Hard to care ...
As tomorrow’s open primary approaches up here in Wisconsin, I find myself remembering a presentation we “gifted” children were given in high school as the election that proved to be the beginning of our conservative nightmare approached, sometime in the winter of ‘79 or early ‘80.
We were extolled on the virtues of our two-party system by some worthies from some university or another. It’s hard to remember the details, mainly because it was the usual line of crap, but I do remember standing up when they opened the floor for questions, and asking “so what are we supposed to do when there is little real difference between those two parties?”
A long-winded version of “shut your fucking pie-hole” followed, of course, but I was well on the way to paying WAY too much attention to politics.
Yet here I am, in this election season which is supposed to be “historic” and “transforming”, and ...
... I’m having a hard time caring. Yes, I’m spending more time reading the news and watching the coverage than a lot of people do, but I find my attention wandering.
A dear friend, not yet willing to give up on the whole mess, asked me to go out tomorrow after work and at least vote to cancel out a Clinton vote, for Obama of course. We had stood in together in a fieldhouse in Chicago nearly four years ago and watched an Obama speech, the weekend before the election. I had been impressed by that speech, by his general engagement with the crowd (he looked especially good in comparison following the introduction from the reptillian Rahm Emmanuel).
Here I am, four years later, and I’m really lost on the idea that any of it matters.
Though it’s tempting, I don’t mean to piss on the hope people are projecting on Obama. Well, maybe I do ... just a little.
I think in a lot of ways his rhetoric is a welcome change. In a lot of ways, I understand that people want to believe that he’s some kind of crafty lefty trojan horse, planning to let loose the forces of justice and peace and fairness behind the stone walls of official Washington. At least it’s nice to hear someone not mispronounce words all the damned time, or sound like a teacher reading out of the study guide in a dull drone. I enjoy some soaring speechifying as much as the next guy. Not long ago, I would have fell for it.
Hell, ANY kind of change has GOT to be an improvement, right?
Yet I just can’t believe that. Reducing the size of our monstrous imperial military won’t happen. Feeding the nation’s banking and insurance systems on usury and protection schemes will continue. Our justice system will continue its defacto system of apartheid on the poor and the black. The drug war will go on, destroying families and wreaking lives, both here and abroad. We’ll continue to support the slow genocide of the Palestinians. Women will continue to see their healthcare options disappear if Obama or Clinton or McCain is elected. Take Obama’s indifference to women’s freedom, for example:
I don’t know anybody who is pro-abortion. I think it’s very important to start with that premise. I think people recognize what a wrenching, difficult issue it is. I do think that those who diminish the moral elements of the decision aren’t expressing the full reality of it. But what I believe is that women do not make these decisions casually, and that they struggle with it fervently with their pastors, with their spouses, with their doctors.
Our goal should be to make abortion less common, that we should be discouraging unwanted pregnancies, that we should encourage adoption wherever possible. There is a range of ways that we can educate our young people about the sacredness of sex and we should not be promoting the sort of casual activities that end up resulting in so many unwanted pregnancies.
Ultimately, women are in the best position to make a decision at the end of the day about these issues. With significant constraints. For example, I think we can legitimately say — the state can legitimately say — that we are prohibiting late-term abortions as long as there’s an exception for the mother’s health. Those provisions that I voted against typically didn’t have those exceptions, which raises profound questions where you might have a mother at great risk. Those are issues that I don’t think the government can unilaterally make a decision about. I think they need to be made in consultation with doctors, they have to be prayed upon, or people have to be consulting their conscience on it. I think we have to keep that decision-making with the person themselves.
I could go on. While I think it would be good for this country to face a serious run for the Presidency by a black candidate, it would be equally good for it to face a run by a woman. Whichever one of them runs, if they manage to survive the onslaught from Senator Crypt Keeper and the media, little or nothing will change. There is little difference between them. One may have black skin and one may be female, but they are both solidly part of a ruling class that believes in an exceptional America that can do no wrong, an exceptional nation of good-hearted and worthy people who have no need to face the crimes committed to get us where we are (a fact which another country with a history much like our own is facing very publically). They are part of a privileged class that thinks the uncontrolled movement of capital is more important than any other consideration, a class that protects religion before the needs of the general public, a class that feeds on our arms dealing, that turns a blind eye on our war crimes. A class that believes that a large and continuously growing military is the most important task of government. Clinton or Obama, if either of them take office, will not hold the Republicans accountable for their lawlessness of the past two decades, any more than Bill Clinton did.
How can they? They and their party enabled it.
So, hard to care. Maybe I’ll go and fill in the little space next to Obama’s name just for shits and grins, because watching the Republicans attack will make the media and our quiescent citzenry face the nasty racism still running under the surface of this country like lava beneath a Hawaiian moonscape. We do seem to be in a place where we’re more willing to deal with that problem than we are to deal with the equally disgusting misogyny, if the continued antics of Chris Matthews and other pundits are any indication. Maybe I won’t. What I won’t do is believe that voting for him or for her is anything other than a vote for the status quo, for one line of bullshit over another line of bullshit, one ticket at the multiplex versus another ticket at the multiplex. It will only be trying to guess which storyline will be more entertaining.
As a friend would say, get some popcorn and watch.
I think an Obama candidacy will bring out all of America’s racism and put it front and center where it belongs. It will be fascinating to watch the slime oozing from every nook and cranny of this crazy place we live in.Posted by on 02/18 at 11:20 PM