Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Chosen Few

The problem with the Republican strategies for winning the election is not that they might not win, but the long term effects of such strategies. Republicans behave as if the election were a football game between hateful rivals who play once a season, then go home to their respective schools and wait for the next scheduled game to try again.

The behaviors set in motion by the 2000 election results, and now the divisive tactics being used by the Republican incumbents are only just beginning to manifest. As I noted in my blog The Value of Our Values negative or brutal means to direct actions always result in a negative or brutal behavior from the victims afterwards. In this case, it means that after the election, one side or the other will resort to ever increasing amounts of brutal tactics.

As Richard Nixon found out to his chagrin after the 1972 election, the behaviors only grow in intensity and ferocity after the election. Hard cadres of disciplined, well-informed and well-connected protestors will emerge if the Republicans win this October. They will grow and they will become more powerful than the evangelical far-right Republican hard-core. The principal problem is the perception that somehow, the American system was hoodwinked, the election was hijacked, and that a minority group of well-off white men have succeeded in overthrowing the system from within. Given Thomas Jefferson's remedy for such an event, they will begin to see that action is not only within their rights, but is the duty of the American patriot.

The hate and bitterness that the Republican election tactics have created will fuel this grass fire of patriotic sentiment and call to arms as if one had tossed gasoline on the tinder. This is an explosive situation and all sides will do well to refocus their campaigns on substantive issues over personal vituperation. They are making a monster and it will not continue to obey them, nor will it produce results that either party will find productive or career-enhancing. The Republican's consider that right wing evangelical fervor a sign of American strength.

Nothing could be more wrong.

America is by design and practice, a polytheistic culture with many beliefs held in check by the separation of church and state. By attempting to unite these, the evangelicals have played directly into the grand design of Osama Bin Laden. He is a mechanical engineer by education and a religious extremist by choice. He recognizes that exploiting the religious divisions in the American culture by feeding fear into the evangelical right will split the country at a structural seam. He is using our fears of each other in combination with the powerful ambitions of those who have hijacked Christian beliefs and institutions for their own ends to feed that fear back into our system so that we will turn on each other.

He does not seek to overthrow us; he means to cause us to start a second American civil war.

The extreme religious right are his best allies and supreme instrument in his goal to break up our nation. We must come to understand how our actions are furthering his goals not only in alienating our allies and increasing the strength of our enemies abroad, but that they are causing us to crumble from within by invoking our darker nature created by our need to be among the chosen few.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bullard,
Your commentary "negative or brutal means to direct actions always result in a negative or brutal behavior from the victims afterwards" rings loud and true.

Please see the ABC NEWS article "False Documentation?
Questions Arise About Authenticity of Newly Found Memos on Bush's Guard Service" http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Politics/Vote2004/bush_documents_040909-1.html

And please, if you will allow me the chance to rewrite your comments...

"The principal problem is the perception that somehow, the American system was *almost* hoodwinked, the election was *almost* hijacked, and that a minority group of *left-wing extremists almost* succeeded in overthrowing the system *using the major media outlets as their pawns*. Given Thomas Jefferson's remedy for such an event, they will begin to see that action is not only within their rights, but is the duty of the American patriot."

I trust you will enjoy the rest of this election season as much as I.

Kip Oren said...

For argument's sake, I'll accept your premise that the GOP is full of hate-filled, dirty campaigners and that the Dems are as pure as the driven snow, and that the GOP is going to pay for their sins.

You could have saved all of the ad hominem, saved us all some time, and kept the entire post to all of eleven words: in American politics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Or, five words: what goes around comes around.

And now, my 13 word response: In the words of Strunk and White: "Be clear, be brief, be bold."

http://www.baumanoren.blogspot.com

len said...

Hello Anonymous? No name? No fair.

>Please see the ABC NEWS article "False Documentation?
>Questions Arise About Authenticity of Newly Found Memos on Bush's Guard Service"
>http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Politics/Vote2004/bush_documents_040909-1.html

1. Without the provenance of the document, the source is unknown.

2. Documents can be reentered or scanned and that would be the result. The typography suggests it is not the original. Again, provenance.

Choices:

o It is the work of an amateur

o It is the work of the Kerry campaign

o It is the work of the Bush campaign

The Kerry campaign is too smart to release an obvious fraud. So that leaves amateurs and the Bush campaign.

>And please, if you will allow me the chance to rewrite your comments...

No.

>I trust you will enjoy the rest of this election season as much as I.

