Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Monday, July 10, 2006


The Scheherazade strategy is a great scam, built on the illsuion that simple ,oralistic tales can mke us feel secure, not matter what's actually going on out there in the world. Though it never fulfills its promise, too many Americans keep on falling for it. Why? Here are some clues from scholars who trace it bac to its roots in American Christianity: Catherine Albanese of the University of California at Santa Barbara writes: "Ordered conduct of foreign policy will, according to the conservative ethic, keep evil ay bay and erect the safeguards that protect Christian life. Thus, containment for conservatives means the management of evil."

But the management of evil is a lifetime task. Far from relieving anxiety, it is bound to create more of it---and, Rove assumedly hopes, more people who crave the manly certitude that is supposed to relieve anxiety.

Princeton's John F. Wilson explains why. The obsession with managing evil comes from "a concern, often exaggerated, to achieve control over those aspects of life experienced as uncertain. "From the Puritans to the present, people bent on controlling their lives have by haunted by the inescapable fear that they might lose that very control. When they find that they can't control themselves or their lives or surroundings as completely as they might fervently wish, they feel like failures; and, Albanese adds, if they happen to think they are part of God's chosen people, they might also feel a powerful obligation to live up to God's expectation of perfect self-control. So they end up not just feeling like failures but like guilty sinners.

***But we are not God's chosen people. They are in a whole different country! Rove and his Republican buddies want to make you feel inadequate, like you can't control you lives so you let them do it. That's just crazy! If you give them the power, then what you should be afraid of is giving up on what all of your relatives before you fought so hard for. Your giving away your freedom! Wake up people! I can control my life and will. If you are that weak, then you deserve to have your freedoms taken from you and then you'll be sorry!

Who wants to shoulder such a heavy burden? "To admit that too much was wrong could jeopardize America's belief in its status as a chosen nation," Albanese says. "American could not admit the deepest sources of their guilt without destroying their sense of who they were." So, instead, they went (and still go) looking for other people to control and blame them for their troubles. Our most recent candidates are, of course, the terrorists.

Before you know it, you have, in Wilson's scholarly words, "essentially bipolar frameworks for conceiving of the world: good versus bad, us versus them. The puritan American while tightly disciplined (***not anymore!) is prone to be uncritical of self and hypercritical of others...[This] presupposes a fundamentally authoritorian pattern of relationships within the world and reinforces that pattern." In other words, when the U.S. military tries to impose a made-in-America order upon Iraq (or anywhere else), it lets us avoid facing up to abundant ills, evils, and insecurities here at home.

***Insecurities that this administration has brought upon the people. Rove and his Republican cronies need to blame everyone else but themselves!


These are certainly deeply rooted, complex, and real feelings. Rove's scam works because the bipolar framework seems so believable. There is always more American insecurity to feed our appetite for "staying the course" in Iraq. The U.S. presence there spawns more Iraqi "insurgents" who make the whole story look all too believable on the evening news. The cycle is endless, because the old frontier story that is supposed to ease our insecurity actually fuels it.

But what about the innocent Iraqi people that are going through this? This is what makes Bush look like the eveil one, doesn't it? Keeping the Middle East destabilized is what Bush wants to do so that they can keep up their perpetual war. Don't sit back and think that there won't be a draft somewhere in our future!

It's certainly making the public insecure about the war. In that Washington Post-ABC poll, only 37% of Americans approved of the way Bush is handling it. So Rove's strategy may be an act of desperation. But it's also a shrewd trick---some might call it genius---because it plays on the growing fear that Iraq represents something truly awry in the American universe. It links the Democratic party to the chaos of Iraq by turning both into symbols of American weakness, wilderness, and instability.

***The only evil that is out there right now, is this administration and anyone that goes along with them.

The Republican Scherazades say, in effect, "Things may seem out of control now, but they're bound to be far worse under the Democrats, who are completely incapable of keeping our fragile lives sheltered from the winds of violent change." They tell the old familiar tales to plant seeds of doubt, to send the voter into the booth asking one big question: "Even if the Republicans are obviously not in control of this perilous world, do I dare to take a chance on those weak-willed flip-flop Democrats? If a vote against the Democrats becomes a vote against uncontrollable change---then the Republicans are likely to have another election in their pockets.

Though the frontier story and its twisted offspring have deep roots in puritan Christianity, don't just blame the Chrisitans for them. Long ago these tales became the common property of secular American culture, too. And don't just blame the Republicans. These are the same stories that led Democrats from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton to places like The Somme, My Lai, and Mogadishu, promising wars to end war or communism or terrorism.

Yet ever since Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter, the Republicans have managed to make the old stories their own private property. When Democrats try to tell them, they don't just sound unbelievable anymore. Right now, in fact, nothing that most mainstream Democrats have to say seems to have the ring of believability---or the Scheherazade strategy wouldn't have a chance of saving the Republicans' political life in November. So what's a Democrat to do?

A Dem can start by seeing the risks in the Scheherazade strategy. For one thing, Rove's story depends on believable images of American strength. If U.S. forces in Iraq keep suffering disasters between now and election day, voters going into the booth will have a harder time hanging on to the image of the Republicans as their manly saviors.

It also depends on voters letting fairy tales, not logical thinking about policies, determine their vote. The Democrats should not assume that most voters will fall prey to alluring but absurd tales, as the king in Scheherazade did. They cn tell the coters---and themselves---a frontier story about another traditional American virtue; the courage to trust that ordinary people will use hard-headed common sense to seperate fact from fiction.

The old stories tell us that the actual pioneers, not the ones who so ling inhabitaed our movie screens, had to confront life honestly. They couldn't afford to "stay the course" just for the sake of saving face. And they couldn't afford to play politics with matters of life and death. When things went wrong, they were brave enough to admit it and use good old American ingenuity to set things right. They were true democrats, expecting everyone to shoulder their share of responsibility and giving their neighbors the right to express their own opinions. They didn't call disagreement "disloyalty." They knew even the humblest guy or gal might have the vest idea for fixing things.

Out on the frontier, pioneers needed that kind of courage and common sense to make sure they and their families survived. It may be just what the Democrats need to survive, too---trusting ordinary people, even Iraqis, to find practical solutions to practical problems. If the Republican candidates want to play Scheherazade, they have to recognize that the democrats might have a more honest, compelling story to tell. And we, the voters, are the king. We get to decide who remains alive at dawn on November 9 and who ends up a political corpse.


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