Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reflections on the Counter-Revolution in Wisconsin

Well, the results are in and apparently a small but significant majority of the citizens of Wisconsin prefer living in a tyranny to living in a democracy, and they fail to see the irony of expressing that preference through their democratic suffrage.

So it goes. In a democracy, everyone gets the government the majority deserves.

None of the Teabaggers being recalled represent me – not that they would even if they were from my district, since they have made it painfully clear that they care not a whit for anyone other than themselves and those Just Like Them – so I was a mere spectator for the recalls, a cheerleader, an interested bystander.

And as the vote totals came in – and as it finally hit me that the whole thing was once again going to come down to the same County Clerk in Waukesha County who “discovered” on her personal, unregulated and unmonitored computer the votes that gave the recent Supreme Court race to the Teabaggers – all I could do was watch, with that same sinking feeling that you get when you realize that the runaway truck is, in fact, going to smash into that elementary school and you are too far away to do anything about it, that nothing you try will help.

The Teabaggers did lose two seats in the Senate, and in the context of American history that's a significant loss - few sitting state elected officials have ever been successfully removed from office by the recall process, and the fact that Governor Teabagger (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) was toxic enough even to cause the elections in the first place is, theoretically, a hopeful sign for the future.

But still. The Teabaggers remain in control Wisconsin's government, and I have little doubt that they will see this narrow escape as a smashing mandate to further their extremist policies and their un-American practices. Realistically, I doubt even mass assassination would make them think anything different. It would merely add a whole "we're martyrs to our ideals" layer of rhetoric that would make them even more insufferable.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been prepping my World History Prior to 1500 class and skating through the history of Rome, but when I watch the Teabaggers crowing over what they did to the federal government last week for some reason the phrase “barbarians at the gates” keeps playing in my mind, along with the image of the violently ignorant proudly destroying the achievements of centuries because those achievements cannot be squashed into their bitterly constricted world view.

Maybe it’s because I’m also prepping a US Since 1877 course and revising the bit on Progressives, but when I watch the Teabaggers triumph in Wisconsin, a state where Progressives were powerful even when unbridled laissez-faire ruled America, all I can think is that last night wasn’t accidental – that the good citizens of Wisconsin, having seen the damage those morons have done to the history, traditions, laws, morals, values, and future of this state, surveyed the damage and thought, “Hell yeah! More of that!” That this is what they want. And I’m stuck with what they deserve.

And so are my children.

Like the Founding Fathers, I don’t have a lot of faith in my fellow citizens to begin with.

Like them, I fear the power that demagogues have over the mass of citizens, and the ability those demagogues have to lead the citizenry of a republic into actions that are clearly against their own interests.

Like them, I believe that the system of government they set up in the Constitution can take those imperfect citizens and forge a functional political system from them.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

4 comments:

beatrice in Paris said...

So sorry to hear about the elections. Politics in the States today look pretty sorry, even from abroad.

David said...

They get fractally worse as you get closer.

Eric said...

Look at the bright side!

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What? That's all I've got.

David said...

Well, thanks for trying. :)