My lesson, however, has been to stop using the issue as a foil for other topics, since it's too radioactive. Foils need themselves to be mildly interesting or easily recognizable, but shouldn't be major bones of contention - because if they are, they overpower the attempt to wield them.If you follow that link, by the way, you'll see how I tried to extricate myself with an explanation of why I hadn't been saying many of the things attributed to me after all.
Well, after six months of restraining myself, Andrew Sullivan has posted something which causes me to try again. First, however, please do try to accept that I'm not addressing the particulars that have set him off. I'm not addressing the stimulus, health care, or any other internal American political issue. Not.
What I am addressing is the perhaps universal tendency by otherwise democratically minded thinking people (democratic with a small d) not to be able to accept that sometime the electorate really really doesn't see things the "right" way. What happens when you're convinced in a position or set of them, but the voters think otherwise? You can ask yourself if perhaps they're right, and re-examine your positions. You can figure out why you're in the minority, and resolve to shout until enough people hear you to stop being the minority. (There may be better tactics than shouting). You can resign yourself to being of the minority, perhaps even parade the fact. There are all sorts of ways to deal with being in the minority. I expect each of you has repeatedly had the experience; me, since I jump around rather often, I can report on being the minority on both sides of the same issues, when I perhaps moved against the current.
One of the ugly ways to deal with disagreeing with the majority is to comfort yourself publicly that they're all gullible weak-minded innocents who are being manipulated by the Evil Ones:
They crafted a strategy of total oppositionism to anything Obama proposed a year ago. Remember they gave him zero votes on even the stimulus in his first weeks. They saw health insurance reform as Obama's Waterloo, and, thanks in part to the dithering Democrats, they beat him on that hill. They have successfully channeled all the rage at the massive debt and recession the president inherited on Obama after just one year. If they can do that already, against the massive evidence against them, they have the power to wield populism to destroy any attempt by government to address any actual problems.
This is a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power ... to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad....
Yes, I'm gloomy. Not because I was so wedded to this bill, although I think it's a decent enough start. But because if America cannot grapple with its deep and real problems after electing a new president with two majorities, then America's problems are too great for Americans to tackle.
And so one suspects that this is a profound moment in the now accelerating decline of this country. And one of the major parties is ecstatic about it.
See what I mean? Distasteful.
We've got some similarly minded people in Israel. They make up for being a small minority by telling outsiders they're the only sane Israelis, and the rest of us are mad.