This is duty not pleasure. That is exactly the problem I have with the Republican party. Their values of power have become such that even when mistakes are large and devastating to the lives of Americans, even when our allies have been driven from us, even when a mother of five tries to hold together their kids while her husband is extended for one more tour in Iraq, even when using the word of God to claim some moral ascendancy over the rest of America, even then you have no shame in you claims to power. Arrogance is not leadership.

The records for Kerry's service are the records of the US Defense Department and the United States Navy. Whatever disputes there are about the events, the records have provenance.

The records for President George W. Bush don't.
President Bush must explain his gap in his services records.

John Kerry doesn't. We know precisely where he was.

However you slice this issue or the documentation, John Kerry is a real hero. And he is most certainly fit to lead this country because even if he criticized its policy, when the time came to serve, he served with distinction, honor and heroism, and when he returned from the war, he continued that service.

One leads not just by courage, but by courage and truth. For what else but truth is worthy of courage?

Hello Kip Oren. Good to know you.

>Then again, only an idiot would, at age 65, call herself sexy on national tv. Keep talking Madam Ketchup, keep talking.

IF Teresa held a bottle of ketchup on TV, she could say, "It's not a vegetable. I ought to know."

She is sexy, Dude. Hey, would you step out on her? Not me. Life among the mammals. She is his and he is her's and they have a wonderful life together. The rest of it is none of your business.

Get that right this time and we save eighty million and do our jobs instead of watching America get attacked on TV after we were made to explain oral sex to our children watching the nightly news. Not only were the priorities wrong, but embarassingly wrong. You sucked us into the space between a man and a woman and that is abusive and wrong. Quit making lascivious spectacle for news cycles. It's classless.

Get over it or on with it, but the private lives of our
leaders should be held in more respect and less scorn.
Do not make inhumanity a job requirement to lead the
free world. Let us treat them with respect for their leadership, honor them for their service, forgive them for their mistakes, and get on with having what all men and women want: good lives, fresh futures, hope and the weekends off.

If you don't understand the dangers of dividing our society along lines of religion and public scorn for private morality, then you don't understand what it truly is to be American, to be proud, to be free, to be just to all, to offer hope over anger, to let our values inform our objectives, and never to strike another without cause, if you missed the part that said "WE the people", if by your decisions you forget where the power to govern is given, then all either of us must do without fear is vote.

No fear. American. Ready to vote.

len

Joshua Allen said...

It's nice that you're saying what you really feel. You could swap all instances of 'Republican' with 'Democrat' and ring true to equally as many people.

But I am curious about your references to "extreme religious right"? The church in the west has become so emasculated as to be nothing more than a social club, so comparisons of today's "religious right" to the present-day Wahabis or even to pre-1967 Catholicism just do not resonate. And this election has been about "rush to war", vietnam war records, flip-flop, tax cuts, jobs, gas prices, and so on. Christianity is nowhere that I have seen, and is playing a smaller role in this election than ever before in American history.

Or are you simply saying that the party ideologoues *act* like cult members? In that case, I agree. The parties have become the new religion for many people. Just as Islam and Judaism both worship the same God and trace to the same founder, the difference between the Republicans and Democrats is far less than the ever-increasing fervor of their devotees would suggest. Clinton enacted welfare reform and balanced the budget. Bush increases medicare and federal education spending. Draft dodgers vote for Kerry, who is a war hero. War heroes vote for Bush, who avoided Vietnam. Anti-war protestors vote for Kerry, who says he would increase the size of the military and says he would have invaded Iraq anyway. Both candidates are privileged, old money white guys who never worked for an honest wage.

So, why do you think it is that the party loyalists are more religious than ever in their support of candidates who are more alike than ever? I have my own theories, but suffice it to say that it's a strange thing to watch. People on either side seem to think that their own candidate is salvation incarnate, the embodiment of good (or at least 99.5% good, while the opposition is at least 50% evil). At least if their opponent wins, they'll be able to continue hoping for a savior and have an excuse for the ongoing religious fervor. But if their own candidate wins, I suspect the best they have to look forward to is a bad hangover and a sense of disappointment when they realize that their savior was not all that different from their devil.

len said...

>It's nice that you're saying what you really feel. You >could swap all instances of 'Republican' >with 'Democrat' and ring true to equally as many >people.

But it wouldn't be true.

>But I am curious about your references to "extreme >religious right"? The church in the west has become so >emasculated as to be nothing more than a >social club, >so comparisons of today's "religious right" to the >present-day Wahabis or even to pre-1967 Catholicism >just do not resonate.

