No one knows what it’s like to be hated, to be fated

Ed Kilgore has a thorough rundown of compelling answers to that recurring question, just what the hell is wrong with these people? Neil Irwin proposes the sunk cost fallacy (no doubt true, to which I would add that people take more risks when they’re losing), John Chait thinks the GOP is defending the general principle of legislative hostage taking, Josh Barro points out that Republicans have to fight harder to overturn the status quo than Democrats have to do to defend it. Getting closer to the ultimate cause Kilgore, and Josh Marshall, point to the remarkably profound apocalyptic mindset that motivates the tea partiers’ suicide wing.

This last point strikes me as the most important. Something moved these people to risk their careers, their party, the country and the global economic system. It seems a little trite to point out that a Heritage plan to expand health insurance coverage does not cut it. Political calculation just cannot explain how frantic these people have become. This is Rosebud territory.

Let’s review the last time a conservative party of inherited privilege based in the South, then known as Southern Democrats, went completely bonkers. In essence you had a class of white men who felt not incorrectly that their comfortable system of racial privilege had begun to an inevitable decline to a legislative and a moral minority. Missouri compromised and Kansas bled specifically to hold off a pro-abolition majority from being seated in the U.S. Senate. Everyone knew that it would happen, that it more or less had to happen, but the possibility scared enough people badly enough to justify some remarkably destructive behavior. It does not feel great to see national progress moving inexorably away from you, to feel that personal qualities one cannot easily disown will rot away to an embarrassment first, then over time to a rancid mark on the family name. That cuts deep. You cannot always separate yourself from the things you say or do. For people like that, people who do not necessarily see themselves as racist or insensitive but cannot seem to express themselves without sounding that way (take that as you will), progress represents a sort of obliteration or, worse, a desecration of the self. Those who can accept their flaws and change will do that, but for the rest (let’s say around 27%) it is not that much of a sacrifice to lay down on the tracks of progress and shout ‘STOP!’.






93 replies
  1. 1
    mclaren says:

    Something moved these people to throw their bodies on the tracks to halt the train of ordinary progress or derail the country and pulp themselves, and pulping themselves and their party strikes them as an acceptable trade-off.

    What’s the mystery?

    The motto on William F. Buckley’s National Review tells us everything we need to know:

    “… It stands athwart history, yelling Stop”

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    I think that if they were successful in forcing Jeebus’ hand, they would be very surprised about what he had to say upon his return.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    I was trying to explain this afternoon to a Canadian colleague just what it was that the Republicans were fighting so hard for, why they felt it necessary to risk blowing up the global economy. And I couldn’t really. I hear all their arguments that “Obamacare will lead to socialism and the collapse of the American Way” and I just don’t understand them. Why subsidies for health insurance plus a bunch of fairly run of the mill regulations have become the Apocalypse, I just don’t understand.

    Yes, yes, the GOP hates Obama and anything associated with him, but it’s not like they threatened to blow up the world over Dodd-Frank for instance.

  4. 4
    Tim F. says:

    @mclaren: Sorry, that line got eaten by my bad habit of after-the-fact edits. I tend to draft five times before posting and three times after.

  5. 5
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I liked Marshall’s theory. You don’t start the day with a group hymn unless you’ve convinced yourselves that you’re the good guys in this little morality play. They see themselves as heroes, and people who think like that aren’t usually open to compromise.

  6. 6
    Russ says:

    They are political people mentally owned by religion.
    Their religion is controlled by others in their bubble.
    The others have done a great job capturing their hatred of all items not them.

  7. 7
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @dmsilev:

    The prevailing theory, and the one that makes sense to me, is: the ones with a brain in their heads know that this will be popular, that could very will be the new Medicare or Medicaid, that it will be politically untouchable within the decade. That terrifies them both small scale (they’ve given Obama total ownership over this soon-to-be popular program with “Obamacare”) and large (soon, affordable health care will be something that people expect.) They fucked up and they know it, and these attempts to block it are a desperation move. Dodd-Frank doesn’t carry the same weight of history.

  8. 8
    fuckwit says:

    Thank you for this post. You make a good point, the south for four score years demanded concessions way disproportional to their own numbers, to maintain a false “both sides do.it” parity. Kansas and Missouri are great points. But their cause was doomed, they got increasingly paranoid and cornered by progress, and they made a suicidal stand to preserve their privilege.

