I haven’t been writing much about politics lately. I know that a lot of people found this site after one of my political posts and if you’re one of them you’re probably wondering where those posts went.
I’ve been off politics for a number of reasons.
First, I’ve been busy. Yes! I know! I have a life outside of my fevered ramblings about the sorry state of American governance! Hard to believe, but it’s true. It takes me a long time to write those political posts – usually a few days, sometimes up to a month – and between revamping classes, grading exams, visiting family and friends in far-flung places, and generally getting through the days with what sanity I have still intact, there just hasn’t been that much time.
Most people I know are in that same boat, actually. Likely you are too. Remember having free time? Wasn’t that nice?
Also, I’ve kind of burned out on the subject to be honest. I’ve had a front-row seat to the subversion of an American state for the last two and half years – watching the rule of law and Constitutional governance succumb to the exercise of brute power by a lawless right wing tin-horn dictatorship without conscience or morality while at the same time watching that same breed of right wing extremists work their magic at the national level over most of the last decade. After a while you get tired of pointing it out.
How many times can you describe the new and ever-more-brazen ways that the right-wing extremists who now run one of the only two major political parties we have constitute an existential threat to the survival of the republic before you start to bore even yourself?
Not that the Founders would have been surprised by this state of affairs. The only thing that would have surprised them was that the republic lasted as long as it did. A republic requires an educated and informed citizenry, leaders willing to sacrifice their own petty private interests for the public good, and a strong sense of history to help leaders and citizens avoid the traps that have destroyed republics in the past.
Unfortunately the radical right wing – given their eagerness to destroy institutions that have stood the test of time you can hardly call them “conservative,” after all – is deliberately dismantling our public education system and substituting in its place theological indoctrination. They fetishize private interest to a degree that even Cornelius Vanderbilt would have found unseemly. And their view of history is distorted into a mythology that would be comical if it weren’t so grotesque. As a professional historian all I can say is that the bizarre falsehoods that permeate the right-wing worldview provide a target-rich environment for correction, or they would if that worldview acknowledged the possibility of correction.
It’s difficult to write about such things and still face the day.
I suppose I will get back to politics eventually. It’s hard to stay away from such a train wreck, human nature being what it is. We’re primates after all, the only animals on the planet who instinctively run toward trouble rather than away.