It’s Not About Fetuses

The so-called Christians of Moore’s Alabama would have us believe that their dog-with-a-bone determination to have him take a seat in the Senate is rooted in a fanatical regard for fetuses. What really motivates them, I’d say — not that they’d concede it or necessarily recognize it in themselves — is a desperation to preserve what Moore really stands for: the preservation of white male privilege in southern culture.

The Fragility of the American Experiment

The American Experiment has been in trouble from the start. Tribalism is the natural human condition. The chant under torches of “Blood and Soil” is so pernicious because it resonates with something primordial. Something wired into us. Something that presumably contributed to our being the ones whose DNA made it to this generation. What’s pretty amazing is that our political community has managed so far, despite enormous trials and with so many of us not really on board, to persevere in the determination that we’ll organize our public lives another way, rejecting the pull of Blood and Soil for things light as air — the political ideals embodied in the founding documents.

They Wanted The Bigots’ Votes

I think that too many conservatives turned a blind eye to some of this because, bottom line, they wanted their votes. They were relying on people who had these attitudes. They could reject the attitudes, but they wanted those votes to continue to win elections. That was a calculation.

— Charlie Sykes in Isaac Chotiner, Conservative in the Wilderness, Slate, October 23, 2017.

How to Preserve the American Experiment

Here’s my sense of the American zeitgeist at the moment.

There is no fervor to embrace the neoliberalism that drives the GOP donor class. Nor is there a tsunami of support for the social democracy that Bernie champions.

Folks by and large are not gun fetishists, but they understand that guns have a place in some lives, especially in rural areas.

A majority of Americans think abortion neither should be banned nor should be unregulated, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.

The DACA Dreamers should be made welcome, but the country can’t afford a completely open door.

Free trade is good, but its downsides should be addressed. The Democrats are right to insist on a society free of prejudice, but in their condemnations they paint with too broad a brush.

And so on.

What the country needs is a leader or set of leaders able to rally the folks with these views, getting them to the polls and forcing to the sidelines the single-issue ideologues and all-or-nothing crowd who, it sometimes seems, would rather have a dictator who agrees with them right down the line than a messy democracy in which the constantly must settle for half a loaf.

It’s All Beside the Point

Nothing other than ridding the country of Trump ought to be on the political agenda.


The Trump Administration is a national emergency. As Senator Corker implied yesterday, and as anybody with any sense has known for awhile, the President is entirely unfit for office. Dangerously unfit. His continuation in office creates a substantial risk of millions of deaths on the Korean peninsula and beyond. Domestically, his overriding purpose is to divide the country so deeply that political violence becomes more than imaginable.

We, the people, should demand that Trump be removed from office before any agenda item of either party is taken up. And we ought to be prepared to go back to the streets soon and in much larger numbers. And we ought to consider a general strike.

Built on a Foundation of Ironies

Evangelicalism as practiced today in places like Roy Moore’s Alabama is built on a foundation of ironies, not the least of which is that the one man in the United States most likely to have a place already reserved in Hell — assuming there is a Hell along the lines they profess to be confident exists — is Donald Trump, to whom they have pledged their eternal support.

Follow This One Tip to Get Reasonable Gun Regulation

Do not vote for a Republican candidate. Do not believe anything a Republican candidate tells you about his or her position on gun regulation. Do not “vote for the person.” Any Republican you put in office almost certainly will vote in lockstep with the bloc on any gun issue. The only way to ensure even a rational discussion of gun regulation is to remove the Republican Party from power. If you can’t vote for a Democrat or an Independent, just stay home.