Even if he succeeded in winning the nomination in a good, clean fight, I was thinking several weeks ago, the Republican slime machine could be counted on to throw every kind of disreputable mud at him –without regard to truth, or responsibility, or fairness– to discredit him, to frighten the American people, to do whatever it would take to hold onto power.
Evil has had a field day in America, these recent years, and it is not going to yield to goodness without doing EVERYTHING it can to hold onto its dominance. How could it hold anything higher than satisfying it’s own desires? It’s evil.
It is in the nature of evil that it holds nothing higher than feeding its insatiable hungers for more –the greed for more wealth, the lust for more power, the jollies it gets in its twisted way from dominating and humiliating and destroying.
So I was preparing in my mind to write about what is required of us –those in the American body politic who both see that evil and yearn for a restoration of basic goodness to our nation– in order to help Obama, the one possible source of such transformational leadership for America, to succeed. Even after winning the nomination, he would need us to help combat how the forces of darkness will do ANYTHING to block his coming to power. And even after winning the presidency, those forces will continue to do ANYTHING to prevent his being able to wield the power of the presidency effectively.
But, as it turns out, the challenge posed by the fact that “Evil is Not a Good Loser” has come earlier in the process.
In substantiating that, I’ll confine myself to quoting this passage from a piece by Gary Hart, “Breaking the Final Rule,” published on March 7 on Huffington Post:
It will come as a surprise to many people that there are rules in politics. Most of those rules are unwritten and are based on common understandings, acceptable practices, and the best interest of the political party a candidate seeks to lead. One of those rules is this: Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned.
By saying that only she and John McCain are qualified to lead the country, particularly in times of crisis, Hillary Clinton has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party’s nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her.
Hillary’s bargain with the devil is not as egregious as John McCain’s, back in 2004, when an honest statement from him about the nature of this Bushite regime could have saved this country, and the planet, a huge amount of damage. McCain COULD have earned himself a heroic place in American history by speaking the truth about the Bushites. Yes, it would have cost him the fulfillment of his political ambitions, and perhaps even his place in the Senate. But it would not have cost him his life. So the heroism required was not at the level of that of a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died in his attempt to defeat the Nazi evil. Even McCain’s just keeping his mouth shut, back in 2004, would have been much better for the country. But such was his willingness to put his ambition ahead of the good of the country that McCain, who surely must know what gangsters these Bushites are, kissed Bush’s ring and helped this presidency maintain its grip on power for another four, terrible years.
No, Hillary’s deal with the devil has not been so destructive as McCain’s, but for all we know that’s because she wasn’t in McCain’s position. Now she’s in a position, as Gary Hart says, where she’s had to choose between her own ambition and the well-being of her party– seeking to take back the White House from a Republican Party that has given us a criminal gang in place of a legitimate presidency. And as Hart says, she’s “revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power.”
She’s shown that if she has to choose between being a good loser and an unscrupulous winner, she’ll choose the path of “it’s all about me and my ambition.” I’ll not say that Hillary is evil. I won’t even say that I’ll refuse her my vote if she’s the nominee. But I will say that she’s shown that –like McCain– when it comes to her ambition she’s sold a vital part of her soul to the devil.
So the confrontation with evil begins now. That requires Obama to respond to the new challenge in a new, creative way that nonetheless still has integrity. And that requires us, who are depending on Obama to lead our way out of the reign of evil, also to find our own powerful and effective ways of meeting the challenge.
Evil will not lose gracefully. But it must be defeated.