Nobody Goes There Anymore; It’s Too Crowded
Although it’s often difficult to select which current fever dream of the right is the most preposterous and/or destructive, since there are so many, the current obsession with the idea that, somehow, the UN (!) is going to force suburban Americans to crowd into dirty, icky cities with the Blah’s and the other whatchamacallits is more than usually cuckoo. As so often happens large “market” trends have reshaped how cities are developed since the suburban boom of the 50’s and 60’s, and these markets have noticed two things: cities have gotten a lot more desirable as places to live, and more crucially, suburbs have gotten a lot less desirable.
Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall
There’s much talk in the media of late about the need for a moment of “self-reflection” on the part of Republicans, owing to the fact that they just lost the popular vote in five out of the last six Presidential elections. The only problem with that otherwise reasonable conclusion seems to be that the mirrors they’ve evidently been using are demonstrably unsuited to the task.
Seeing a Flock of Moons
Never do I feel so powerless and deflated in my role as a citizen as I do toward the end of an election season, but 2012 is quickly reaching a new level of awfulness. I just can’t wait for this to be over. From the top of the ticket on down (except for a few bright spots I’ll get to later), the dispiriting sense that “winning” can only be called such because losing is flat-out unthinkable, given that almost half of the electorate is evidently willing and eager to elect into office a party that holds them in utter contempt.
As dispiriting as it is to be a Democrat these days, what with the equivocating and serial cave-ins to the opposition, at least it isn’t downright embarrassing. All but the most craven of Democrats at least vaguely attempt to run on a platform of some sort, and have the decency to make at least desultory attempts to implement it if elected. More importantly, they generally make a pretense of playing by the rules in elections.
Not so Republicans.
The New Normal
One of the few benefits I’ve found associated with old age is that I remember more things than say, David Gregory, forgets each Sunday morning. For the first twenty years or so of my life, this mountain was covered in snow year-round; for the last ten, during which I have monitored it daily from my living room, the snow is gone sooner, and for longer periods, each year. This picture was taken yesterday, the latest Mt. Hood has been snowless in my whole, misspent life.
The Douchebag Factor
Tonight, millions of Americans will settle in for a debate between a fresh-faced prodigy from Middle America with a lot of Big Ideas (not to mention cat food hot dish recipes), go head to head with a tired Washington Insider with an admittedly undisciplined mouth. But only one of them is a douchebag.
The Old Razzle Dazzle
I was unable to watch the debate, last night, a fact for which I now feel oddly grateful. Watching MSNBC immediately afterwards, I already got to experience the sincere disappointment of Rachel Maddow, the bombastic outrage of Chris Matthews, and the deflated fighting spirit of Ed Schulz. All agreed that Obama had failed to deal Romney the knockout blow he so richly deserved.
Down Is Up, on Uranus
They say denial is a river in Egypt, but these days, it would be more accurate to say it’s a political party represented by an elephant. The phenomenon is nothing new, of course; millions of Americans believed and (against all evidence) still believe, say, that cutting taxes increases revenue, going all the way back to when St. Ronnie could still find his way to the rest room unaided. Once such transparent poppycock went over, and went over big, Republicans were off to the races.
Class, and the Lack Thereof
One of the most pernicious delusions that plagues American political discourse is the association of wealth with what once was called “class.” I use the word in the same sense John F. Kennedy did when he commented simply but accurately after hearing a particularly snarling, whiny statement by his 1960 opponent, Richard Nixon: “No class.”
Class is, after all, a slippery concept; like obscenity, you only know it when you see it. “No class” is much more concrete, and it seems to be the defining trait of the modern Republican party, and despite his untold (heh) millions, Mitt Romney has no class.
Take Your Bipartisanship, And…
The only remaining moment of pageantry that comes close to redeeming our rotten simulacrum of “democracy” happens in an election year, which briefly forces the two parties to somehow differentiate themselves from one another, at least temporarily. Now that all the really important decisions have long since been made, that Republicans and Democrats still bother to find and exploit petty differences (that never involve money), is a quaint nod to “we, the people” that I’m frankly surprised they haven’t dropped already, so I cherish it.