Friday, April 3, 2015

Let's Just See How It Works Out

It's very nice to find myself with an absolutely free, no-work Friday, even if it does look like rain which screws up the plan I had to paint the shed roof. The nice news is, the legal codification of new segregation law in various states including NC has been possibly stalemated, for the moment, and at the same moment, there is a framework for significant agreement between the West and Iran concerning Iran's potential nuclear weapons. It ain't even Saturday. A morning beer is tempting, but I'll resist.

One of the next choices for the Administration is whether, and at what point, they choose to take their agreement with Iran to our current Congress. This would be the one that is controlled entirely by Republicans, the major American party now driven by all the old prejudices and hatreds that have been an anchor on much of the potential America always and still contains, starting way back at the start of things, when slavery and female inferiority were codified in our very Constitution.

There have always been Americans who wanted everything back the way it was, and who see every inch of progress as but another step into decline. Time and again, the moment has been squandered. Yes, the Civil War ended slavery. But it opened the door to Jim Crow and segregation and a hundred years of fresh new hells for our black fellow citizens. The long and bloody civil rights battles of the late '50s and early '60s led finally to further legal codifications of rights already theoretically in existence. Then Dr. King was shot down, and Richard Nixon invoked the "southern strategy," which led to what we have now: the Republican party is the party of racism, chauvinism, and prejudice. Republicans often complain that such an analysis ignores the fact that, prior to Martin Luther King's victories, the Democratic Party was pretty much the party of racism, being as it was the party of the South. If you want to try to teach the concept of dialectic and synthesis, this would be the place. Had Nixon been willing to agree with Hubert Humphrey (his opponent in '68) that neither major party should any longer embrace racism and the racist cohort of voters that plainly existed and for that matter obviously still exists today, we might have found ourselves, in 2015, with a broad consensus of governance, and a sour 20% of Americans marginalized in their hatred and prejudice and forever singing along with their hero, George Corley Wallace, that "there's not a dime's worth of difference between them." In some circumstances, that's a good thing, and for that matter, Mr. Wallace apparently changed for the better in his wheel-chaired later years.

Instead, we have this, from the fresh new Republican leader of the moment:

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, pen-pal to the mullahs and unrequited love object of Jen Rubin, has an interesting Hot Politix Take on the outbreak of Fabulous Crow laws aimed at codifying discrimination against our fellow citizens who happen to be L, G, B, or T. He shared it with the nation via CNN.

"I think it's important we have a sense of perspective," Cotton said. "In Iran, they hang you for the crime of being gay."

By the interesting big-brain logic on display here, Martin Luther King, Jr. needed "a sense of perspective" because, in South Africa, they would have shot him long before anyone in America got around to it.

Like his role models, Cotton has the potential to do big things in Congress at a time when bombast often substitutes for smarts and ego trumps common sense.
[QED, Charles Pierce]

What comes with doctrines of racism and hatred is authoritarianism. This, in a word, is exemplified by Mr. Cotton and his 46 co-signees. They invited Mr. Netanyahu to speak during sensitive negotiations, then they even inserted themselves into the same negotiations, and with an arrogance worthy of authoritarians of any historical epoch. Mr. Cotton sides with the folks who hang the homosexuals. It's a fact good to keep in mind.

The thing about authoritarians is, they do tend to respect authority, if not any other principle. When big bidness starting complaining about Indiana's return to segregation, Mr. Pence at least seemed to react with deference. Certainly we'll see: it's possible that all the strange codicils being tacked on to language patently aimed at legalizing segregation will simply muddy the water, where what's needed is a simple end to the laws. Repeal has clarity. It was a mistake. Remove it.

The problem--and it's a problem the Obama Administration will face if it does accomplish a substantive agreement with Iran--is whether there is any longer any realism left in attempting to work with our current Congress: a Congress which has already made every effort to destroy the negotiations aimed at averting war. Mr. Boehner already said, earlier this week, that America doesn't need an "anti-war" President. How far is Mr. Obama supposed to go in his efforts to operate a system which contains components--Legislative and possibly Judicial as well--at the moment sorely broken. Apparently the Administration can make a good deal with Iran without bothering Congress. What's the argument, exactly, for not doing that, given the Letter.

If things ever get better, Col. Wilkinson is probably right. Bring back the draft. It's horrible, but it does put certain existential things on the table. At the same time, it must be said that the existence of a draft did not stop past wars. The authoritarians stand ultimately with Mao on this fine point. Power does flow from the barrel of a gun. I almost expect Mr. Cotton to toss Mao's dictum into the mix next week. After all, Mr. Cotton represents Arkansas:


Saturday Update:

Lance Mannion reports on this remarkable aspect of the new segregation laws story:

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) – Several churches in Missouri have received threatening letters after the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to approve same-sex marriage.

The Southeast Missourian reports that Westminster and First Presbyterian churches in Cape Girardeau and First Presbyterian in Jackson and Perryville received letters warning that any church that accepts same-sex marriage “should be burned to the ground.”

Cpt. Darin Hickey of the Cape Girardeau Police Department said they would increase patrols of any church or major building that could face a threat.

The new Presbyterian policy on same-sex marriage will go into effect next June.
Information from: Southeast Missourian

Trademark and Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Interesting stuff. Cape Girardau is the hometown of Rush Limbaugh, though it must be said that he doesn't live there these days. Across the border in Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, former preacher, governor, failed Presidential candidate, and Fox News analyst, said this week that the gays will not rest till all the churches in America are closed down. Could the gays have been mailing out those letters in protest to the Presbyterian decision to allow same sex weddings? Surely Mr. Limbaugh will look into it. It's on his home turf.

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