What will the Evangelicals do?
Jean-Marie le pen. He ran for what?
I read a lot of people worry about a dictatorship under Bush, martial law, and things like that.
To be honest, that isn't what worries me. Americans are too violence prone and angry as a rule to be good subjects of a dictator, with their demand for rights and all that. There are Americans waiting for the government to come for them so they can finally go on that cop killing spree they have in the back of their minds. And this isn't just rednecks. If gang members could turn into resistance fighters, you'd have bloods and crips resistance cells in every urban area in America and more than a few burbs. That's a fantasy, like Robert Conquest's mid-80's book about a Soviet occupation of the US.
What I worry about, truly, is a society where the level of debate grows ever coarser.
For all it's flaws, American racists have had to work under cover. When the racists broke cover in 1948, they were humiliated. There is no American version of the Forza Italia, Pym Fortune's Party or the Vlaams Blok. And that's not a small thing.
I don't think Bush will take our rights away, even when they nominate Alberto Gonzalez as AG. Arrogance will be Bush's undoing. The problem is what comes after Bush. What will the evangelicals do? Will they form their own political structures, designed not to just further their agenda, but undermine the constitution. I'm not talking about abortion here, but fundamental rights to protect your personal religious beliefs. This has already happened once, with prohibition.
What I worry about is driving the GOP, splintering it, and turning it into a party which doesn't respect invidiual rights at all. Banning abortion is only the start. We're talking about going back to pre-Griswold America, where contraception was illegal in some states. Where sex information was hidden in "marriage manuals". Where censorship committees and book banning existed. Because as the evangelicals rejoice in their victory, the question is how far will they push things.
This is not just a battle over who is president, but in every school board in America. This is where the fight in, in the battles over the limits of religion and your rights. Not just who runs the DNC.
This isn't a fight one can wage from a distance either. You have to be in their face, every day, challenging them and stopping them. What bothers me about the European racialist parties is not their odious platforms, but their widespread acceptance. They aren't getting one or two percent of the vote, but 24-25 percent of the vote in some elections. Jacques Chriac is president because he ran against Jean-Marie LePen. And while it's fine to ridicule Louisiana for letting David Duke run and win, remember, Bobby Jindal almost won as well.
If it's about the law, we can argue that all day long. The law is still a debate. But these people are talking about more than changing the law. They want to remake society.
But my deepest fear is that the hard right, the fundamentalists will decide this is their time to impose their will and will no longer accept the GOP shuck and jive and use their power to impose the changes that they want.
Prohibition finally passed after years of agitation by local groups and state-wide bans. They convinced people that banning alcohol would actually solve social problems. All it did was introduce crime on a massive scale across the US. The people most angry at this are the ones who have to start running for school boards, start working on local campaigns, confront the creation science loons at schools. This isn't just a big battle, but small skirmishes. It's fights over library books, school prayer, and clinic defense. It's not something you can solve from Tokyo or London. It just isn't. Even if you're a concerned expat, the fact is that your local school will matter a lot more.
The European racialists rely on myth to push their programs. Myths of the past, which is why I dug up the facts about the tiny number of Flemings who fought with the SS. The new racialists don't hark that to that past, but it's there, right under the surface. Well, our fundies are playing on different myths, but myths all the same. They have a vision of an America which only existed in front of a camera. But they think it is real.
Which is why I think all this red-blue state stuff is nonsense. It's one country, one people. How a few people voted for one guy over the other is less of an issue than the choices they will face in the future. Because the battleground is right in those red states. Right there. We have to fight there, on their ground and win. We have to develop a narrative which will stop this appeal to religion cold, in a way the European left has been unable to do with their racialists.
Remember, America has two coalition parties of the center-left and the center-right. The issue is how much of the center will the GOP hold. My guess, very little. When they do, we have to have an alternative vision, one which is compelling.
We cannot do what the European left has done, which is either ridicule or ignore the threat from the racialists. I mean, how many on the left actually stand for a multiracial society in Europe, how many have real answers to the fears that immigration bring? We don't have that luxury. We have to face down these people and do it a way which is credible. My fear is not a loss of rights by the government, but imposition of my neighbor's beliefs on me.
posted by Steve @ 5:07:00 PM