Tuesday, July 15, 2008

RULES TAKE A PEOPLE

Over on Salon, in his Post "Torture and the Rule of Law" Glenn Greenwald makes the excellent point that We (my capital letter) are a nation of laws. Or at least that We should be, although the FISA cave-in on telecom immunity (ontop of all the rest of the stuff in the record of this feculent Administration) now demonstrates that the rule of law can no longer be taken for granted and is no longer robust, nor can We rely on the commitment of either Party to achieve its rehabilitation.

But who can be surprised, really? Forty years of corroding The People’s capacity to think and deliberate, forty years of The People being made to feel that kicking the tires of any Identity is 'insensitive' and 'oppressive' and then - who the frak can be surprised? - of being made to feel that looking to kick the government's tires is unpatriotic and downright un-American ... what else could any mature, reasonable adult possibly expect?

We could kick none of the tires of any of the Revolutions of the Identities; when the many exotic flowers of their programmes were introduced into the cultural ecosystem, when the Advocacies for each of them screamed that doubt was backlash and deliberation was a ploy of oppression … was it possible that nobody inside the Beltway saw what such a sustained and thorough degrading of The People would ultimately lead to? Were they that witless?

Or did they realize it, however dimly, and figure they could ‘build on that’, ‘work with it’? Surely, the nation and the citizenry over whom this Administration was raised up did not subvert it in the miniscule space of time between Inauguration Day 2001 and 9/11? We had been going downhill for a long time.

We have taken too much for granted: the integrity of the rule of law depends on the integrity of the Branches and the integrity of the Branches depends on the integrity of The People. Not the purity of the individual citizens – if that is the criterion, who then can stand? And for too long the Identities have nurtured themselves by declaring this or that group of citizens their ‘oppressors’, refusing to tolerate any dissent or discussion, declaring as well that ‘perspective’ and ‘proportion’ and ‘balance’ are merely the verbal iron of oppressionand that the only appropriate role of a citizenry is to accept and say nothing.

This has proven to be a recipe for disaster for too many peoples in the not so distant past.
The People cannot be treated like children. They cannot allow Themselves to be treated like children. Yet We have.

The People cannot function at the level of children. The People cannot treat Themselves like children. Yet we have.

We must achieve a new level of Mastery – over Ourselves and then over this government that is of Us, by Us , and for Us.

Mastery is a concept that has become unfashionable. But a People that has lost the capacity for Mastery of Itself, citizens that have lost the capacity for Mastery of themselves, cannot then Master the government, and the government – as all governments do by their very nature – will attempt to fill the vacuum by exerting its mastery over the citizens and The People. And that is precisely the situation that the Founders sought to avoid.

It’s strange that things have gotten so bad that anyone now who tries to speak up is – as Greenwald accurately observes – labeled as a “shrill Leftist hysteric”. Yes, it’s ironic that the government that found a way to turn Political Correctness to its purposes now uses such an ‘insensitive stereotype’ as “hysteric”. But name-calling has become one of the major gambits in political discourse nowadays, and what was once confined to the school-yard has now become the level of discourse of a nation. But that’s been going on – in a big way – for decades. Doubters and skeptics of any group’s insistent demand for large and immediate change were called ‘backlashers’ and ‘oppressors’ and ‘haters’.

And after the Democrats abetted it for their purposes and for ‘ideals’ that had too little substance and too little purchase on American ground for the extent of the change that was demanded immediately … after that the Republicans took it up in the service of a government that was all too real and all too ‘American’. A childish level of discourse, that reduced the depth and width and height and breadth of the field of perception, until it was a childish mentality at the levers of great power.

And the empires of children can never last for long in the real world.

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