It's been obvious that the conservative dead enders who've assimilated the party formerly of Lincoln into some weird chimera of Jefferson Davis and Ayn Rand are having trouble coming to terms with the recent election. Of greater concern is the mass of their followers, who are seriously adrift, unhinged even.
Of course, the Very Serious People are working hard at being oblivious to the train wreck that is currently modern conservatism while they focus on the non-problem of the deficit, rhapsodize over the possibility of a Grand Bargain in which Democrats give away the gains of the election - that and obsessing over the tragedy of illicit Sexy Time taking down the strong leader that gave them fantasies of a benign coup to replace the messy democracy still scrabbling along under foot. Their lives will go on regardless of how wrong they were, and how often.
Nonetheless, the country IS facing a real disaster - just not the one anyone seems to be worrying about.
More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
What is to be made of poor Beth Cox, who has awakened to a nightmare world in an America strange to her?
She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.Or take Robert Murray, a millionaire whining about how terrible life is going to be for him now, taking refuge in his faith as he fires workers in revenge for Romney's defeat.
Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would “accelerate our decline.”
Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: "Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build."Consider the case of Holly Solomon, so unhinged over her husband failing to vote, she ran over him with her jeep.
On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a "war on coal" by the Obama administration.
Murray Energy is the country's largest privately owned coal mining company, with about 3,000 employees producing about 30 million tons of bituminous coal a year, according to its Web site.
Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Sanger said Holly Solomon started arguing with her husband because she “believed her family was going to face hardship” as a result of Obama’s re-election.Her husband in in the hospital now, in critical condition. And if Obamacare saves his life and helps with his bills, one can only imagine the further pain and suffering that will cause her.
The victim tried hiding behind a light pole, Sanger said, while his wife “drove around the pole numerous times while continuing to yell at him.”
The victim eventually started running toward the road but was struck by the Jeep and pinned beneath the vehicle and the curb, Sanger said.
But if you really want to see a case of extreme commitment to ideals, principles, and values to the bitter end, one need look no farther than Eric Dondero.
All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.The oft-noted disdain of conservatives for facts and numbers it now appears was only a symptom of a much deeper problem: these people have been living in an alternate reality and are now displaced persons. They have just undergone a trauma that has shaken them to the very roots of their existence, as though a tornado had singled them out for destruction or an earthquake shook the very ground under their feet. They are aliens in their own country, refugees stranded in a foreign land, victims of a disaster they still can't fathom.
I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted 'O'. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.
Do you work for someone who voted for Obama? Quit your job. Co-workers who voted for Obama. Simply don't talk to them in the workplace, unless your boss instructs you too for work-related only purposes. Have clients who voted Democrat? Call them up this morning and tell them to take their business elsewhere.
Have a neighbor who votes for Obama? You could take a crap on their lawn. Then again, probably not a good idea since it would be technically illegal to do this. But you could have your dog take care of business. Not your fault if he just happens to choose that particular spot.
That so much of it is self-inflicted makes it no less of a problem. Expect to see more domestic violence, divorce, increased drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, and suicide. They're in a tough spot that other disaster victims don't share. A political disaster has this difference - it's a spiritual crisis inflicted en masse. There may not be physical wreckage, but the pain and suffering are real.
(Side note. The devastation from Sandy and all the previous ones over the past year are a real opportunity to put the Anti-Shock doctrine to work. Use the disaster recovery process to demonstrate what IS possible when the public sector comes together for the public good. Else, disaster capitalism will just cash in again.)
The belief structure that has sustained all of these people has collapsed and they have no effective way to deal with the world until they can either reinvent it or abandon it for something else. The Red Cross will not be coming to their aid. FEMA will have no trailers for them. There will be no grief counselors. Some will retreat into the rubble; others will just give up. Some will be so disillusioned they will lose their faith completely and never fully recover. Others will embrace extremism.
It might be considered pure Karmic justice to leave them to their fate. They condemn reliance on government, want to dismantle the safety net, and have no problems with millions of their fellow citizens being denied fair pay, adequate health care, or a secure retirement. They believe in sin and punishment, not so much in forgiveness, charity and redemption. They are well versed in blaming others for what's wrong with the country, not so good at looking in the mirror. They believe in the private sector and personal responsibility, but are not too keen on the public sector and aren't comfortable with the public good.
The snake oil salesmen who led them down the garden path are regrouping and are already working to suck them back in again. Their leaders are discredited now, but they are not about to give up the victims they've been living off of for so long. And they are victims, though not they way they think. Fear is the drug that shapes their world, and they can't cope without it. There's a lot money and power to be gained by supplying that drug. Always has been, always will be.
But now the addicts are overdosing on it. Based on the behavior of their own leaders, they have every reason to expect the worst from the victors in the election. Everything that comes out of Washington will be seen in negative terms. They're demanding the right to secede because they can't imagine living in this terrifying new world - and they can't imagine any place else to live. This is an existential dilemma on steroids.
It's one nasty public health problem. They've been using fear, anger and denial to make sense the world. They're not going to get better without help, and they'll reject the very idea that they need help. And it's not a problem our political system seems to be handling or even admitting. Damned if I or anyone else has any easy answers. Hell, most people are avoiding even thinking about the problem.
Though not all. Wilkinson and Pickett have compiled decades of research that identifies a key factor underlying a vast array of quality of life issues. Using that as a guide for our policies would be a huge leap forward. And it would certainly work better than trying to accommodate the failed ideas of a failed ideology.
Sara Robinson did a brilliant series of articles based on the work of Prof. Robert Altemeyer by way of John Dean and her own life experiences that dissects the pathology of the authoritarians at the core of the conservative movement and how to help people escape from it. (Robinson's work in installments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.) If you're trying to cope with friends or family who need to be "talked off the ledge" right now, Robinson's articles are invaluable. For a bonus just in time for Thanksgiving, Robinson has a handy list of how to handle 10 myths conservatives believe about progressives, from 2008.
Greensburg, Kansas has shown what can be done when a community comes together to face up to a disaster and resolves to build for the future, not some imagined ideal past. It shows what can be done when painful realities are faced instead of being denied - and private and public interests come together for the common good.
Wallowing in schadenfreude is fun - I've indulged in it myself - but sooner or later we have to find a way to get these people to a point where they can learn to live with the rest of us without freaking out all the time, or they'll end up right back where they were. They're not going away and we need to figure out how to live with them and get them to reciprocate. It's up to us to do it, because it's just not a skill set in their toolbox.
Or worse, they'll come back even more determined to reshape the world to their fears and fantasies, and drag us along. And we have too many problems headed our way that don't care who anybody voted for. The threats we've created to our way of life, to this one mudball we're all stuck on riding rings around the sun are real and are not going away.
There were reports on NPR this morning that the President is going to spend more time reaching out to the people who re-elected him to bring pressure on Washington. One of the things he's supposedly learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. (Duh!) He's going to start using the Bully Pulpit more.
Let's hope so. The Right has built a powerful messaging machine and Obama has been reluctant to provide a countervailing corrective commentary to the snake oil. Trying to reach across the aisle has only legitimized their fantasy world; it's time to give their victims a clear alternative to the snake oil. Now is a critical time - with their world view shaken they may be ready to start questioning it. The President must seize the opportunity to differentiate himself and his policies from the conservative snake oil sellers in a way that, in Robinson's metaphor, provides tunnels and bridges for those trying to find a way out of the wreckage of their belief system.
If we don't find a way to all grow up together and get our shit together as a nation, Game Over is a real possibility. The clock is ticking.