    Just like now.

  9. 9
    Linnaeus says:

    Let’s review the last time a conservative party of inherited privilege based in the South, then known as Southern Democrats, went completely bonkers.

    I know you probably meant “bonkers” as a figure of speech, but the Republicans (and particularly the Republicans in the House) have a pretty coherent guiding philosophy (rule by white elites, particularly locally) and have followed a pretty rational – but very undesirable for the rest of us – course of action to try to maintain that social order. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t internal divisions in the Republican Party, but I think that’s more of a matter of degree rather than kind.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    @fuckwit:

    Just like now.

    Not exactly. The secessionists had enough honor to leave the federal government they hated so much.

  11. 11
    srv says:

    it is not that much of a sacrifice to lay down on the tracks of progress and shout ‘STOP!’.

    Like I said eleventy-billion years ago, we can’t get to where we need to go carrying The South on our backs. Let Mexico deal with them.

  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:

    Why subsidies for health insurance plus a bunch of fairly run of the mill regulations have become the Apocalypse, I just don’t understand.

    Their whole political worldview is built around the idea that government is bad and incompetent, so a big government role in healthcare will lead to one of two unacceptable results:

    A) The government will fail and blow up the healthcare system or, even worse,

    B) The government will succeed, people will like it, and nobody will be willing to blow up the government for the sake of tax breaks for the 1%

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    Something moved these people to risk their careers, their party, the country and the global economic system.

    The Default of Northern Aggression.

  14. 14
    mclaren says:

    But I also think there’s something much deeper going on here. The constituents who love the idea of shutting America down are the ones in the heartland of middle America, the aging states losing population, full of shrinking towns with shuttered mom & pop stores, closed elementary and high schools, grass growing in the streets, and old age homes merging because the population is plummeting so fast.

    In the midwest, these people were told 50 or 60 years that if they worked hard and lived honestly, they could have decent lives. Now they’re living in a world where every one of the children leaves for the East or West coast the instant they graduate high school, because there are no jobs left in their Midwestern home towns. These 60-year-old adults find themselves living in a world where their entire way of live is disintegrating. Globalization has wrecked their small businesses: the small machine shops and tiny steel mills and family farms are gone, destroyed by the internet and numerical machine tooling and computers + databases + algorithms, and now dogs roam the diladipated ruins of their parents’ small farmhouses, long since bought out by giant agribusiness conglomerates.

    These people are crazed with rage and frustration. Their entire way of life is evaporating and they can’t do anything about it. So they lash out at anyone, everyone else.

  15. 15
    TAPX486 says:

    I think for many it is theological. The America they know and remember is the shining city on the hill, anointed by God to lead the world till the second coming. That this vision never existed is beside the point, it is what they believe at a spiritual level. Any one or any thing that threatens that view is the work of the devil. Liberals, Obamacare, gay rights, etc. are all the handiwork of Satan. Any compromise with Satan will endanger the souls of the true believers and endanger their chance to go to heaven. That’s why it is more complicated than just Obama’s race even though that is certainly part of it. . They have no problem with an Allen West or Nicki Haley because they are operating from the same religious frame of reference.

    I think it is mistake to call them crazy or unhinged. They are not. They are working from a very specific world view. Just because that worldview does not accord with the majority world view doesn’t make them crazy, mistaken maybe. but not crazy. The Iranian mullahs are working from a specific world view and they are not crazy either. It may be a worldview that we don’t understand or accept but we have to deal with it. The same goes for the religious right.

    The problem is I have no idea how you acknowledge their world view and still run a 21st century economic/political system that isn’t based on visions of the second coming.

  16. 16
    pillsy says:

    You know, it just might have been a bad idea to elect a bunch of cultists who worship Cthulhu in Jesus drag to high office.

  17. 17
    pillsy says:

    You know, it just might have been a bad idea to elect a bunch of cultists who worshup Cthulhu in Jesus drag to high office.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    @mclaren: Evolution In Action.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @pillsy:

    Hoocoodanode

  20. 20
    mclaren says:

    @srv:

    Like I said eleventy-billion years ago, we can’t get to where we need to go carrying The South on our backs. Let Mexico deal with them.

