I cannot speak as authoritatively about politics in America as farangi did about religion in America. My interest in politics here – and my experience of it – is barely 10 years old. Sure, I have read my share of 19th and 20th century American political history but that is just that. Still, I claimed to have some thoughts on where we go from here. In a true sense, I am writing as the hypothetical anthropologist observing the Nacirema tribe.
The left in America seems to be an odd, twisted monster with many heads intent on devouring itself. There is not a single issue which either defines or unites them – and this is right after a bitterly contested election. The leadership of the DNC, the fight against A. Gonzales, the Social Security mess all point to a weak, ill-defined party that has no clue how to even mount an opposition on any real terms.
So what do we do?
What the Right has done so brilliantly is take over the local. Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? may have flaws but it remains, for me, a clear-eyed look into the heart of the problem:
What the liberals desperately need to emulate is the great conservative democratic experiment of bringing new blood at the lowest political level and upwards. To find new candidates for local or state offices in the business community, the law community, the housewives and real estate agents (the occasional bug-killer); to provide them infrastructure to raise money, to coordinate their nascent campaigns; to cultivate their political lives and thoughts and to subsume it all under the guidance of local political elites.
And to give them “an explanation of it all”. A story, a myth, a religion that explains the world. America, left or right, stands devoutely and firmly in an anti-knowledge world. Bush is evil. Liberals are evil. Facts are only facts that support what we believe in. Knowledge is not objective. The world is not fair. These are the tenets of a new cult that looks askance at the market of ideas because it cannot trust or fathom it. Liberals used to have a stark reality. Equality. Justice. Peace. Social Responsibility. They don’t anymore. Those battles are won but the war is being lost. They flounder around looking for something, anything to combat the intense ahistory of the Right in America.
They think, falsely, that the cult of personality will save them. Hilary or Obama or Byah or Biden. Nope. The liberals need a grassroot. The grassroot need a religion. There is one out there.