Monday, April 11, 2011

How bad is the drift in American national government? Is Minerva's Owl flying yet?

The drift that I mean is the domination of both parties, especially the Republican Party, but what in Andrew Jackson's day he called the Money Power. Turning points look more clear in retrospect. The Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, as Hegel famously said.

But it seems to me that a long "democratic moment" (as Jerry Brown might call it) that started around the time of the Katrina hurricane and flood in 2005 and peaked in Obama's election as President in 2008. The labor activism this year in defense of workers' rights against aggressive, reactionary Republican Governors is a sign that there is plenty of popular energy and fight left. So I actually hope we're a long way from the "dusk of this "democratic moment."

The idea of the democratic moment would be difficult to define in social-science terms. But it is a useful concept to understand situations like the ones Juan Cole defines in Hundreds of Thousands of Arabs Protest their Governments Informed Comment 04/09/2011:

On Friday, the US Congress endeavored to decide whether American democracy has irretrievably broken down because the representatives of the Billionaires refused to compromise with the representatives of the People ("cutting spending" while "cutting taxes" means "shifting the cost of running society to the middle class from the filthy rich"). The answer was that it had not, as long as the representatives of the People showed sufficient deference to the Billionaires, shuffling, keeping their eyes down, and obediently emptying their pockets. The middle class, successfully distracted by racial and religious hatreds and by attempts to impose patriarchal fundamentalism, was wreathed in vapid smiles as the billionaires sent movers to their homes to pick up the belongings they had just fleeced from them via their enforcers, the tea baggers.

As Americans rushed to surrender their constitutional rights, the peoples of the Middle East rose up from Libya to Iraq to demand those very rights for themselves– freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly, as well as safeguards against a secret police state that engages in routine unreasonable search and seizure and imposes cruel and unusual punishments while keeping prisoners hidden, denied habeas corpus, and often denied a speedy civil trial or even a trial at all.
Something's got to "give" in this situation. Democracy and the Constitution seem to be "giving" an awful lot to make our plutocrats wealthy whiners who don't pay their taxes investors who create all wealth happy.

Tags: , ,

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Tom Hayden on liberal interventionism and the Liby...
  • Scoring the budget deal: Democrats get a poor grad...
  • How bad is the drift in American national governme...
  • The budget deal doesn't look good to me, for eithe...
  • Obama and the politics of the Libya War
  • Varieties of global dominance strategy: "the resul...
  • Anatol Lieven on Pakistan and on the Afghanistan W...
  • An unfortunate contrast on the budget negotiations...
  • Obama's re-election campaign
  • Libya War: Leslie Gelb on the risks of escalation



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse