November 06, 2012
If a Democratic presidential victory* provides nothing else it at least grants you an opportunity for a double dose of schadenfreude, if that's what rubs your rhubarb. First you get to laugh as mad Republicans wax hysterical when their guy loses and civilisation, as they see it, collapses, and then some months later you get to laugh at formerly smug Democrats when they realise they've elected a Republican. Again.
Eh, who cares? Will a result that gives the popular vote to one candidate and the electoral college to the other persuade Americans to reform their stupid system? Doubt it. Will a Democratic loss clearly explicable in the lower turn-out of voters overall persuade the DPUSA that they need to stop moving right to pick up GOPer votes and instead demonstrate a reason for those non-voters who on other occasions voted Democratic to bother showing up at a polling booth? Doubt it, and they could argue a "left"-ward move would endanger their access to the support that's important: campaign finances and favourable media coverage. Will a Democratic loss spur them to work to wind back the increasingly plutocratic nature of US politics? It never did in the past. Will a Democratic loss, particularly in circumstances of bodgy counting, or, hell, the failure of a Democratic win to significantly change policies for the better, get it through various heads that voting and democracy are not synonymous? I won't be holding my breath.
There's a bunch of things I despise about this quadrennial carnival, but prominent among them is the regular arrogant hectoring from Dembots of those who see no value in tossing up between imperialist corporate whores, especially when it comes with their nonsense that the result is a matter of civilisation-saving importance. (In GOPers, on the other hand, predictions of a mule-victory ordained islamo-satanic apocalypse cum libertine-collectivist dystopia are more hilarious than annoying.) If the thanksralphers honestly believed that to be true, they'd hold off on their finger-wagging and instead get down on bended knee and beg for leftwing votes, promising anything, everything to the disaffected third party supporters and no-shows to get them to pull the Donkey lever. But apparently the impending crisis is never quite so terrifying as to compel them to drop the attitude, or to stop them lecturing about "realism" (presumably the kind of realism characterised by rewarding a party for kicking you in the teeth in the hope that it will kick you more gently next time) as opposed to actually attempting to win hearts and minds amongst the dime's-worth-of-difference types, not even in 2004, when I recall Kossacks and their ilk warned that the re-election of Dubya (the fella who did more damage to the American empire in 8 years than the Soviets managed in 80, which is another reason I oppose term limits, ho ho) would bring about some kind of fascist dictatorship. Really? Wouldn't that require a commitment to defeating this awful threat by any means necessary, regardless of the electoral outcome? Well, yeah, unless of course your partisan Cassandras are simply over-excited wankers.
But I digress. Coz it's fun.
Never mind me. Here's a proper rant, inspired by Rebecca Solnit at her drippiest:
Word. Which is why it's odd I'm hoping Obama wins, purely for the symbolism and because I'm easily amused by rightists losing their shit. Whoa, deja vu.
We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act....
Who really is the enemy of truth and fact, a plutocrat who represents plutocrats or a fake progressive who uses radical slogans in the service of destroying everything that threatens Wall-Street profitability? If truth is what matters, isn't Obama, who campaigns on false promises and a completely bogus record, the real enemy of "truth and fact"? If cultural decay there is, is not the Republican bible thumping the negative of progressives who champion the power of vapid positive thinking while acting as Wall-Street's vote aggregators? The right has nothing to offer. And never has. Who wants to live miserably? Who wants to be poor? Who wants to be ignorant? Who wants to live in constant fear? The only real promise of the Right, its real force, the source of its ability to mobilize, has always been that it was the lesser evil. That's not a very new argument. St. Augustine makes in his 'City of God'. We're just not good enough to enjoy freedom and so we need to be oppressed to save us from ourselves. And who makes that argument better than a Left that gives up all claim to speak the truth, that cheers for someone who spent four years making hell more hellish for billions of people, in the name of opposing "cultural decay"? Is there something more toxic, more corrosive of a culture, of truth, than passing in silence the mass murder of strangers because it is convenient? Is there something more destructive for a culture of truth than shilling for a servant of the 0.0002% in the name of helping the most disadvantaged, as Solnit does?
* Feel free to consider that a prediction.