So many stories, so little time.
OK, I think my overriding theme over the next few posts will be that a newly minority party that had been on the ascent for several decades leaves a lot of idle hands, seeking mischief and seething with resentment. When those newly unemployed foot soldiers are your typical, run-of-the-mill authoritarian, goon-squad Rethuglican hacks, well - there's no end to the bedlam they can incite. They were always more effective as a minority party anyway, in blocking and preventing (you know "conserving" shit) rather than building and creating. Now the shadowy, cadaverous powerbrokers of the ruling class have, since the coronation of Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun lo those many decades ago, successfully created a whole generation of cackling gremlins who delight in smashing and provoking and destroying anything odd, different or somehow opposed to their deeply stupid, constricted and self-aggrandizing socio-political cosmology.
Amanda Marcotte, whose blog Pandagon
is not one of my regular daily blogroll but still very good and always rewarding in her analysis, was recently hired, along with one of my favorite online gals Shakespeare's Sister, onto the John Edwards campaign as some sort of official blogger - ostensibly as advisers to the Edwards campaign's online wing. Well, being that Pandagon is insightful and nuanced and written and frequented by thinking people, some of the stuff on her site can be rather, well, saucy - particularly the comments section. Of course, trawling comments for offensive remarks has been a tactic of the right at least since the rise of the leftwing blogosphere as a power in politics with the Dean campaign in 2004.
At any rate, the Edwards campaign was able to overlook that cheap shot, but then Catholic League president and world-class troglodyte Bill Donahue who once said that Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Cristianity and love anal sex
, dug up some anti-Christian stuff not from comments but from Amanda herself and began the predictable gorilla chest-thumping outrage kabuki dance, and the Edwards campaign folded. Actually, Amanda resigned and they let her. Which I think is wrong. She should have been talked out of it and the Edwards war room (does he have a war room?) should have made the issue Bill Donahue being a dim-witted right-wing bigot who should shut his mouth rather than expound on things beyond his meagre understanding of the world.
This can't happen, folks. This is how they divide us. This is how they make us dance to their tune.
So, for the curious, this is one of the things Amanda wrote:
The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal, where god is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman, and women are nothing but vessels.
Review of Children of Men
Which I happen to agree with, sure, but some over here on the left don't. Nevertheless, I think a right and proper war room would have found a way to throw feces back at Bill Donahue and all those knuckle-dragging neanderthals. But instead, they make us dance to their tune.
They divide us.
Case in point, Taylor Marsh, whom I normally admire and whose blog I frequent, wrote this:
It renders me speechless. Well, almost, obviously. Talk about handing your opponents the knife. Ms. Marcotte was right to resign. However, she's not the only one to blame for this one, because she remained true to herself throughout. It's Edwards who was clueless about whom he'd hired.
What? What about that makes you speechless, Ms. Marsh? From what she said, I can only surmise she's one of those "religion is a beautiful, peaceful thing that is sadly corrupted by those all those mean, ugly humans" touchy-feely nincompoops. Even then, she seems to think that we must take the high road and attempt to build consensus across the divide.
Their team will back one of their guys not only when they are flagrantly wicked, bigoted or venal (paging Darth Cheney, Trent "Helmet Hair" Lott & Duke "I'm So Sorry I Got Caught" Cunningham) - 'cuz that's just the wimpy hippies hatin' on the natural awesome-ness of Republicans
- they'll even back one of their own team when they're wrong and bad by their own narrow-minded, arbitrary, mean-spirited standards - look up "Haggard, Ted" and "Foley, Mark" for proof. She may now no longer be in the gun-sites of the high-profile deranged, but the Dale Gribbles who compose most of the political right's online population will sit in their underwear clacking away at their keyboards with Cheetos-stained fingers in pursuit of poor Amanda from now until the cows come home and for some time after, gleefully sniping away at her, seeking her atavistic death from a thousand cuts. They could very well succeed, too, unprotected as she now is by the financial and legal resources of a major political campaign. Lefty bloggers, except for a handful of professionals, are just folks in their living-rooms with crappy jobs and mountains of bills, just like everyone else.
So screw you, John Edwards and your campaign, for throwing a smart and popular blogger under the bus. You could have won undying loyalty from the lefty blogosphere if you had backed her up and called out Bill Donahue as a brain-dead mean-spirited bigot, but instead you folded. Maybe you were trying to curry favor with some sympathetic hearts across the aisle, but that is a fool's errand because they will never like us. For them, getting one of the smarter, more charismatic Democratic front-runners to ask "how high?" when they say "jump" is only stage one of ten thousand. They hate us, they want to destroy us, they will not allow us to co-exist. Now, you look weak to your enemies and your friends, Amanda is out in the cold, and potentially powerful allies are pissed about it.
And as for Ms. Marsh, her sop about Amanda not being the only one to blame and being true to herself throughout, is but pablum, garbage, drivel. You let them divide us. This is how they work. By even granting that they may have a valid point, you concede ground in the debate, which is fatal when combating a demagogue. That is how they do it. That is how they win. They never give an inch, ever.
For proof of how powerful not conceding, ever, can be, check out the lovely ladies in my previous post, immediately below. They stood their ground, amid slings and arrows, never backed up, never backed down, never did a teary-eyed apology to Oprah or Katie Couric, never reached out to offer truce to the baying hyenas nor to make peace with their persecutors - and those people were their core followers - country music fans, who tend toward the, er, right side of the aisle. And it hit them in the pocketbook, hard. They lost fans and money, but stood by their principles.
And look at them now. Five Grammy Awards and not at Gitmo.
As for Edwards, and his apologists like Ms. Marsh, the people going after them didn't even like them to begin with, so there's no one to win back. They'd have to win them over in the first place, which they can't do without losing their souls.
I quote Lincoln:
"Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarcely mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them, if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know, because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.
These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
- Abraham Lincoln
New York City, New York, February 27, 1860