Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Shock & Awe

It’s the morning after, and in the cool light of the new day it seems clear that well over half of all Americans are idiots, concentrated in the South and Mid-West.

The Democrats have spent considerable time and and thought trying to reach out to red-staters. In fact, there may be some truth in the idea that the Democrats come across as less than genuine because they are trying so hard to understand and accommodate those with whom they fundamentally disagree.

But far better a certain amount of perceived patronizing than the outright indifference of the Republicans, whose message to those on the other side of the divide is, “screw off.” It’s straight from the Pat Buchanan playbook: the Dems try to win by building a large coalition in the middle, uniting those from opposing points of view, while the Repubs win by breaking the electorate in two in the hopes of ending up with the slightly larger half. We’re terribly concerned about them; they could care less about us.

Of course, the conventional wisdom is something like, “Well, it’s time for the Dems to return to first principles, and with a blank slate start the hard work of re-building their party.” To heck with that. I’m so mad and disappointed in my fellow citizens that this morning, at least, I’m perfectly happy for them to go off and ruin their lives. Work at Wal-Mart. Live in shacks. Be afraid of gay people.

Only in doing so, they threaten my life as well.

I’m really torn between wanting to return to our old custom of trying to explain, patiently, why giving a larger and larger share of your income to rich people is a bad idea. Why sending your sons and daughters off to the military is not an act of honor but too often of desperation. Why invading unarmed nations for no good reason – and then boasting about it – is likely to lead to serious consequences. Why disdaining science is likely to return us to the dark ages. Why hubris is invariably repaid with come-uppance.

If our fellow Americans don’t get these basic principles, I’m not sure what can be done for them. That’s why the other alternative that seems so appealing on this most difficult of mornings is to abandon them as they have abandoned me. Forget fighting for the common good. Fight only for my own. Leave. Secede. Fight to end the flow of untold billions from the blue to the red states. If the red states are so sure that our Boston Brahman doesn’t “get” them, and that the little man from “Crawford” is their guy, then let them go it alone. We have labored mightily to make a go of things with these people as a united people. They have clearly said that our concerns are not theirs, and that they want to go in a different direction.

Abraham Lincoln fought the Civil War to defend the principal that no state could withdraw from the Union of its own volition. That a Union comprised of states so loosely held was no union at all. But what of a state that withdraws with the full consent of the union. Why shouldn’t the East & West Coasts take their industry, their jobs, their wits and wisdom, and form a union that better suits their needs, and let the middle states form the theocracy they so earnestly desire?

Today, this hardest of days, I’m having a hard time seeing why that isn’t the right answer. Something about a higher moral calling. But to protect our security, our Blue-State security, the very best plan may well be to re-join the community of nations on our own, and let our swaggering, misguided brethern reap the bitter harvest of their unconscionable hubris.

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