There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no crying in ideological struggles for the soul of the nation either. Whether the rest of us like it or not, several strands of largely fringe radicalism have merged, and now emerged as the dominant ideology, nee fanaticism of one of our major parties. And hulking bummer though it is, inconvenient and unavoidable hard fact, this now prominent absolutism doesn’t compromise, doesn’t moderate, doesn’t give a whit about two-parties, nor will it accept anything short of full ideological purification, not to mention full domination of the country. It sucks mightily, and get used to it.
Indeed, the ferocity of this new right-wing and Republican determination to assert the preeminence of ideological reality over material and scientific truth, to unashamedly impose a brutal social order (with the same attendant doublespeak about liberty and will of the people and freedom, along with many of the same scapegoats) skirts uncomfortably close to the absolutist extremism of the grotesque European isms of the last century.
But the time for merely remarking upon its odiousness, bemoaning the depravity of its methods and the vastness of its blithe deceit, or for exposition of the boundlessness of its freakishness has passed. It is time to match it in the only area that really matters at this stage: raw power. Which brings me to the news today that a Texas bank, and a couple of right-wing think tanks have embarked on the new go-to play for the Republican right seeking the overturn of democratically achieved laws, which is resort to litigation in largely friendly federal courts, including the highest court in the land. This time it isn’t health care it’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau established under Dodd-Frank. The poor, poor banks, and the woefully put upon financial institutions believe essentially that nobody is the boss of them, and at bottom any restriction or oversight that prevents them from doing whatever they damn please to consumers is, oh my, unconstitutional. We’ll see. But the point is that friendly courts, including the big one is what you get with raw power… and elections are how you get that power.
There is no better example of course of the triumph of raw power than the 2000 presidential election in Florida. All but a coup, it was a legal coup, legal because all of the power was stacked in such a way every democratic mechanism was subservient to one political party and its own interest. Own the governorship, the top state election official, the state legislature and ultimately the highest court in the land and the actual vote count, or even counting of the votes or the expressed will and intent of the people themselves are beside the point. There’s democracy and then there’s democracy.
The point of this really is that liberals and Democrats must at last fully comprehend the stakes and behave accordingly, no matter how often and insipidly CNN insists it’s all just two perpetually equivalent polarities or sides of the same coin. They must embrace the stale and unoriginal reduction of it all to the political process and leave behind their distaste for the laborious and grimy work of aggressive advocacy and electing people. They must, where lacking, develop an appetite for political blood, hand-to-hand combat and trench war… for the thrill of a political kill. Anything short of angry defiance at attempts at punking you, gutting you or sliming you by this borderline personality disorder masking itself as philosophy is unacceptable. Ownership by venal doughboys like the Koch Brothers or fey authoritarians like Scott Walker, or rule by amoral tinker toys like Mitt Romney should be repudiated with extreme prejudice.
Take power and keep taking it.