    The problem is that once we go that route, it’s only a matter of time before the Mountain States and then the Pacific Northwest and then the heavily Latino Florida region and then the New York banking & business headquarters colossus all decide they’re interested in playing on the same team either and vamonos.

    We’re all in it together as a country. We’re a lot stronger together than apart. Like it or not, the core of the American idea is: we become the world. We accept everybody’s culture and take all the differences and find a way to iron ’em out.

    Once we give up on that, we give up on what makes America America.

  21. 21
    Splitting Image says:

    Someone asked recently, either here or on another blog I read, what it is that binds the libertarian wing of the GOP and the evangelical wing together. A big part of what they share is seeing the world through the belief in its imminent, inevitable, cataclysmic demise.

    The evangelicals think that TurboJesus will appear as soon all of the checkboxes in the prophecy list are filled in, and the True Believers will get to watch as he throws the rest of us unworthies into a pit of hellfire. The goldbugs/preppers/Randbots think exactly the same thing, although they see it more in terms of economic destruction. In their case, the True Believers expect to be drinking gold milkshakes in Galt’s Gulch as they watch the rest of us resort to cannibalism to survive.

    The similarity isn’t only in the fact that they both think that the End Times are imminent. It’s that they both rejoice in the fact and anticipate telling the rest of us “I told you so” with that smirking grin that they all wear when they see someone suffering.

  22. 22
    Svensker says:

    it is not that much of a sacrifice to lay lie down on the tracks

    With that fix, I agree with everything you said. (Pet peeve alert…)

  23. 23
    Brian R. says:

    This is pretty good, and on target.

  24. 24
    Tommy says:

    I think it was 1991. Went to grad school at LSU. I was a military brat and lived in a lot of places. At first when a few folks called me a “Yankee” I thought it was just something funny they said. You know I came from a place north of them. Mason Dixon Line and all.

    But I quickly learned it was more than that. They really were still pissed off they lost the Civil War, and to a liberal like myself. There is no other way to say it.

    Now a small percentage of people, but they were darn vocal about it.

    At the time I would have given them those Conderate Flags were just about Southern pride. I came to understand and know now it is something else. Something far more dark.

  25. 25
    yam says:

    @mclaren: I think that we’ve reached that point.

    And by we, I mean the Republicans in the House.

  26. 26
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @TAPX486:

    Literally theological. I’ve been warming up to the idea that Republicans, consciously or not, think that the biblical End Times are coming, and this fight is tied up in proving their faith. What else can it be? It’s certainly not a cost/benefit analysis. Republicans are waging this fight because they think history, destiny, whatever, are with them, and that it’s not so much a rational decision as a holy mission.

    http://www.people-press.org/20.....al-trends/

    If you believe this poll, 40% of Americans believe Christ will return in their lifetime. I don’t know many people who think that, but I know plenty of non-religious people who believe that our ruin is around the corner and we kind of deserve it, whether it ends up being war or economic collapse or environmental ruin. Why behave like you need to preserve the world for 50 or 100 years when you think society as we know it won’t exist? And on that note, how many people in the 60’s thought the same things about 2013? Makes me wonder why our era in particular has so many more death cults, religious and otherwise.

  27. 27
    Svensker says:

    @TAPX486:

    I think that’s really brilliant.

  28. 28
    MikeJ says:

    If you haven’t read it recently, it seems now might be a good time for a refresher:

    American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority

    http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/c.....style.html

  29. 29
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @mclaren:

    I agree one hundred percent with this. And as other people have brought up whenever the topic surfaces:

    1) Imagine all the people you’re condemning to hell: all the black people, poor people, gay people, old people, women, disabled people who will be stuck in Neo-Dixie. Let the South go and you’re enabling a human rights crisis.

    2) Is it really a good idea to have an independent nation with its own army and everything, supremely pissed off at the world in general and looking for a fight, right on our border? You think cutting them loose would be the last we’d see of ’em?

  30. 30
    rda909 says:

    As usual, The Onion was many years ahead of everyone else:
    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....-year,377/

    HUNTSVILLE, AL–For the 135th straight year since Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, representatives for the South announced Monday that the region has postponed plans to rise again.

    “Make no mistake, the South shall rise again,” said Knox Pritchard, president of the Huntsville-based Alliance Of Confederate States. “But we’re just not quite ready to do it now. Hopefully, we’ll be able to rise again real soon, maybe even in 2001.”

