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The Best Defense?


Boston Guy
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Everyone knows there's a cultural war going on in the United States. The left is under attack and has been pretty much since the early 1990s. Newt Gingrich was one of the political founders of this movement; he shares the credit with non-elected religious evangelists like Jerry Falwell, who brought fire and brimstone and money and followers to the party.

 

The reasons they and others started this movement were varied but stemmed from one thing: to seize back power and influence -- and the money that goes with those things. As they looked around at the American landscape, they saw power moving away from Republicans and right-wing causes toward Democrats and left-wing causes.

 

History is replete with examples of groups on the downside of the power curve plotting ways to regain the ascendancy. In this case, the strategists (including Gingrich) were willing to plot a course worthy of the Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu (The Art of War). By this I mean that they understood that:

 

* Their object was victory, not the war in and of itself

* The war they were planning would be years in the making

* Battles in this war would be many and would often spring from opportunities seized at the right moment

* They should attack where their opponent was unprepared and they were not expected

* All war is based on deception

 

Further, Sun Tzu addresses what he calls Moral Law. He says that the Moral Law causes people "be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger." It's clear that the leaders of the right-wing camp have wisely taken this to heart. Fifteen years later, the results are clear for all to see.

 

I don't believe for one moment that people like Newt Gingrich and Jerry Falwell or latter-day followers like Tom DeLay have any real claim to moral leadership. In fact, I don't even think that they believe that. But I do believe that they saw a "moral war" as their best chance for achieving their real objective: regaining and maintaining power.

 

While claiming to wage a moral war for the good of the nation, to claim as many hearts and minds as they could, the right wing has engaged in countless battles, in Congress, in the courts, in elections, wherever opportuntity presented itself. They have done a masterful job of keeping the Left on the defensive. Staying on the defense is a good way to lose any battle over a long-enough period of time and the Left is certainly down and out today in America.

 

One of the early targets of the right-wing war was the press. Using the now-familiar cry of the "liberal press", they tried to do two things: create an opportunity for an emotional attack based on "outrage" over the policies of this "liberal press", thereby gaining attention and followers; and cause the press itself to reexamine its policies and take steps to ensure that its credibility wasn't lost. This second necessarily meant that the press would consciously question its coverage of Left-wing events and purposefully add more right-leaning coverage in order to be able to demonstrate that it truly wasn't a left-leaning institution. All in all, it's a brilliant strategy.

 

For the most part, while this war was going on, Democratic leaders and others on the left have been willing to simply defend themselves. There have been few organized attacks on the right from the left and, to my mind, no consistent, well-organized campaign that could even begin to match the campaign organized by the right. Little wonder that the right has succeeded so well.

 

I find myself thinking that the only way for those of us on the left to keep the right from continuing to grow in power and gaining more and more control of the political and governmental institutions in the US is to go on the offensive. We must begin to employ the same kinds of strategies and tactics used against us. And the first place we have to start is with the Right's claim to have moral law on their side.

 

I've heard lots of Democrats recently cry about those "mean Republicans" and say things like "Democrats are nicer people." Well, maybe, but that's neither here nor there. If they are to avoid extinction, Democrats and others on the Left must fight fire with fire. And the battle must be taken to the Right at all opportunties.

 

As the party in power, the Republicans now are easier targets for attack and now is the time for those attacks. But the battle cannot simply be against the Administration. Democrats used to have a clear moral advantage on many issues -- war and peace, the environment, protection of the poor and needy, the list is a long one. We must reclaim this moral leadership or our cause is lost. And reclaiming it will require attacking the moral values of the Right -- including its religious values.

 

That sounds like a very dangerous thing to advocate and perhaps it is. But religious fundamentalism is on the rise in the US and only by stopping it will the Left be able to reclaim power. We have long thought that it was proper not to attack other people's religion. But the right is using religion against us and that means the only way to win will be by attacking the faith-based foundation the Right has built.

 

How to do this? That's the trillion-dollar question. Probably little step by little step. But, ultimately, probably by continually attacking religion as myth-based folly, exposing the weakness of its arguments, and making people feel embarrassed to claim to be religious. By showing that religious institutions have historically been all about maintaining the power of the religious elite through manipulation of the "sheep". That's a tall order. But it may be the only way to win the cultural war and avoid living in an American theocracy.

 

BG

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RE: Dumbest Idea Yet

 

> But the right is using

>religion against us and that means the only way to win will be

>by attacking the faith-based foundation the Right has built.

 

>How to do this? That's the trillion-dollar question.

>Probably little step by little step. But, ultimately,

>probably by continually attacking religion as myth-based

>folly, exposing the weakness of its arguments, and making

>people feel embarrassed to claim to be religious.

 

Among all the ideas that have been floated by partisans of the left since the election, this has to be the dumbest one I've heard so far -- and that's saying a lot, believe me.

 

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans -- including many gays and lesbians -- harbor religious beliefs of one sort or another, and the only thing to be accomplished by trashing the very notion of religion is to guarantee that the left will never, ever regain political power.

