You’ve already lost. This is what Americans need to understand

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Nova, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    I fear this is the most prescient take on our current situation yet published (and yes I think it deserves it's own thread)


    I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now

    Two years ago, I lived through a coup in Sri Lanka. It was stupid. The minority party threw chili powder at everyone in Parliament and took over by farce. Math, however, requires a majority and the courts kicked them out. They gave in. We’d been protesting for weeks and yay, we won.
    No.
    I didn’t know it at the time, but we had already lost. No one knew — but oh my God, what we lost. The legitimate government came back but it was divided and weak. We were divided and weak. We were vulnerable.

    Four months later, on Easter Sunday, some assholes attacked multiple churches and hotels, killing 269 of us. My wife and kids were at church, I had to frantically call them back. Our nation was shattered. Mobs began attacking innocent Muslims. It was out of control. The coup broke our government, and four months later, that broke us.
    The coup was a farce at the time but how soon it turned to tragedy. They called it a constitutional crisis, but how soon it became a real one. Right now, the same thing is happening to you. I’m trying to warn you America. It seems stupid now, but the consequences are not.
    You’re being coup’d.

    Frankly, I expected more epaulets and tanks, but this is all you get. A bunch of dumbasses throwing chili powder. Someone at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, next to a dildo shop. What a fucking stupid century. This is what our coups look like.
    As a recovering coup victim to another, let me tell you this. The first step is simply accepting that you’ve been coup’d. This is hard and your media or Wikipedia may never figure this out (WTF does constitutional crisis mean? Is murder a legal crisis?), but it’s nonetheless true. The US system is weird, but people voted for a change of power. One person is refusing to accept the people’s will. He’s taking power that doesn’t belong to him. That’s a coup.
    Americans are so caught up with the idea that this can’t be happening to them that they’re missing the very obvious fact that it is.
    What else do you call Donald Trump refusing to leave, consolidating control of the military, and spreading lies across the media? That, my friends, is just a coup. You take the power, you take the guns, and you lie about it. American commentators say “we’re like the third world now” as if our very existence is a pejorative. Ha ha, you assholes, stop calling us that. You’re no better than us. The third world from the Sun is Earth. You live here too.
    America, in fact, is worse than us. America’s democracy is a lightly modified enslavement system that black people only wrested universal franchise from in 1965. It’s frankly a terrible democracy, built on voter suppression of 94% of the population, full of racist booby traps and prone to absurd randomness. For example, your dumbass founders left enough time to get to Washington by horse. Four months where a loser could hold power, later reduced to two. This is a built-in coup.
    Think about it. Your system gives the loser all the power and guns for two whole months. Almost every modern democracy changes power the next day, to avoid the very situation you’re in.
    America constitutionally coups itself every election and it only doesn’t go bad by custom. America is a shitty and immature democracy, saved only by the fact that they didn’t elect equally shitty and immature Presidents. Until now.


    It’s absurd, because the whole thing seems like a clown show. Coups are supposed to be orderly, authoritarian, not this dumb shit. It honestly seems like a grift to bilk supporters out of more money. You can just roll it back, right? Right?
    No. No no no. Oh God no.
    The tragic thing which you do not understand — which you cannot understand — is that you’ve already lost. You cannot know exactly what — that’s the nature of chaos — but know this. You will lose more than you can bear.
    We lost our children, playing at church. We lost our friends, sitting down to brunch. Muslims lost their dignity and rights. Your Republicans have set forces into play they cannot possibly understand and certainly cannot control. And they don’t even want to. To them, chaos is a ladder.
    This is the point. You have taken an orderly system balancing a whole lot of chaos and fucked with it. I don’t know how it’s going to explode, but I can promise you this. It’s going to explode.
    This is precisely why we have elections, and why both sides accept the results. To keep the chaos at bay. The whole point is that you have a regular, ritual fight rather than fighting all the time. Once one side breaks ritual then you’re on the way to civil war. Once you break the rules then chaos ensues. What exactly happens? I don’t know. It’s chaos.

    [​IMG]

    This year America had fascism on the ballot and nonwhite people mercifully said no. The fascists, however, are now saying fuck ballots. And enough of the population is like fuck yeah!
    This is a major problem, and it won’t just go away on a technicality. I’m telling you, as someone that’s been there, you’ve already lost. It doesn’t matter if you get Trump out. He and the Republican Party are destroying trust in elections in general. This is catastrophic. You have no idea.
    Your media are covering this like a high school dance, but it’s not funny. See this headline in the NYTimes. It’s wildly irresponsible. All your local coverage is.

