"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Whose Democracy Matters? America The Banana Republic

The lawns of Baldwin Park, a leafy neighborhood of Washington, are festooned with signs - Hate Has No Home Here, Black Lives Matter, and especially Democracy Matters.  

To whom?" I asked and got a nonplussed, quizzical look, for the sign was a coded anti-Trump message which the neighbor who planted it assumed was common knowledge - Trump the insurrectionist, the arrogant, deep-state manipulator, the misogynist, etc. etc., the political anti-Christ, ad infinitum ad nauseam. 

The question implied division in the ranks, a break in the wall, so no wonder the reply was curt - "To everybody", the neighbor huffed and went back to his garden.. 

Baldwin Park is a lockstep neighborhood, tightly wound, impervious, and of universal liberal credentials.  The environment, women, gays, the border, Wall Street - all verses from the same hymns, hymns from the same hymnal.  Received wisdom, absolute commitment, defiance, and persistence are  universal, accepted truths.


Their democracy was not everyone's yet.  "Takes time", said another neighbor referring to those who had not subscribed to the agenda and who had obstructed justice, social reform and progress.  They were deliberately ignored and dismissed as political supernumeraries - crackers and rednecks whose contribution to the commonweal was insignificant at best and dangerous at worst. 

Democracy not only doesn't matter to them, say progressives, but they have no clue what it's about - no sense of the reformed principles of liberalism, the new perspective of race-gender-ethnicity, the new revisionism, and the new dynamic of aggressive integration. 

Of course Hamilton would be appalled at the progressive take on democracy - that highly evolved amalgamated product of the Enlightenment, Augustine, Aquinas, and Aristotle of the new Republic. Even Jefferson, a man for the people and the inherent wisdom of the majority would be taken aback at the ruthlessness of the deformation and the dangerous arrogance of American progressives.

There was never a his-and-her democracy, a special needs democracy, a democracy of political purpose.  God-given rights were the way Jefferson had expressed his commitment to the new constitutional rules.  Nothing was up for grabs - there was no give in a democracy established on the basis of divinity and the supreme tests of human intelligence. 

So the automatic exclusion of large segments of American society would be anathema to America's forefathers; and the radical, deliberate divisionism seen as the worst kind of foul enterprise.  It is this political absolutism which gives rise to the fringe Left and Right - the racist Black Lives Matter white haters and the wild bunch of frat boy drunks who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. 

Conservative heirs of the Founding Fathers are tarred and feathered by progressives who, in their desire to reformulate governance dismiss them out of hand, spawning a cycle of resentment and hatred.  There is no need for the Constitution, they say, old parchment drafted by old men, ignorant of life's real lessons; no need for the organs of justice, designed to serve the privileged.  

The Year Zero proclaimed the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot at the beginning of his program to establish a Maoist regime, and in so doing killing of millions of 'apostates' and forcing millions more into re-education camps.  Progressives claim the same notions - not only an exclusive democracy, not even a  democracy for whom, but no democracy at all. 

Which is why the whoops and hollers over the supposed insurrection of January 6th, the storming of the Capitol, and the terrorization of the House is so ironic.  This, progressives say is the beginning of the end of democracy; but in reality it was nothing more than than a ragtag bunch of carnival misfits, a rolling freak show of crazies that had come out of every crack in the woodwork. Mardi Gras float-riders in fright wigs, Viking horns, crinoline,  stage prop boots, and linked-chain faux mail armor.  A legion of losers wound up, spun, and let loose with some cockamamie idea of 'democracy'

The real revolutions had happened in Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Salvador; were happening in Yemen and the Malian Sahara - bloody, nasty affairs.  Thousands of heads rolled during Robespierre's bloody Reign of Terror, and the Russian Revolution was no pretty sight.  History is nothing but a chronical of bloody uprisings, vengeance, and sadistic violence.  Ever since once Paleolithic tribe battered another with clubs and jawbones, men have slaughtered each other in the name of territorial right. 

So it is with some confoundment that the modern observer sees the events of January 6th cast in a revolutionary light. How could this ragtag group of good ol' boys, crackers, hopped up meth freaks, and dropouts be anything but white, credulous homeboys with nothing better to do?

In all this America resembles a banana republic where the concept of sane governance has never taken hold, and where political chaos is the perennial normal.  In those nations coup follows  coup, putsch after putsch, one venal, self-absorbed power-greedy autocrat after another.  

Bangladesh has elections, but the party that loses refuses to take their seats in Parliament and government is disabled.  Central America is an isthmus of misrule and oppression. Africa, from top to bottom, side to side, is a mess - a desperately poor, mismanaged, shithole of economic ruin and political asymmetry. 


Some observers say that America, for all its chaotic governance is what Churchill meant when he said that democracy was the worst form of government except for all the rests.  Chaos is the rule, not the exception.  Democracy is a reflection of human nature - aggressive, territorial, and self-interested.  Darwinian evolution cannot happen without competition, the victory of the strong over the weak, the endless, progressive changes which result in better adaptation of the species.  A government that mulls is not a government of reach and authority. 

America is exactly what Darwin would have imagined as an organic political unit.  Its culture and its government are perfectly matched - both have the same contentious, impatient, confrontational side.  Gunfights are the meme, not coffee klatches; brawls, bar fights, and donnybrooks not tea parties and reasoning together.  


America is unmatched for economic vitality, entrepreneurial genius, and international influence because of this easy confluence of culture and governance.  Everyone wants to come here, and only the politically irritable want to leave.  'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen' said Harry Truman, expressing a pride in the American blast furnace.  We are meant to blaze away at OK corral, have beefs and playground fights.  Bullies are to be faced down.  America is still a raw, inchoate country, still trying to fit the barroom ethos into English order.  It will never happen. 

Whose democracy? Everyone's.  Pretty? No. 

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