Miscellaneous Reflections on US Politics …

or:  “A Comprehensive Manifesto on American Political Life”

 

It’s true that Democrats and Republicans are little more than two feuding factions of the same corporatist political establishment.  But there could be actual differences between them, inasmuch as they aspire to inflict slightly different kinds of grievous damage on society.  Both parties claim to champion “ordinary man” and accuse the other of elitism (a bit truer, obviously, in one case than in the other).  The constant, endless sniping back and forth between Democrats and Republicans (or “liberals” and “conservatives,” as they are called by those with a taste for trendy euphemistic language), while it most assuredly is not about the things we are told it is about (e.g. a conflict between elitism and populism), must ultimately be about … something or other (?).

 

To some degree, the two parties are certainly “in cahoots” with one another — as both parties adore the image of being locked in bitter struggle with the other.  (A kind of yin-yang symbiosis, as it were.)  The dumb struggle furnishes robust spectacle to the public; and encourages “ordinary man” (l’homme ordinaire, so to speak) to choose a side and then squander his energy and time gushing vitriol upon the opposing side … denouncing them as “agents Goldsteiniens” or dumbasses etc.  In short, the “conservative”/“liberal” duality is merely a distraction, a device to get the public involved in “straw issues” and all manner of vacuous controversy … and so prevent the really crucial issues from ever coming up.  It generates the illusion of vibrant, contentious, democratic debate; whereas in reality the discourse could hardly be more boxed-in by the forces of indoctrination and mind control.  But I do think there is something at stake.

 

change

As simplistic as it may sound, I think the core difference is, the Democrats want the corporatist agenda to triumph, along with some concessions to the tolerable functioning and survival of “ordinary man”; whilst the Republicans are prepared, quite simply, to steamroll the country into a fun playground of the hyper-rich, imposed atop a barren landscape of bad education, low-wage unskilled jobs, decent health care facilities that no one can fucking pay for, and flashy new Ford models – fresh off the Chinese assembly line and accruing much “gelt” in the coffers of high-level auto company executives.  The Republicans’ only concern with “ordinary man” is that he remain thoroughly enough indoctrinated, so that he will never rise up in any substantive way and thereby inconvenience the Republicans’ stranglehold and their grand plan to rape America.

 

During my long, protracted, and horrendously-hellish engagements with political AM radio, I have developed at least one trusty, unfailing guiding principle:  To wit:  Whatever is being asserted about so-called “liberals” or “liberalism,” is in actuality the rightwing describing itself, i.e. projecting their own uncomfortable semi-conscious self-realizations onto “the other,” “the villains.”  And when you think about some of their more hysterical declamations regarding “the left,” and translate them into a confession of their own real intent … one shivers in the chill, dank, autumnal breeze.

 

To give just one brief, simple, accessible example of this phenomenon:  These “commentators” could hardly be presenting a more succinct capsule-description of the type of really egregious scenario they themselves are so hellbent to bring to fruition, when they claim that Obama [a] represents something *radically different* from anything we’ve ever known before, and [b] also represents something *terribly destructive* to the foundations of the republic.  A fine summary of GW Bush … and, in all probability, of the next Republican president we get foisted with.

 

In the gigantic, neverending, and fabulously-tiresome propaganda war between the two corporatist factions, the Democrats seem to have an extraordinary knack for failing to ever say much of anything that cannot be instantaneously chopped to shreds by rightwing pundits.  By contrast, rightwing propaganda, by virtue of its moronic simplicity (its tendency to repeat, over and over, three or four extremely jejune, threadbare notions), has this amazing ability to “stick” in the popular mind.

 

The Democrats’ problem is their particular brand of propagandization is just too closely intermeshed with an actual constraining reality of some legitimate complexity – as opposed to the far-more-accessible simpleminded fantasyland of the Republicans.  This restricts the Democrats (most inconveniently!) from disseminating their message in the full gamut of mad, phantasmagoric textures-&-tones available to Republicans.  Stated differently, the Democrats’ narratives are “boring;” they talk too much about “real stuff,” e.g. the gnarled complexities of health care overhaul.  They err in tending toward the reflective and the reality-based.  (And insofar as Democratic politicians sometimes give great speeches and promise the possibility of great things to come, they are apparently far too complicit with the corporatist agenda to actually ever deliver any of it.)

 

To the contrary, you are more appealing, and garner more support, if you are bombastic and in loo-loo land, e.g. haranguing vociferously about death panels, the radical socialization of society, Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East, the vile traitors amidst us who lack sufficient spine to carry out “the mission” etc.  Stated yet differently, when it comes to persuading hearts and minds, the “sound byte culture” massively favors some doofus’s verbal farting over a considered explanation that takes longer than five seconds.