    [​IMG]

    Ha ha ha, they lede, who’s going to tell him? Bitch, who’s going to tell you? An illegitimate leader has got all the guns and 40% of your population is down to use them. And y’all got jokes.
    What I can tell you — what anyone who’s experienced this can tell you — is that it’s going to be bad. I didn’t know that churches and hotels would blow up on Easter Sunday, but I know now. I’m trying to tell you in advance. You’ve opened up a Pandora’s box of instability. All kinds of demons come out.
    I have lived through a coup. It felt like what you’re feeling now. Like watching something stupid and just waiting for it to go away. But it doesn’t go away. You can forget about it, but it doesn’t go away.
    There’s a ticking bomb at the heart of your democracy now. Your government, the very idea of governance is fatally wounded. Chaos has been planted at its heart. I don’t know what this chaos will grow into, but I can promise you this. It won’t be good.
    Please understand.
    My wife and children were at church that day. Our regular church (where they hadn’t gone) had bombs on either side. I couldn’t understand the news when I first got it and you cannot understand the fear until they were safely home. I do not want you to understand but I fear one day you must. You have fucked with chaos and soon chaos will fuck with you. To quote Yeats,
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

    https://medium.com/indica/i-lived-through-a-coup-america-is-having-one-now-437934b1dac3
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
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  2. Rimjob Bob

    Rimjob Bob Classy Fellow

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    On top of that, if Dems aren’t able to take the Senate this year, when will they ever? Our course back to the regressive Guilded Age is pretty much locked in by McConnell et al.
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  3. K.

    K. Sober

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    While I don't agree with everything in that piece, the basic idea is one that hasn't been lost on German commentators either: Weimar didn't fall in 1933, it fell in 1923, when the Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, ridiculous and doomed to fail, failed.
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  4. Order2Chaos

    Order2Chaos Ultimate... Immortal Administrator

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    There's a certain scale for measuring technology and centralization of power, I can't remember what it's called, but the gist of it is that for a long time, every year the number of people it would take to knowingly wipe out the human race grew smaller. It numbered in the hundreds to dozens during the Cold War. It's probably now around a hundred. But I digress.

    There should probably be a similar scale tracking how many people it takes to delegitimize a government system, and in healthy systems, that number should be made as large as possible.
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  5. Order2Chaos

    Order2Chaos Ultimate... Immortal Administrator

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    Call me crazy, but I think that number might just be 2 for the US right now. One improvement would be for the size of county canvassing boards to be proportional to their counties' populations, regardless of the actual logistical need for that.
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  6. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    I read that one when it came out, and I disagree.

    There's a lot of positive trends as well. Millennials and Zoomers are far more accepting of racial differences, have been exposed to the worst of excesses of corporate feudalism.

    Hell, we've seen Germany fall to fascism, be partitioned, have a third of the country ruled by totalitarians, and recover to become a leading light for democracy. And run by a wonderful woman who was born under authoritarian rule.

    It's a struggle, it will continue to be a struggle, and even when sometimes it seems like we've won, and sometimes it seems like it can't ever be better, the worse thing we can do is quit.

    That's what the fascists on the right want.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
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  7. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    According to the Interwebs, 2022 has 34 Senate seats up for grabs, 22 of which are currently Republican and 11 Democrat. Assuming the Ds lose both the GA runoffs, they would have to pick up three seats to get a majority.
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  8. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Gay™ Formerly Important

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    I can respect this take and I hope you're right, but I've lost track of how many times "That won't happen here" did happen in America over the last 4 years.

    Even if we do pull back from the brink and elect both the Democrat Senator candidates in GA and the transition ends with Trump leaving on his own accord (and not recorded by SS), the faith in this government has been shattered entirely. And this is something were gonna have to reckon with.

    Am I talking about the left or the right here? The answer is yes.
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  9. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    I'm optimistic over the long term - IF we survive the next 10-12 years intact. But....
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  10. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    So very many of them are really safe though. Off the top of my head the only kinda getable ones that spring to mind are Johnson in WI, Burr's vacated seat in NC, and Toomey's vacated seat in PA - none of those as promising as, say, Tillis' seat was, or Collins was thought to be this time.

    For the record, I want to see Johnson go down in flames as much as I wanted Graham to - but it's at least easier to win WI than SC
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  11. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    No doubt that it will be tough to flip a net of three seats. But it's doable. Especially if the Dems actually put the pedal to the metal on increaswing voter registration, undo or better compensate for voter suppression tactics and anyone succeeds in mobilizing young voters.
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  12. K.

    K. Sober

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    I wonder how much they can do to undo voter suppression without the Senate and the Supreme Court, wherever they don't have local majorities.
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  13. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    A lot of voter suppression happens at the state level, because each state gets a lot of discretion to make its own election decisions.

    Things like whether/how to purge ex-cons from the voter rolls or people who have similar names to ex-cons, what needs to be done to restore voting rights, the ground rules for how to register to vote, where and how one can register to vote, what forms of ID are acceptable for actual voting, etc. are all in the hands of state and county level officials.

