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CanonRay

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Illinois
Current location: Oregon
Member since: Fri Jul 23, 2004, 09:38 AM
Number of posts: 12,752

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My 5000th Post: Crunch Time

As I write my 5000th post, I am struck by a few things. First, there are a hell of a lot of you who have a lot more posts, and many who have been around a lot longer than I. I have also long taken note of the incredible number of people on this site who are smarter and better informed than I am. Heres to you all, thank you.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that I am posting this at what is perhaps one of the most crucial times in our nation’s political and economic history. Certainly at least since the Nixon impeachment, but it remains to be seen if this is a watershed moment; it might be delayed for three or six months, but I think it just might be right now. I’m not going to throw around terms like treason and sedition, although a case can be made that one or both are happening as we speak. I believe we need to consider what is really at stake below all the posturing, political maneuvering and cable talk.

I see several forces which have been more or less active over the last fifty years, all converging on a single point. These forces include a long dormant but now very active left of the Democratic Party, enegized by the Occupy movement and revulsion over decades of needless war and endless recession. Standing beside them, is the “yellow dog” wing of the Dems, who have for decades compromised and kow-towed to the right wing, giving up shred after shred of New Deal programs, labor rights, and most recently civil rights until the fabric left is almost unrecognizable. They seem to be finally at long last fed up, and turning their political rudder to the left. Yesterday, even Chris Matthews, who for me symbolizes this group, said “Obama can’t give an inch”. I think the yellow dogs finally may get it.

On the other side, we have a convergence of the modern day John Birch Society, personified by the Koch Brothers, who were long thought to be so far out of the mainstream as to be politically dead. Over the last 50 years since their heyday in the Goldwater era, they have risen to not only have a voice in Republican politics, but so loud a voice as to drown out those once thought to be on the radical economic fringe such as Grover Norquist and Ron Paul. Joining them from the right at this convergence are the Christian Dominionists, who want to supplant the Constitution with the Bible, and base our laws on those written thousands of years ago for illiterate camel drivers. I include in this sect the End-Timers, the rabid Anti-Abortion activists (including, oddly enough, Scalia type Catholics and most Mormons), Quiverfull proponents, home schoolers, and the like. They are not all completely unified, but they overlap enough to form a united front, where religious constraints rule rational thought. Michelle Bachman, the Catholic Bishops (who want a shutdown over contraception!) and others of their ilk are examples. They give a naked power grab the shimmer of God’s will. Call them Christian Jihadists, if you will. It is as good a term as any.

Caught in the middle, and who have no time to pay attention to any of this crap, but being dragged feet first into this fray are the ordinary Joes and Janes, who are working two or three jobs in a continually failing effort to maintain what their parents had on one income. It is a losing battle, and if they are at fault for this, it is only in their lack of participation, which has been reinforced by poorer educations and longer work hours, combined with fear of job loss.

The convergence point of which I speak seems to be coming more clear by the day. The point is whether a tiny, but extremely well funded and radical minority, can enforce its will on the vast mass of Americans, using a combination of the threat of economic destruction and religious ferocity. If they are able to successfully bring the country to it knees by causing a shutdown of the government, default on our debt, and severe economic destruction, then they have completely and totally subverted our Democracy. Once this happens, all bets are off, and whether Democracy returns in our lifetimes is an open question. These combination of forces represent the complete opposite of the ideas on which this country was founded. If the Koch/Jihadists get their way, this economic and political extortion will happen again and again, until nothing at all is left of our Liberal Democracy. If they don’t and the economy collapses, look for a right wing coup of some sort, capitalizing on the ensuing chaos.

What you see daily is no longer just about Obamacare, or about a government shutdown, or even about whether we go past the arbitrary “debt ceiling”, although this will have disastrous consequences. No it is a full blown constitutional crisis, which will determine whether the mechanisms which have been successful at holding this country together will continue to function. We simply cannot allow a tiny minority to govern in this manner.

I’m sure there are a multitude of examples of a wealthy minority being able to do just that; just think of the serfs in the middle ages, kept down endlessly by a combination of military power, economic injustice, and religious indoctrination. It ended, but it took centuries. I am quite sure that more modern comparisons exist, but none that have existed in America, with the possible exception of the actions of the southern Congress in the years prior to the Civil War. In that case, although a minority did attempt to hold the nation hostage to enforce its will on the majority, it was only peripherally about economics and did not seek to use the power of religion as a weapon.

Even the so called “Golden Age” of the elites in the 1880-1910 era, dwarfed the power that is condensed in a few people today. And those elites, the Rothschild’s, DuPont’s, and Vanderbilt’s, did not seek to combine their economic power with religious fundamentalism. They were content to pull the levers of government and make more money. Today’s autocrats seem to be seeking nothing less than the destruction of Democracy itself, installing themselves or their minions in power, and giving their uber-religious partners free reign in the social area.

No, today, this crisis, is unique in my opinion. What President Obama decides to do, or even not do, will seal our fate for decades, perhaps forever. I don’t pretend to have the correct answer, and maybe there isn’t one. We are all feeling for the light switch here. A wrong move either gives power to despots, or destroys the economy and perhaps the nation.

I’m reminded of the Chinese curse; “May you live in interesting times”.
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