Last night, Marcos posted a diary that I finally got around to reading this morning. It considered the expected outrage when the Liberal Left discovered that, heaven fore fend, Barack Obama had dinner with the likes of William Kristol and George Will, deep in the den of the Conservative lions.
While driving to the gumbo mud construction site that, with increasingly fading hope, might someday be our retirement cottage (but, clearly not before we die!) I gave some thought to Kos' diary and the comments it generated.
Is there some reason that we, hanging out here in confusion, would be enraged? Is there some explanation for this expectation that we would rise in rebellion?
Yes, I think there is. And, I think we need to consider carefully why we are expected to react in horror and outrage when our newly elected President listens to all voices and dines with all manner of miscreants.
During the past 40 years Republicans, and particularly conservatives, have worked unremittingly to set themselves up as the final arbitrator on all that is wise, and good and just. To achieve this stunning control over the political dialogue Progressives and Liberals have been vilified, insulted, shunned, and painted as not fit for polite company. Our ideas have been systematically demeaned, denied, and decried as unpatriotic, unsophisticated, and unworthy of discussion in polite circles. We have been tarred as the enemy of all that is moral, thoughtful and worthy. This has had the effect of encouraging us to react in kind.
I know my reaction has been to move from a firm belief that everyone has something to offer, and that no one does deliberate evil, to an abiding hatred for all of the cant that conservatives spew.
I writhe at the lines of greedy money managers parading across the TV screen who still scream, "No new taxes" while presiding over the destruction of our economic system and the selling of America. They still whine that bailouts and stimulus packages will burden our children and grandchildren. They created the disaster but want to avoid paying for it at all costs. And they threaten and lie to have both their cake, and mine.
Every time a Rick Warren is given pride of place I scream at the stupidity of giving cachet to the mind numbing stupidity of his ideas and philosophies. They have contributed in large part to the creeping stupidity of the national discourse, and the wool pulling that has ensued, as the mob has been focused on the incredible trivia how how people have sex, and when.
But I am being foolish.
The Phil Gramm's, and Jessie Helms', and Alan Greenspan's, the Brownback's, and Santorium's, and DeLay's, the Kristol's and Will's and Brooks' do speak to a swath of Americans. It's a swath that they skillfully crafted, and now still manage, with some impunity.
But their Conservative ideas are increasingly isolated as the fruits of their philosophy rot on the tree, and the smell is wafting over more of the land. Denial and "Blame Clinton" didn't fool the majority of voters! They elected a man who promised to reach across the aisle and find bi-partisan solutions to the looming disasters of climate, and energy, and health care.
And, he can't do that without carefully avoiding the arrogance and blind stupidity displayed by all of those simian conservatives during the past 4 decades.
They appealed to the worst in the human spirit. To bring us back to a balance, to move forward towards solutions, the mouth pieces of the Conservative Movement must be courted and brought to the table.
They made us hate them so much that we never heard their good ideas, and there are a few. They moved us so far out of the main stream of discussion that our frustration blinded many of us to the possibility of collaboration. We wanted them destroyed. We wanted to see them suffer the isolation and degradation and trivialization we have endured. In a modified version of, "Well, they did it first!" we wanted them cut from the body politic. As satisfying as it might be, that approach would inevitably lead to the same back lash our Conservative friends are experiencing right now.
We must include them. We must.
So, You Go Guy.
Give everyone a hearing. Never again let Americans become warring factions, screaming at one and other, seeking arguments that are crafted to win debating points while ignoring the real needs of real people.
Next time, send me the bill.