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.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

When Spell Checkers Just Won't Save You

We love them because they make our writing better, and make us look smarter and more literate than we really are in today's email-driven society. But spell checkers aren't often grammar checkers. If you spell a word correctly yet use it incorrectly, a spell checker is like a life vest on the Titanic: it keeps your body afloat long after the chilling realization of just what it is that you have committed to the ocean of text actually means. In this article, I will list my favorites as they arrive at my inbox, beginning with:

"Please bare with me as I get on board with the duties as your chair. You have all contributed much to the work of the organization, and I will do my best to do my part."

One hopes her parts are doable. Better a bare chair than a chair bare.

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