Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Supper at Gunpoint: The Filibuster Deal

The commentariat is all abuzz over this burning question: was the filibuster deal a victory for the Democrats -- and by extension, for all those who believe in the Republic -- or not? The "Frist Filibuster" activists from Princeton had this take: It is a victory, won by a great deal of hard work and public mobilization, but...

"That having been said, it is a strange sort of victory, isn't it? If you believe that Senator Frist's nuclear option would have been illegal and unprecedented - as we do, along with many constitutional scholars and political analysts - then the Republican leadership should not have considered it in the first place. Is it a victory when the world is returned to what it should be? Do we celebrate normalcy?"

On balance, I think that, for today, we must indeed celebrate "normalcy." We must celebrate in the same way someone celebrates when the thug holding his family hostage allows the children to have their supper instead of blowing their heads off -- for now. Because that is where we are in America today -- fighting like the devil just to maintain a scrap of normal democratic life in the face of a relentless, ruthless faction bent on unrestrained domination.

So yes, let's celebrate the fact that the children's brains are not scattered across the table this morning. But of course the thug is still in the house with his loaded gun. And tomorrow -- as many of the "moderate" Republicans made crystal clear -- he may decide to pull the trigger.