 

Religion and its influence on our politics are not going away. The left had no problem with using religious arguments to influence political decisions when liberals like Martin Luther King and Father Drinan were doing it. They only began having a problem with it when conservatives decided to use the same tactics and showed that they can do it just as effectively.

 

The left's problem is not the use of religion to influence political decisions, but the fact that a small group in the Democratic party that is uncomfortable with any public discussion of religion has persuaded the party to leave religion out of its dialogue with the voters and has alienated many traditional Democratic voter groups by doing so. That was a stupid mistake and needs to be corrected.

 

The left has, in effect, conceded the battlefield of religion to the right. The result is that anyone listening to our national political dialogue who didn't know better would think that the world's major religions are about nothing other than sex and reproduction, and that they have nothing to do with issues like caring for children, the elderly and the poor and combatting greed and cruelty. The left has fallen silent on this subject; we can't win the argument if we don't even participate in it. Telling people the subject isn't even worth discussing, as you suggest, doesn't have a prayer of getting us anywhere. I can't imagine why someone of your intelligence would ever think that it would.

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Has HELL frozen over?

 

OK, I have lived too long. I started reading BG's thread and at first agreed with his discourse on the state of things. Yes we have become polarized in this nation and it has been developing for a number of years.

 

But then BG moved to his solution and I realized he had taken a radical turn from what I think.

 

Then, <gulp> I read Woodlawn's reply, and holy crap, I agree with Woodlawn.

 

The thing about fighting fire with fire, is that it only serves as a means to make the pendulum swing all the way back. What we need is discourse that brings the country into a middle ground. I think most on both sides would agree that taking care of children, elderly and the infirm should be a high priority for anyone of any faith. The problem is as soon as someone mentions care of children, the subject switches to notification for underage abortions and sex education in schools. These are hot button subjects that end up derailing any real reform or progress.

 

As a person of faith, I want to see the nation become more tolerant and caring, not more divisive and unfeeling. While on fiscal issues I tend to take a conservative approach (don't spend it if you don't have it), on social issues, I think we as a country are really screwing up on our responsibilities to one another.

 

Ok, I am going out to buy some ice skates since it's clear I am about to need them..........

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RE: McKinley Redux

 

>political decisions, but the fact that a small group in the

>Democratic party that is uncomfortable with any public

>discussion of religion has persuaded the party to leave

>religion out of its dialogue with the voters and has alienated

>many traditional Democratic voter groups by doing so. That

>was a stupid mistake and needs to be corrected.

 

But this small group controls the Democrats and is very unlikely in the near future to relinquish this power given the large amount of liberals who think like BostonGuy; and thank God, because you're absolutley right. We'll be in power for a generation. The "death" tax - the most brilliant marketing feat ever in tax reform - will be gone before the next election. I see either a flat 15% income tax or the elimination of the income tax and its replacement with a VAT by 2010. We might have the occasional book burning, mandatory goose-stepping classes in elementary school and a renassaince in the German language, but that's a small price to pay for more money for the rich. Thank you BostonGuy.

 

Later.

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BG:

 

I'm more in agreement with Woodlawn than I am with you on this one. That said, I think tribalism, not religion, is really at the heart of the current problem. Ultimately, what are the various denominations and religions if not tribes? In the most extreme cases, some claim to have a corner on the market of all things good and true and pure, but in the end, essentially, their identities are based on negatives. They define themselves more on what they oppose than what they stand for. As usual, the Republican operatives did a brilliant job of playing on the fears and basic greed of the masses to get their candidates elected. For all the talk of liberal elitism, it is just another myth propagated by the right wing. After all, what could be more elitist than pushing policies that benefit a very small minority of the population. Clearly that is the Republican agenda. George W. Bush, who never attends church, says God talks to him. If one were to concede that possibility, and if God is good, you have to wonder if Dubya ever listens. Dick Cheney, another Christian non-churchgoer, tells people to go fuck themselves. The true god of republicanism is mammon. And taking a page from history via the period 1933-1945, they set up a host of targets to demonize: liberals, gays, the poor, to name a few, and make Joe Six Pack who pumps gas at the local service station feel good about himself by telling him they speak to his values. And poor old Joe, making minimum wage, buys the snake oil, saying to himself, yep, all the evils of the world must be caused by those queers and welfare cheats and slime balls who have it better than I do. Joe doesn't stop to think about the fact that the minimum wage hasn't been raised since 1997, or that soon his boss will be able to make him work overtime without pay. All he can see is those evil poor folks he thinks have it better than he does. And while he's buying into this paranoia, he doesn't realize that the Republicans are laughing their asses off at how gullible he is. He thinks George W. Bush is a good old boy just like him, a guy he'd feel comfortable having a beer with. He doesn't think about the fact that it will never happen, because George W. Bush wouldn't wipe his ass on this guy. When all is said and done, Joe has more in common with the people he's being encouraged to scapegoat, but because he wants to be like the Bushes and Cheneys of the world, he'll fall for the demonizing tactic like a fly goes for shit. Joe's not likely to stop and think about the fact that the possibility that gays might be allowed some form of legal recognition of relationships will have no impact whatsoever on his ability to pay his rent. Instead, Joe will nurse his anger and rage against fellow victims, not against the people who want to keep him right where he is, underemployed, undereducated, and in a mess.

