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I believe it was in 1977, when I was at the State Department, that President Jimmy Carter advised Americans to ‘get over their inordinate fear of Communism’.  (He also warned of our unsus-tain-able dependence on oil, and put solar panels on the White House roof - panels later removed by Ronald Reagan...)

Jimmy Carter’s advice was quickly buried, and as a long-term consequence, Rachel Madow was hardly able to restrain her gaiety as she dissected the blooper that kept on giving in Christine O’Donnell’s debate with her Democratic opponent for Senate from Delaware.  But behind the gaiety lurks the the sad fact that had the debate not taken place in front of a public of law students, there would have been no reaction to O’Donnell’s ignorance.

The Tea Partiers are only able to brandish copies of the constitution as they talk about ‘taking their country back’ because most audiences haven’t a clue about what it says. Even Ms O’Donnell, who claims to have taken an in-depth course on the Constitution at Claremont Graduate school, would have to carry a copy at all times to appear even superficially knowledgeable.

Belated implementation of Carter’s advice would include a manda-tory crash course on the Constitution for all students above seventh grade. But the problem goes deeper than preventing future elections from becoming side-shows.

Had Americans been exposed to serious analysis of twentieth century ideologies - including the competing ideologies of the framers -TV’s finest would not have to resort to chortling over constitutional snafus to win over voters to the progressive side.  As things now stand, repeated accusations of ‘socialism’ by Tea Partiers and standard Republicans can only be met with nervous assurances on MSNBC that ‘nothing is further from the truth’.

The truth is supposed to set people free. The truth about life in Germany under Hitler and contemporary life in countries with social democratic regimes (or ‘socialism’) would enable American voters to recognize the fascist goals of the Tea Party’s backers, corporate America, from whom the Supreme Court has recently lifted its last remaining obstacle to power.

Socialists are the last minority in America to have remained in the closet, and  soon it will be too late.  For the BBC to suggest, as it did yesterday, that the riots in France could soon come to America, is to compare apples and oranges.  Today the BBC backed off, asking: “What is it that makes French students revolt so?
Carefully handed down from generation to generation, the modus manifestandi has become part of national lore. Quite consciously, the makers of this student rebellion are acting out the parts created by their forefathers and - mothers in that greatest of all student rebellions: May 1968. The rituals are identical: the 'general assemblies' in which budding leaders bellow into bull-horns, the arm-link procession, the look of beatific joy.The slogans are straight from 1968. The students chant: "Sarkozy, t'es foutu, la jeunesse est dans la rue" (Sarkozy you're screwed, the youth is in the street) - which apart from the name is a formulation unchanged from De Gaulle's time.”

The Brit - dangerously Americanized - still hasn’t got it right: the French modus manifestandi can be traced at least as far back as the Bastille.  In America, earnest anchors and comedians convene crowds to the National Mall -  a few yards from the twin seats of power - to exhort them to turn out on election day.

Originally posted to Deena Stryker on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 08:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In the late 1940s, those who control the (5+ / 0-)

    political economy determined that for the elites to remain in power the general public had to become scared and remain scared. The secrecy of the USSR played into their hands - the Soviets had a lot shameful actions to keep secret - and it has worked to this day.
    Now with the Soviet Union a fading memory, it seems to be easier, rather than more difficult, to brand people, movements, and programs as "socialist" as if the Interstate System, Social Security, Medicare,etc, are not both socialistic and popular.

  •  Carter-Kennedy: still bitter rivals... (0+ / 0-)

    It's a case of "He said. He said." Only problem is Teddy Kennedy's not around anymore to defend himself.

    Carter still blames Teddy Kennedy for blocking his HCR proposals:

    "The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care now, had it not been for Ted Kennedy's deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed," he told CBS' Leslie Stahl. "It was his fault. Ted Kennedy killed the bill."

    http://www.rawstory.com/...
    Video of interview here:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/...

    "Anyone who wondered why Jimmy Carter looked like he would rather have been busting rocks than attending Kennedy's funeral Mass last Saturday -- and not because he was overwhelmed by grief -- will want to check out what sounds like a shockingly honest account of Kennedy and Carter's "unhealthy" relationship, which according to Kennedy broke down over – wait for it – health care reform.

    "Clearly President Carter was a difficult man to convince -- of anything," Kennedy wrote.

    "One reason for this was that he did not really listen."

    Carter, of course, was the incumbent when Kennedy challenged him in the presidential primary in 1980. Kennedy said that after Carter's "malaise" speech, he realized that the two of them held completely different views of America."

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/...

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 09:03:55 AM PDT

    •  Right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ImpeachKingBushII

      It has been reported that Kennedy killed Carter's health care bill because he thought it was too expensive.

      Otherjones. Insights and Ironies.

      by Deena Stryker on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 02:36:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and it was also reported that thanks to Carter... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the civilian application of nuclear power technologies, which could've saved us trillions in the money we spent in foreign oil since Carter left office in 1980, was effectively killed in the crib during his term. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the "Father of the Nuclear Navy"-Carter's superior officer and mentor while he served in nuclear submarines, must be spinning in his grave. He's still around to defend his anti-nuclear policy, however nobody in the lamestream media or anywhere else, seems to have the guts to confront him about the "wisdom" or I should say his lack of foresight in making that brilliant move...backwards.

        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 04:13:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Concerning this... (0+ / 0-)

    "O'Donnell...who claims to have taken an in-depth course on the Constitution at Claremont Graduate school..."

    She never said that she passed, did she?

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 05:12:58 AM PDT

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