    Pritchard’s fellow Southerners shared his confidence.

    “Yes, sir. The South will rise again, and when it does, I’ll be right up front waving the Stars and Bars,” said Dock Mullins of Decatur, GA. “But first, I gotta get my truck fixed and get that rusty old stove out of my yard.”

    “Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, we gonna rise again,” said Sumter, SC, radiator technician Hap Slidell, who describes himself as “Southern by the grace of God.” “I don’t know exactly when we’re gonna do it, but one of these days, we’re gonna show them Yankees how it’s done.”

    “Save your Confederate dollars,” Slidell added. “You can bet on that.”

    Bitcoins, anyone?

    It took the most Liberal and darkly-hued President in any of our lifetimes to do it, but the South most definitely has finally found the gumption to give it go again. They seem willing to bring death and destruction again upon America, especially for the children of America, but at least it won’t be anywhere close to the numbers of dead they caused the last time they tried to rise.

  31. 31
    efgoldman says:

    @mclaren:

    These people are crazed with rage and frustration.

    They are also dependent on Social Security, Medicare, and farm subsidies.
    Rational people new from the beginning of the TeaHadis. Remember “keep the government out of my medicare?”

  32. 32
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Baud: “The Default of Northern Aggression” should have definitely been a saying about two weeks ago. Or at least in 2-4 months when we have to do this again.

  33. 33
    Linnaeus says:

    @mclaren:

    These people are crazed with rage and frustration. Their entire way of life is evaporating and they can’t do anything about it. So they lash out at anyone, everyone else.

    It’s actually more disciplined than that. Yes, I do think your description has some truth to it, but what’s driving this are people a few steps above the SES ladder from the people you describe.

  34. 34
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @mclaren:

    We’re all in it together as a country. We’re a lot stronger together than apart. Like it or not, the core of the American idea is: we become the world. We accept everybody’s culture and take all the differences and find a way to iron ‘em out.

    Once we give up on that, we give up on what makes America America.

    You must not have noticed that one of our two political parties is making its bones by categorically rejecting those ideas. Time to jettison those bastards and the states that elect them.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    You think cutting them loose would be the last we’d see of ‘em?

    Certainly not. A country governed by teabagger principles would not be stable, and we’d face a refugee crisis in fairly short order.

  36. 36
    White Trash Liberal says:

    There’s a substantial portion of our society that is fucking wretched and miserable on a spiritual level. They want the end of the world. It is a release from their hateful misery and diet of bile.

    Behind all outrage merchandise is the promise of salvation for me but not for thee.

    The Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls were a reactionary tribe that broke away in order to gird themselves for armageddon. Most of the scrolls they wrote were tactical methods for doing battle with the army of darkness.

    There’s now two generations of unhappy white people who refuse to see that it was the economic and trade policies of their dear Nixon and Reagan that robbed them of their stability. They will look everywhere in their misery but to their own choices… And there is a whole industry of outrage merchants ready to bless them with salvation for just hating a little harder.

  37. 37
    Linnaeus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate (Crystal Set):

    You must not have noticed that one of our two political parties is making its bones by categorically rejecting those ideas. Time to jettison those bastards and the states that elect them.

    Careful. A whole lot of people in those states don’t vote for those bastards. By the same token, there are many in the “other” states who do.

  38. 38
    mdblanche says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I wouldn’t be too concerned about leaving anybody behind in Dixie. Any breakup would have to be accompanied by population transfers. The current residents of Austin for example would have to be relocated north to places like Pennsyltucky, whose current residents would be relocated south.

  39. 39
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate (Crystal Set):

    I’ve always hated this construction. “States” don’t reject anything. They’re plots of land. And even if you limit to the plots of land that made up the Confederacy, well over 10 million people voted for Obama, and he got at least 38% of the vote in each one of them. That’s a lot of people, way too many for me to tar them all with the same brush. And people in cities like Atlanta and Houston won’t want to join the tea party, so do we let them in? What about people in counties in NY and CA that want out? Do we eventually just have each individual house check what country they want to be a part of?

  40. 40
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @mdblanche:

    Yeah, if there’s one thing Israel has proven, it’s that large-scale population transfer for political reasons makes everyone happy and they all love their new homes.

    I know you’re kidding, but really now. And what self-respecting craft-beer swilling Austin hipster would be caught dead in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania anyhow?

