Monday, September 24, 2007

For The Socratic Gadfly And Others: An Explanation For What Its Worth

There has been a spirited and heated discussion here in the last few days on what is the proper way for members of the progressive movement to view the situation, and act accordingly, in respect to the rapidly approaching general election. Strong passions abound on every front. In the process, sometimes that which is procedural appears personal. For my part, I would like to say, don't get me wrong. I have no personal animosity whatsoever. The mere fact that you, and everybody else here, are engaged and here at all gives me a tremendous amount of respect for you. And, as with everybody here, I would enjoy very much having a beer and having some fun today, tomorrow or any other day. Believe it or not, I agree, to some extent with many of the things you and others similarly situated say.

Even where I do disagree with what you say, I would, and will, fight to the death and give my life to protect your right to say it. But that is the point; I truly believe that this country is currently in a death fight for it's very soul and existence as a Constitutional democracy. If this fight with the robber baron authoritarian theocrats of the Cheney/Bush/Addington/Podheretz bent is lost, your ideals, as well as mine, will not only be unheard, there will not even be a framework of equal protection and due process of law allowing them to be voiced.

My disgust and sense of betrayal at the Democrats, and especially their leadership, may be greater than even yours, because they are my party. I am one extremely unhappy camper in that regard. Right now, however, the alternative is geometrically worse and, like it or not, there are currently only two possible outcomes from the next election; either a Democratic administration will take office, or another Republican one will simply continue on down the same tragic path we have been on the last seven years.

Let me give an imperfect analogy. As far as political ideology goes, The US and Britain had little in common with the Russian/Eastern block in WWII, nor them with us, but both understood that the alternative of Hitler was far worse; so cooperation to prevent that was mandatory. Whether you and I see eye to eye or not, the alternative already in place, running and ruining our lives, is the bitter enemy of us both.

The thing I care about most in the world is the liberty, freedom (of thought not some idiotic manufactured fear of Islamists or some other bogeyman), privacy and, above and beyond all else, the rule of law and equal protection and due process to enforce it, contained and guaranteed in the Constitution. I would willingly sacrifice my life to protect that; and I honestly think we are at that critical a juncture where those are indeed the stakes. I have a pretty elevated knowledge of the structure and circumstances of the Supreme Court; if there is another Republican administration in office over the next 4-8 years, you can kiss off about everything you believe in as well as your free ability to even think it. I dearly wish there was a viable alternative to the current Democratic party (in case you have not noticed, I have absolutely excoriated them for their actions on MCA, torture, privacy and other things); but, at this point, there simply is not, and there is insufficient time prior to the next election to construct one. This is why I say and express the things I do; it is because I must. Your principles and values are laudable; but they won't be worth diddly shit if we, together, cannot regain at least a nominally sane, and in terms of Constitutional due process and equal protection rule of law, basline foundation from which to operate our country and, hopefully, effect truly intelligent change in the future.