[Author’s Note: This piece was initially penned a week and a half ago; and while the vagaries of international correspondence mean that it is only now seeing publication, the unfolding developments of the last few days have rendered its perspective of heightened relevancy]
Politics, much like the ethically-challenged tawdry celebrity gossip-rags it occasionally so closely resembles, is a field in which “Truth” (or even, simply, ‘internal cohesiveness’ of an argument or a position) is often only a tertiary consideration. With some measure of “effectiveness” (especially of a slur) as a secondary, and “the venting of highly emotive vitriol” an unabashed and unquestioned prime.
This is, presumably, how we explain the increasingly lurid, and manifestly … not even just “counterfactual” as “inherently internally contradictory” pile-up of allegations and aspersions currently in circulation against Tulsi Gabbard.
If you believed what you read … Gabbard is supposed to be simultaneously a radical anti-war candidate who’ll leave America defenceless (by, you know, not getting further into unnecessary overseas quagmires) AND some sort of blood-curdling pro-war promulgator of the Pax-Americana.
She’s accused of being an outspoken Islamophobe alleged to make Trump’s statements about various demographics look moderate … yet simultaneously a hater of Israel, an anti-semite, who wants said state wiped off the map by Iran and Syria.
Some ultra-liberal voices have attacked her for comments she made many years ago about how the Democratic Party’s agenda should be economic in orientation rather than focused upon LGBT issues. Some conservatives have attacked her for the repudiation of those comments she made some years later.
And more confusingly, some Republicans have also attacked her for the earlier round of comments, on grounds that apparently they don’t like people pre-empting their current-day talking points by a decade and a half?
It has even been said that she’s some sort of Clinton-acolyte against genuine, economically progressive politics … occasionally right next to the observations of her allegedly being “anti-Democrat” for the principled stance of resigning from her position on the DNC due to its favouritism of Clinton against Sanders.
Anyway, you get my point.
Going through this round of the Presidential Primary process, every, all sides who are arrayed against Gabbard are still “finding their feet”. They’re not sure what’s going to work against Gabbard – in no small part because they’ve never really faced a candidate like her before [who cannot be easily attacked, depending upon which party you’re from, on any of the “usual stuff” – as a brown woman with a military service record and strong, principled stances on all the key areas … about the only “vulnerability” is if her antagonists want to go after the religion angle].
So instead of disciplined bursts of fire, along identified key themes, they’re simply trying the old “throw everything at her and see what sticks” approach. Albeit in a manner which is so cap-handed and internally self-contradictory [seriously – check the GoP’s initial response to Gabbard’s announcement of candidacy] , that it’s far less “recon-in-force” and more “recon-by-farce”.
But in any case, it is useful to take a look, with critical eye, upon what’s actually going on with the reality of her stances, as compared to the scaremongering rhetoric.
Take the charges of “Islamophobia”, for instance.
Now while it is true that Gabbard has appeared in the media from time to time talking about terrorist threats from “Radical Islam” … the actual thrust of this aspersion does not have much to do with that. Instead, it is because she also makes trenchant criticisms of the highly improper degree of malefic influence which Saudi Arabia exerts over American (geo)politics; of the ways in which Saudi Arabia and others are given carte-blanche to kill other Muslims, as a result.
And speaking on that general point – it takes a very strange mind indeed to suggest that Gabbard’s opposition to America bombing ordinary Syrians or Iranians somehow makes her indelibly, appallingly “anti-Muslim”.
I mean surely that’s the more more important rubric for assessment?
Or are we in some frightningly phantasmical post-twilight political-psephological silliness-zone wherein it matters not a jot what stance one takes in opposition to the American role in tens of thousands of deaths in the Middle East in recent years … you say “Radical Islam” on TV – that’s the thing regarded as “meaningful”, in the context of whether one is “pro” or “anti” Muslims.
Ultimately, yes – yes that is exactly where we are at. As can be seen by all the lurid ridicularity bound up in the mutually-contradictory aspersions being directed at Gabbard at this time.
It’s all words. Empty words. Counterfactual words. Words of no fixed opinion, nor abode.
The only thing they tell you, really, is what she’s up again.
That she matters.
Because apparently Everybody from all over the Establishment political spectrum, is running scared.
And given how fundamentally broken the US ‘Establishment political spectrum’ actually is – as morally (well, a-morally) committed as it is to pro-war and pro-poverty for all , with increasingly facile commitments to “any form of diversity you like provided it doesn’t question the bedrock of our Neo-Neo (geo)political consensus” …
Many years ago now, another great economic populist of the Democratic Party – back when being a Democrat on the side of the people meant something (and, from New York, no less!) – the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt … made a speech at Madison Square Garden, speaking about the similar confluence of opposition he and his agenda then faced.
He had this to say:
“They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”
Just as with FDR , those in favour of Tulsi Gabbard, should, perhaps, welcome the castigation and condemnation of elites from all manner of different directions.
After all, it is a sign that, as the old Indian proverb goes:
“The monkeys only shake the tree with the good mangoes”.
Which, in this instance, is a tree commensurate with what we here in Kiwiland, would refer to as a “Mighty Totara” indeed.