We’re going in a bad direction here, folks:
And now we have local GOP Gauleiters in Florida soliciting oaths of allegiance not to the flag, not to the country, not to the constitution, but to the person of the leader — albeit still an elected one, at least for now.
One people, one country, one leader …
One step following another.
The truly sinister thing — and the reason why that Slate story made the hair stand up on the back of my neck — is that even as these people move, like sleepwalkers, towards a distinctly American version of the cult of the leader, most of them honestly appear to have no idea what they’re doing, or creating. I’m not even sure the Rovians themselves entirely understand the atavistic instincts they’ve awakened in Bush’s most loyal followers. But the current is running now, fast and strong. And we’re all heading for the rapids.
Charlie Stross (one of my favorite writers) has noticed it too:
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of anger out there. As noted here (and elsewhere on David Neiwert’s excellent and thoughtful site) the emergence of eliminationist rhetoric into mainstream right wing dialogue since 9/11 has been very visible, and it is binging back some very unpleasant memories. The fuhrerprinzip and the dolchstoss are coming out to play and idiots (sorry!) like Karl Rove are encouraging this.
Economic collapse and unemployment breeds anger. A retreat from empire breeds anger. Racism breeds anger. There’s a hideous brew out there, being pumped up by a media system that thrives on bad news because bad news — the culture of fear — boosts ratings. It seems that traditional adversarial democratic politics — in which each side acknowledges that their opposition is a loyal opposition, whose ideas on how to manage the country may differ but whose loyalty isn’t in question — is itself in danger.
At this point I probably don’t have to say that I would vastly prefer a clear Kerry victory next Tuesday. I really fear the alternative. Despite being critical of US foreign policy, I’m not actually an enemy of the United States: and I fear that if the political polarization continues to grow, the USA is destined to tear itself apart at the seams or decay into dictatorship and violence.
The question is, what can we do about it? Electing Kerry is a start, since it means those who are drifting us closer and closer to the edge won’t have the office of the President (and therefore the Executive branch) to use as a platform for their views, but by the same token, Bush losing is going to make a lot of people very angry. Is it already too late to turn this all around? I know I’m very vocal in calling what’s going on right now a war, because I got tired of watching the Democrats sit back and let the Republicans kick them in the teeth over and over. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see things get back to some sort of middle ground, one where both sides debate the issues, rather than just trying to ram their opinions down the other side’s throat by any means necessary.