Thursday, August 10, 2006

It is all in the past

Quoting myself, again; partly a continuation of my thoughts in this post; partly prompted by Digby's post, which I got through Eschaton. It began as a comment there, but, as I say, it continues some thoughts I had about the Lamont victory. I'll pretty much leave it as I wrote it the first time:

Alright, I've read a bit of Digby, won't be bothered with Weisberg, and am going to be off-topic by being on-topic.


'68 is not the magic year for Democrats and war; '72 is. McGovern lost every state but Massachusetts that year, and just like the false memories of soldiers being spat on and politicians who "lost" Vietnam (which later melded into "clap louder for our troops!", the grossest perversion of all), the "lesson" learned from that debacle was not that McGovern ran a bad campaign (he did; I was there. I was 17 when it happened; Lord Weisberg was only 8, and doubtlessly blissfully unaware of what he was doing), it is that McGovern was "anti-war."

Guess what? Nixon had a "secret plan" to end that war. Not win it. End it. He was no more pro-war than McGovern. McGovern was no more anti-war than Nixon. But McGovern had the backing of all the people that "middle America" feared and despised, and in such turbulent times, they went with the guy who was supported by the "Establishment" (back in the era when that term was coined, and meant something).

That's all that election was about: outsiders v. insiders. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote about the GOP Convention of that year: "The winners are at war with the losers, and the fix is in. The prospects for peace are awful."

McGovern was seen as the "loser." Not because of Vietnam, but because of everytyhing that happened between '68 and '72. And everything that happened in those four years, forced us to finally withdraw from Vietnam.

And forced Nixon to resign.

But it wasn't because Democrats were "anti-war." That's a crap analysis that even Democrats have taken to heart. 60% of Americans don't want this war in Iraq anymore, either. That's no longer an "anti-war" stance, is the majority stance. Democrats, take note.

Or get ready for a third party that really represents the interests of Americans.

And that's what I think is the significance of Lamont's win: it signals a sea-change, but a sea-change is a natural process, not one caused by outside forces. Just so, Lamont won because people are turning against Bush in droves. And why do I mention the volatile issue of a third-party? Because I don't expect the Democrats to truly challenge the status quo established by Bush, DeLay, and the GOP. And because I truly consider that status quo unacceptable, intolerable, and inexcusable. And to the extent that status quo is justified by the election of '72, well: we are a famously ahistorical nation. We tell ourselves our Revolution was for human freedom, when it was really, as Mel Brooks noted, a merchant's rebellion, for freedom of commerce and profits. Understanding our past is critical to understanding why we are where we are today.

And where we are today is a mess, whether the Democrats or the Republicans, Tweedledee or Tweedledum, are in power.

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