  41. 41
    rda909 says:

    @mclaren:

    Globalization has wrecked their small businesses: the small machine shops and tiny steel mills and family farms are gone, destroyed by the internet and numerical machine tooling and computers + databases + algorithms, and now dogs roam the diladipated ruins of their parents’ small farmhouses, long since bought out by giant agribusiness conglomerates.

    I feel technology can advance and local economies can adapt and be fine. What they cannot adapt to, ever, is this idea of “trickle-down economics” which has dominated America’s policy since Ronnie Raygun took over. That’s the real evil in the equation, and that is exactly what Republicans, and Libertarians mind you, push constantly to this day. Globalization is a byproduct of trickle-down economics, since it’s okay, given that economic theory, to off-shore labor to places where it’s unregulated and at slave wages…literally. They are off-shoring slavery essentially, since they can’t really practice it much in America anymore, at least not like they used to the last time the South tried to “rise again.” Republicans are loud and proud in their support of this doomed ideology.

    Trickle-down in simple theoretical terms, will always collapse. It’s just a matter of when. Spreading the wealth in a fair, democratic way has shown signs of long-term sustainability. Thankfully, someone in a position to do something about it understands this very well, and has already delivered tremendous amounts of results to stem the tide:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9G8XREyG0Q

    Imagine what he can do with a Democratic House and Senate after the 2014 midterms.

  42. 42
    MikeJ says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I just got this book last week, but haven’t started it yet. Seems to be on topic.
    Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession.

  43. 43
    mdblanche says:

    As for why they’re doing this, it’s simple. They truly and honestly hate the rest of us. They hate us because we’re not white, not Christian, not submissive to our husbands, not straight, not petty bourgeois, or worst of all don’t understand why those things are so terrible. As far as they’re concerned America is already dead. It died last November when a majority of us didn’t just elect a “Marxist negro” as our leader, we re-elected him. And so they have decided to go out like Samson. How do I know all this? From talking with Republicans the day after the last election.

  44. 44
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Rapture-ready. That’s what it is. Bring on the Tribulation, or at least give us a taster.

  45. 45
    gvg says:

    We’ve been telling ourselves (and them) that they are reaching the tipping point in elections. They may never win the presidency again and congress is going out of reach gradually too. Texas turns blue and it’s over…..is a threat to them. Maybe they actually know this….to never get their way again is pretty depressing to them. They have some power now but couldn’t reform them selves after the last election (immigration issues, war on women issues) their future IS hopeless…so they really are angry and not loyal to the system at all.
    Only thing I can think of is massive bribes to Cantor and Boehner to get out of this corner.

  46. 46
    raven says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: The Strategic Hamlet program worked really well.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    “Something moved these people to risk their careers, their party, the country”

    I think you left one out – their sacred honor. Which is simply pride writ large, which is the first sin.

  48. 48
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Oooo, regressus ad infinitum. Loves me that. A handful of Representatives who were elected in a handful of states are ready, willing, and able to fuck over millions here and abroad.

    What’s your answer, if not to simply cut off the gangrenous limb before it takes the body?

  49. 49
    mdblanche says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Yeah, if there’s one thing Israel has proven, it’s that large-scale population transfer for political reasons makes everyone happy and they all love their new homes.

    Casualties can be minimized through proper supervision of the forced population transfer. Think less Israel, India, and Yugoslavia, and more… well, someplace else. I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Depending on the breaks.

  50. 50
    KyCole says:

    I just re-watched “Eyes on the Prize” on Amazon prime last weekend, and I can’t help but feeling that we haven’t come very far since the sixties. It really makes me angry that we as a country haven’t progressed, and seem to be moving backwards. I fear for my children and grandchildren.

  51. 51
    rda909 says:

    @mdblanche: BINGO!

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @mdblanche:

    Think less Israel, India, and Yugoslavia, and more… well, someplace else.

    There weren’t wars after the population transfers in North Central Europe after WWII. Millions of Germans were relocated out of the Sudetenland and East Prussia without too much additional death and destruction.

  53. 53
    rda909 says:

    @KyCole: Any darkly-hued person would beg to differ with you when looking at our current President. Few thought that would be possible in our lifetimes, so I’d say we’ve come a long, long way, baby.

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @KyCole: One step up and two steps back.

