David Sirota has an interesting piece in Salon today titled “Right-wing coup: Deluded secessionists have already won” in which he argues that through their use of redistricting, the gerrymander, the U.S. Senate filibuster and the creation of the so-called Hastert Rule, the GOP has created a “tyranny of the conservative minority” that is “nothing short of the conservative movement declaring independence from America yet still ruling the America it abandoned with the entitled arrogance of an occupying force.”
I’m sad to say I think he’s onto something. Certainly he’s not the first to come to this conclusion. I know I’ve read other pieces on the subject–or maybe I’m recalling one of my many conversations with Doc. At any rate, Sirota’s piece struck me as painfully on target.
The fact is, that despite being outnumbered, the tea party zealots are controlling the conversation in Washington, D.C and elsewhere. And by doing so, they are getting exactly what they want. Sequestration has cut the size of government, gutted the social safety net, cut or under/defunded many (most?) social programs like Social Security, Head Start, Early Childhood Education, Meals on Wheels, WIC, and funds for essential stuff like public education, transportation, infrastructure, medical research. . .the list goes on. What have they been able to fund/pass? Let’s see, the NSA, the military, corporate tax cuts, deregulation. I have to stop before I throw-up all over my keyboard.
So despite the American public’s expressed desire for things such as better schools, more gun control, healthcare reform, keeping the government running, protecting a woman’s right to choose, and ending the wars, the GOP–let’s face it, their party now is the Tea Party–has stopped laws the public supports from even coming up for a vote while passing laws restricting women’s access to healthcare and making us subject to transvaginal ultrasounds.
This coup has been, as Sirota points out, “engineered by a largely regional party– one whose home territory looks eerily similar to the Confederacy.” In fact, they been able to create
a whole separate political country for themselves. Inside this new country, the Fourth Estate check on power isn’t an objective news media – it is Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing media enforcing dogma against the perceived threat of ideological traitors.
Inside this country, the Republican Party isn’t interested in broadening its agenda – the incentive in Conservastan is for the party to continually narrow its agenda to intensify conservative fervor so that the gerrymandered districts which comprise Conservastan remain impenetrable GOP strongholds.
And so here we are: week two into a government shut down with the threat of economic collapse on the horizon.
So while there’s been talk of secession, of “taking back” America, stopping the president’s “socialist” agenda, blah, blah, blah, there’s little reason for the zealots to do anything other than what they are doing. As Sirota says,
why would today’s conservatives want to formally secede from a nation that gives them the privilege of governing the whole country, even though they remain in the electoral minority and even though their policy agenda is opposed by a majority of the country?
Ya know, we often talk about the south being made up by people who are still fighting the war of northern aggression. And friends and I often suggest that Lincoln should have just let ’em go, and that appears to be the premise of Chuck Thompson’s Better Off Without ‘Em, which I have just ordered for my iPad. We’ll, by the looks of things, they may have finally won.