Democracy has one giant flaw. It’s an inherent flaw, not debatable. If you set up a democracy, this feature comes with it. Can’t have one without the other. Calling it a flaw is just our own interpretation of the deleterious effect of the feature.
The flaw? Scapegoatism. Someone to blame. Always gotta have someone to blame. When did the United States not have someone to blame? That’s what the Cold War was all about. Neither side wanted it to end and so it didn’t. Not until the Republicans put themselves before “king and country” and unleashed their evil overmind from the conservative thinktanks they set up in the early 1960s.
You could argue that Reagan’s timing was such; you could argue that Sarah Palin’s Bridge To Nowhere tactic was nothing more than a warmed-over version of Reagan’s “Wall to Nowhere” tactic of “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!”, when it was collapsing all on its own. But Reagan was willing to make the people of the USSR suffer, was willing to market subprime pride to the American people—and by subprime pride, I mean that American didn’t need to feel better about itself in 1980 so much as it needed to earn the right to feel better about itself— in order to get his way, in order to plot a Republican ascendancy. The health of the American state be damned.
So maybe Democracy can, after all, exist without a scapegoat?
Well, Soviets out, “Liberals” in.
I“ve heard more than one Republican say he thinks of this country’s population not in terms of conservatives and progressives but in terms of Liberals and Americans. Clearly, those Patriots have their scapegoat: Liberals.
Now, there’s a huge difference between scapegoating and paranoia. Paranoia tends to arise when you’re feeling down at heel, under attack, in an inferior position.
Scapegoating, on the other hand, tends to happen when you have the upper hand. It happens as a means of consolidating the power you have, extending the high you get from victory. It’s the first thing you do when you stop being a loser: you distance yourself from as much of your loser-context as you can, inventorying all your mistakes and albatrossing someone else with them.
In other words, Off with their Heads!
None of us is immune to this. It feels like the blacks are doing this, distancing themselves with the bottom of the totem pole by targeting gays. They hide it under religion, but even they admit to a totem pole in the first place and happily claim that they’re no longer at the bottom of it. The unspoken bit there, of course, is that someone else is.
In what feels like Ancient Times, the Republicans had the Contract Out On With America, and in 2004 Bush had his “Political Capital”. Stupid hubris that was unnecessarily glib and necessarily reckless and narcissistic.
That’s what seems to be happening now in the newly re-energized gay population.
But we just lost, you say.
Yes, the Mormons and the Catholics violated their tax-exempt statuses, and of course violated the ten commandments to get Prop 8 passed, but what they did was wake the proverbial sleeping giant.
Protests in all 50 states. Multiple protests. Everyone energized. News organizations taking notice.
People still energized. Protests still going on. Proactivity everywhere. All this energy focused and funneled.
Focused energy the likes of which haven’t been seen in a very long time—long before, well, the entire campaign. Where was this kind of energy before the fact? It wasn’t.
I’m not embittered about this and I’m not armchair quarterbacking. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m bringing it up here because this was in fact one of the mistakes: there wasn’t enough energy generated and focused before Election Day.
I know it, we all know it. And now that we’re energized, we can do something about it. And by “it”, I don’t mean the election results, I mean the mistakes, the reasons why we lost the proposition of Prop 8.
Especially the Mistakes.
So now that we’ve got the good, good feeling of being right, of being the doing kind, of having awakened, it’s not time to look back. Looking back means facing that past where we made mistakes.
It’s far too easy to look at what went wrong and start to point fingers. It’s even easier to point fingers at institutions on exactly the same principles that institutions can destroy people: diffusing the guilt by spreading the blame (e.g., “It’s just business”).
Why is it so difficult to take our lumps and move on? On the one hand, we always move on, fast or slow, we move on. Everything does. The only constant is change. And Other Aphorisms As Well!
But in our quick-edit MTV world (or, if you’ve seen the latest Bond flick, our flash-edit, Haggis-baggage post-MTV world), you can never move on fast enough. There’s not enough time to wait for time to move you on. Point fingers, lay blame and you’re shiny-new and you“ve become so yesterday!
So look and see what’s going on. Whose fault was it that Prop 8 passed? I spent more than a week winnowing down through muck that I would rather have not gotten dirty with, feeling dirty on behalf of African Americans with respect to Prop 8, ultimately landing on the following scenario: a Californian African American walks into a voting booth and specifically knows how it will benefit him/her personally, specifically, esoterically if/when Obama is elected as POTUS and thus pulls that lever and while still in the mindset of what bounty and electorate can bring, also votes to remove an existing right for a same-sex couple to be married.
It took me days to figure out that that was the single vision-thing that was so upsetting to me. It took me another two days to realize that all the intellectual brute-forcing in the world would never gain me an understanding of what it’s like to be an African American. And contrapositively, any heterosexual African (or other) American voter out there should never have done anything but hedged on what it’s like to be a homosexual and of course ideally have left us to choose to be married or not.
So who are some of teh gayz blaming for life-long religious folks voting against the rights of same-sex couples? Not voters. Not them. Who? Why, gay leadership. Gay organizations. EQCA and HRC.
Yes, that’s right. It’s their fault that Prop 8 passed. Not people who are life-long Christians who voted according to the fears instilled by playing against their life-long fears and hopes by lying Mormons and Catholics and other Christians, by pastors in their churches, by these very organizations from whom they get most of their life-direction.
Noooo, it was the leaders of HRC and EQCA who ran ads that gay activists didn’t like.
So it wasn’t the fault of the gay activist who’s out their protesting and trying to fix things now, post hoc. They’re out their doing it how it was supposed to be done, offing with their headsing and all that duff.
Post hocking ergoing propter hocking.
Blaming HRC because HRC is claiming they had no money to run ads earlier in the campaign. Why didn’t HRC have funds? Because too many people thought the HRC did the wrong thing in going step by step in getting federal legislation passed instead of an all or nothing approach. And what did those too many people who disagreed with HRC do? They stopped donating to HRC!
God, I hate the fact that there are nutso’s out there making me defend HRC. Yes, they have problems. Yes, I never bought into that “fighting for our rights from the inside” argument. But let’s be honest and let’s stop trying to salve our souls and calm our consciences for not having taken to the streets and reached for our wallets before Prop 8 passed instead of carrying out a 50-state bitchfest after the fact.
And when I called out a friend of mine about HRC and about the protests, asking “And will gay masses open a joint account and gang-produce ads and stage mass media buys?” he claimed they couldn’t do any worse than HRC did.
I call bullshit.
And when I accused the whole idea of claiming as proof that HRC was flawed if HRC does die off from lack of funding being self-fulling: “The crux of it is that if you push the notion that HRC is ineffectual and dead, then people will stop donating, which makes it broke which makes it ineffectual which makes it dead.”
His response? “Then something useful will replace it.”
Sounds like a plan.