  55. 55
    KyCole says:

    I know we’ve come a long way, but I guess I’m continually amazed at the hatred directed at Obama, and can’t help but worry that racism is a cancer in this country that is going to kill it. Also, crazy right wing religion. When I was a kid in Massachusetts it seemed like things were moving so forward and it makes me so sad that the crazies have thrown a wrench in all progress.

  56. 56
    mdblanche says:

    @mdblanche: But seriously: if the US, God forbid, ever did territorially fragment refugees streaming both ways across the new borders to reach the successor state they saw as most hospitable or just the one where the rest of their friends and family were would absolutely happen and it would be a mess. It already happened on a smaller scale in 1861. And if any area were to be disputed between two evenly matched local groups like some of the border states were back then…

    @Roger Moore:

    Millions of Germans were relocated out of the Sudetenland and East Prussia without too much additional death and destruction.

    The key word being “additional.” In East Prussia at least a lot of people fled the Soviet invasion, and given how many of those who stayed were treated for very good reason, and they were just never allowed to return home again afterwards. And by that point nobody outside of Germany had any sympathy for them.

  57. 57
    Tim F. says:

    @KyCole: Contrary to that, I think we HAVE come a long way. It just snuck up on us. Then one day we elected Obama, and then we re-elected him, and everyone realized that the majority of people have embraced social progress a lot more than we thought they would. The haters realized that as well. Or, at least it became impossible for them to deny it. The inescapable consequences of that made them frantic.

    /Dr. Tim F, amateur psychiatrist

  58. 58
    tybee says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    and there’s also progressive, well educated folks here in georgia and both of us hate shoveling snow.

  59. 59
    drkrick says:

    Going out like Samson seems to fit the data way too well.

    In essence you had a class of white men who felt not incorrectly that their comfortable system of racial privilege had begun to an inevitable decline to a legislative and a moral minority. Missouri compromised and Kansas bled specifically to hold off a pro-abolition majority from being seated in the U.S. Senate. Everyone knew that it would happen, that it more or less had to happen, but the possibility scared enough people badly enough to justify some remarkably destructive behavior.

    Here’s the thing, they were wrong about that. The slave-holding states weren’t going to control the government forever, but that pro-abolition majority was a completely different thing and was decades away if it was ever going to come until secession convinced a lot of anti-abolitionists that getting rid of slavery was the only way to avoid going through attempts at secession over and over again. As it turned out, that choice only postponed the next attempt for another 150 years, but you probably still have to call it a successful policy.

    If the country is smart enough to recognize today’s events for what they are and properly punish those responsible in 2014, perhaps we can get some other much needed things done that would have been impossible if the neoconfederates had behaved themselves.

  60. 60
    raven says:

    @tybee: Malcolm X said the south started at the Canadian border. Fuck all this dopey shit.

  61. 61
    mclaren says:

    @rda909:

    That’s a superb YouTube video, and an excellent speech by Obama.

    This is where my Jeffersonian side comes out, though. However pessimistic the view seems in the short term,if you take a longer view you will likely find that the future looks much brighter, and for good solid reasons.

    Another commenter asks:

    What’s your answer, if not to simply cut off the gangrenous limb before it takes the body?

    Heal the infection before it turns to gangrene.

    You don’t get far in life by cutting off your own limbs. Especially if that’s your response to political friction.

    Folks, we have been in much worse scrapes than this in American history. Just take a look at the Alien & Sedition Act. Much worse than the USA Treason –excuse me, Patriot — Act. Yet we managed to get through it without tearing the country apart.

    Right now things may look dark. What we’re most likely witnessing, though, is the final spasm of a white aging demographic group that knows it’s dying off and wants to exert one last convulsion of political influence before it disappears. See this CNN feature: “GOP Problem: Their voters are white, aging, and dying off.”

    As utopian and ridiculous as it sounds, the solution to fellow countrymen convulsed with hate and rage is: love. Not the bayonet. We should have confidence in ourselves as progressives, confidence in the ability of our nation to withstand the rips and tensions in our society, and confidence in the pragmatic basis of our progressive policies to provide so much better a life for everyone that eventually even the most regressive old people will have to realize and accept that.

