Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Almost Isn't Good Enough

Long form writing doesn't come easily for me because it's hard to untangle the interconnected thoughts into linear sentences. And I edit myself. And re-edit. Then try to add links. And a little joke here or there. And before you know it, it never gets done and never gets posted. I'm gonna give it a go at keeping it shorter and see how that goes.

We have reached the height of the long Republican Party plan to game the system so carefully set up by the founding fathers of the United States. They feared one thing and believed they had designed the system to avoid the one pitfall.

They fear what they called "factions" and we call political parties. The solution to the problem was to have a nation so large and diverse that no faction to set up and last long enough around enough ideas to keep it together and overrun the rights of the people.

But since the late 1950s, the conservative "movement" has managed to pull it together just large enough in widely dispersed area, and kept it together to confound the system. Successive 10 year cycles to do well in census years allowed constant control of redistricting to lock down state houses and congress for the foreseeable future.

How did they do this? By doing an end around the usual means of information sharing with voters, namely, the media. Back to the 1950s...

William F. Buckley began using TV and magazines to focus the conservative message. No attempt to be "fair and balanced".

Think tanks were formed to promote the ideas put forth in magazines and TV. Politicians were educated in the language of the movement.

Direct mail in the 1970s spearheaded by Richard Viguerie. Go right to the people so they don't have to listen to media elites like Walter Cronkite or Wolf Blitzer tell them what to think about national and world events.

Ally with evangelical religionists so that not only was the message "right", it was "righteous". And with that it became ok to call out people who don't behave right. Redefine what it means to be American just as the term began to include groups besides white Christian men.

Simplify it with incessant repetition for a couple of decades. God, guns, and gays. Masculine, physical strength mythologized by rugged individualists like the John Wayne characters that no one even pays attention to anymore. Vigilante justice taking up where the "system" has failed.

Repeat it over and over and over and over...

Welcome to the world. The Constitution is confounded and all the founders worst nightmares have come to be. Just like they thought it could but hoped it wouldn't.

The US was a good idea while it lasted. We very nearly pulled it off.