New Orleans In an excellent book on community building in the wake of disasters of historic proportion, A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit raises a number of insightful points about what she refers to as “elite panic.” In post-Katrina New Orleans we saw this all the time, the predictions of dire consequences and the frenzied mobilization of self-appointed big whoops running around trying to take charge, create emergency committees composed mainly of themselves, fund apocalyptic plans and studies tailored to their interests, and other such wildness in the name of protection, advancement, and the future of the city.
Reading past the marionette string pullers among big business donors and the professional Republican party operators shrewd and skilled enough to take advantage of the alienation, racism, and desperation at the base, the same “elite panic” in the wake of the Obama election and its administration over the last two years seems to be the driving force. The fears triggered by race, “otherness,” and the sense of having been displaced and losing control setting off critical elites in a panic at what might come next and how it has to be stopped. The Tea Party is one of the sharp points of a stick being wielded and thrashed about by the elites.
A recent story about Obama’s lost support on Wall Street, even after essentially betting and mortgaging the whole national farm on the bankers and brokers who hover there is more than ample evidence of my case in point. All of this is bitter irony given how regularly Obama and his minions including the Wall Street apologists like Treasury’s Geithner and the White House’s Larry Summers, have done pretty much their bidding while millions have traveled the crowded road in the hand basket to hell.
I had a moment’s surge of hope reading a blog by a Chicago Sun political columnist who parsed an Obama quote yesterday that might be construed as indicating he was ready to throw those fellas out finally, but that was, as usual, quickly dashed by among other things the administration’s recoiling from a Times story that had indicated that finally they might be ready to strap it on and go after the right wing coup that has manipulated the Tea Party so that the Republicans have been taken over by more extremists than is even usual for them. Eventually, they are going to have to realize that this is a real fight and the elite panic that is driving this fight will not be assuaged by compromise but only by total victory.
We have to oppose that fiercely.