THE BLOG

A Land of Nuts and Money

10/20/2010 12:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For months the punditry and chattering classes have promised a democratic debacle on November 2. If we sit on our hands, they will be proven right, despite the ignorant self-interest on which these claims are based. Pray it's not so! And, "When you pray, move your feet!" says Congressman (and human rights hero) John Lewis.

"Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!" is how Frederick Douglass put it. That's my kind of "home of the brave and land of the free." What stands between us and disaster is simple: Votes ... and Voices.

Garry Wills tells us that paroxysms of religiosity are periodic in America. Once in each century, religious zealotry overwhelms reason, logic and law.

Mr. Wills is right about the diminution of overtly religious influence, though the God-flag continues to be waved with wild abandon. That atmosphere of zealotry has enabled more earthbound and pernicious claims. Courtesy of the Roberts' Supreme Court, we are now confronted with a tsunami of corporate cash, perhaps even foreign corporate cash. What Republi-Corp is attempting is NOT "the best government money can buy." They want a government which not only will not interfere with their radical agenda but one which will actively support and fund this corporate putsch.

I'm in a strange land when I hear "There's nothing I can do" and "I don't have time" in the face of this crucial mid-term election. Equally self-indulgent and counterproductive is pouting on the left. It takes more than 20-months to fix what it took rightwing extremists decades to trash. It takes a supportive Congress. It takes a non-ideological Supreme Court.

All of this would be distressing anytime. But when the Roberts Court formally endorses a corporate takeover, that's not self-government. That's equal parts kleptocracy, plutocracy and corpocracy. That's nuts! And it's nuts who're the shock troops in this attack on America. It's no coincidence that this unholy Republi-Corp trinity (kleptocrats, plutocrats and corpocrats) is driving the juvenile public manifestations of Republicanism. Even Ronald Reagan held these bedlamites at bay. When Karl Rove is the closest thing to a moderate they now have to offer ("Christine O'Donnell is unelectable") the doors of the asylum are clearly off their hinges. Of course, Rove can only maintain his moderate tone until his paymasters yank his leash. Once he was reminded where the true power in the party resides, he dutifully fell in line, affirming that the National Republican Senatorial Committee would happily funnel corporate funds to her campaign. Pathetic. Dangerous. Nuts are a nuisance; nuts with the full weight and majesty of the U.S. government and treasury behind them are dangerous and demonstrably destructive.

Today's disloyal opposition calls itself Republican. They are actually the ever-lurking fringe which have, by virtue of their corporate paymasters, taken over the party. They are political impostors, the vestiges of privilege energized by corporate cash, lap-dog corporate media and ersatz history. They cling to their power and clamor for more ... insatiably. The repugnant "Tea Party" candidates the wrong wing is working frantically to foist on all of us represent the marginalia America has always harbored and tolerated ... AT THE MARGINS.

We used to keep them off to the fringes, where they belong. What's changed? Mainstream media, now conveniently concentrated within a few corporations, has legitimized them. Treat the lunatic fringe seriously, as mainstream and legitimate participants in our democratic dialogue, and they become seriously dangerous. We become distracted and demoralized.

The enormity of what's at stake the first Tuesday of November, 2010, cannot be overstated. Will the people's duly elected (and outrageously maligned by a radical fringe) President be enabled to carry out what we elected him to do? These are a small sample of the frequently bizarre proposals their candidates and fellow-travelers have offered up:

  • -- Amendments to the U.S. constitution do not apply to states.
  • -- Senators are no longer elected by the sovereign people.
  • -- Abortion is outlawed.
  • -- Originalists, led by Justice Scalia, inject "God" into the Constitution ... instant Theocracy.
  • -- Public education? Kill it!
  • -- The internet becomes just another marketing tool.
  • -- Planet earth's climate is destabilized while Republi-Corp obstructionists make Nero's fiddling look astute.
  • -- Health Care? Another profit center.
  • -- And, forget Social Security.

This is not Republican. This is nuts. Republi-Corp has proven it with repeated, massive and demonstrable abuses to the body politic.

Republi-Corp drives up breathtaking deficits to line their pockets, then shamelessly demand real people personally suffer the devastating consequences.

Relentless attacks on the common people from the scary margins of society belie their grotesque posturing that the U.S. is somehow a "Christian nation." Jesus would be surprised and not, I think, amused.

A moment of wistful silence here for authentic conservatives who once called themselves "Republican." They did not spend us into oblivion -- gang raped by their Wall Street masters and the military-industrial complex that (Republican) President Eisenhower rightly feared -- then demand we pay for their sins by destroying Social Security and Medicare. Chief Justice Earl Warren was a Republican. Republicans stood up against "Jim Crow." Our crucial Clean Air and Clean Water Acts passed with Republican support. Republicans in my own family were annoying, but at least I felt at home with them. Where are such Republicans now? Gone, or in hiding.

According to the John Bircher fountainhead of today's Tea-Bangers, President Eisenhower was a communist. Today President Obama only rates a charge of "socialist." That's progress, I guess, of a degenerate sort. Though President Obama has been promoted to the status of "Kenyan anticolonialist," the appalling claim comes from the thoroughly discredited Newt Gingrich who will do or say anything to further his perverse ambitions.

Facts, reason, science, evidence have all been cast aside. The Enlightenment never happened. All that matters is the triumph of the will: I want it, I'll have it and I'll use your money to get it.

Nuts! Nuts with attitude! Nuts who make up history, who interpret laws to suit their whim, who used to take facts and twist them but have now decided that even that effort is too much, who think that Americans will believe anything if Republicans say it loudly and repeatedly, who have a whole-hearted contempt for anyone who does not share their delusions, who believe that democracy does not work and are doing everything money can buy to prove it.

Self-governing people are the one power strong enough to resist a determined takeover by self-serving reactionaries, short-term profit obsessed corporations and their deluded followers. The genius of democracy is the right to vote and the right to prod your neighbor to face the world as it may become. Be a genius. Recruit others; make November 2nd a day of national revival, a revitalization of the democratic spirit. Time is all we have. Invest it on the best available antidote to the current madness. Otherwise we may become displaced persons in our own homeland -- a land of nuts and money.