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July 15, 2004
We Are Not Amused

I leave you guys in charge for a few days, and look what happens.

It's not the car bombs in Iraq, painful as it is to read about those, or the fact that the situation in Sudan hasn't improved, or background on Bush's attitude toward torture, but the casual discussion of how a 'major terrorist attack' could be used as an excuse to postpone the USofA elections this November. (No, that's not how the discussion is being framed, but it could< be taken that way.)

Casual discussions, mind you, no real outrage to be heard. Is that because you don't really believe it will happen? Because I think even the mention of such a thing should raise alarms all over the country, but I seem to be alone in that thought.

Maybe it's just that I haven't gotten to those blogs yet, but I'd certainly expect someone to be discussing that the "upset" in Spain bears no resemblance to the current situation in the USofA.

I mean, have you seen the current polling for the USofA presidential race? The polls that indicate the Bush Administration is dropping in popularity? The only "upset" at this point would be if Bush was elected in November and much as I appreciate the move to prevent temporary voter hysteria from creating such a disastrous situation, I think we'd better take our chances on our current democratic processes.

It's worth pointing out that my friend Buehler thinks a terrorist attack would all but guarantee a Bush victory. He thinks a terrorist attack will "prove" to people that we need a "strong" president.

Which is scarier? That people in this country are so ill-informed as to miss the fact that nothing the Bush Administration has done to combat 'terror' is working, or that a majority of people just might be buying the Bush Administration's portrayal of the man as "strong"?

Anyhow, based on the Administration's desire to postpone the election if there's a terrorist attack, I'd suggest the Bush Administration agrees with my position. Any attack and the Bush presidency is toast.

Other than that, I was glad to see the petition to change Colorado's electoral vote allocation is getting a webmention. I've signed it and please believe me when I say I'd have signed it even if Colorado was a "reliably blue" state and a successful electoral vote change meant some votes would subsequently be awarded to Republicans. Fair representation is important to me. (Even if I frequently think the majority of voters need to be smacked and then chained to a reliable news source for a few hours a week.)

Lawrence Krubner has some fascinating posts up that I wish I had the time to talk about. So does Hugo Schwyzer.

I did a fair amount of reading on my vacation. Not as much as I intended, but I only had three days and the weather in the mountains was too gorgeous to ignore. I did a bit of walking (you couldn't call it "hiking" because I didn't work that hard at it) and a bit of just sitting outdoors, sipping coffee and soaking up the sun.

Anyhow. Reading. The Federalist Papers. The Anti-Federalist. Tom Paine's Common Sense. (Not relevant to the topic at hand, but fascinating nonetheless.) The Constitution. (Don't laugh. When was the last time you read it?) UsofA history in the 20th century, but not the kind you learn in K-12 "history" classes. The stuff they leave out in those classes.

Some reading and some learning. I'm thinking we have rather a lot of work to do before we become the country I always thought we were.

I have more to say, but my internet connection keeps going out on me and I'm getting massively frustrated. That's probably a sign I should get back to work.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:55 AM


I can't wait to hear your comments on your readings. It'll be nice to hear the Federalist Papers discussed by someone who isn't an anti-federal libertarian....

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at July 15, 2004 03:07 PM

Good news, a number of blogs have mentioned that the right-wing meme about the Spanish elections is bullshit. Missed you, Anne - welcome back!

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at July 15, 2004 03:20 PM

Thanks, Elayne. :) If I hadn't come back to 100 degree temperatures, I'd be happier about being back myself!

Jonathan - Like most of my political 'positions' I imagine I'll wind up somewhere just left of center, once I finish reading both arguments. I think that the modern interpretation of "Federalism" is deeply flawed and that's pretty much my starting point.

Posted by: Anne at July 15, 2004 03:48 PM

I don't think the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate maps out to any current political constellation. Who are the modern Anti-Federalists? The Anti-Federalists were the key people who insisted and fought for a Bill Of Rights. They were also opposed to any consolidation of power in Washington. That puts them where in current political lingo? We associate comfort with big government with the Democrats, we also associate a passionate and expansive defense of the Bill Of Rights with the Democrats. So, clearly, there is no clear connection between the political alliances of the 1780s and now. It's a different era.

Still, I think everyone should read the Anti-Federalists, at least in part because history has been unkind to their reputation. Although later on the term "States-Rights" was hijacked by the southern states to defend racism, in the 1780s there were clearly many northern liberals who joined the Anti-Federalist camp, and their concerns revolved around the dangers of the government getting too much power. There is a lot of intelligence in the writings of the Anti-Federalists, and they deserve a hearing.

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at July 18, 2004 11:45 AM

Lawrence - I don't, of course, anticipate finding anything that correlates one-to-one with any contemporary USofA political parties or positions.

Still, when I'm considering how my own beliefs fit into today's political landscape, I think a review of the history of our country's politics, no matter how brief, is of value. It has less to do with what was said than with the consequences of belief, if that makes sense.

It would be impossible to map "Federalist" or "Anti-Federalist" onto the contemporary landscape. In fact, it would be hard to map it onto any landscape* after the Constitutional debate was ended.

( * The South may have given lip service to the concept of "defending states' rights" when faced with war over slavery, but since they abandoned the idea long before the end of the war, I find it hard to view that as a serious defense of the concept.)

Posted by: Anne at July 18, 2004 09:13 PM