    If in 2022, we keep or expand on the models for early voting and mail-in voting that we used in this election, I'd be more optimistic about the chances to flip seats. If we go back to the more restrictive form that had been in place in some states where you have to put forth a reason to vote absentee and polling places are largely a day-of affair, then participation willl be lower, and the chances of flipping would be lower.
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  14. K.

    K. Sober

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    Exactly. But aren't the local majority usually with the Republicans in those districts where dem votes are suppressed?
  15. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    I'd imagine it varies. Some cases might have a D governor (and thus a D secretary of state, the person in charge of elections at the state level) and a R legislature making the election laws or vice-versa. Some might have Rs in charge of both. Even in the face of Rs in charge of both at the state level, county level officials in charge of cities would likely be D.

    Even in the face of moderate resistance, organizing can help. Hence Stacy Abrams helping to get Georgia to vote Biden after she lost the Georgia governorship to the then-GA Secretary of State. If Ds can replicate her efforts elsewhere, then there's a more than decent shot.
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  16. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey i can see my house

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    still blows my mind that a criminal record disenfranchises a person even after their "debt to society" is paid.
    Can't speak to other democratic countries, but we make accommodations here for inmates to vote while still serving their sentences.
    I'm sure Lanz or one of the others will be along to 'splain why a repeat offender like myself should never be allowed to have a say in the electoral process.
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  17. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    "Because you won't vote the way we want you to, because our party demonizes you, because conservatism runs on fear and hate. :bailey:".
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  18. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    My personal mindset is that committing a felony should not cost one the right to vote, period, and certainly that after one has completed one's sentence and parole that one should have their voting rights restored.

    Nevertheless, this is what I would say if I were to advocate for the other side of the argument:

    1. Some crimes are so heinous (murder and rape, for instance) that it makes sense that people found guilty of having committed those do not have their rights restored automatically or at all.
    2. We have a federal system and so it is up to the legislatures of each state to decide what they think is appropriate n this area. Some states apparently are bound by their various state constitutions to not have ex-felons vote. If the states want to block ex-felons from voting, period, that is well within their rights.
    3. The loss of the right to vote is a potential deterrent to crime so it should stay in place.
    4. Recidivism is a real thing, and so it is prudent to make sure that someone is on the straight and narrow before restoring their voting rights, if at all.
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  19. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    I've no objection to convicted felons getting to vote once they've served their sentence. Just not, y'know, while they're still in prison.
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  20. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    Why?
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  21. Ten Lubak

    Ten Lubak Salty Dog

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    Because they haven’t fulfilled their debt to society until they complete their sentence
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  22. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    But why should them having a debt to society mean that they lose the right to vote in the first place?

    We don't, for example, say AFAIK "You are behind on your taxes/your parking tickets/child support/student loan payments. Therefore, you are ineligible to vote." Or at least, if we do, I don't think we should.

    Voting is a right of citizenship for adults, and IMO, should be as inalienable as possible. It makes sense to me that someone convicted of treason should lose the right to vote, but few others.
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  23. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    the thing is, GOP gerrymandering secures their ability to manipulate the voter population. Famously WI is basically 50-50 but the legislature is HEAVILY Republican.
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  24. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 the only real finish line

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    Totally agree with you. Barring treason or terrorism or other such crimes, every eligible citizen should have the right to vote even while incarcerated IMHO. The right to bear arms (while incarcerated) should of course be denied for safety reasons, but once released the right to bear arms should be restored for non-violent offenders. Again, non-violent offenders. Actually there is legal process for a felon getting their gun rights restored, because I work with a guy who did this, but it could vary from state-to-state.
  25. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    You know, this wouldn't be such a big issue if you didn't have such a huge fucking prison population, the disenfranchisement of which is bound to have a significant statistical effect on election results.
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  26. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    I tend to see it as a big issue if even a single person is wrongly disenfranchised, regardless of the result on the election itself. That millions of people are disenfranchised in this way compounds that issue.
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  27. Ten Lubak

    Ten Lubak Salty Dog

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    Honestly I don't give a shit one way or the other if prisoners vote, but I'm pretty sure that's one of the primary reasons people use to justify why prisoners can only vote after they serve their time

    Sure, there should be instances where people are stripped of their right to vote but if you're in prison on say marijuana related charges, that's a bit of bullshit that you can't vote until you 've served your time
  28. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    Which is itself bound up with several of the persistant historical evils of our nation (for example, after the end of reconstruction, imprisoning as many black men as possible became the defacto "new slavery" as the prisoners were farmed out as free labor - we've never really retired that concept - and no we have for profit prisons that do things like charging relatively massive fees for such ordinary things as using the phone or checking out a book.

    Removing blacks from the population AND exploiting them for profit is basically exactly what it looks like.
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  29. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Bump.
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