Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Democratic boogeymen: where hast thou gone?

While we're on this topic of political parties, let's talk a bit about electoral strategy, or the lack thereof. Democrats are the leaders in the latter category, as their primary 'motivational' strategy in presidential elections for the past 20 years has been using two key issues as threats to hang over the voters' heads if the ignorant plebeians didn't vote for the Dems: Supreme Court justices and its corollary, abortion.

As the story went, if a Republican president of any stripe were elected, he would nominate some hideous fascist to sit on the Supreme Court and when the inevitable argument over abortion entered the docket, said right would be swept away from women forever more. The way this story was presented, you almost couldn't get more Republic of Gilead with it (Handmaid's Tale reference; look it up.) Strangely enough, the Dems never seemed to use this argument very prominently in their Senate campaigns which would seem to be far more important, since the president can nominate whomever he likes, but if he can't get the nomination through the Senate, the game she is over. Of course, presenting that argument in a Senate campaign might get people to actually think hard about Congressional races (you know, the people who actually write the laws) and that's really not a good idea for the autocrats who control the Democratic party.

So, when it came time to put forth a new chief justice, Roberts was tossed out to what the Dems had always promised would be a firestorm of interrogation and criticism; a last stand of justice against the forces of the evil Republicans; a courageous sacrifice of... what? Only a couple days of hearings? Passed with 78% of the vote? Including a MAJORITY of Democratic Senators? Oh... Democrats, thy name is Janus.

But, wait! Wait! There was ANOTHER nomination. And all but 3 Dems voted against that one. See? Well, sure, but the chief justice has a bit more sway than an associate justice, since the chief kinda sets the agenda for what the Court is going to cover, so the horse was more than a bit out of the barn in that case (not that said metaphor is probably useful to most Democratic Senators whom, millionaires all except for Feingold, have likely never been inside a barn in their lives.) And Alito still got confirmed.

Wasting little time, the anti-choice jerkoffs (how appropriate that term is for people who insist on the viability of abstinence...) in the South Dakota legislature issued a ban on abortion. Confirmation of the threat? The Democratic and NARAL prophecy coming true? Hardly.

See, here's the thing: the Supreme Court is a reactionary body. Throughout its history, it has rarely ever made decisions that disrupted the existence of a large body of people (witness Dred Scott...) Only after serious public turbulence has it finally assented to letting something momentous pass. Expecting that the Court will want to inject itself into this debate in the first place is far from a sure bet. The wheels of bureaucratic justice turn slowly.

Even more importantly, it likely won't even get there, as there seems to be a burgeoning movement among the people of South Dakota (you know, the entities that are supposed to be the actual rulers of the state, according to that thing- what's it called? -the Constitution! Yeah. That's it.) to countermand the ill-starred decision of their own representatives. Even more interesting is the decision by the local Oglala reservation to install a clinic that will perform abortions on their own sovereign territory. Local tribes in Louisiana, where the legislature is also acting out of turn, have made similar suggestions. Pretty soon, you might see people flocking to the rez to do more than just sit in front of a slot machine with a cup of quarters. It might get so bad that people will start petitioning the leaders of the rez to live there, perhaps even by buying space. Wouldn't that be a thought? White people actually asking permission and/or paying fair market value to Native Americans for their land.

Of course, if the tribes are smart, they'll refuse. No sense deluging the neighborhood with idiots.

And why strike up the chord of this relatively back-burner issue today, when there are so many other issues of more importance dominating the thoughts of most Americans (war, jobs, money, etc.)? Because it's election time, baby! That's why the Senate fast-tracked a debate on and spent most of the afternoon arguing about a Constitutional amendment on flag burning! These are your elected representatives at work, America! Saving you and your children (we always have to think of the children, just like Helen Lovejoy says...) from the terrible menace of someone burning the flag... just like the flag code says that you, um, have to do when a flag is being retired... It's, uh, standard training in the Boy Scouts... Of course, if you ask Bill O'Reilly he'll probably tell you that only happens in the troops led by GAY scoutmasters!


Blogger justthings said...

Ah, yes, the Flag-Burning-Amendment-Idea-That-Would-Not-Die. Because that's more important than the poverty level, or the minimum wage. That's more important than our best and brightest -- er, well, best and bravest at least, dying in Iraq. That's more important than global warming. That's more important than electronic election fraud. That's more important than campaign finance, for goodness' sake. That's more important than creeping fascism and the loss of personal liberty. That's more important than the permanent warfare state.

Not to get bogged down in details or anything...

11:28 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

And while we're talking about our dwindling freedoms in the information age and Indian Reservations, slot machines don't even take coins any more (or at least my recent experiences tell me)! And when you cash out, they give you a SLIP OF PAPER! Where's the fun in that? If I'm going to throw good money after bad on a date with Lady Luck, I want to have the feel of dropping a coin in a slot, pulling a lever (also absent on most machines these days), see the wheels spin (replaced by video screens more and more often), and hear the jangling of coins when I hit that jackpot instead of receiving a flimsy receipt. If that isn't the freedom and values that Americans have been fighting for these past couple of centuries, I don't know what is.

On a further tangental rant, while we are talking about American traditions and values with the 4th in the air and election season gearing up, I'm about to get on my America's been here a second at best routine. We have barely been a country longer than we were European colonies (230 vs. 211 years). There are living people that have seen half of this nation's history. Seriously, what American history and traditions, it's all recent events, yet most Americans can't remember anything that happened before WWII if that far back.

3:42 PM  

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