This week provided an interesting glimpse into the political right's pathological dishonesty (and Rachel Maddow did an excellent job of calling attention to it). It turns out that the liars are prone to lying to themselves.
Hence the striking footage of Karl Rove, on Fox News, doubting the statisticians' determination that President Obama had won Ohio. Hence the apparent surprise of the Romneyites that the election went the way the polls said it would, rather than conforming to what they had convinced themselves was the truth of the matter.
This phenomenon connects deeply with the theme of my recent campaign for Congress in Virginia's 6th District (the most Republican District in the state): "Truth. For a change."
To function properly, democracy depends on truth prevailing. And half the American body politic has diverged from any healthy connection with truth.
Wednesday evening, Rachel Maddow gave an outstanding little speech about the problem for America of having our right half living in an alternate reality.
She called our brothers and sisters on the right back to awareness with a litany of things that are true, and should be accepted as such.
Maddow went on to say in clear and vibrant terms how good it would be for America to regain an honest political force on the conservative side of our divide. That part of her speech can be heard at this link.
This was a beautifully stated version of something I said many times across Virginia's Sixth District. We need a good conservative party. We need to have a constructive and honest -- and genuinely patriotic -- political party that is right of center. And we want the Republican Party to move toward being that way.
We want this, and it is entirely appropriate for Rachel Maddow to call out for this, to explain its importance, to summon the deluded to extricate themselves from the cult that the Republican Party has become and to free themselves from the sick and broken spirit that drives that cult and that uses that cult to degrade and destroy as much as it can of all that makes America good and great.
But wanting is one thing; expecting is another. This election was certainly a powerful blow at the right. But so was the Bushite failure in the Iraq war. So was the Bush presidency helping to drive our economy over a precipice. So was the election of 2008.
These blows are important, and the more frequent and harder we make those blows, the sooner we can drive that dark spirit out of the Republican Party and away from the helm of our American civilization.
But this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It may be the end of the beginning. (Hats off to Churchill, master of the rhetoric of conflict.) We need to encourage President Obama, and the Democrats in the Congress, to press the battle and not squander their opportunities as they have in the past.
The fate of the nation depends on it. With the "It's a Wonderful Life" test, whereby we can compare the the starkly contrasting possible scenarios, the question is will we be Bedford Falls or will we degrade into Pottersville?
With stakes so high, whether we like it or not, this is a battle that must be fought.
Andy Schmookler, who was the Democratic nominee forr Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia in the elections just held, is an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher. Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992. He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.
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