Thursday, December 29, 2016

Partisanship is no substitute for values

Today, Obama wrote in an official statement that "All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions." That is what Obama ran on, after all, hope and change and universal alarm.

It goes without saying that Russian interference -- if Russia was indeed behind the DNC hacks, which is far from proven -- amounted to releasing true but embarrassing Emails. Unauthorized journalism, in other words.

Since the election, the American center-left has shown itself as completely incapable of resistance to anything. Resistance requires integrity and solidarity and the guidance of strongly held values. There is no left value that says that embarrassing Emails from politicians should not be released. On the contrary, there are -- or should be -- strong left values against mindless war fever and unthinking trust in the security apparatus, and in favor of openness in the political process. Imagine that the Russians were responsible for the hacks. OK, then what? What kind of left idea says that the response should be escalation, tough-guy posturing, and ratcheting up tensions with a nuclear power that we have no essential grievance with? Defense of American institutions, even when those institutions are corrupt? Because the DNC certainly was corrupt: it used the Hillary Victory Fund among other means to slant the primary in favor of one candidate (thereby hurting the party in the general election). Should we retrospectively condemn Daniel Ellsberg for releasing the Pentagon Papers and harming America's defense forces?

Partisanship can not substitute for having some kind of basic idea -- both for oneself and for simple communication with others -- about what you do and don't support. The left can not be the party of trust-the-CIA and war posturing when that is convenient. The whole concept is sickening and should shame any putative center-left person who once mumbled something about what a shame it was, what the US did in Central America. Death squads then, trust now, all because of an election that the left legitimately lost according to the completely ridiculous but fixed rules of the US political process.

Since then the center-left has done almost everything that it accused the right of. Not accepting the election results and attempting to overturn the election with the "Hamilton Electors" foolishness. Believing in every fake news story that flatters their preconceptions. Accusing journalists of being Russian agents if they write non-approved stories. Allowing their party to be taken over by grifters (most of them ex-Republicans looking for easy pickings) who tell them whatever they want to hear. The main difference is that the center-left is ineffectual and when it does these things that doesn't even bring any results.

Both central American parties and tendencies are tottering, hollowed out and ready to collapse. What's going to come next? Something from the margins, from people who have the courage of their convictions, good or bad.

No comments:

Post a Comment