A little while ago I posted a thought that perhaps the Republicans might see their way to backing some form of congressional voting for DC, with an eye toward upping the party’s standing among the moderate and meritocratic citizens of our nation’s capital.
My, I am naive.
I have been reading Geoffrey Kabaservice’s excellent and elegantly-written history Rule and Ruin (full disclosure: Geoff’s a friend and a groomsman), which explains the how and the why of what the media has christened the rightward tilt of the GOP in the past fifty years. As Kabaservice makes fascinatingly clear, it was not a tilt but a putsch, a dedicated effort by devotees one school of right-wing thought to gain complete control of the Republican party. To call these people — and by these people I mean the activists, not general-purpose registered-Republican voters — conservative is to redefine the term for there is nothing conservative about them. They are nearly anarchist, with a frontier mentality that views with suspicion anything that is not a fence and denies any sense of a shared commons.
Anyway. I see now the only way the Republicans want DC in their fold is as vassal.
Rule and Ruin is one of two texts lately that have given me some new food for thought. The other, lighter but also more pointed, was a New York Times magazine column (sorry, “riff” — really, the Gray Lady’s getting a little too hip) by Steve Almond, on how liberals are so busy indulging in right-wing political commentary, in order to enjoy their dudgeon, that they are failing to counter it by meaningful and useful acts.
I suppose I have been party to this — not to the point of listening to Fox News, but by watching satire shows and the circumlocutions of politicians on Sunday talk shows. (Really I listen to the rebroadcasts on CSPAN Radio — easier to do while gardening or ironing, and with no commercials — and much less now than I used to.)
It’s making me wonder if there is any value per se in being a well-informed citizen if I don’t do much about it. Certainly in uppity DC, as in most other places in the country, my value as a voter is meaningless thanks to the electoral college.
I need to find my inner Norquist on this one.