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Reply #5: Hmmm.... [View All]

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Lexingtonian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-05 11:22 PM
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5. Hmmm....

You may want to look at the degree to which this 'third empire' isn't just a rerun of the second. (The tragedy the first time, farce the second.) It really begins with Richard Nixon becoming VP. It's perhaps too much to say he began the streak, but this 'third empire' is arguable a revisiting and rearguing, by American conservatives, all the issues in some significant fashion suppressed by the Depression and Cold War and FDR's long-lasting wartime-defined political coalition.

Carter's Presidency and then Reagan's were (in retrospect) revisitings of the FDR issues, Bush Sr. Truman's, and Clinton was all issues that originated in the Eisenhower era. Bush Jr has run through the dilemmas/issues of the JFK and LBJ terms and Nixon's first term up to this point. And now the Bushies tell us that Iran and Russia's non-democracy and Castro's pals and the new Allende (read: Chavez) in Latin America are due for some attention by the '08 election. And, I found out, American involvement in violence in Nicaragua begins in 1972 with an attempted putdown of the early Sandinistas. We've all seen this movie before. We're stuck in a regurgitation and reabsorption of the problems and dilemmas of ~1973 to ~1988 in various fashions.

The truth of the radical Right's power over the past 20-some years is that it has very little order, and that which it takes has alarmingly medieval origins. The Cold War was, to them, a last run at the Asian Menace of Huns and Mongols and Avars and Turks. The 'War on Terror' is just a last run at the problems that led to Tours And Poitiers and the Crusades. The 'War on Drugs' is another argument with hostile Indian tribes. And somewhere between all of that, there's some foggy ideal of England circa 1600 as a way to run the United States in perpetuity. It's the Middle Ages being given one last run. One last evasion of Modernity.

A third analysis is that domestic politics since the end of the Cold War has followed a pattern of conflict that resembles in curious ways the dynamics and struggles and cycles of effort/activity of the American Civil War. The Democratic Party being the North, and to give a bit too much away, control of Virginia represents majority federal power and the present fits to the time of the final internal argument about whether or not pass the 13th Amendment on for ratification, which was the argument between moderates and radicals about whether the war was just an effort to reattain the status quo or justification/necessitation for abolition of slavery.


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