Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's amazing how far we have been browbeaten to the Right. This society is well domesticated, so that we turn to a man who proposes to expand a sadistic, immoral occupation of Afghanistan, a man who supports the provision of vouchers to religious parents so that they can avoid the secularizing effect of the real world on their children, a man who poses as morally superior to gays, reserving marriage only to nongays--to this man, the Left looks with great hope and longing, and throws its collective shoulder to the wheel of his election. It's absurd, disturbing, disheartening, and it's only rational. Because on his right, as the other major candidate to aspire the Executive Branch, an angry poseur awaits his appointment by caging rules, voter purges, voter intimidation, midnight electronic voter machine chicanery, or even the Supreme Court.

On this side, imperialism and corporate hegemony; on that side, imperialism, corporate hegemony, and a bizarrely fascistic military/industrial theology that promises to make all of us cowering serfs. I'll be fleeing to the same side of the cage as the rest of you, but let no one say I believe the cage is open.

McCain is truly disgusting. In last night's debate he was a caricature of frozen grimaces, angry sneers, "air quotes" to show his disdain for the idea of taking women's health seriously, and even rolling eyes--this last his
reaction to Obama's seemingly ordinary but actually quite shocking revelation of the facts on the ground in Colombia, where death squads rule the day and democratic union leaders are assassinated regularly and with impunity. You're not supposed to be allowed to be a Senator, to get that far in the US political process, and ever say that sort of truth out loud, but Obama doesn't seem to understand that yet, and it clearly irritates Grandpa Heart Attack. Shut the hell up, Grandpa was mugging, no one cares about the god damn little people in Colombia. But apparently Obama does still make that kind of mistake. I like that.

One of the funnier moments was the whole "Joe the Plumber" meme, which comes in a long line of traditional easy visual references for the Great Unwashed--that's supposed to be you and me--you know, "Harry and Louise," or in Reagan's 1980 campaign, "the bear in the woods." A simple image for simple folk. That was McCain's nuclear assault, if you will, and Obama treated it like a softball lob and batted it out of the park. Turns out "Joe the Plumber" actually has a handy quarter million to buy out a business with, which is more than you and I will ever see, and McCain wanted to pretend that he was just some working-class shmo who wanted to get by; but Obama pointed out that if Joe had really been so ordinary, he would pay nothing under Obama's tax adjustment, which merely restores some mild taxation to the owning class. The Republican Party has a long-standing sucker play in which the masses are reeled in by thinking that by removing reasonable taxation and regulation from the parasite class, from the billionaires, they will be allowed to become billionaires too someday. It's easy to show, with comparative data from social democracies, that the US system works against class ascension and not for it, that Joe will never, ever become a billionaire no matter how hard and how intelligently he works; but the myth has seemed unbreakable until yesterday, when Obama simply pulled out a pin and popped it. McCain's attempts to bluster the meme back into life fell flat. And I liked that too. Maybe McCain's slurs against Obama as a socialist terrorist would have carried some strength to the casual observer, if McCain hadn't come off as a superannuated ranting nut.

And I'll say this about age: It wouldn't matter if McCain had actually released all of his medical data, and if he didn't insist on the rightness of his grossly privileged and sexist life. He cannot appear modern in the presence of his trophy wife, who he obtained after dumping his first wife after a disfiguring car accident. Modern people point to the rightness of their path wile acknowledging the errors of their past, but McCain would rather no one dare ever mention his trail of smashed aircraft and destroyed Savings and Loans. That's what makes him look old--his angry response to ordinary examination, as if he were a member of an untouchable class, the sort of class the US population wishes to dispense with, to move onward to an egalitarian future.