    Here’s where I come back to Thomas Jefferson’s letter to John Taylor during the tumult about the Alien & Sedition Act, 1 June 1798:

    A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles. It is true, that in the meantime, we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war, and long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when and where they would end? Better keep together as we are, haul off from Europe as soon as we can, and from all attachments to any portions of it; and if they show their power just sufficiently to hoop us together, it will be the happiest situation in which we can exist. If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost. For this is a game where principles are the stake.

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  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @KyCole:
    I think we’ve made a lot of progress since the 1960s, but it’s been very uneven. A lot of the country has more or less accepted racial equality, and things that people were reluctant to dream of back in the 1960s (e.g. widespread interracial marriage) have come true. What’s also true is that the part of the country that hasn’t accepted those things is still fighting them tooth and nail, rather than just dragging its feet and pouting a bit.

  64. 64
    KyCole says:

    @Tim F.: Of course you’re right- we have come a long way. I guess as a transplant to Kentucky I’m continually surprised by the backwards people that I meet and compare them to the people that I grew up with in a college town in MA. Plus I have Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell as my senators, and can’t conceive how sane people would vote for them.

  65. 65
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @mclaren:

    Now they’re living in a world where every one of the children leaves for the East or West coast the instant they graduate high school, because there are no jobs left in their Midwestern home towns. These 60-year-old adults find themselves living in a world where their entire way of live is disintegrating.

    Yes, this is true. I grew up in one of those midwestern towns, and left as soon as I got a degree in the 80s.

    But here’s the thing: I knew all along that the big auto companies that the small cities of the area were relying on were horribly mismanaged, and that it was only a matter of time. If anything, I’m surprised at how long they held on, seemingly by sheer force of inertia (GM, for example, went insolvent in 2005 and somehow continued operating until late 2008 before requiring a bailout). I’m not an MBA, their mismanagement was simply obvious – a well-managed auto company doesn’t require ‘voluntary import quotas’ as negotiated by Reagan to make up for failure to produce desirable small cars in the face of rising oil prices. And the midwest has lots of smallish cities wholly dependent on much larger companies with questionable management capabilities.

  66. 66
    raven says:

    @mclaren: All the sudden you are Rebbecah of Sunnybrook Farm. WHat about SHITHOLE AMERICA??

  67. 67
    efgoldman says:

    @KyCole:

    When I was a kid in Massachusetts…..

    When I was a kid in Massachusetts, the governor (off and on), at least one senator, and half the congresscritters were Republicans. Sensible people who supported civil rights, the environment (such as it was in those days) and public service.
    Yes, I’m old. Very old. They’d all be Dems now. Even in MA they couldn’t win a GOBP primary.

  68. 68
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Not sure I agree. How different would this be from the generational migrations that have taken place in Europe (cf, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark as multi-cultural states).

    Won’t happen overnight, but the sorting hat might be a good thing, here.

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @raven:

    Malcolm X said the south started at the Canadian border.

    Yeah, but the old song doesn’t say “Sherman went marching through Vermont…”

  70. 70
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @mclaren:

    Speaking as “Another commenter” I would remind you that that there were some people who espoused peace and love. They lived way back in the 1960s. The name by which they called themselves has become a pejorative for both sides.

    How many Americans will go without healthcare, or a living wage, or a full stomach while you’re busy loving these idiots into submission?

  71. 71
    Shalimar says:

    It isn’t complicated. They are the good guys, and they’re fighting evil. I would bet every single member of the Tea Party Caucus is young enough to have grown up listening to Limbaugh. Liberal=Evil,and anything liberals do is by definition evil. You can’t give in to evil, not even a little bit, even if it means suffering pain to be victorious. Details aren’t important. Anything liberals do is evil and must be opposed.

    We’re dealing with an entire generation of leaders who believe the propaganda.

  72. 72
    John F says:

    The economic strategy is to maximize the attractiveness of the former Confederacy to external investors, by allowing Southern states to out-compete other states in the U.S., as well as other countries if possible, in a race to the bottom by means of low wages, stingy government welfare (which if generous increases the bargaining power of poor workers by decreasing their desperation) and low levels of environmental regulation…

    The South Is Holding America Hostage

  73. 73
    gwangung says:

    @mdblanche:

    As for why they’re doing this, it’s simple. They truly and honestly hate the rest of us. They hate us because we’re not white, not Christian, not submissive to our husbands, not straight, not petty bourgeois, or worst of all don’t understand why those things are so terrible.

