Wednesday, November 7, 2012

They've won. Again.

Nation of sheep. Ruled by wolves. Owned by pigs.

Election season arrives at its two- to ten-month hiatus, depending on your status (local, state, federal) and obsession (What will Fox and Friends choose to obsess over and will the term "lame duck" begin to be used for a president's entire second term?) Last night was similar to 2008 in that I kept only vaguely in touch with the proceedings until it was all over but Karl Rove's shouting (Well, sniveling, really.) Then it was a mix of laughing uproariously at the funereal air enshrouding Fox News and nauseous disgust at a lot of the blather on Facebook and other networks where friends, associates, and colleagues of mine seemed to revel in the idea that a Democratic president had been reelected to continue to plague the nation with both action and inaction.

He doesn't even need the rock rolled away first. (H/T
This is a man who justifies the assassination of US citizens from afar without due process or trial, who claims that the death of children in the process of these assassinations is also justified because they are of "military age", and who maintains a "kill list" of people he most desires to see in the crosshairs of the nearest unmanned drone (regardless of the nearby presence of a few dozen Pakistani villagers.) This is a man who employed Tim Geithner as his Treasury Secretary (the primary goalkeeper for the interests of the banks who nearly destroyed the global economy) and Larry Summers as his primary economic adviser. Summers is perhaps the one person about whom I could accept the concept of public lynching, as would doubtlessly happen were he to set foot in the Baltic nations or Russia anytime soon, where the people who lost savings, homes, livelihoods, and relative after relative to suicide as a direct result of Summers' "shock therapy" transformation away from communism would descend on him as soon as he appeared in public. This is a man who not only extended the duration of the most virulently anti-privacy and anti-individual rights law since 1790, but expanded upon its tenets. The Patriot Act is now even more oppressive than the previous administration had hoped for and we have liberal, socialist, Muslim Obama to thank for it. Don't you all feel safer?

I mean, to a certain degree, I'm used to this. I've been involved in electoral politics even before I could vote (1988) and it's no surprise to see the public mindlessly flock to the polls every 2 and 4 years to elect people who think of them as beneath contempt (i.e. easy targets for unmanned drones and the economic dreams of Larry Fucking Summers) and then revel in it as if this time they finally found the right guy. In this case, they found him again, even though he spent the last 4 years doing everything he could to dissuade them of their fantasies. What makes it even more galling was seeing a number of people whom I, at one time, considered political allies crowing about the reelection of a man who's done everything he can to make "Hope and change" into a punchline, rather than a mantra.

"But health care!", they say. Right. A money soak for the already wealthy insurance industry and a "solution" that does nothing to address the real problem of lack of government price controls, even in government programs, and the ever increasing costs created by medical professionals too willing to soak the system. As always, gotta protect those big donors. "But social issues!", they say. The Democrats' response to most social issues is the equivalent of someone attacking the tide with a broom. Obama's lone progressive social moment in his first term was a last-minute acknowledgment of the right of gay people to have a publicly recorded relationship with the person of their choice and he only did that when it was clear that his poll numbers were wavering. Glory fucking day. Otherwise, he essentially served out George W. Bush's third term.

Those social issues, while important in the long run, are also often seen as inevitable in that same period of time (witness Colorado and Washington's legalization of marijuana; anyone want to make a bet with me that Obama doesn't touch that issue for the next 2-3 years? The prison industry donates a lot of money to Democratic coffers.) Said issues also do absolutely nothing to alleviate the fact that those soon-to-be-happily-married gay people are just as economically screwed as the rest of us. It's the equivalent of the GOP getting angry, poor, white guys to vote for guns and against abortion while draining their wallets of anything meaningful. We've arced past the inequality of the Gilded Age. What do we call it when everything is plated in platinum?

This is the wealthiest nation in the history of human existence... but more people are going hungry now than at any time since the 1930s. This is the fabled Land of Opportunity... but social mobility is lower now than it has been in a century and getting worse. We'll have spent $707 billion on guns, planes, tanks, and soldiers in FY 2012 but somehow teachers' salaries and their pensions are the reason that our municipal, state, and federal budgets are out of whack. Progress on social issues? You mean we're finally approaching the level of devoutly Catholic Spain, which permits gay marriage and abortions as national policy? Awesome. Is that happening because of or in spite of the fact that people keep gladly electing criminals to public office and then throwing a party at their own funeral?

Hello, um, America. And goodbye.
Now, you could say that the outpouring of emotion last night and today is a product of the relief of a closely fought election but the worst part about that supposition is that all of this was easily predictable, months ago. Sure, Nate Silver is properly getting his 15 minutes because he actually paid attention to the numbers and understood what was happening, whereas the rest of the political world was still trusting its collective gut, which all too often has shit for brains. But all of this was obvious even above and beyond Silver's data. Romney was an historically bad candidate with a campaign that will be the benchmark for what not to do for decades to come. Who lets their candidate on a yacht named Cracker Bay(!) for an exclusive "thank you" dinner for big donors in the midst of economic hard times? What GOP candidate in the past century could have imagined having the CEOs of two of the biggest multinational corporations in the nation tell him that he and his ad crew were "full of shit"? Even at a private dinner, who dares to state that almost half the electorate is beneath your notice? The incompetence displayed by the Romney campaign over the past year is astonishing and I have a hard time believing that any of those who led it could possibly find another job in 2014.

Put simply: There was no doubt that Obama was going to win. There was as little doubt as in 2008 when the Alaskan Dingbat Carnival took over the McCain campaign. There was no struggle of values here; no hard-fought engagement for the future of the American people. It was two rich guys slinging crap at each other in an effort to make themselves seem less bad (as in, more attuned to people who won't make in 10 lifetimes what either of them will make next month) and betting heavily on the idea that said people are too weak-willed or defeated or distracted to ask for something better. It makes me physically ill to see people claim that their vote doesn't matter because of where they live so that they feel free to vote for what they actually want and believe in, while others bemoan the fact that their state isn't "safe" and they therefore don't feel justified in choosing the candidate that they truly desire. This is the Democrats' Boogeyman Syndrome written into stone. It's no longer used as a threat to scare people. It's now a moral obligation to heed the fact that the Dems' candidate gives better lip service to the ideals that those voters favor and that said voters must accept personal blame if their vote leads to the GOP candidate winning who, in the example laid out for us by Obama, is only slightly worse, if at all. Think GWB would have been in favor of the indiscriminate bombing of the Pakistani countryside? I'd give a lot to be able to see that interview, especially now that he's out of office.

So, yeah: Four more years. Hoo. Ray. Four more years of killing, hedging away from anything the public actually wants, and rule by the monied elite. The below picture was perhaps the best summation of the whole thing. I wonder how big the party will be in 2016 when they get elected for a third time.

(H/T Not a Dime's Worth of Difference)