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I have noticed that my liberal friends have been very depressed lately. I used to think that my conservative pals and I were the ones who were constantly bemoaning the decline of Western civilization, but we just can’t match the moaning of our left-wing acquaintances in the time of Trump.

One of my highly educated liberal friends recently sent out a message decrying the (admittedly horrific) federal deficit in 2017, adding that, “McConnell wants to go after social security and medicare after the rich got the tax cut contributing to this mess.” I pointed out to him that everyone got a tax cut under the new legislation and presented him with information about the reductions in the taxes in all the brackets. Another progressive friend then responded thus: “None of this will really matter in the long run since our republic is doomed: crushed by overwhelming debt; filled with people who are denied a living wage, and must work several benefits-less jobs; and run by utter ignoramuses who haven’t the least idea of what ‘democracy’ means.”

I was taken aback by this apocalyptic prophecy, and that is when I got to thinking that the new face of the Democratic mascot should be good old Eeyore. Everyone loves Eeyore, the depressed and grumpy stuffed donkey in the wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh stories. His tail is not well attached, so he often loses it, which adds to his gloom. During one of the missing-tail episodes, Winnie-the-Pooh suggests to him that he “must have left it somewhere.” “’Somebody must have taken it,’ said Eeyore. ‘How like them,’ he added after a long silence.” If he came to represent the Democrats, he could add, “It was likely the Koch brothers.”

Many of my liberal friends make the claim that only the rich got tax cuts—for instance, an old friend who came over for dinner recently said the same thing. I know these people aren’t lying because I know them to be persons of integrity and because they are firmly opposed to lying and very critical of lies told by Donald Trump. So they must believe what they are saying, all evidence to the contrary. How could this happen to such intelligent and rational people? I think they are just depressed. For them, the glass is not half full, it is completely full—but of water from Flint. “’Good morning, Pooh Bear,’ said Eeyore gloomily. ‘If it is a good morning,’ he said. ‘Which I doubt.’”

In the race for New Jersey’s eleventh congressional district, the Democratic candidate, Milkie Sherrill, is going even further in bemoaning the tax cut, telling her would-be constituents that it was actually a tax hike. Life is pretty hard for the wealthy suburbanites to whom she is appealing, and the limitation of $10,000 placed on federal write-offs of their massive New Jersey property taxes is going to be devastating for them. Everyone in that congressional district is in therapy—which is in turn very hard on the limited number of psycho-therapists (who were already overworked counselling Woody Allen).

When the tax law began to benefit corporations (whose treatment as persons in the eyes of the law makes the Democrats sad––unless their favorite trial lawyers are suing those corporate persons), many of them passed on some of the gravy to their workers. But when Walmart raised its minimum hourly wage to $11 and gave all of its employees a $1,000-dollar bonus, Nancy Pelosi immediately became even more depressed (and that was starting from a pretty low level of morale, since she was bumped from the position of speaker of the house). In former-Speaker Pelosi’s jaundiced view, that thousand-dollar bonus was just “crumbs.” Pelosi is so undone by all these dark developments that even her multi-million-dollar wealth is not consoling her. Having heard that Christopher Robin is throwing a party, Eeyore mumbles, “I suppose they will be sending me down the odd bits which get trodden on.”

As my friend proclaimed, it is not only wealth and well-being that are diminishing under the weight of the dynamically growing economy with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years: democracy itself is in mortal danger. When Governor Scott Walker proposed to reform the collective bargaining process of government employees in Wisconsin, one of the Democratic state senators, Bob Jauch, brayed that, “The story in Wisconsin is the end of the democratic process.” He and his fellow Democrats then fled to Illinois so that the legislature would not have a quorum to pass the reform legislation. When that didn’t work, the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office pursued secret investigations of Governor Walker’s supporters—an abuse of power that was eventually stopped by the state supreme court. Eeyore actually has a greater sense of irony than those fellows, which could be a flaw in my theory.

The Democratic candidate for attorney general of New York (to replace the disgraced leader of the Trump resistance, Eric Schneiderman) is Letitia James, who declared, “We are confronting nothing short of the biggest challenge to our democracy in the history of this country.” Some people might remember bigger challenges than a rude and crude president—and some might even recall earlier rude and crude presidents such as Andrew Jackson—but Eeyore doesn’t study history. “’It’s snowing still,’ said Eeyore gloomily…. ‘And freezing…. However,’ he said, brightening up a little, ‘we haven’t had an earthquake lately.’” Oh, wait, how about all those massive earthquakes caused by fracking?!!

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2 replies to this post
  1. Of course what the “progressives” mean by “democracy” is just what Karl Loewenstein called for in his essay, “Militant Democracy and Fundamental Rights.” “Democracy, has to be refined. It should be-at least for the transitional stage until a better social adjustment to the conditions of the technological age has been accomplished-the application of disciplined authority by liberal-minded men, for the ultimate end of liberal government: human dignity and freedom.”

    “Disciplined authority,” or as James Kalb calls it “administered freedom,” calls for certain “liberal-minded men” to enlighten the rest of us during the “transitional stage” until we are all “socially adjusted.” Ironic isn’t it that in order to stave off the “fascists,” liberals use the same war plan and end as the monsters they thought they were fighting.

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