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What's Good in the Bushite Supporters? What's Amiss Among the Liberals?

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In response to my piece “On the Mixtures We Are” I received a message asking me to explain what’s good about the Rovian Bushites. Meanwhile, several people have requested that I make clearer what it is that I believe has been the liberal moral blind spot, i.e. how some important aspects of contemporary American liberalism have contributed to the erosion of the structures of goodness in this country.

The following seeks to address these two, not unrelated issues.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough that, in talking about the "mixtures," it is not the Bushites themselves but the Bushite supporters I have in mind.

There is a real difference, morally. The Bushites at the top seem pretty wholly possessed of an evil spirit. But in many of the families of the Christian right, there is real goodness.

I say that (partly) on the basis of having lived among one form of such folk for a decade-- i.e. among the rural and largely fundamentalist hard-core conservatives of the Shenandoah Valley. For many years, I’ve been doing radio conversations with these people. From those conversations and from living among them, I know that there are some fine people and some fine families in that world.

They've got their tightness and their lack of awareness and denial and so forth, but notwithstanding all that there are among those who have supported George W. Bush plenty of good Christian people. And I am sincere in saying that --whatever else, even things to the contrary, they may also be-- they are truly good Christians and good people.

But evil has played upon their vulnerability through the theater of the moral lie (see my piece on Thursday on Common Dreams, "Bush and Rove: Collaborators in the Theater of the Moral Lie"—at ). And they have been harnessed to help an evil spirit extend its power in the world.

This seduction --this moral lie to exploit the defects in their own moral structure-- is what we need to wake them to.

There is an important part of them that really does care about the values upon which the Bushites have been trampling. I don't know how many of the Bushites warrant this benefit of the moral doubt, but I do know that I experienced a lot of goodness in my contact with people who now are supporting the evil Bushite power.

We should reach out to that part of them.

Remember in the Emperor's New Clothes? One of the musical elements of that story is that the realization,"But the Emperor has no Clothes!" swept through the crowd, gathering momentum.

That was a tale of a kind of hypnotism-- people really didn't see that the Emperor has no clothes. They're really surprised. Right?

Well, many of our countrymen are similarly in a trance. Our job is create the kind of "Emperor's New Clothes" moment that will evoke such a wave of awakening. It may indeed be coming, with these scandals of torture, of (illegal?) surveillance, etc.

Awaken them to their better selves. It is another part of them that has been harnessed for evil. Evil has implanted some chips in their psyches that allow it to take over sometimes. The dark forces of American culture have left their weapons in place, awaiting the opportune moment to strike from within. This time in American history has been that moment.

But we on the liberal side are not so different -- in the sense that the mirror image of something is no different.

The liberals have a lack of structure that evil uses to come up from below. The conservatives have a flawed structure designed by evil that, in the unhappy scenario that has transpired, can allow evil to work from above, in the form of fascism.

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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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