 

That is why our society will just keep getting stupider, as more and more people slowly fall away from any point of contact with identifiable reality and jump on-board the bandwagon of collective masturbatory fantasties about “Naughty Li’l Goldstein” … until one day the whole country will finally crawl up its own asshole and wink out of existence.  Obviously the fact that I would write this means I hate America.  (PS The prior sentence was sarcastic, in case that might be unclear to somebody.)

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5 Comments

  1. acilius

     /  October 15, 2009

    I love the automatically generated links. On this screen right now WordPress is telling me that “Take it from me, a Bumbo seat may be your baby’s bowels best friend!” I suppose that was generated in response to “masturbatory fantasties about “Naughty Li’l Goldstein” … until one day the whole country will finally crawl up its own asshole and wink out of existence.” The conjunction of “Naughty Li’l” with “up its own asshole,” that is.

    You make some really good points. For example, you’re right on with this one: “Whatever is being asserted about so-called “liberals” or “liberalism,” is in actuality the rightwing describing itself, i.e. projecting their own uncomfortable semi-conscious self-realizations onto “the other,” “the villains.”” I suspect the same is true in reverse, that the more strident voices among supporters of the Democratic Party are projecting their own bad consciences onto the Republicans as well.

    “I do think there is something at stake.” I do too. About 14 years ago, I read an article in HARPER’S magazine that stuck with me. The guy said that if we had a more rational political system, Bill Clinton would have stood before the voters, and said that he represented a consortium of investors drawn primarily from investment banking, high tech, and entertainment. He would have told us what they expected him to do as president in return for their campaign contributions, and what they were prepared to offer us in return for our votes. Bob Dole would then have stood up and said that he represented a consortium of investors drawn primarily from agribusiness, trucking and retail. He would have told us what they expected for their money, and what they were prepared to offer us.

    So at the very least, what’s at stake in American elections is some detail of the balance of power among the corporate and other interests that dominate the making of US national policy. That isn’t exactly a robust democracy, but it is something. For example, some of those interest groups wanted war with Iran last year, and others did not. Mr O’s election seems to have shifted the balance of power away from those who wanted war with Iran, as a win for McCain/ Palin would surely have shifted the balance in their favor. In conclusion, I’d like to shout USA! USA! USA!

  2. lefalcon

     /  October 15, 2009

    Exactly : It’s all about competition between factions of the upper-echelon societal elite … and these factions want slightly different things. And that competition among slightly-differing corporatist agendas is something. It’s at least preferable to complete authoritarianism.

    I do think it’s unhealthy, the sheer level of dishonesty and manipulation in the system. It’s all about playing people, hustling the public with this-or-that line of bullshit. And obviously a confused public is a real boon to the corporatists. They benefit tremendously from so many being so uncomprehending.

    Ha ha ha: I’m sure you’re right that McCain / Palin would’ve started a war against Iran : a flagrant application of the “Bush Doctrine” … the same doctrine Palin revealed she had never heard of. I guess it was never mentioned in that column she likes in “Runner’s World” magazine.

  3. acilius

     /  October 16, 2009

    “Exactly : It’s all about competition between factions of the upper-echelon societal elite … and these factions want slightly different things.” I think competition is a key word. The top figures in the power elite, whether they are in business, politics, or the military, hold their positions in part because they are very competitive people, they always feel a need to win. It doesn’t matter what the game is, they need to win it. If the business executive finds himself or herself playing a game where the object is to boost the company’s share price within the current quarter, that’s what that executive will focus on. If a politician is playing a game where the object is to raise collect as much money as possible in campaign contributions from Wall Street, that politician will subordinate everything else to that goal. If a military officer is playing a game where the object is to ensure that Congress keeps shoveling big bucks into the pockets of defense contractors, that’s where that officer will direct his or her energies. So when citizens organize to take political action, our goal should be to change the games that the power elite is playing.

  4. lefalcon

     /  October 17, 2009

    Sure: I bet there are a lot of cases where the power elite could make some concessions to “ordinary man” without much appreciable damage to their stranglehold on wealth and influence. Take for example Bush’s tax breaks for the rich in the midst of economic downturn and costly wars. There’s no sense of proportionality. As if it really makes sense to implement something that is seriously detrimental to major segments of society … all for the sake of placing the insanely rich in a marginally better position than they had previously been in. It’s like burning down people’s houses to heat your toilet seat.

  5. acilius

     /  October 17, 2009

    The Bush tax cuts are a good example of the relevance of elections in the USA. Al Gore could easily have become president after the 2000 election, and if he had those big tax cuts would certainly not have occurred. A President Gore would have been at least as bad as Bush when it came to starting wars, stripping Americans of their civil liberties, and using public office to enrich himself and his cronies, his record as a member of Congress and as Vice President leaves no doubt of that. But big tax cuts, no way.

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