On the post I published here yesterday --
"I heartily agree that we have a dysfunctional government, but isn't it the people's fault for voting in the Republicans in the first place? When will we ever learn?"
To which I gave a response I'd like to share here, because it says a lot about how I see the essence of what's going on in America today. I wrote:
The question of fault is a tricky one. Yes, one can at least say that the fact that so many millions of Americans can be conned in this ugly way points to a serious defect in them and the culture they grew out of. I live among these people, and they are many of them wonderful people. And they've got no clue what it is that they're supporting.
That's why I wrote and published a piece in the newspapers in my conservative congressional district, where I was the Democratic nominee for Congress two years ago, an article about "The Fraudulence of the Republican Party, and the Adverse Shift in the Balance Between Good and Evil'-- also published here on Huffington Post click here
And I've written two pieces -- already up on my new pressthebattle.org website -- that explore how a culture like theirs can foster an area of stupidity in people who are intelligent in the rest of their lives, and can manipulate them into lending their support to an evil force even though they are, in most respects, good people:
- #30 Believing to Fit with One's Community-- The Enforced Orthodoxy on the Political Right
- #31 Believing to Fit Into One's Community -- How the Culture of Coerced Conformity Was Established
So yes, there is a lot of brokenness that goes onto having these people get conned into lending their support to an evil force.
The question of "fault" rests on how it is we should regard the way this brokenness is succeeding in working through these people.
For me, the answer comes from seeing how this vast "force of brokenness" works through the culture, and has advanced in our era-- how it works through all the brokenness it finds, in the people and in the culture that socialized them into what they have become.
Looking at how there are forces at work much more fundamental to the action than the individuals, I am inclined to leave blame out of
it. But I do not leave moral fervor out of it. Contemplating this force that advances deception, injustice, and strife, I am filled with a moral passion to do all I can to defeat it, as an enemy.
And it is this force of brokenness that has taken over a political party that until these times did have some genuine virtues in it, along with its faults.
We should be outraged at the outrageous behavior. But
the enemy is not Rush Limbaugh, or Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney, or the
Koch Brothers, or Rupert Murdock. The enemy is the set of forces that
have opened up the way for such people to play their destructive roles
in furthering brokenness.
In a healthy society, no one like Rush Limbaugh could ever have become the Godzilla of talk radio.
Limbaugh is the one person I hate most viscerally. But I realize two things: First, there but for the grace of God go I, so I see this ugly Limbaugh as the fruit of the world as he came into it, and at least try to feel some compassion for him being such a disgusting person. And second, it is not Limbaugh that must be defeated, but the whole "Evil Force" that has pushed some real human monsters into prominent positions in the power structure of America.
The enemy is not so much these manifestations or channels, it is that Thing that manifests itself in all these ugly and broken ways.