Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Politics of Revenge in Michigan (with Catholic Parallel in Wisconsin)

Lisa Graves reads ALEC's broadside assault on Michigan workers through "right to work" legislation as revenge politics.  It's punishment of the voters of a state that went for Obama over Romney by almost 10%.  She writes,

When the dust settled from last month's election, a vindictive and diminished majority in the state legislature decided to push through a bill to weaken not just American workers' power to negotiate effectively with corporate managers but also to weaken organized workers as a political force at the ballot box. 
It's a sour, petty, reprehensible maneuver.

I believe she's correct.  And I think we're going to see more of this arrogant and unhinged behavior as a defeated minority continues to try to govern the nation (as in, coerce the majority) precisely as a minority, by employing techniques of secrecy, stonewalling, hostage-holding to get its way--that is to say, by employing the only governing techniques left to a minority when it has been declared a minority by popular vote, but when it does not intend to relinquish its attempts to control the majority.  

As Joan Walsh notes at Salon, this behavior, which is destroying American democracy--which is designed to do precisely that--will continue until Democrats grow a spine and call the bluff of the Republican minority as it seeks to exercise its bogus "mandate" at the level of the House to control federal budget negotiations.  As John Nichols points out at The Nation, Boehner's bluster about the budget relies on the spurious claim that he and GOP House members have a "mandate" to control the budget negotiations, when 1,156,550 more Americans voted for Democratic House candidates than for Republican ones.  The GOP holds the House only because it has gerrymandered boundaries of many districts to assure permanent Republican control of those districts.

As I say, I think we're going to see quite a bit more of this ugly politics of reprisal now that the Republicans lost so spectacularly in the 2012 elections.  We're going to see it as well in the Catholic church with the partisan faction that identifies being Catholic with being Republican: the meretricious attack of Paul Ryan's bishop Robert Morlino in Madison, Wisconsin, on Sisters Maureen McDonnell and Lynn Lisbeth is payback from the Catholic right to religious women for their refusal to kowtow to the Republican politics of many bishops in the 2012 election cycle, and for the success of the Nuns on the Bus initiative, which did far more to bring a Catholic voice to the public square during the leadup to the elections than the bishops' absurd Fortnight for Freedom spectacle did.

Until people of moral principle stand up to bullies, they keep right on bullying.

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