40. This Blog, So Far

I’ve been looking over my blog postings to date, and I can’t say I’m particularly happy with myself.  I started this project out of a deep concern for the existential crisis facing American democracy, but I haven’t focused on that topic in the way I should’ve.  I’ve touched on a variety of amusing subjects – they amused me, anyway – like ancient Greek and Roman historians, Babylonian political rituals, astrology, and so forth.  I’ve made a couple of meandering and far-from-conclusive observations regarding a generic Pagan political point of view.  I just got done celebrating Samhain.  But none of that has helped to clarify the looming threat before us.

Some of my pearls of debatable wisdom have been more relevant.  I’ve said a lot about Trump, for example.  Our so-called President is indeed utterly corrupt, ignorant and impulsive – a clear and present danger to world peace and stability.  He’s certainly a problem.  But he’s not the problem.  Our democracy was in trouble before he got into politics, and getting rid of him wouldn’t remedy what ills us.  That’s why I’ve argued that the calls for his impeachment are a distraction.  If Trump went away he’d likely be replaced by someone less erratic (i.e. Pence), thus more dangerous.

My last postings before I took my recent break actually get closer to the nub of the situation.  They concern the materialization over the last couple of decades of what could very easily become a ruling oligarchy for this country – a faction composed of the super-wealthy and the corporate elite, enriched by Reaganomics and further enabled by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has essentially gutted all efforts to control the influence of money in our politics.  Trump didn’t create this situation and he hasn’t – politically – benefitted from it.  He’s a plutocrat, but he’s an oddball, and the other plutocrats aren’t sold on him; they didn’t do all that much for him in 2016.

In fact, since the Citizens United decision eliminated all restrictions on corporate money in 2010, there hasn’t been an election in which our incipient oligarchs have felt a need to flex their newly-acquired financial muscles big-time.

Just wait.

A recent posting noted the peril to democracy implied by the interesting fact that a trio of generals have stepped in to impose order on Trump’s White House.  It’s scary enough to think of the military brass taking over from our elected civilian leader.  But now that General Kelly has taken to defending the Don, we can contemplate the more daunting prospect that they might someday be propping him up.

So far in my postings, I’ve said rather little about the imminent threat to majority rule posed by the Republican Party – said threat arising, not from the GOP per se, which has a long and occasionally honorable history, but from the undemocratic aspects of its current ascendancy:  the ruthless use of gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics including, but not limited to, bogus voter ID laws.  Combined with the antimajoritarian effects of the oft-criticized Electoral College, we may soon find that our political system has come to lack credibility in the eyes of a great majority of the American people – and no matter how you slice it, that’s bad.  Again, those negations of democracy antedated Trump, who only took advantage of them.

I cover these issues in my introductory American government classes, and I’ll be writing about them here in the future, I promise.

It might be the most glaring omission of this blog so far, that I’ve said essentially nothing about the most disquieting political fact of our era:  the fracturing of American society into two strident ideological groupings, each defined largely by its hatred of the other.  Neither side considers victory by their antagonists as really legitimate – which, more than anything else, is what puts our democracy at risk.

If we wish to ask how this dire state of affairs arose, my analysis will have to take what is for me a new turn.  Until this point, most everything I’ve said has aligned with liberal preconceptions.  I’m now going to deviate.  In my opinion, the American “left” – really a motley collection of disparate interest groups united only by an elevated sense of grievance – bears a large share of the blame for the demise of political consensus in America.  Which isn’t to say the other side is guiltless.  To me, left and right seem about equally responsible for our current political mess.

You might gather from this that I’m not precisely a liberal, and you’d be right.  I see myself more as an ally of the liberals, than as one myself.  I’m a nationalist – which doesn’t mean that I’m a conservative – the Goddess forbid – but that that I’d prefer to focus on the things that unite Americans, rather than on the things that divide us.  This also means (horrors!) that I agree with some of the things Trump has said – as opposed, however, to what he’s actually done.  My knock on the Don isn’t that he’s a nationalist, but that he’s a fraud.  He’s a Republican mogul who makes nationalistic noises to gull the masses, nothing more.

Most liberals seem to be under the impression that nationalism is an inherently right-wing viewpoint, which it isn’t.  Ask Fidel Castro.  A little real nationalism may be just what our country needs.

I think so, anyway.

Blessed be.

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