Saturday, February 23, 2008

Truth and Cultural Memory

Pat Oliphant hates the Clintons and has created some of the most offensive political cartoons of the primary season, crudely reproducing the most misogynistic slurs against HRC. Even so, when not blinded by Clinton Derangement Syndrome, he has a way of cutting to the political heart of controversies that has no equal. This cartoon about Michelle Obama's cynical and narcissistic statement about the nation is brilliant. It also undermines most of the BS Oliphant has thrown at Hillary.

In the early days of the blogosphere, a phrase you read quite often was "down the memory hole," a reference to 1984 and the way inconvenient historical facts about the Bush/Cheney regime were routinely erased or disappeared from the public record. One of the purposes of Left Blogistan, it was said, was to save these bits of inadvertant truth and keep them from going down the memory hole. Then, the A-List Blogger Boyz decided that they wanted to be political power players, too, just like the MSM, and truthiness became hip, especially where the Clintons were concerned.

One of the hallmarks of the Obama campaign is truthiness and a deliberate denial of cultural memory. It is shown in self-indulgent, self-referential comments about how there was only dreary darkness in our nation until The Precious rose like the Sun (Son?) above the horizon. The aggressive denial that anything good came out of Bill Clinton's administration is part of it, all repeated by the "Yeah, yeah, that's right!" chorus of Blogger Boyz and Media Whores (but I repeat myself). There is the facile lauding of Reagan. There is kissing the asses of Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Tom DeLay and the rest of the Republican leadership by saying only the Republicans have been the party of ideas in the last two decades. There is the dismissal of historic Democratic leaders, such as LBJ on Civil Rights and FDR on the New Deal.

In his hamfisted attempt to suppress the very real affection ordinary Americans have for Bill and Hillary Clinton and the concrete material gains people enjoyed during Bill's administrations, Obama and his adualtory Geek Chorus have performed acts of violence upon the cultural memory, aggressively trying to shove the past deeds and successes of the Democratic Party down the memory hole so that there is nothing against which to compare The Precious and his insubstantial record. He wants to accrue to himself to the emotion of the rhetoric of our great leaders without having to commit himself to the causes that they fought, and in some cases died, for.

"Maybe somebody should instruct you about the Civil Rights times, and how completely this country has turned itself around from the 1960s onwards."

The polite chiding Oliphant has the ghost of LBJ hand over to Michelle Obama points to the other historical elision being committed for the sake of The Precious. The advances of this country towards equality for all (not just upper class white males), towards responsible social services, towards access to higher education, towards environemental awareness and responsibility, towards cooperative and constructive international relations, have all been made because of the Democratic Party and because of dedication to democratic causes. We need candidates who will campaign on the record of the party with pride and no equivocation. The divisions that have happened, such as the reconstruction of the Republicans as the party of racism, are the results of political battles that materially benefitted the less well off in this country.

Obamacans (far closer to Republicans than to Democrats) say opponents of The Precious are just haters or are shills for Hillary. NO. Some of us have supported Hillary from the start of the campaign, but many have come over to Hillary's side because of the dissing of and pissing upon the true legacy of the Democrats, such as my mother, who was an Edwards supporter. We resent that Obama is using right-wing talking points to dismiss the fights we have engaged in for decades in order to attract a few "Democrats for a Day" in the primaries.

The damage done here is not to Hillary. She will, as she assured us, be fine no matter the outcome. She is a woman of amazing talents, with depth and strength of character we can only imagine. She has never turned her back on us and she will be on our side no matter what.

The damage done is to the party and to progressive, liberal causes that are being effaced from our cultural memory for the sake of Obama's narcissistic campaign.



Linda said...

Wow. You write beautifully. You describe the problem so clearly. Yep, the Dems will snatch defeat from the hands of victory yet again. Unfortunately, we get to go along for the ride.

I found you through a link at Taylor Marsh. I'm putting you under my favorites. Keep writing you have a great "voice".

Anonymous said...

"Maybe somebody should instruct you about the Civil Rights times, and how completely this country has turned itself around from the 1960s onwards."

It is this kind of patronizing tone that prevents African-Americans from being "proud".

Why should I be GRATEFUL to LBJ for addressing civil rights in the United States 100 years after the ending of slavery and almost two hundred years after the declaration of independence. As the president of the US, that is what he is SUPPOSED to do.