OK, so yesterday’s post was pretty vitriolic. Being a pacifist doesn’t absolve me of being angry when I see as breaches of sanity. That John McScum can be leading in any poll besides a poll of wealthy people who want to elect somebody who will continue to protect their interests at the expense of the rest of world is one of those breaches.
I really just don’t get it. While Sen. Obama might wear fancy suits and talk like the Ivy-League educated person he is, it’s abundantly obvious that: (1) he understands the conditions working people face much better than McScum does; and (2) he’s much more interested in working to improve those conditions than McScum is. What’s hard about this?
I can already hear McScum supporters crying out in rage. McScum, according to them, recognizes that we have to enhance our own security before we can worry too much about the rest of it. McScum recognizes that we have to solve the oil crisis by letting oil companies produce more (by drilling in places that even the most optimistic “experts” realize can’t produce enough oil, not to mention can’t produce it quickly enough, to make any difference whatsoever within 7-10 years). It’s classic supply-side economics, for which there’s never been even a shred of evidence to demonstrate that it works.
Someday the voting public is going to recognize that the Republican party doesn’t even pretend to operate in the best interests of anybody but the rich. The Culture Warriors have done a great job (if you can count as “great” the utterly unethical and dishonest claims they make about everything) of mobilizing large blocs of voters against their own interests by appropriating the terms “values” and “morality”–as if praying in school is going to put food or medicine on anybody’s table. It’s lunacy of the first order.
As an advocate of non-violence, it’s difficult to respond to the violence that conservatism does to anybody who stands in the way of its benefactors. These are people who have no qualms whatsoever about killing (unless we’re talking about unborn children), destroying, pillaging… because they live in a Hobbesian world where the social contract exists only to make sure (what they see as) human nature doesn’t overwhelm everybody. Those of us who reject violence as a strategy/tactic find it difficult to respond to violence, especially when proponents of violence bend over backwards to provoke it–because they’re better at it, and because it’s all they (seem to) understand.
As peace activists, we can’t simply ignore the attacks and provocations. One of the reasons I was so mad yesterday is that I’ve been suppressing my own feelings about the current and potential-future Republican regimes and how nasty, dishonest, unethical, murderous (could keep going, but you get the idea) they are. I want to believe that being stronger than they are is a matter of waiting them out, letting their violent fury run its course until they can think humanely again. But as long as conservative activists keep stoking their fury for short-term political gain, and as long as the mainstream news media profits from that anger and conflagration, our task of waiting them out is awfully hard to fulfill.
The slogan “Be the change you want to see in the world” cuts both ways. More often than not, it’s a mantra for passive resisters (don’t let yourself get drawn into violent conflicts if you’re committed to peace), but that’s not the whole story. Most of us in the peace movement recognize that peace requires action, not just inertial blockage of badness.
So the trick, at least part of it, is to begin turning that anger about conservative nastiness into positive action. I’ve written elsewhere about the need to act in accordance with our principles, and I believe more strongly every day that the key to remaking our culture in terms of decency and humaneness begins here.
[Added 9:45 am] This article on today’s YahooNews site affirms McScum’s out-of-touch-ness with working people. He doesn’t even know much property he owns, and his wife is worth more than $100 million. Yes, that’s $100 million; that’s more than 100 times what the median-income worker in the United States can expect to earn over the course of an entire CAREER!