Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Bad Moon Rising: Annals of Batshit Crazy
In the news today (is it a full moon? —no, not until month’s end) we have a New Hampshire candidate for sheriff who proposes to use “deadly force” in defense of the unborn, a tactic formerly the exclusive province of freelancers, and a Texas “judge” (the title is apparently understood differently in this part of the state) who wants additional funding to arm the good people of Lubbock County for the coming insurrection against the Kenyan Usurper.
All very droll, of course. But this is what the modern GOP is slowly becoming as, behind the personable faces of its 2012 standard bearers, it begins (in Martin Amis’ marvelous phrase) visibly to fizz with rabies. I remember catching Pat Buchanan’s disastrous address to the red-meat crowd at the Republican convention twenty years ago, and thinking that I understood for the first time the sentiments underlying the Yugoslavian civil war, that it was mutually intolerable to Pat’s people and to mine that we should be compelled to share a national identity in common. This was half-jocular on my side, but not more than a fifth part, I suspect, on Pat’s. These jokers, though, make Buchanan sound (in someone’s online formulation today—I forget where) like “Kindly Old Uncle Gestapo.” As a young Nixon staffer, incidentally, PB explicitly recommended shattering the nation’s social and political consensus, such as it ever was, on the grounds that Nixon would be in a position to grab most of the pieces. This was, of course, the tactic employed by Milosevic in Yugoslavia after Tito’s death, and I think it has been the GOP’s operating procedure ever since Bush the Elder lost the election (largely courtesy of mad Ross Perot, with KOUG giving a kind assist). In practice the Republicans have ever since practiced tyranny in power while attempting to make the country ungovernable during their periods of opposition. Now we see officeholders openly discussing Second Amendment remedies to the intolerable spectacle of the Other in office.
Milosevic and his confederates worked for ten years to undermine the consensus and institutions that held Yugoslavia together before they were able to launch the bloodbath they yearned for. We are fortunate here in that our principal blood feud goes back only three or four generations (I have a sister-in-law whose grandfather fought in the Civil War), whereas the Serbs, Croats, Muslims and Albanians sipped well-fermented thirteenth-century grudges from their mothers’ milk. And yet, and yet. In my lifetime our artificial two-party duopoly has more nearly resembled the post-Stalin Soviet Union, with its facade of choice, than the lively multi-party democracies of postwar western Europe, but until recently this constrained system performed the signal service of locking the lunatic fringe out of the action. Now that lunatic fringe—or rather, its violent offspring—has eaten out one of the parties from within. I should rejoice that my old complaint that the parties were indistinguishable from one another in the main particulars has been addressed. We now have a true two-party system. Unfortunately, one party is led by timid opportunists, and the other consists of a motley coalition of lunatics, plutocrats, demagogues, grifters and criminals. In a perfect world this wouldn’t have been my choice, but it is a choice, by God, and these frothing God-botherers need to be put down hard at the ballot box, unless you want Sheriff Szabo and Judge Head to be calling the shots.
Cripes. These people make Lyndon LaRouche look like Bob Dole.