Circus Maximus MMXVI: We all look smaller down here on the ground

8 11 2016

XIII. Big crowds and wild cheering for one’s candidate are nice—intoxicating, even—but you don’t win just by drawing the enthusiastic.

You win by reeling in the reluctant and the resigned and getting them to the polls.

XIV. I’ve heard and read different pieces wondering about reconciliation and what Clinton should do to reach out to those who rejected her.

My first thought: Fuck them. FUCK THEM.

Second thought: What about what Clinton should do for those who supported her?

Third thought: Politics, goddammit, requires conciliation. Goddammit. Even if it’s fake, hypocritical, and wholly expedient, politics, per Crick, requires some basic ability for us to live with one another.

So those of who voted for Clinton can gloat for a bit and those who voted for Trump can glower for a bit, but then we need, however grumpily, to get over it

XV. Some folks, however, won’t get over it.

I expect Clinton to win, so it’ll be easier for us to say “Let’s get on with it” because there’s stuff we actually want her to do.

Some of the reluctant Trump voters will look down, kick the dirt, look up, sigh, and move on.

Some non-Clinton/non-Trump voters will shrug, go “Oh well,” and move on.

Some of the avid Trump supporters will wail, then sulk, then move on.

And then there are the dedicated Hillary Haters and MAGA folks, who will not accept the results, either by rejecting the vote totals out of hand (Fraud! Tampering!) or supporting every effort to impede a Clinton presidency through constant investigations and/or impeachment attempts.

I don’t know the best way to deal with this last group. I think any Congressmember who seeks to nullify the election results should be punished at every possible turn and continually denounced for their attempts to delegitimize the very political institutions in which they exercise their power. No mercy.

And the citizens who cheer on the nullifiers? That’s tricky. No coddling—even reconciliation doesn’t require coddling—but they’re a large enough chunk of the polity that they can’t simply be ignored, either. Yes, try to hive off some of the more uncertain members of this group, but how to do that? I don’t know.

Republicans presumably have the greater responsibility to deal with this dead-ender faction, but since the leadership alternates between appeasing and encouraging them, I don’t think they can be counted on to do the right thing. It shouldn’t be too much to ask—emphasize that Democrats are a legitimate party  and it’s not always unfair when they win—but it probably is.

MMXVI

What do I expect from a Clinton presidency?

More of the same, both good and bad, and probably a greater push on issues regarding child care and health. Congress, even if the Senate goes Dem, will likely continue their obstructionism, but Clinton might—might—be able to cobble together majorities to pass criminal justice reform.

Modest gains, at best.

I’ll take it.





“While violence can destroy power, it can never become a substitute for it”

8 01 2011

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, was shot at point-blank range today.

She is in critical condition; according to press reports, 18 people were injured and as many as six were killed.

This is very bad news.

Every shooting is very bad news, of course, as is every murder. But political murder in a representative system carries another meaning, one which states that, in effect, the will of the people does not matter.

There’s a lot to criticize in the notion of “the will of the people”, and a lot to question in our version of representative democracy; nonetheless, it’s what we’ve got and it’s how we confer at least a bare legitimacy on our system of governance. We don’t have to like it, of course, and so we bitch and we organize and we try to sway our fellow citizens and our members of Congress to change.

This means we’re always failing: If Dems win, GOPers lose, and vice versa. Those who want change battle those content with the status quo. There may be some win-win or lose-lose situations, but in a pluralist democracy, you don’t always get your way.

To be political is to reconcile oneself to failure—without giving up.

Political assassins will not so reconcile themselves. Whatever their motivations, whatever their goals, they cannot accept that they lose, cannot accept that others may legitimately win. And so they seek to destroy the adversary’s victory, destroy that legitimacy, and, symbolically, to destroy not only those others, but everyone who allowed the victor to take power.

In so doing, the assassin acts against us all: as citizens, as participants in the political process, as those who, whatever our misgivings, in the end accept a flawed and frayed system of governance over the alternatives of purges and violence, who in the end accept the ballot over the bullet.

What we’ve got is not the best, but is what we’ve  got, it is ours—assassins be damned.