I simply cannot read another story like this and, you know, stay sane. Here, apparently, are The Rules: you cannot criticize the government because that emboldens The Terrorists. You cannot limit executive power because the would inhibit the ability of the executive to fight The Terrorists. You cannot investigate the possible misuse of power by the executive because then The Terrorists will find out how we are fighting The Terrorists. Here's what you can do: shut the hell up and sit there while the executive does whatever he feels like doing.
I was reading the latest Dan Savage last night, in which he picks up the latest hit from the Religious Right, the War on Contraception (Second Americano's recent take is here). His thesis is basically this: "Okay, I don't agree with it, but I understand if you didn't want to all stand up for gay rights, because you're not gay. But straight rights are being trampled on as well, and I simply don't understand why everyone is taking it lying down." On this subject I want to say this: opposition to gay rights makes me insanely angry. The anti-choice movement makes me insanely angry. People who oppose contraception make me insanely angry. And it's not the fact of it that makes me insanely angry, people have a right to their religious beliefs and if they don't believe in contraception or abortions or that people should be gay, they don't have to use it/have one/be gay. What makes me insanely angry is that these positions aren't being taken as moral ones, they are taken as political stands that must be enforced on everyone.
I'm sure my model of the world and how it should work is riddled with hypocrisies that I just don't see because, well, I'm me. Maybe the only difference between the leaders of the Religious Right and me is that they're in positions of power and I'm not. Maybe all of their fears about liberals and liberalism are correct: if I were running the country, I'd probably want to have long talks with The Terrorists about their feelings while forcing everyone to have secular gay abortions after giving each other hand jobs while the Religious Right is taking a nap on the front porch. I do, after all, have True Belief that they are wrong and I am right. A fundamental tenet of these beliefs is that I don't get to legislate what they do with their lives and in their homes, and neither do they. But maybe this tenet is more mutable than I think, and that, like State's Rights, it's something one only has when one is not the party in power.
Anyway, the theme that these two things (objection to both religious intolerance and unchecked executive power) share is that I simply don't know what to do about them any longer, other than stand up and say that they're not okay with me. If you're waiting for a groundswell of popular opinion to force some kind of change and/or accountability, I gotta tell you: so am I, but I don't see it happening. If you're waiting to see what happens in the 2006 elections, I can save you the suspense. What will happen in the 2006 elections is nothing. The polls you've been reading that say congress has approval ratings lower than the President? Irrelevant. Voters hate pretty much everybody in congress except their own representative, whom they will happily re-elect. What voters want is for people in other districts to toss their own representative out. What will happen in 2006 is that the Republicans will lose a couple of seats in both houses, and the Bush administration will crow that since they didn't lose control of any branch of government, the nation agrees with them and their policies. The media will repeat this claim. And the slide will continue.
Somebody out there tell me what to do. Don't tell me to march or write or sign petitions or donate money or call my representative, because I've done all these things and they don't work. The only thing I can think of to do is go take a shower, because every time I blog about politics, I feel dirty.
Next: Something somewhat happier!
Tags: Politics, Religious Right, Activism