Monday, March 12, 2018

Protecting Our Elections

William Franklin, governor of New Jersey 1763-76. Spent infinitely more on street repairs in Trenton than he did on protecting his state from invading British troops. That's because he was on their side. The Revolution wasn't a war between Englishmen and Americans, it was a war between Tories and Whigs. Portrait attributed to Mather Brown, 1790, via Wikipedia.

This language is really starting to give me an abreaction; I mean, not from Martin in particular, everybody uses it, I'm sure I've used it myself, but the rhetoric of nation-to-nation war, of Russia and America, and they attacked our country, misses to me the essential point that this is a partisan contest, not a national one, a series of attacks by the forces of reaction on the forces of liberality, not Russia against America (and Britain and France and Germany and Denmark and Ukraine and Georgia and Albania, please read this new story, and even a bit Italy) but Putin's international party of local chauvinism, fear, and hierarchy of the strong over the weak against our international party, in the broadest sense, of cosmopolitanism, hope, and liberty-equality-fraternity, going beyond local party, as in the UK where the Brexit issue transcended those groupings, but not necessarily: in the US it was an attack on Democrats, and it wasn't an attack on Republicans. Once the Republicans had chosen their candidate, it was an attack on their behalf.

Republicans and Putinists are allies now. They share the vision of a society in which the traditionally strong—the white and wealthy, the male, the publicly pious—monopolize the power, keeping the masses hypnotized with the theater of nations, flags, parades, and xenophobia. Republicans benefited from the Russian state's interference in our elections. All this is true even if the collusion story isn't true. Why should they spend money protecting the elections from that?

I mean obviously Republicans can prove me wrong on this. They can impeach Trump, for instance; refusal to implement sanctions overwhelmingly passed by the Congress in flagrant violation of Article II section 3 or, even more, to give the NSA and Cyber Command authority to act against Russian hacking operations are perfectly good grounds. Asked by Swedish reporters last week what he was going to do about it, Trump said,
Certainly there was meddling. Probably there was meddling from other countries.... I think you have to be really watching very closely. We won't allow that to happen. We're doing a very, very deep study and we're coming out with, I think, some very strong suggestions on the '18 election.
The impersonal verb ("there was"), the gratuitous everybody-does-it reference to other countries, and the "very, very deep" all mean nothing is going to be done. It's 2018 already. We've seen our first primaries. Impeach him, Republicans!

When they do, I promise I'll take it all back.

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