    And, moreover, some of us are doing a better job of being Americans than they are. Richer, more confident and powerful. Like one Barrack H. Obama.

  74. 74
    KyCole says:

    @efgoldman: You’re so right. Any sane Republican from my childhood would be a Democrat these days. This is why I feel we haven’t moved forward.

  75. 75
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate (Crystal Set):

    The name by which they called themselves has become a pejorative for both sides.

    Maybe to you, certainly not to me.

  76. 76
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Me neither. Went to Berkeley in the Sixties. Still one of ’em in many ways.

  77. 77
    liberal says:

    @raven: yeah. Lol.

  78. 78
    efgoldman says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate (Crystal Set): @Spaghetti Lee:

    The name by which they called themselves has become a pejorative for both sides.

    Not for me, either, although I never was one. I was just a bit too old (b. 1945)

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    FWIW, I think Ted Cruz’s dreams are just as empty as his conscience seems to be.

    ETA: And the rest of the teabaggers, also, too.

  80. 80
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @efgoldman:

    Shucks, I was a late Forties baby. One of my closest friends back then was a guy who’d flown B-17s in WWII. His own father was still alive then and he held the record for being arrested the most times for protesting at the state capitol.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    @Splitting Image: ha ha ha TurboJesus!

  82. 82
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    @Splitting Image:
    TurboJesus + ∞

  83. 83
    efgoldman says:

    @Roger Moore:

    FWIW, I think Ted Cruz’s dreams are just as empty as his conscience seems to be.

    What’s going to really be interesting to see is if both sides of theSenate hate him enough to just bury him. it wouldn’t be a bad thing (really!) if TX got a little less of that nice federal pie.

  84. 84
    rea says:

    The Leader of the Tea Party explains:

    Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
    That we must change for Heav’n, this mournful gloom
    For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
    Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
    What shall be right: fardest from him is best
    Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
    Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields
    Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
    Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
    Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
    A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.
    The mind is its own place, and in it self
    Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
    What matter where, if I be still the same,
    And what I should be, all but less then he
    Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
    We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
    To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

  85. 85
    Older says:

    @efgoldman: I’m older than you, by a bunch, and I am proud to say that I am a hippie, my kids are hippies, and my grandkids are third-generation hippies. Long may they wave!

  86. 86
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @mclaren: Cool story, bro.

    Funny how the vote tallies from the last election do not validate this little fable one. little. bit.

  87. 87
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @KyCole: Same here. I was so, so sheltered in suburban Massachusetts. I never heard the n-word spoken until gangsta rap got popular, and I didn’t even know what most of the other ethnic slurs were (except, oddly, Polack, as in “You’re not supposed to call them that!”). I used to wonder about what it was like for people in countries like Nazi Germany where you faced a moral choice that you could die for, let’s say you were part of the majority and you were standing up for the rights of a minority. Well, now I know. Not that death is on the line but there is clearly something very deep and dark going on here.

  88. 88
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @efgoldman: Don’t forget the punchline–the Republican was a black guy*. And he got unseated by a Democrat after the Southern Strategy starting pulling the national GOP in directions Mass voters found repulsive.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_William_Brooke,_III

  89. 89
    BC says:

    You see the same impetus here in Colorado with the attempt by several rural counties to secede and form their own state. They can see the future – they will never hold power statewide again. Colorado is a purple state, but the blue is getting brighter and the red is fading. Same syndrome – if they can’t rule, then they will do their utmost to hurt the rest of the state. Can’t see any Republican from that area winning statewide in the next 10 to 20 years.

  90. 90
    Tanna says:

    ……..to LIE down on the tracks of progress….not LAY
    (as my mother, a fourth grade teacher used to say, only hens LAY)

  91. 91
    Paul in KY says:

    @dmsilev: They feel that good genal healthcare helped by the government & passed by Democrats (their fault, as none of them voted for it) will be a boon to the Democratic Party & for that reason alone, they want to stop it, by any means necessary.

  92. 92
    JR in WV says:

    @mclaren:

    I guess this thread is dead, but I want to second McLaren’s whole set of points here!

  93. 93
    JR in WV says:

    Plus, I too am a hippie, and proud of it. Worked hard all my life, built several homes, a retired software geek now, and enjoying it very much, thank you!

Comments are closed.