Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Politics should be criminal

But I guess that Mr. Delay's troubles are all part of the "criminality of politics". That's the new RW(right wing) meme. Break the fundraising laws, gerrymander a district, out an undercover agent and when you get caught, you cynically complain that that's just how politics is done. God knows I've heard that excuse for Nixon.
But it's not how it's done. So, why do people buy it? Why are we so ready to accept the cynical cop-out? It's as if, having seen political dirty tricks in dozens of films, the real thing is more excusable. We never stop to say "hey there, that's not the way it should be done". Maybe the greatest lie of modern conservatism is that which says that hard conservative politics is better because politics is such a nasty game. Never question the game, and your conclusions of who plays it best are guided to the cheap negativity at the heart of conservatism.
Which is sad. I can still hear how wrong it sounded to me, how it grated as a child, growing up amongst these church-people in the wake of Watergate, these folks who would express such optimism at so many things in life, such belief and hope and faith in salvation, but who slipped into the tone of the most jaded and sin-worn cynic whenever politics was mentioned. It just didn't fit. "Love thy neighbor" wasn't enough to fill the hole drilled into them by the relentless conservative dogma of "love thyself first, you fool". It was so out of character, so cheap and easy, to believe the worst of people, something that conservatism has demanded since Hobbes.
Besides, real cynicism needs to be earned. Someone like Tom Delay, or Rush Limbaugh, or Dick Cheney, doesn't deserve their cynical sneers. They haven't earned them.


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