Ten years ago the Economist magazine -- no friend of Marxism -- warned: “The United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.” And as a recent headline in the Columbia Journalism Review put it: “The line between democracy and a darker social order is thinner than you think.”
We are this close - this close! - to losing our democracy to the mercenary class. So close it’s as if we’re leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon waiting for a swift kick in the pants.
The spectacle of crowd behavior is a terrible thing to watch, especially when the rich and famous are involved. The passion of a few ignites a firestorm, with each successive person claiming an oddly personal connection to the legends of our time.
Where were you when you heard the news? That's the question most often asked of people in my generation about the murder of John Kennedy in Dallas 50 years ago. Compelled by instinct to recall the experience or fit in with a growing chorus of mourners, we search our memory banks as though the thing that matters most is where we were or weren't. I might have been in eighth grade shop class. I might have been at the dentist. Whatever.
The US Senate race in 2014 is all but set. A Tea Party Republican will run against Kay Hagan, most likely Thom Tillis. Which means Senator Hagan will be tacking hard to the right, as she did yesterday with this stunt, calling for a probe into the sketchy roll-out of the ACA.
I don't get it. This move won't buy her friends on the right, it aggravates the left, and most important, it gets in the way of people doing actual work to get the website improved.
There's no need for Hagan to try to appease Tea Party obstructionists on this or any other issue.
This morning I accidentally blocked a whole bunch of BlueNC members by accident, including myself. That led to a major fire drill on my part, which then led to many folks receiving emails about their accounts being activated. Bottom line is, I screwed up. Fortunately, there's nothing you need to do or worry about. All is well.
If you follow the news at all, it's hard to escape the sense that we are three nations, under God, completely divisible, with liberty and justice for some. These three America's aren't like the two Americas that John Edwards used to talk about. Those two Americas are so well established that they have morphed into one depraved country in which the ruling elite so dominate everyone else that it hardly bears notice.
No, I'm talking about three different Americas, defined by attitudes and behaviors, not class and status.
You can feel it in your bones, a new era of lawlessness sweeping across the land. It is American exceptionalism at its violent worst. You're not the boss of me, and I'll kill you if you try.
For most of the past hundred years, our instinct toward bare knuckled political warfare was held in check by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Neither side was willing to push beyond the point of reasonableness for fear of existential blowback that would take the whole system out. But now all bets are off. Republican leaders yesterday stormed the gates of the World War II monument in DC, protesting their own extreme choice to shutter the government. Ted Cruz openly violated the law he is sworn to uphold. "It's okay if you're a Republican" has never been more vividly on display. The genie is out of the bottle.
Every now and then I get the urge to bail out of blogging and head for the hills. Faced with existential angst about what we're doing here and why, it's hard to know how to press forward. What difference are we making? What roles can we fill? Should we pull the plug? Should we double down? Dial up? Dial back? You know. Angst.
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