Slowly but surely, the urgency of the moment is becoming clear. The “new” Republican Party is prepared to sink to any low necessary to enact as much of its agenda as possible. With nearly one thousand abortion bills in the states and more than a dozen in Congress, it’s clear that jobs and deficits are the least of their concerns. Instead, we have seen the invention of crises and legislative shock doctrine. Republicans have responded to voter discontent by doubling-down: in Wisconsin, the agenda is merely accelerated; in Washington, they’re playing chicken with debt limits.
Desperate people do desperate things.
Once upon a time in America, a defeated southern white society told itself a number of lies and incorporated them into its culture. Scholars call this the “lost cause.” It shows up in the language, literature, and politics of the South. The story is well-known and widely told now. When Reagan talked of “states’ rights” at the Neshoba County Fair, he was picking up the “southern strategy;” as we have seen, the GOP actually doubled-down again in the last cycle. But the conservative movement has swallowed its own Kool Aid in the process. Think of all the issues that keep coming up with the class of culture warriors installed last November: they want to revisit the battles over collective bargaining rights, gays in the military, abortion, health care reform, gay marriage, the Civil Rights Act, and the pre-Civil War issue of nullification. All of these are lost causes.
Furthermore, the language of the right has gotten more desperate. On top of eliminationism (“empty the clip” on illegal immigration, Sarah Palin’s crosshairs), there is a strong sense of finality. This is an ingrained part of human culture; apocalypse mythology appears in every human society. But such tales are actually about our experiences with civilizational collapse, and as we rush towards the bottom of the peak oil spike the “new” Republican Party uniformly rejects the doom we face and substitutes its own, imaginary doom. Furthermore, the time to face their imaginary doom is always now, and always in the extreme. The actual, real, not-imaginary doom is put off to…what? There is no what. There is only the next election, and as we are on the very verge of socialislamicommufascism we must stand and fight now or lose our freedom. See how that works?
The “new” GOP is more committed than ever before to tearing down the America we have built and replacing it with oligarchy. They see us getting wise to them, and so they go for broke. 2012 is more than Mayan calendar baloney, it’s the year they trust Citizens United and their culture warriors and idiots to save them. They figure that Democrats will have to spend at least four years undoing and repairing the damage, and that they’ll pay no price in the memory of voters. Sadly, they may not be wrong. The last stand of the culture warriors never actually ends, you see: culture wars are not meant to be won, they are meant to be continuous. This is so that we may all enjoy a more hierarchical society — you know, like in the Old Testament.