Each time the stage mothers of the Republican Party push another child star out into the footlights, we find, yet again, that the children of Lake GOP are quite uniformly, below average. Although this goes back to Reagan; the idea of casting affable meat puppets for the role of “President” to cynically sell the evergreen policies of the plutocracy to the unsuspecting rabble, the talent pool has gotten pretty laughably shallow. And not for nothing.
It turns out that it really is possible to strike black gold in your own backyard, but instead of getting rich from the experience, now the oil belongs to someone else and you end up in an ExxonMobil-controlled no-fly zone where the foul black goop that swept away your petunias is now on its way to your drinking water supply. The comedic possibilities of such a turn of events seem limited, especially when Keystone XL is barreling ahead unimpeded.
This week has been shaping up to be one of the best examples yet of the real divide between red and blue, which isn’t as much ideological as it is one of basic human understanding. The American conservative movement is utterly unable to grasp the difference between: A) Things that are their business, and B) Things that are other people’s business. And they’re apparently entirely unafraid to be conspicuously insufferable about it.
From the moment the Supreme Court installed George W. Bush as President, it was laughably evident that America was being systematically looted down to the last can of Who-hash, but until Sept. 11, we didn’t realize that the rest of the planet was next. A distracted twelve year old watching the Axis of Evil speech could have seen that something was dreadfully amiss, and yet the pancaked halfwits “covering” it for us acted as though that surreal charade was perfectly normal.
Long before Andy Card mansplained that “from a marketing standpoint, you don’t roll out new products in August,” what was painfully obvious was that the Iraq War was being waged for several quite tangible reasons that were widely reported at the time.
Many years ago, my friend Marcus delightedly brought over his latest purchase, along with the usual two six-packs: an early twentieth century etiquette book. As we got drunker, he kept finding ever more hilarious admonitions in its yellowed pages, reading them out loud in his thick German accent. “Don’t ever discuss personal topics in front of children or servants,” he recited, giggling and gesturing with his finger on his lips toward my friend Judy’s boyfriend, who was going through a rough spot in his career and was then cleaning Marcus’ and my apartments each week.
Poor Mitt Romney evidently spent too much time with the Book of Mormon and not enough with Amy Vanderbilt, and somehow missed this important lesson.
Long after Francis Fukuyama’s well-nigh unreadable but nonetheless grandiosely titled tome, “The End of History and the Last Man” landed with a thud in remainder piles across America, his predictions therein have pretty much come true, but in about the opposite way he imagined. The neoliberal paradise he predicted, something of a Wall Street Spring, has indeed happened, but the glorious outcome (surprise!) has utterly failed to materialize.
It’s funny, albeit in the most depressing possible way, to hear Washington “journalists” discuss Supreme Court Justice (!) Antonin Scalia’s cartoonish hostility to the Voting Rights Act in terms usually reserved for, well, jurists, when Scalia and the Majority he leads are nothing of the kind. Wasting time talking about things we imagine Supreme Court Justices must thoughtfully consider as they contemplate scuttling fifty years of precedent is, as we’ve previously seen, patently ridiculous, when we know in advance Nino and the Gang are going to whatever it is their political movement currently needs at the moment, which is, among other things, a lot less of that messy ol’ democracy thing.
As long as I’ve been alive, but certainly since my first political awareness, a loud minority of Americans, through their well-financed and politically influential mouthpieces, have relentlessly hammered home the demented idea that “government” was some malevolent, faceless, money-grabbing bureaucracy that existed only to trample our freedoms. Funny, I thought, I had always learned that our government was, uniquely for the time, one in which we, the people chose what form it would take.
The most disturbing aspect of this latest in a long line of military incursions against domestic targets, the incineration of a suspect who had really, really, pissed off the LAPD, is that such a thing is no longer considered remarkable. This wasn’t always the case; the Philadelphia Police action against MOVE predictably had its supporters on the right, but otherwise sparked national and global outrage. A similar action against David Koresh has the right still seething about it to this day, never mind that it was the culmination of a 52-day standoff in which negotiations had been repeatedly attempted.
But today one need look no further than the shockingly violent, coordinated, and militarized response to the Occupy movement to see that as a nation we now simply accept being policed as though by an occupying army, for the laughably ironic goal of “keeping us safe.”
Watching MSNBC last night, I was as surprised as I was delighted to see that in the wake of NBC News’ revelations about Obama’s drone-killing program, the indefensible policy was being directly confronted, and harshly, even by those often afflicted with the Obamabot disease.