Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Backlash to Backlash (or blowback to blowback)

BACKLASH TO BACKLASH (or blowback to blowback)

Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com

December 6, 2011

In elections in the US in 2006 and 2008, Republicans suffered a backlash against their incumbency. In 2010, Democrats suffered a backlash against their incumbency. Now Republicans suffer from pledges to a lobbyist never to raise taxes; they dare not compromise this principle independently of what their constituents might want. They unite at the state level to privatize public service. In Wisconsin, the Republican governor is threatened with a recall election. In Ohio, the Republican governor who joined the Wisconsin governor and their legislators in pushing through public union busting legislation designed for them by the American Legislative Exchange Council suffered a 61% backlash vote in the 2011 off-year vote to void their law. As we approach a national presidential election in 2012, a Republican-dominated Congress enjoys the lowest public approval on national record. Back and forth between organized political/religious sides, one political backlash fuels its own opposition.

When we focus on victory over political rivals, we limit ourselves to seizing moments to ram through unilateral agendas without thinking a step ahead to accommodating resistance our victories amplify.

As we see in Western South Asia, blowback (CIA-speak for backlash) from US-led occupation multiplies the ranks of US enemies.

Before we engage in campaigns for political, military or for that matter “economic stability,” I think it pays to anticipate the lash that is bound to come back at us. Time and again, purely oppositional politics proves to be self-defeating. In moments of victory or domination, it pays to attend to and respect concerns of losers. Otherwise, we get stuck in cycles of lash and backlash. The sheer power of domination is, in the longer run, self-defeating. Love and peace--hal

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