Part I here.
Aside from my little rant at the end of this post about Rand Paul the other day and a few other mentions here and there, the Tea Party hasn’t gotten much attention on this blog. Why? Because I’ve been surrounded by this type of crazy-ass conservative in Nevada for quite some time. Note, I said “conservative” – not Republican. Because you will find the same sort of sentiments expressed by many Democrats, especially out in the wild and wooly rurals. It’s a fact. These people are nothing new to me. But they do scare me, because they would just as soon cut off their noses to spite their faces. They’ve bought the whole “No Taxes” mantra and it’s killing us. Our state is in deep doo-doo economically and we currently have a jackass of the highest order in the governor’s mansion whose slogan on his re-election signs is “He kept his promise.” As far as I can tell, he is refering to his no taxes ”promise” that seems to go something like this:
No matter what happens, no matter how in-the-hole our state budget is, no matter how many programs I have to slash or trash, or how many police or firefighters I have to fire, or how many school children I have to short-change, I will not in any way, shape, or form, consider the possibility that we might need to ask our citizens to step up to the plate and prevent our state from going down the drain.
I guess my only consolation is that it looks pretty likely that he’s going to lose the primary. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we are going to get a sane replacement. Because taxes are the third rail in Nevada politics. No one will publicly admit what they all will in private.
Harry Reid’s son, Rory, will be the Democratic nominee and will likely face off against Brian Sandoval, who is trying to out-conservative the conservatives, and who is also the target of some friends of Rory (though you’ll never know that from looking at the website) by running ads and astroturfing liberal bloggers (yours truly included) with crap that is so stunningly right-wingish that I thought I’d gotten on some crazy-ass winger email list by mistake. Maven’s got the skinny on all of that (see also: here), and I’ve written to the campaign asking them to publicly distance themselves from these yahoos, but that ain’t happening. In the meantime, Sandoval’s striking back at both Jim Gibbons (he does have a primary, after all) and Rory Reid.
Here’s the deal. I want to support Rory, if for no other reason than he was Hillary’s state chair. I believe Rory is a good man, and he’s got some good ideas (though I am leery about his education plan). However, I am concerned by the people running his campaign. They are the same people I worked side-by-side with during my time as an Dem activist, and it’s all tribal to them. It’s all about making the other side look bad and doing very little to make your guy look good. It is disappointing beyond belief.
I’m done with voting LOTE*.
I can’t vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean I will automatically vote Democrat, because, really, what are the quote-unquote real Democrats offering? Nothing I couldn’t get from a Republican. That is also a fact. Madamab synthesizes it nicely today:
The oligarchy/patriarchy, aka the Ruling Class, presents two Parties to us. One Party appears to share the values of mainstream America, with a platform that promotes social and economic justice for all. This would be the Democratic Party; the party of educated, intelligent, urban, ethnically diverse, soup-kitchen-volunteering, non-racist GOOD people. The narrative of the Democratic Party is that it’s trying and trying to push for the values shared by most Americans – a strong social safety net, the government staying out of our personal lives, and a good standard of living for them and their families – and it would succeed, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist – it is all like a cartoon to me now.) Ahem. It would succeed, too, if it weren’t for the other Party! (Insert vaudeville-like hisses and boos here.)
If the Democratic Party is really on our side, then why is it doing exactly the same things Bush and the Republicans did when they were in power – the things we all hated so much? This is a very long list, including (but not limited to): continuing current wars and adding “mini-wars” to them (like Pock-ee-ston and Yemen and possibly Iran, Jesu Christe), pushing epically failed Reaganomics down our throats, legislatively punishing women and LGBT, hemorrhaging jobs, allowing a massive environmental disaster and terrorist attacks to occur on their watch while they have their thumbs up their asses and they trot the clueless Dear Leader out for photo ops, grabbing an unprecedented amount of executive power…etc. etc. etc. ad freaking infinitum. Is Rand Paul REALLY the problem here, folks? Who’s in charge? Isn’t it the Democrats?
Or is it? Seems to me the oligarchy/patriarchy is getting its own way no matter which Party is in charge. Doesn’t it seem that way to you? Doesn’t it seem that whenever Obama or the Dems do something particularly egregious slapped with a “reform” label (The Dems keep using that word, “reform.” I don’t think it means what they think it means.), along comes a woman like Sarah Palin, or a guy like Rand Paul, to wave their shiny extremism in front of our eyes, hypnotizing all of us – and the oligarchical/patriarchal media forces the mass hypnosis as much as they possibly can. (Yes, this includes the “access” bloggers, which is why I don’t let their pernicious bullshit into my life any more.) OMG! they burble, using the word “racist” about 40 million times, Rand Paul wants to overturn the Civil Rights Act! Doesn’t that trump the fact that Obama has removed reproductive rights from millions of women with the Health Whatever Bill? Doesn’t that mean we (the Democrats) are STILL so much better than the Republicans?
Ah yes, the Two Minutes Hate without which our lives would have no meaning! No matter which side you are on, each tribe has its own Designated Hate Receptacles (thank you, Violet, for such a descriptive term). On the “left” we can direct our venom at Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, the state of Arizona, Wall Street, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and, failing all else, blame all evils of society on the “Conservatives.” And the right gets to hate Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Labor Unions, Big Government, ”Socialism”, and, failing all else, blame all evils of society on the “Liberals.”
See how that works?
Both sides use their receptacle du jour stoke the rage, to rally the troops, to raise money, and to scare us into the voting booth to vote for their oligarch of choice. Witness the flurry of emails I am receiving in the wake of Rand Paul’s stunning display of ignorance. Just days before that it was Arizona! And before that it was Sarah! All designated as threats to the very fabric of democracy, by the very same people who felt free to kick democracy in the teeth themselves, when it suited their agenda. And goes equally for the Rebublicans and the Tea Party as well, a well-organized, well-funded *cough* grassroots movement *cough* that may very well get away from its founders.
But unlike madamab, I can’t not care. There are days when I am so overwhelmed I want to say that I just don’t care, but I can’t. I do care. For my family, for my friends, for people like my co-worker, I still care. And I’m not going down without a fight.
Something is happening, and I tremble when I think of the road this may take us down. I just don’t know what it is, exactly, but in conversations I’ve had with people not usually prone to opening up about political matters, there is more than unease. There is a fear that is rising up in them and it is choking them. During a discussion of current events the other day a co-worker paused, and then she said, “Honestly? I’m really starting to wonder if I did the right thing bringing kids into this world.” This from a woman who is no wild-eyed political junkie. This from a woman who, when she speaks in a meeting, has a well-modulated, calm voice that soothes. A woman who is going to work every day, trying to play by the rules, and wondering what the hell has happened to the country she thought she knew, and how it can be that our “leaders” seem so abysmally out of touch.
Throwing the bums out sounds so attractive, but not if you don’t have a vision for what kind of person you want to replace them. This Statement of Priniciples is be a good start. And so is the Justice Party.
*Lesser Of Two Evils