Via Shakespeare's Sister
, with this post
the young squire writing at Republic of Dogs has gained a secure place on my "Favorites" menu.
Dear Reader, let me introduce you to my little friend. No, not that little friend! This is Straw Man. He also goes by the name "Old School Activist". He "harkens" [bwahahahaha!] back to the 60's and 70's, when he damaged his mind with Reefer Madness and lots of acid. His ideas are ideologically pure, but have no application in the world beyond his herbal tea cup, and could never make any difference at the policy level.
He has the unique characteristic of being completely two-dimensional, because he's a cardboard cutout. He was educated in an economy that did not yet value "proactiveness" (because bullshit pseudo-words like "proactiveness" would not be invented until the 1980's), so he earns his keep in his commune by spinning macramÃ© plant-hangers out of his own armpit-hair. Some Moonie told him to do this circa 1967, and he just kept on doing it, because he lacks self-initiative can only knows how to do what he's told (and if you're thinking "Hey, what's "self-initiative"? Isn't initiative naturally attributed to the subject taking it'?, then you probably live with Straw Man in his stinking Hippie commune and should just shut your commie piehole). Even more sadly, he has failed to keep pace changing tastes in plant-hanging technology and the declining macrame market because he also lacks the ability to solve problems. What's that you say? You learned in school that problem-solving is a distinctive characteristic of the species homo sapiens, and to a lesser degree, the other higher primates? You must have gone to one of those shitty public schools.
If you'd had a voucher, you'd know that problem-solving was invented in 1991, right before the invention of "inconcievable" tools that allowed New School Activist to instantaneously know everything about anything at all times and in any place, causing him to evolve beyond crude flesh to become a being of pure light and energy. This blinding overbeing is composed of pure thought, and has no need for your pitiful "leaders" or "media" to tell him what's "right". Nor has he any need for your primitive "spelling". His consciousness transverses the universe at the speed of thought, for he has uploaded himself to t3h 1nt3rn3tz!!1!
Poor, poor Old School Activist. See how shabby and shoddy (and frankly a little thick around the middle) he looks next to svelte, shiny New School Activist's carbon-composite cyberbody. Oh wait. Where is New School Activist? Since no major social policy change has been driven by activism since the 1960's, no one is really sure. Maybe he's off raking in the cash at some tech company, but you can be pretty darn sure he still knows everything about everything, all the time!! And one of these days, he just might decide to do something! You never can tell with these crazy kids today.
Here's the Kos post
to which he refers so eloquently...and snarkily.
I generally don't read Kos, because when I do, I become depressed. I suppose he and his various diarists fill a need, though what that need is I'm not entirely clear, other than to have put the fear of blogs into Howard Dean. But geez, the self-importance, the talk of "intra-party paradigms"... so enervating, as to make one want to flee the blogosphere, politics, nay, society itself. And his commentators...oh, man...I especially love one calling...itself, I guess..."Cityduck," and complaining
about anonymous blogs -- priceless. Mostly, though, they're just insane
All these "netrooters," aiming to destroy the tired old Democratic machine in order to rise up with a new order of ultra-progressives seem to forget that it was that machine that put the men in power who controlled the federal government for the fifty most progressive (and powerful) years in our history. Yes, the party was too slow to move when the source of it's power -- the cities and the trade unions -- began the slow and sad decline that should be a source of shame, not pride that we've replaced them with shiny new high tech hot spotted exurbs and the death of "ideological orthodoxy." But it was the success of the Democratic party -- in civil rights, in women's reproductive choice, in defense of public schools against the widespread deployment of ideas -- like vouchers -- dreamed up in think tanks without any experiental support, that have in large part hurt the party in the long run. That's because those successes created self-identifiable "victims:" southern racists; white males, lonely and frustrated; those aggrieved because they don't have a "choice" of which schools to send other people's kids, whose hostility and bitter self-preservation (even against their own self interests) the Republican machine has done a darn good job in harnessing. Those are the "average Joes" the "netrooters" think we need to do a better job of engaging and interesting in public affairs. Psst, hard to believe, but they're already engaged, kids, and they ain't suddenly gonna get blinded by the progressive light and start fervently sending PayPal bucks to MoveOn. The Republican demagogues are quite effective in keeping them pissed off and simply finding a new technology to get our message out to them isn't going to change that.
[As an aside, Republicans always point to their support of vouchers as a reason for African-Americans to support them, and yet it is the very consumers of urban public schools who remain steadfastly anti-voucher and pro-Democrat, as this fascinating story
about Etan Thomas, the center for the Washington Wizards, affirms.
He makes frequent visits to schools to speak to students and addresses these issues.
"I go into a school in Baltimore and see that there are 40 kids to a class, and no one has a computer," he said. "I go into a suburban school there, and there's 16 to a class, and they've got computers. Something is desperately wrong, and the administration can't seem to understand or face it."
He also said that the youngsters seem to feel that even some teachers want them to fail, or are not interested in how well they do.
"That's why I'm not for vouchers to private schools," he said. "We should invest in the public schools and make them better. America's future depends on it." ]
But I digress.
Actually, I don't. The point here is that we have to stop being defensive about the very things that our "old school" forebears accomplished. They were amazing. Yes, ultimately they helped split the party, but I would say good riddance to the southern democrats who abandoned the party over civil rights. And, ultimately, it wasn't civil rights but the Vietnam War that truly split wide the cracks. The Iraq War is now opening cracks in the Republican Party. Harriet Miers is a smokescreen. The Right is angry because she is merely a reflection of the poor planning and even worse execution that their party's leaders have exhibited in Iraq. After five years in office, they have nothing to show for it but a few tax cuts for the richest Americans and a losing war. Some of them are beginning to realize that maybe they've hit their highwater mark and are angrily watching the tides recede. "Criminalizing conservatism
We were a hair's breadth (or is it a hare's breath?) away from unseating a fairly popular incumbent president in a time of war. We lost by a handful of votes in heavily Republican Ohio. Yes, the young "netroots" are important and need to be be cultivated. But it was the Democratic machine, old and cumbersome as it sometimes seems to be, that was most effective in making that happen. And wanting to put aside as "fringe" the "old school" principals that set us apart from the Right can't be replaced by new paradigms and new technologies and new leaders who "get it" when it comes to new paradigms and new technologies. Those principles are the heart and soul of being liberal. And both the netrooters and, yes, the old and fucking cumbersome Democrat machine oughta start recognizing that.
Or maybe I'm just caught up in the "Pony Boom."
UPDATED to wrangle unruly syntax, repair spelling, etc.