(All: I’m dealing with a bunch of personal business and thinking things over, but I haven’t disappeared entirely. Here are my most recent thoughts, excerpted and revised from an email to Dave.)
The question I’m dealing with now is, to what extent will normal politics even be possible from here on? I expect a very aggressive Norquist-Rove push at the very edge of legality, or past it. Purging the CIA was a start. At some point your options dwindle down to being a lonely dissident witness, perhaps at great personal cost, and exile. (Given present public opinion, I do not see the possibility of much serious resistance).
So while I am participating so far in the dialogue about electoral strategy, etc., there’s that second, more pessimistic possibility too. I think that it would be wrong to give up on normal politics too soon, but you have to keep your eyes open.
Recent news gives some unpleasant hints. Apparently we have now chosen a scorched-earth policy — punishing all of the Iraqis, as if there are no civilians in Fallujah. Blocking the Red Cross, not letting drinking water in, etc. To the trolls, warbloggers, and WW IV advocates, “civilian casualties” is the punchline of a hilarious joke. (Oddly, they’re the same people who are so confident of democratization, and so insulting to anyone who thinks the democratization is a fake.). It may end up happening that Bush’s military actions will go beyond what can be tolerated at all. I maintain contact with Canadian and European friends and family and we’re very close to that line already.
A recent government confiscation of an Indymedia server is another warning. The “accidental” appearance of a tank near a peace demonstration in Los Angeles (I think) might be another.
I hopefully played along with Kerry-Edwards even though they didn’t peep a dovish peep during the whole election. But there’s no need for that kind of loyalty any more.
Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias have been proclaiming that the Democrats have to gain “credibility on defense”, which I assume means making loud warlike noises. That may be true electorally, but it rejects the very possibility of anti-war stance and is harmful in the world of reality. The claim of Democratic lack of credibility is really a hawkish smear. America’s military policy hasn’t been defensive since 1812, and the Democrats have been pretty hawkish most of the time since 1984 or earlier.
Rove, Norquist, and Bush plan to remake the United States and the world, and military activism overseas is a big part of their plan. If the Democrats fail to resist or are unable to do so effectively, I fear that we will all be faced with some grim choices in the relatively near future.