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Rob Kall's recent "How to Erode and Destroy Democracy"

By       Message Rafe Pilgrim     Permalink
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I think it all started when the American electorate elevated a not really very good "B" movie actor to be the most powerful person in the world, and for that matter in all history.  Prior to that, America had certainly not been perfect (just ask any black person over the age of 60) but it was moving albeit clumsily in generally the right direction.  And, yes, there had been some serious setbacks such as the Bay of Pigs and Viet Nam -- the most monstrous -- but it appeared that we had learned something from them, and we were not then salivating to attack the United Nations for advocating statecraft over warmongering.
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The electorate fell for Reagan's Captain America role and it's been all downhill from there.  That's when the rhetoric over content really seemed to get started and then continued to mushroom until it would have made George Orwell blush, and now has culminated into just bald faced lying and sloganeering such as "freedom's on the march" and "support our troops" to justify mass slaughter and torture, and for the most part Americans ate it up and even put it on their car bumpers.  And what should we call this development?  Not to get too fancy, an appropriate label would be the Age of Bullshit.
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From Reagan's example, the Republicans were quick to pick up on the bullshit methodology with George I, and then Bill Clinton came along with a soft-shoe version of the bullshit two-step and the stage was set for NAFTA and CAFTA, otherwise known as the selling of America as well as the welfare of the people of any other nation who subscribed.  And the electorate just ate it up.
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Then:  The American labor movement strangely died (actually was murdered) and no one seemed to care.  Then the media consolidated, as well as the message, and no one seemed to care.  Then the rich got progressively richer and the poor regressively poorer.  And then comes along George II, King of all bullshitters, liar of liars, fixer of elections, shredder of the Bill of Rights.  Then came the judicial exponents of bullshit, a new chief justice and another associate justice who talked about the principle of the "unitary executive" at their confirmation hearings while the sappy Democrat senators listened, then allowed their approval, never stopping to ponder the difference between the "unitary executive" and ... "dictator," perhaps?
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All this time the putative "opposition" (AKA the Democrats) simply caved, their majority Senate gifting Bush II with war powers unprecedented in our history, and subsequently allowing every war funding bill he requested, any and all of which they could have stopped with a mere 41 Senate votes (the number needed to disallow cloture).  The Dems had caught on:  substance didn't matter anymore, nor did doing the right thing.  Just feed the electorate bullshit and all was possible without the strain to muster courage and integrity.
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What of my lifelong political affiliation, the Dems?  Well, Paul Wellstone's plane fell (?) from the sky, the years have eroded Senator Byrd's physical ability to stand up to speak, and Teddy just gets grumpier rather than more persuasive.  So much for the champions of the people. In the mean time, a permissive if not obsequious handful of Dem senators would like to be elevated to the presidency.  The leaders of this pack include a nice young man of no specific stature gained in his mere four years on the national level who talks about "change" (yeah, really good, but how about some specifics, like what, how, when, where, how much, with whom, dates, numbers, names, etc.) and a woman addicted to trousers who after her spanking in Iowa announced, "I am SO READY to lead!"  (Do intelligent adults who want to be the most powerful person in the world actually talk like that?  She did.  And the audience roared its approval.)
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Meanwhile closer to home in Florida, the Democrat I voted for in the last congressional race is denied admission to a state Democrat function because it is suspected he may ask some embarrassing questions of the Dem anointed, including the state chairperson who demands a six-figure salary and takes side-money from the opposition.  Another local politico...er...politica advises me that she intends to "reform the Democratic Party from WITHIN!"  Whooeee, with Karen Thurman and Bill Nelson ensconced -- rots o' ruck!  But we must admit, that the gate barrers and the reformers-from-within enjoy the grand majority support of all loyal Democrats.
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Meanwhile on the protest scene, all are moving apace, apace that is with the same pace of five years ago.  There are signs paraded on the sidewalks and the usual summons to a higher level of morality and the occasional "festival" on the Mall.  The grim veterans' groups seem to have some purchase on integrity and are bolder than most -- one must admire their grimness; struggling against popular stuff like war should be a grim business.  Then there is Code Pink, who does exhibit some confrontational courage and also is more persuasive than most, but perhaps too much enjoying the process to the detriment of their credibility.  And then come the more pedestrian variety of protestors, not to exclude the activist-junkies, to whom protesting is more of an activity than something dealing with accomplishment, so to speak the journey having priority over the destination.  (Case in point:  When I appealed the national luminaries of UFPJ with an action plan for actual change, I was summarily admonished that nothing of the sort could be considered as their current priority was to "further develop their organization" -- this after five years of unconscionable slaughter!)  And the sum and substance of all this is:  NOTHING HAS ACTUALLY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED.  The bullshitters are still in charge and likely to remain so, even though the partisan label on the biggest of the political plums is likely to change.
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What will happen now in the face of bullshit from both sides destroying America while the electorate approves, can't be bothered or simply tut-tuts?  It appears that things will not get better peacefully, the leadership and the electorate lacking the courage, integrity and even interest in effecting such.  So it will probably get worse, and worse, and worse until one day it becomes unbearable, impossible to deny, and that sadly is the requisite breeding ground of revolution.
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Now, while all this is happening, criticism however constructive and urgent is not allowed in ANY camp.  Criticism of lying, treachery and torture not allowed among Republicans.  Criticism of inaction, permissiveness, even political cowardice not permitted among the Democrats.  Criticism of ineffectiveness and appeals to action not tolerated among the peace movement.  Each group has its own brand of bullshit and all are expected to suck it up or be branded traitor, trouble maker, know-it-all, ego maniac, and this of me:  "mole for the Republicans" and "do nothing but sit at your computer and be nasty."
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What is nasty is what has happened to America, and I'll personally not finish getting nasty until everyone who has a stake in this disaster knows what he or she has contributed to it, yes to include the whole bloody zombie electorate if I can possibly reach it.
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So get ready, bullshitters, my friend Rob Kall has done a great job of describing how the treachery was done to us, but has not touched upon how we aided and abetted it, we the proxy bullshitters.  I'll take a crack at that assignment.
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....Anticipating another cascade of attacks on the messenger and character assassination, Rafe Pilgrim 

 

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Rafe Pilgrim, after "a life largely wasted on hard honest work," found himself a jungle of turkey oak, scrub pine and giant palmettos up a dirt road running east of Crystal River, Florida, which neither school busses nor the U.S. Postal Service dare (more...)
 

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