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By David Podvin
It took awhile, but the South has finally won the Civil War. One hundred thirty nine years after Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union Army, the Confederate philosophy reigns triumphant in the United States of America. The executive and legislative branches of the federal government are under the control of reactionary Southerners, and the judiciary is dominated by strict constructionists who embrace the Jim Crow view of states’ rights. Even those places in America that reject Southern-fried authoritarianism are currently under the dominion of the national Confederate ruling class.
Although the Confederacy was formally dissolved in 1865, Southern theocratic fascists were never actually vanquished. After the war ended, unrepentant rebels immediately began a terrorist campaign to reassert their dominance below the Mason/Dixon Line, and the war weary Union was unwilling to intervene. Soon, the status quo had basically been reestablished, albeit with African Americans functioning as serfs instead of slaves.
The malignant core ideals of the Confederacy – feudalism disguised as capitalism and bigotry masquerading as religion – not only survived the Civil War, but also increasingly infected the rest of American society throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Over the decades, the American political landscape has been steadily morphing into Dixieland, and the Sons of the South now control virtually everything of significance that there is to control.
The Confederate electoral strategy consists of manipulating working class Americans to become accomplices to their own demise. This cynical goal is accomplished by economically depriving blue-collar voters and then producing scapegoats that are identified with the Democratic Party. The whipping boys keep changing – the targets have included gays, feminists, immigrants, and the perennial favorite, blacks – yet the sleight of hand remains as effective as it is ancient. While people are being robbed of their freedom and treasure, they must be distracted, no longer with bread and circuses, but instead with fairies and darkies.
The Confederates face no relevant opposition in their quest to corporatize and theocratize every dimension of society because the Democrats are unwilling or unable to confront them. In 2004, Democratic primary voters – despite claiming to be enraged by the theft of the previous presidential election – again selected as their standard bearer a passive establishment politician. The nominee was an ineffectual candidate who refused to defend himself against slanderous attacks or challenge the legitimacy of the corrupt incumbent regime, and he meekly went down to defeat.
In the aftermath of the election, Senate Democrats have prepared for future battles by replacing their defeated feeble red state minority leader with an even feebler red state minority leader. They are publicly musing about abandoning the party’s stated principles, specifically its commitment to equality for gays. Despite being on the side of a human rights struggle that is inexorably gaining ground and destined to achieve victory, the Democrats fail to appreciate that the acquisition of equality is an agonizing process rather than a glorious event. They are on the verge of unilaterally surrendering the moral high ground in a futile attempt to compete with the Confederates for the votes of bigots.
The recurring tactic of retreat from principle has not served Democrats well. Forty years ago, the party had a stranglehold on the political structure of this country. Today, the Democrats have no power and no clue of how to regain it - they have somehow managed to be outsmarted by George W. Bush in consecutive elections. A once proud party has been reduced to serving as a foil for the Republicans, running halfhearted campaigns prior to being trounced time and again.
Things are bad in America, and they are about to get much worse. The Confederates finally have the power to remake the country in their own image. They are determined to fulfill their longstanding dream of destroying the crown jewel of the New Deal, the Social Security program that since its inception has been deeply offensive to the right wing. The reactionaries long to codify their religious beliefs and prosecute a culture war that features the blacklisting of art they deem to be subversive. They also intend to revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it provides equal legal status to those whom Confederates consider less than equal.
Under continued Confederate rule, the poor will get poorer as the wealthy get wealthier. Government polices will be designed to benefit rich white people at the expense of impoverished black people, and anyone who notices will be marginalized for playing the race card. As the economy worsens, it will require the stimulus that can only come with upper income tax cuts and elimination of regulations on big business.
The most influential religion of the country will continue to be a version of Christianity in which Jesus Christ bears a striking resemblance to Tom DeLay. Children will be taught biblical facts such as Creation Science in lieu of being indoctrinated with mere theories like evolution. The federal judiciary will be overflowing with people who prioritize the word of God over the word of man, including the words of the men who wrote the Constitution.
The environment will increasingly be used as a corporate cesspool. The endangered species list will continue to shrink as more and more endangered species become extinct. Global warming will be airily dismissed as a manifestation of liberal hysteria, even as the temperatures soar and the oceans rise.
Marriage will be reserved for heterosexuals, ensuring that this nation’s deeply held set of Judeo-Christian family values (seventy percent adultery rate, fifty percent divorce rate, twenty-five percent spousal abuse rate, ten percent child abuse rate) will be protected from the homosexual agenda. Gays are reviled by the bible thumpers, and they will continue to serve as the bogeyman that keeps the right wing rank and file in a state of frenzy.
Although homophobia was the conduit to electoral success in 2004, the primary targets of the Confederates will be women. Americans consider themselves to be highly civilized, but human beings are just a few millennia removed from the caves, and just a few years beyond the time when women were officially the chattels of men. American conservatives, both male and female, have never accepted the sexual revolution that granted women control of their own bodies. Consequently, there is going to be an all-out assault on reproductive rights, driven by the unexpressed but very real intention of coercing females back into the status of brood mares.
And who will stem this vulgar Confederate tide? Hapless Democratic politicians, who after being subjected to the most vile forms of character assassination issue concession speeches pleading for “unity”? The vapid Democratic commentariat, which has responded to yet another electoral debacle by imploring its readership to refrain from engaging in unpleasant post mortems and instead blithely march off into a brighter future imbued with undying optimism? The gullible Democratic activists who take advice from corporate pundits regarding which of the party’s presidential candidates is most “electable”?
There is a Chinese proverb that states, “The lucky man has weak adversaries.” Applying this standard, American right wingers are the luckiest people in the world. If the persistent rumors of massive vote fraud are true and conservatives have just stolen another presidential election, it was a theft accomplished with the complicity of the ostensible opposition party. The human pathology that is most deserving of pity is insatiable masochism: truth in advertising dictates that the Democratic mascot should be the dental patient from “The Little Shop Of Horrors”.
Liberals are forever seeking comforting rhetoric to obscure their compulsion to capitulate: “the need for bipartisanship”, “seeking to raise the level of political discourse”; “refusing to stoop to the other side’s gutter tactics”, “holding ourselves to a higher standard”, etc., ad nauseum. It is all transparent camouflage for a lack of toughness. The Confederates may not be particularly bright (or sane) but the right wing does possess resolve. It took guts to impeach a president when the polls showed two thirds of Americans were opposed, and even though the motives for the action were entirely malicious, the Clinton impeachment was a show of backbone that is foreign to the invertebrates in the modern Democratic Party.
The Confederates will continue riding high until they overreach and self-destruct; their only real foe will be lack of discipline. Eventually, the zealots are going to be so intolerably provocative that desperate liberals will nominate a presidential candidate who identifies conservatives as the reprobates they are. It is impossible to know when the point of critical mass will be attained, but Democrats are still not even close to relinquishing their delusional goal of achieving national unity. There is going to have to be a cataclysm before progressives are willing to fight fire with fire.
Until that time, America will be governed by hatred and fear. The Confederates are keenly aware that they must hoodwink the electorate by brandishing a loathsome domestic patsy and an imminent foreign threat - the last three elections that lacked these factors resulted in the Republican presidential candidate losing the popular vote.
Over a century after his death, the United States has degenerated into a nation that Jefferson Davis could deeply respect, a land where the gentry control society by skillfully manipulating the prejudices of the public. Ironically, if Davis were alive his political upward mobility would be limited in this environment. The leader of the Confederacy was an advocate of raising taxes to balance government budgets, so the old slave master could not become the president of America as it exists today.
He would be considered too liberal.
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