Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rachel Maddow Gives 'em Hell

I don't have a lot to say today, nothing that isn't being said all over the internet by myriad pundits. After the angst of the early part of this week, it felt like a good day to take a step back. Tomorrow I am going to be at the Zoo for my second Volunteer Training day and I should come back refreshed and more or less content for a little while.

But I wanted to be sure I posted this amazing rant by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC here for posterity. If you haven't already seen it, please do give it a watch:

Here is the complete transcript of that video. It's pretty heady and courageous stuff, I think, and it speaks directly to the heart of the polarization issues in both of our countries:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack ON us, it was not a scandal BY us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.

Listen. Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons. But it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system, in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas, from both sides, about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum-sealed, door-locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the Republicans got shellacked. And they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them, in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they're going to secede, they're going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside, if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, I'm sure, but it will be good for the whole country - left, right, and center. You guys, we're counting on you. Wake up.

There's real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.

Sharp and thoughtful words indeed. And if you want to understand how much work we have cut out for us in the fight for meaningful discussion between Right and Left, you need look no further than FOX News' Sean Hannity's reaction to the very same election results, where he mocks everyone who voted for Barack Obama to continue as President and then bemoans the "dirty" campaign the Democrats ran, completely missing the major point that the best smear job anyone did on the Republicans this year came from within their own party.

And that, in a nutshell, is the Republican party's dilemma. Either they take their collective heads out of their collective nether regions and figure out a way to work with the actual elected government for some real progress or they slide even farther off of the cliff of insanity with the wingnut Tea Baggers.

Bottom line: even though the GOP soundly lost the election on Tuesday, they are still by far the more important party in the next four years. So, what's it going to be, kids? The clock is running.

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