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A little good news
Darkest before the dawn and all that
“Arrested Development” is just chock-full of touchstones for me — from “I’ve made a huge mistake” to “Why should you go to jail for a crime someone else noticed?” to “Steve Holt!” Lately, when I look at the lame shit conservatives offer as a defense of their policies and actions, I mostly flash back to Michael Bluth’s quietly resigned “I don’t know what I expected.”
Take Washington Examiner columnist Byron York explaining to his readers why the Tennessee House took the extraordinary measure of not censuring but removing two Democratic members — both elected representatives of their districts, both of them black — for chanting with gallery gun-law protestors on the floor of the House:
Democrats bristle when anyone compares what happened that day to Jan. 6. Nobody died at the Tennessee protest, they say. No windows were broken. There were no battles with police. That is all true. So in that sense, no, March 30 in Nashville was not Jan. 6 in Washington.
Instead, call it a small-scale variation on Jan. 6.
Really, the only sensible answer to that is “eat me, you blow-dried dork” or some variant thereof.
Other conservatives have adopted York’s angle and a few have managed to make it even dumber. The rightwing glurge site RedState, for example, calls the protest a “transurrection” which is incoherent except as a childish trick to try and blame the recent Nashville shooting, which is the cause of the protest, on trans people rather than on the gun lobby that (as the protestors know) rules the Republican Party.
But, you know what? I don’t think that’s going to work. Oddly, conservatives’ increasingly anti-democracy aggressions — with which I’m sure they hope to discourage and dismay their opposition — actually have me a little more hopeful for the future than before.
True, Republicans and conservatives are getting more overtly fascist: In the states they control they’re passing absolutely insane anti-abortion and anti-trans laws, and demonstrate their contempt for the “small government” they pretend to promote when it suits them by, as Ronald Brownstein reports at CNN, “taking aggressive new steps to seize authority over local prosecutors, city policing policies, or both.” Add to this the voter-suppression and gerrymandering that have become their primary electoral tools, and this latest nightmare in Tennessee, and it’s clear that the consent of the governed is something Republicans and conservatives not only don’t expect to win but are determined to rule without.
This is also evident in their out-loud support for their corrupt and thuggish leaders. The Trump indictment has gotten all of them, from the Just-the-Tip Trumpers to the most rabid gold-toilet-sniffers, to step up and denounce the very idea that their hero should be held to the same standards as other white-collar crooks. And now that Clarence Thomas has been fully outed as a receiver of illegal donor benefits, they’re trying the same shit to defend him.
I can see how, from a certain perspective, this could be discouraging. After all, Republicans behave as if the rules don’t apply to them for a very good reason: So far they have not. Conservatives willfully belie all their professed principles to defend corruption and minority rule (and bullshit neoliberals enable them and tell us it’s not so bad).
Well, it is that bad — so bad that it is possible people who hadn’t seen it before are seeing it now.
I talked the other day about a Wall Street Journal poll that had the right-wingers convinced America had lost its way, at least partly because it showed that a lot of people didn’t share their narrow point of view. Polls are also showing that the wingnut campaign to make normies adopt their swear-word “woke” ain’t working.
And we all saw the recent election results in Chicago and Wisconsin. As with the “red wave” that never came in November 2022, the voters knew something that the wingnuts and trimmers predicting defeat didn’t know — that conservatives are actively and obviously fucking shit up and normal people want no part of them.
It puts me in mind of when I knew the Democrats had real problems in 1994, when the powerful House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski was indicted for abusing his franking privileges to the tune of half a mil. (Something else to remind your wingnut friends about when they claim Trump’s indictment is unique.) It was a sign that the jig was up, and presaged the Gingrich wave.
It’s not a perfect analogy. Back then norms were less fluid, and Democrats did not try to brass it out as Republicans do now. And we must remember that conservatism is now a full-on death-cult, and its votaries will say and do anything to get out from under the sentence of history.
But when I see those young protestors in Nashville cheering Justin Jones and Justin Pearson for standing up and standing with them — well, they look a lot more like the future than the cronies and crackpots who are trying to hold the future back.
Have a good weekend.
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