Lughnasa and the Labor Day Moon
Monday gratefuls: Kate and her sisters. A team. The Johnsons. Joe and Seoah and Murdoch. Rigel, bright eyed and smiling last night. Kep and his sores. Amber. Who’s hard at work for Kate. Ivory in a new home. Ruth and Gabe starting school virtually. Jon, teaching virtually and some in person. Hotshots and other Wildfire fighters. The West. A strange and wonderful place.
2016. 2020. Coincidence? No. Elections have consequences. In this millennia alone two elections in which Republicans lost the popular vote cost them what was left of their soul. Instead of strong and confident under the Bush and now Trump administrations our country became terrified, fearful. Muslims and Arabs became enemies. The white working class saw its fortune and its influence waning. Think of that. Two elections in which the majority spoke and was not heard.
I root the woes of 2020 in George Wallace’s third party candidacy in 1968. He won five states in the south. Won. In my memory, faulty in this case, he also won Indiana. He only got 11% of the vote. He loomed large in my political sensibilities. I guess because of my immersion in the movement at that time his 11% may as well have been a plurality.
Nixon started a conversation about a silent majority. I’m sure his idea got strong reinforcement from the 5 state win of an admitted, and proud, racist. He mentioned it first in a speech to the U.S. population about ending the Vietnam War. This “great silent majority” would back his policies. Many did, though whether as a great silent majority or as a war weary populace it’s hard to say.
The Reverend Jerry Falwell created the Moral Majority in 1979. Both of them were dogwhistles for the great white Shark that swims in the ocean of American politics, creating havoc where it will. It was Lee Atwater, a dark prince even among political consultants who turned these toxic, racist waters into votes for Republicans. He died young, but his ruthless and shameless negative politics found Newt Gingrich willing to carry them into the House of Representatives.
With a gerrymandering strategy also well in play, Republicans began to wall off Black voters into certain congressional and State districts, giving the Republicans the white suburbs and rural vote. Both Atwater’s negative politics and the gerrymandering pursued by Thomas Hofeller chose racism as a cause celeb for the Republican future.
Reagan reaped this whirlwind. He started an attack on unions that disenfranchised both Black and white working class voters, pushing them further down the economic ladder and pitting them against each other. It fit Atwater’s plans exactly.
Move ahead to Y2K. It was not the clocks of certain legacy software systems that shut down the year 2000, but an even older problem, the Electoral College. Bush and Gore had a very close election and the Electoral College decided the matter when the hanging chads pushed Bush past Gore thanks to the Supreme Court.
Who knows the significance of Bush’s presidency if it hadn’t been for 9/11. As it happened, his gloomy band of neoconservatives in security and foreign policy positions, guided by yet another dark prince of the GOP, Dick Cheney, created the War on Terror.
2016. The War on Terror is not a priority of the orange excrescence except as an excuse to ban Muslims from immigrating here. Instead, he’s focused his energy on the great white Shark, chumming the waters with anti-immigration policies, support of white supremacists, and trade wars with both our allies and our enemies.
Pandemic. Murder Hornets. Hurricanes doubling up. An asteroid headed for our planet. Climate change churning away, creating the conditions for massive wildfires currently raging in the American West.
Elections and political strategies have consequences. The Village of the Damned Trump has created out of our nation is not Trump’s alone. We will not turn the great White out to sea with one election. It will take all of us, the rest of our lives. Elections. Consequences. Where do you stand?