 

I feel for Joe Six Pack. It's a terrible thing to be used. Joe is a victim no less than the people he is encouraged to hate. The task for the Democrats is to get a message to Joe that it's time to wake up and realize who his real friends are. He's not going to find them in the Republican Party. The party that claims they own Jesus is really the party of hate.

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RE: McKinley Redux

 

Here's another post from Traveller, showing his Republican obsession with record-keeping:

 

"Scrap Books and Latex"

 

 

I save every one of the used condoms (all magnums, of course) from each of the escorts that have plowed me and paste them in scrap books. I have thirteen so far, but each has only 100 pages - both sides being used, naturally. I was wondering if escorts find this an invasion of their privacy. Please advise in three sentences or less. Thanks.

 

Later.

 

PS. Before pasting the condom in my book, I usually spread the cum evenly throughout the condom so that the pages of the books fit more closely together after the juice has dried. Should I continue to do that or should I leave the jism mostly at the tip for a more natural look? This is for posterity and the Smithsonian has shown interest. Thanks again.

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The article postures that the media really does not have a liberal bias. Like Dan Rather and CBS were not really trying to unseat the President. And the NY Times is not ardently Democrat. And he overlooks that the liberals have for a generation or two been engaged in attacking religion. Among liberals, religion, morality and Christianity are already dirty words. The ACLU has waged a war against Christainity and has been largely successful. Indeed, it is more accurate to see the Conservative movement and the Bush elections as reactions against the liberal war on religion and moral values.

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>he shares the credit with

>non-elected religious evangelists like Jerry Falwell, who

>brought fire and brimstone and money and followers to the

>party.

 

 

Out of curiosity, what do you think of the countless black ministers who are always shilling for the Democrats?

 

Were they also "non-elected religious evangelists.....who brought fire and brimstone and money and followers to the party"?

 

Your thoughts on how they differ from Jerry Falwell please.

 

Curiously yours,

 

FFF

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>Democrats

>used to have a clear moral advantage on many issues -- war and

>peace, the environment, protection of the poor and needy, the

>list is a long one.

 

Yes it is a long one, so I'll help you and add a few that you seem to have omitted:

 

1. Raising taxes.

2. Gutting the military

3. Activist judges

4. Race politics

5. Defending communists

6. Sticking their face in France's ass

 

 

......and my personal favorite: they certainly have the "clear moral advantage" when it comes to wanting it to be legal to have a baby enter the birth canal, insert scissors into the base of its skull, kill it, suck its brains out, and THEN "deliver" the baby.

 

Yep, you guys should be proud of the high moral ground you tread there.

 

Keep up the good work. At the rate you're going, Lyndon LaRouche will have more people in Congress than you do.

 

Hopefully yours,

 

FFF

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The best defense is a great offense. In a few weeks from now the DNC will be looking for a new chairman. A few names have been mentioned, the most famous one of them all is former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. He is very out spoken, he has charisma and he knows how to work the camera. When being interviewed, he's playing smart by pointing out the Republicans in the legislative and executive branches of government have put the United States more into financial debt than ever before.

 

The Democrats will have to find an issue to talk about, the federal defecit is a good starting point and the DNC should talk this issue to death, until the media start paying attention. Then the Democtats will finally have an issue for a rallying cry and something that resonates with the public at large. Also the democrats should stop living in the land of Clintonia. Former President Clinton will always be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party. He's a two term president and he will be judged by historians as to his successes and failures in his eight years in the White House. The DNC should only talk about the positives of the Clinton presidency, in the same way the Republicans have done for Ronald Reagan, they will eventually do for George W. Bush in a few years from now.

 

The Democrats should start looking for potential presidential candidates for 2008, other than Hillary Clinton. On a slightly different note there is Harry Reid, Senator Minority Leader, he doesn't have much charsima, he's quite frankly boring. The Democrats need their own version of Newt Gingrich. He or she should be smart, have charisma and speaks one's mind when necessary. That person should straight away attack the Republicans by not making America safer on National Security and talk about how the troops are under funded and dont have the proper equipment for combat. In turn the media will be jolted and that person will be on the cover of every magazine and every media outlet will want a full exclusive interview with this person. Simultaneously the Democrats should stop talking about social spending and focus on partnerships between the federal government and business in general. The DNC should also stop talking about the social class warfare in the US. People in general are sick and tired of hearing this issue. In other words the DNC needs to change their image and do it progressively.

 

What the democrats really need is to speak with one voice and I think this maybe a chance for Former Vice President Al Gore to get back into the good graces of the DNC, the general public and position himself for the presidential election in 2008.

 

The Democrats right now are in a similar position as to where the Republicans were after Bob Dole lost the Presidential Election to Bill Clinton in 1996. It seems like Everest, but the Democrats have the opportunity to do something dramatical and hopefully everlasting for a decade or so. Let's see what happens over the next four years.

 

Rohale

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