberal agenda.

And if Republicans have any hope of seeing more days to their liking, and of their making, they have to hope that the country fails under both liberalism and the Obama administration--fails economically, politically, and perhaps socially (there's a great deal of talk about overthrowing the government these days). And Republicans have already signalled, with their unwillingness to sign on to the Economic Recovery Bill, that their party will do whatever it has to, to assure that.

I don't think it gets any stranger than that!


Miriam said...

Wow. This is so true. Strange days indeed.

I'm amazed at the GOP's unabashed descision and willingness to be opposers. Not even wanting to collaborate for the good of the country! And their members are okay with that? (I don't like to play the race card, but I do wonder if the 'face' of the democrates now being black makes it a tad more easier to be so blatantly opposing)

I watched parts of Rush's speech. Didn't he used to be shunned by republicans as being too radical? I don't remember.

"Greed is good for the country. Capitalism flourishes under Greed."

I have no words. Greed is from not knowing when to say "enough!" Wants festering out of control. Not to be confused with a want and need balance. And who are they to bash socialism when there seemed to be a whole lot of socialism when big money didn't want to suffer monetary loses. Anyway you said it best.

This post is appreciated. I can so go on and on with this! lol

Black Diaspora said...

Miriam, you're true to your word. Thanks for stopping by.

In the past, Republicans have used Rush to raise funds, and galvanize the base.

Other than that, they do tend to shun him.

Yet, they have to genuflect before him, from time to time, because he's so influential among the faithful.

Rush can make or break you with just a word to his "dittoheads," and everyone know that.

I'm surprised that a Republican would speak ill of him as Michael Steele did recently, saying that Rush's radio show is as incendiary, as it is ugly.

Whoa, that was a mistake!

Steele has been forced to say a million mea culpas to Rush since that fateful day when he stepped out of line, and criticized the most powerful man in the party.

After Rush stated on his radio show that he hoped that Obama fails, Obama responded with, what in hindsight was a masterful stroke of ring generalship, with the following: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done...."

That statement made Rush Limbaugh the titular head of the Republican Party, a move that critics questioned, and criticized at the time, but are now praising, because Limbaugh took the bait, which sparked a lot of internal fighting within the Republican ranks, as each strive to be the voice of the Party.

(I don't like to play the race card, but I do wonder if the 'face' of the democrates now being black makes it a tad more easier to be so blatantly opposing)

Miriam, this is one race card with legs. I'm in total agreement with you here. Had the presidency gone to someone white and male (and not to someone white and woman [Hillary Clinton, for example]), I don't think that person would be facing this much resistance from the Repubs.

I do believe that Hillary would have come under attack, too, because she's a woman, and a Clinton, to boot, but I still have to believe that Repubs wouldn't have attacked her harshly as they have attacked Obama.

The women of this country would be all over them for it.

Miriam, I hope you'll come again. I'll try to keep the site lively, informative, and hopefully insightful and witty.

Miriam said...

re: rush taking the bait.

Goodness, either Obama is one lucky fellow or ...I don't know.

dittoheads -hey, did you listen to his show? I used to just for a time.

Rush is so annoying to me on the radio, to even see him is a slap in the face.

re: race card with legs


I most surely hope to come back. I didn't know you had a blog.

Black Diaspora said...

@Miriam: "dittoheads -hey, did you listen to his show? I used to just for a time.

"Rush is so annoying to me on the radio, to even see him is a slap in the face."

I listened for a while, when he was the new kid on the radio block, and everyone was urging me to do so.

He was then, and is now, a strong defender of Repubs, caustic in speech and tone, and will indiscriminately attack anyone he believes opposes the Republican agenda--support big business, support big business, and support them some more.

He went after women (feminazies, he called them), environmentalists, and liberals (just your everyday democrats) with a venom only matched by the demonizing spirit with which he attacked them.

It wasn't long before I understood his radical position: The only good liberal is a dead liberal.

After more than a decade of feeding "red meat" to his slavish, and ravenous "Dittoheads," neither his tone nor his message has changed.

I guess he'd say: "If you have a winning formula, why change it?"

Sadly, Rush gets far too many very serious, and dedicated listeners to tune in for his daily drivel.

That's not good for race relations, democracy, or bringing the country together.