Too generalized. You must live in the Northwest. Religious fervor is alive and well. In many cases, that is a healthy aspect of modern life. So is jogging. Done to extremes, it becomes unhealthy.

>And this election has been about "rush to war", >vietnam war records, flip-flop, tax cuts, jobs, gas >prices, and so on. Christianity is nowhere that I have >seen, and is playing a smaller role in this election >than ever before in American history.

That may be the case where you live. I live in the Bible Belt. It plays a role. G.W. is a born-again with a hard right evangelical base. It played a significant role in every campaign he has undertaken after his conversion. You don't do your candidate homework.

The rise of G.W. after his conversion is well documented. It isn't a bad thing. It turned a dissolute man into a productive citizen. Louis Farrakhan does the same with his followers. Religion is a civilizing influence in most cases. In some cases, like alcohol, sex, or software, taken to extremes, it becomes a mind killer.

>Or are you simply saying that the party ideologoues >*act* like cult members?

They act like and use the tactics of the German Bunds. The Christianity fits well over that just as mysticism did over the Bunds. Instead of labels, step back and
watch the behaviors in which analytical logic and common sense are put aside to ensure the true believers have hegemony and the leaders are not questioned.

For the current subject, the history of lieing and using distractions and the politics of personal destruction are evident. That they are denied so
glibly tells the culpability of the mind numbing influences.

>In that case, I agree. The parties have become the new >religion for many people.

I don't think so. I think religion is fueling the fervor and the anger. The anger is a dangerous emotion to fuel politics with. It is inherently, 'us vs them', divisive and after the election, continues to grow making the country, ungovernable. The nearest precedent historically is Italian facism. It is just one of several elements that make the lies so palatable.

>So, why do you think it is that the party loyalists >are more religious than ever in their support of >candidates who are more alike than ever?

The only election I can remember when two candidates were more different was when George Wallace ran against Ryan deGraffenreid. That was before your time.

Joshua Allen said...

Len,

I've been in the Northwest for six years now. However, I was raised among strongly religious and conservative people. I've lived in a variety of places, and been part of many communities. The religious teach that all men are created equal and are precious just as the humanists do. And the disease of being intolerant and hateful toward those who are different than us is found in all communities. The irreligious can stereotype just as viciously and be just as intolerant as the religious, and in most cases the religion or irreligion is just an excuse.

len said...

Joshua said: "I've been in the Northwest for six years now. However, I was raised among strongly religious and conservative people. I've lived in a variety of places, and been part of many communities. The religious teach that all men are created equal and are precious just as the humanists do. And the disease of being intolerant and hateful toward those who are different than us is found in all communities. The irreligious can stereotype just as viciously and be just as intolerant as the religious, and in most cases the religion or irreligion is just an excuse."

I agree completely, Joshua. I can't reconcile the lieing, character assasination, obsession with private lives, reckless use of American forces, disregard for social imperatives, and the waste of resources with a religious belief or even a conservative philosophy. I'm a conservative even if a Democrat. This administration is waaaay beyond conservative.

Here's the knock: the use of force in Afghanistan was the right thing to do. As the elder Bush said with Scowcroft, aggression should not be rewarded but the use of force requires a policy. The policy of American use of force has except in cases of total warfare, been proportional. Iraq was in check. There were no weapons of mass destruction and listening to what our allies and our own inspectors were telling us, we could have let the inspections run their course and in due time, determined the facts. President G.W. Bush and his advisors believed they could not wait. They were wrong.

What we should have been doing with that money and that time was securing the homeland by securing the information architecture and inspections under policies that provide both for more information fusion while ensuring privacy and American liberties. Instead, we increased the numbers and intensity of those who actively are working to do us harm. That is an incredible strategic blunder.

The bigger questions come after the election:

o Our materiel resources will diminish faster than we were lead to believe. That means money to the military and possibly a draft.

o We require a policy for the case where a terrorist organization manages a nuclear or biological WMD attack inside the US territory. Our policy to date has been proportional. How big a crater do you suggest we make and where?

o Money has to be spent on integration of public safety systems across all jurisdictions, local, State and Federal to enable maximum use of the decentralized information.

We are facing major investments while we simultaneously have to supply Iraq and Afghanistan. The is a big deal logistically. We needed to be doing other work securing Afghanistan and our own homeland, not violating every lesson learned in over 200 years of being a nation by becoming a first strike country waging a preemptive war in Iraq.

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