Talk To Me Not Of Patriotism

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Well, we’re gonna default on the debt ceiling.  Maybe we’ll pull some weird last-minute save, but I’m not betting on it; Boehner and Cantor are sacks of wet Jell-O when it comes to standing up for themselves, and Obama really can’t afford to bend on this particular issue, lest American politics degenerate.
(If you’re really for what the Tea Party is doing, ask yourself whether you’d be cool if, after the next gun schoolyard massacre, a small subset of Democrats refused to pass any budgets until handgun registration was enforced to their liking.  Because I guarantee you, if the Tea Party shows this “holding its breath until we all die” thing works, then it’s going to get used by both sides.  And you will not like the outcome.)
But the Tea Party strikes me as someone who’s severely Othered the enemy, which is to say that all of the people who voted for Obama and Obamacare and liberal politicians didn’t do it for valid reasons – they did it because these maniacs are dangerous and will destroy America.  And in their minds – not that they’ve thought this through explicitly, but it’s at the core – they kinda believe it’s okay if America’s destroyed, because the people in charge of it are no longer American.
It’s kind of like Picard, deciding to blow up the Enterprise when it got overrun by the Borg: you don’t want to let this thing fall into the hands of the enemy.  And if you have to destroy it to show them that you’re serious, well, oh well.
Which is shit, really.  I miss the humanization of my opponents.  I know a lot of conservative people, and they’re pretty dim on some things, and dangerously misguided on others, and in other things they simply have different priorities.  But most of them genuinely want what’s best for people – they just disagree with it.  I can oppose them, and oppose them vigorously, without having to demean or demonize them.  Despite what the world would tell you, “meaning well” is a virtue, because if someone means well then you at least have the opportunity to convince them that your course is the right one.
Someone out to do harm never gets that far.
And so, one suspects, we’ll see America’s credit get blown, and probably have the doors opened to the Chinese saying, “Well, why don’t you peg the currency on our much more stable nation?” and a long downfall of American power.  Maybe not.  I mean, the Japanese looked unstoppable in the 1980s, and they had their own foibles that yanked them back; the Chinese have their own issues now, particularly with their psychotic demographics coming to roost.  But we weren’t as dysfunctional then as we are now, and I’m not sure how to handle that.
I wish the Tea Party didn’t have to make Obama into Hitler, or make Obamacare the worst law ever passed in the history of America (go back to the 1850s, you’ll find a few that might be worse).  I dig things are bad from their perspective, but part of democracy involves losing gracefully, and cleaning up when it turns out that yeah, that was a disaster, the way we did with Prohibition and Slavery, and we’re still reeling from the effects of those bad laws but in general it’s been an upward curve away from the nadir of that thought.
Maybe Obamacare is a disaster.  I’m willing to acknowledge that.  But if so, we’ll need every bit of America’s strength to get through it, and this ain’t helping.

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