Monday, September 3, 2012

Political Rant, 2012 Election edition

Just finished watching the Daily Colbert coverage of that fucking convention. Stream of consciousness rant-mode on.

A thought about the insecurity of the modern lifestyle. Not everyone could do it but time was when a capable person could live off the land, trapping and hunting. He still relied on civilization to trade those furs for manufactured goods but he could at least maintain a little more independence, has some flexibility. We like to think that a man who grew his own food on a farm had independence but he was vulnerable to the bank that held the loan on his farm, the vicissitudes of the weather and the market he sold his crops to.

Republicans say "We built it!" They try to ignore the debt we all pay to society. To our parents who raised us, to the jobs that allowed them to have a family, to the social and emergency services that created an environment where businesses could safely operate, to the courts that ensured we would be a nation of laws, not men.

But really, we are so terribly vulnerable. "I don't need any help!" Really? Where does your job come from? If your employer decides to offshore, what recourse do you have? If your good job goes away and all you can get is low-paying scutwork, what then? What if you come out of school and realize there's nothing for you to have?

There would be room for Republicans to talk if the only thing that's keeping a poor person from the American dream is the willingness to work hard. The truth of the matter is it's hard work being poor and it's damned hard to get any kind of social mobility. Those of us in the middle-class have the advantage of position, no different from the Romneys and Bushes of the world. We may not have been born with a silver spoon in our mouths but it damned sure wasn't a spork. It used to be that if you played your cards right, you'd stay in the middle-class. Head down, work hard, you would get your reward. That deal's gone. And I think that the whole "we built it!" idea is partially a rejection of what is feared to be true, the same way that loud denials about global warming are a way of trying to wish away a thought too fearsome to give full consideration.

The other thought I have is about the light side and dark side. The dark side is not stronger, just quicker, easier, more seductive. We see this with the Republican talking points. They're not motivating with positive emotions. Even when they state a positive, it implies a negative. "We work for a living." Unlike those niggers. "I did it myself without any help." Unlike those niggers on welfare. "I love my children and my family." Unlike those niggers who don't.

Look at how they work on envy. "Welfare queen" is a code word to say some fucking minority is living high on the hog on your tax dollars. Thanks for the help, whitey! Affirmative action explains everything when you see some ethnic in a respectable position. He went to school, he got an education, he's a professional and you are not. Did he work harder than you? Is that nigger, that raghead, that wetback better than you? No! You could have been that if you'd had the special assistance. The affirmative action. Some liberal put that man in a place where he can look down on you. How's that piss on your head feel, whitey? The liberal tells you its rain. You know better.

And ignorance also works. People can feel it in their bones things are wrong. A proper explanation involves charts and graphs and lots of big words. You need books to get into the details of globalization, capital flight, peak oil, climate change, the limits of growth, and the malignant success of capitalism. How can we posterize things until it's black and white? Blame the Jews. Oh, wait, wrong country. Goddamn commies. Oh, wait, wrong century. Socialist liberals, those dirty fucks. Yeah, that's the ticket. This country was going great until that goddamn Kenyan muslim got into the White House.

The thing that really makes me sick is this shit works. The Big Lie, direct to you from Deustchland. I don't think the GOP will manage to win the presidency in 2012 but they'll win enough down-ticket races to remain a going concern. Fascism works because it takes the darkest side of human nature and makes it appear virtuous. It can take selfishness, jealousy, envy, hatred, greed, and turn all those base, shameful things into something to crow about. You no longer have to be closeted, you are not what makes America weak, you are what makes America strong because we say so! Ayn Rand had her finger on the pulse of something sick and potent, her withered claw wrapped around the throbbing cock of an id monster lurking within the American psyche. And when this beast has the country pinned and is thrusting home, there will be a chorus of apologists assuring us we won't get pregnant and if we do, we secretly wanted it.


  1. Impressive. For a stream-of-consciousness rant, it's surprisingly literate. My angry rants come out tongue-tied and stuttering, which is why I don't trust myself to write them much anymore.

    Love the last two sentences. Stark poetry.

    The thing about the 'dark side' of political rabble rousing is that it plays to fears. As a Brit, I'm not that conversant with all the issues in the US, but I've heard the, often sincere, stated worries about creeping 'socialism', the 'spectre' of Islam coming to trash American suburbian life, the threat to so-called 'freedoms', and the fear of being sold out by that strange unwanted 'foreigner' Obama. Even to me, most of them sound absurd, but clearly they are driven by something, and people who are fearful are not all completely stupid, even if they fail to properly articulate their fears and back them with tangible evidence.

    But politics in declining civilizations (at least), trades on fear. Does not the left also posit the fear of the right wing lunatic, the lumpen red-neck racist, the progress-killing old conservative and the evil corporate capitalist? As your post shows, fear works both ways. Again, I am not completely in touch with US ground-truths, but it strikes me that the shrill tone of political discourse today(in the bars and student hang-outs as well as the Senate) reflects two sides increasingly fearful of each other and what they are afraid they will do.

    This indicates a lack of trust, and if trust is gone, can democratic politics work without tending towards illiberal extremes and the desire to finally do away with, rather than work with, the 'other side'?

  2. You are correct, fear works both ways. Here in the States, there doesn't even seem to be a Democratic Party. A commentator who watched the Democratic Convention said that Bill Clinton did a better job making the case for Obama than Obama or anyone in his administration has done. The Republicans seem like the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democrats the Washington Generals, the team whose job it is to lose. The Republicans make deceptive, dastardly, audacious, but most importantly, EFFECTIVE attacks on Democratic strengths and the response? Pathetic. Acorn is an effective voice for the poor? The GOP demonize them, a pathetic hit piece is put out and what does Obama do? Throws them under the bus. Hell, even the liberal pundits did. By the time the truth comes out, Acorn is dead and buried.

    The Democrats never lead the news, they never set the topic of conversation, never get to frame the narrative. The talking points are always Republican and the Democrats usually end up apologizing for their views and trying to find the middle-ground, dragged further right as they spin in a maddening gyre.

    Beyond the party, to the actual people who call themselves liberal, does their view of the right seem like a cartoon? Yes, but only because the right is a cartoon. You can't paint some loudmouth in a bar as the face of the Republican Party but when the kind of crazy shit coming out of his mouth is simply a repetition of what he's heard from the party leaders, well, what conclusions are left to be drawn?