Monday, April 5, 2010

Chumps and Change

In his essay "Is America Yearning For Fascism" Chris Hedges says that as long as "leftists" or "progressives" in the USA continue to cling stupidly to the Democratic Party, so long will the left be irrelevant to the genuine anger against what corporate neo-liberalism has created. Even worse, Hedges says that the subsequent rise of fascism will be the fault of US progressives due to their failure to seriously address the problems of the majority:
The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.
The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.

There's a lot to what he says. And, FWIW, I stopped believing that anything substantial could be gained from the Democrats since the days of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. But on the other hand (and as part of my internal battle between hope and despair) I wonder just how effective the left could be appealing to the lunk-heads listening to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. I'm coming up on ten years or so of internet discussions, where I've been given more opportunities to confront, or engage with right-wing views, and sadly I've seen enough inability to process facts, enough stubborn, stupid racism, enough confused, elaborate fantasies, spewing from right-wingers, that I fear they're immune to our appeals.

Some days it seems that there's nothing to be done if an unemployed moron (please note: that's a moron who is unemployed, NOT an accusation that anyone unemployed is probably a moron. I'll soon be unemployed myself and t'would be a grim irony were anyone to accuse me of elitism on such a topic!) thinks that the solution to their problems is attacking the unions and social-justice groups that could protect them from neo-liberalism. The fact that these people who attack the idea of public healthcare (not just Obama's mewling gift to the health insurance industry), who attack the idea of anti-racism, who believe that reigning in the power of corporations equals an attack on a sacred free-market (even though no such free-market actually exists), get most of their marching orders from cynical millionaires like Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, or grasping, selfish airheads like Sarah Palin, only makes them more contemptible.

These people don't speak the same language as us. They speak gibberish. By the time you get them to admit that since BOTH parties supported the Wall Street bail-outs, that they're being played by both teams, you've already wasted enormous amounts of mental energy and you just don't have the resources to then deal with their anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about international bankers and the UN.

Case in point: I've been wanting to deal with the foreign policy delusions of occasonal Schoolyard commentator "Wakefield Tolbert." Alas, current events and everyday life conspire to prevent that. But I've gotta say something about his sign-off in the comments section at this post:
Tomorrow is back to work, fun time is over, and it's back to being a milk-cow for Obama to squeeze on behalf of ACORN pests, politicians, and various unions and glop, not to mention handouts to illegals' ER visits after the nightly knifefights and drinking bouts in the inner cities of America.

That's the role of small business in the US these days: High tech slavery. No bailouts for those who actually have to work, brother.

Amazing ain't it? ACORN? How much money has ACORN ever received from the US federal government? Apparently $53 million over 15 years, for $3.5 million a year. Unions? Even small business owners ought to be aware that a healthy economy requires decent, stable incomes for the majority of the population. How else can people buy cars, houses, pay rent, buy clothes, patronize restaurants, and all the other stuff the capitalists say is essential for our society's economic health. More was wasted by both parties on Wall Street, stupid wars wherein corrupt, hyper-profitable mercenaries and defence contractors made out like bandits, tax-cuts to billionaires to encourage them to make and buy and sell "Mortgage-backed Securities" and "Credit Default Swaps" ... actually, I'll let Glenn Greenwald say it for me ...

So with this massive pillaging of America's economic security and the control of American government by its richest and most powerful factions growing by the day, to whom is America's intense economic anxiety being directed? To a non-profit group that devotes itself to providing minute benefits to people who live under America's poverty line, and which is so powerless in Washington that virtually the entire U.S. Senate just voted to cut off its funding at the first sign of real controversy -- could anyone imagine that happening to a key player in the banking or defense industry?

Apparently, the problem for middle-class and lower-middle-class Americans is not that their taxpayer dollars are going to prop up billionaires, oligarchs and their corrupt industries. It's that America's impoverished -- a group that is growing rapidly -- is getting too much, has too much power and too little accountability.

Read his whole post. My point is that, given such SELF-EVIDENT STUPIDITY, can we really hope to prevail upon these people were we, the non-Liberal Party, the non-Democratic Party, the barely, if even-NDP Party left-wing to actually try to reason with them?

1 comment:

doconnor said...

I don't think the idea is for the Democratic Party to appeal to those people. Fortunately, they are in the minority and the Democrats can and currently have gained power without their votes.

The idea is to try to improve their economic situation enough so that don't get too radicalized and start supporting Fascists.

For example the health care reform could have done a lot more for them, but many Democrats where too afraid of them.