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The Link Between How We Think and Whether We'll Win: II. Restoration, not Revolution, Is the Realistic Goal

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For the past two years, I've been working full-time to oppose this Bushite regime because I believe it is doing profound and systematic damage to America, to the world, to the planet. It has been my conviction that in this regime, power has been seized by a set of forces animated by a spirit that warrants being called evil. Never in the history of this nation, I believe, has so much power been in the hands of such dark forces.

My writings about the many dimensions of this have elicited many responses seeking to press upon me and other readers a different perspective.

Rather than stressing the special nature of this Bushite regime, they emphasize that this regime is only a worse version of what's been there in the American power system all along. Whenever I describe and interpret the evils of the current ruling forces, they come forward to say, in effect, "This is nothing new. Look at these long-standing American evils."

Where I see extraordinary dishonesty in our rulers, where I see America having become a global bully, where I see an especially vicious political modus operandi, where I see unprecedented disregard of the law and the Constitution-- these people come forward to talk about the enduring problems of American capitalism and plutocracy, of American imperialism and abuse of power, of American racism, of corruptions in the American market-place of ideas, etc.

America has always been pervaded by injustice, corruption, lies, etc., is their refrain-- almost regardless of the immediate subject under discussion. It is this, they say, more than the specific nature of this Bush presidency, that we should be loud in denouncing.

I would argue that these people are an impediment to our success against this regime, that their continual diversion of the discussion from the immediate evils of this regime onto the long-standing problems of the American polity and society can only help the Bushites in their quest to hold onto power.

For the present, I will leave aside the question of whether or not this leftist perception of the American status quo ante is correct. That issue will be engaged in the next installment of this series.

But even if we were to stipulate that their analysis is right, their continual promotion of this perspective would STILL be a mistake. This emphasis on the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American system would still be an obstacle to our victory. Regardless of its truth, this leftist emphasis helps the regime that they agree is evil.
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The reason for this derives from the central idea of the first installment, namely that ENLISTING MAJORITY PUBLIC OPINION IS OUR ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT THIS REGIME.

Big majorities of the American people would agree that the president should not lie to the American people; that the president is obliged to obey the law and honor his oath of office to defend the Constitution; that it is dishonorable to use character assassination as a tool in the quest for power in our democracy; that it is wrong for an American leader to take the country to war on false pretenses; that our elections should be honest and fair; that science should not be falsified for political purposes; that the media should report the truth; etc. etc.

Awakening the American people to the true nature and conduct of this regime can rally a majority of the American people around such shared American values.

But most Americans are nowhere within striking distance of supporting the idea that the basic, traditional American systems of government and economy are inherently deeply flawed. The idea, more specifically, that America's role in the world has for generations been a shameful one is not one that there's a snowball's chance in hell will be supported by the preponderance of public opinion. The idea that America's liberal democracy has been a sham for generations, or even throughout its history, is not one that anything more than a tiny fringe is likely to support at any foreseeable time. The idea that America's market economy should be jettisoned and replaced, because of its being inherently unjust and exploitative, is not something that a majority of the American people are anywhere close to believing.

Yet these ideas, and others like them, are what a great many on the left seem to be most interested in promoting when they give voice in the political sphere. And quite often, when the subject is the way that the Bushites have been trampling upon what most Americans believe to be basic American values, these people will seek to divert the conversation away from the damage and dangers from this regime to make the point that those values have ALWAYS been trampled upon.
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Even though these people will generally concede that this proto-fascist regime is even worse than its predecessors, they seek to direct our efforts not against this Bush regime so much as against what they see as the persistent evils of American society.

But in today's political environment, as created by the Bush-Rove team, with their pervasive lies and false patriotism and fear-mongering, there's no meaningful chance for remedying America's long-standing problems. What is at stake at this moment is not major transformation such as the left believes in, but rather whether or not the United States will descend further into fascism.

When it comes to public opinion, the issue is not whether the American public can be swayed toward a leftist perspective on power. It is whether the mainstream of the American public will continue to be seduced by the powers that have been driving the nation toward a fascist state or whether they can be rallied to the defense of liberal democracy.

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)

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