Monday, September 01, 2008

Thought for the day

Mirror, mirror on the wall
"What the foreign visitor finds the most frightening, the most dangerous, is the voter who, after eight years of abject catastrophe, continues to pray "Please, please, give me a reason to vote for the person who says that things are all right, after all." Someone like Bush." Bradley Burston - Haaretz
David Seaton's News Links
Counting chickens before they hatch is something most of us do all the time. Unhatched chickens are so much fatter and tastier than what finally pops out of the egg. I fear that many Democrats are succumbing to that temptation today.

Because of Bush's personal unpopularity it is easy to jump to the conclusion that voters have had an epiphany and that now their hearts and minds are in the progressive camp.

Here are a few things to mull over.

It should give pause to think what astounding levels of stumbling incompetence and how many years of it was needed to bring Bush's ratings to where they are today. It should give pause to think how much Kool-Aid was eagerly drunk before the slightest gag reflex kicked in.

It should give pause to think that Dick Cheney, who makes Richard Nixon look like Macaulay Culkin, has never, in eight years, been in danger of impeachment.

Like a monk with a Zen koan, progressives should roll around in their minds how a lifelong foul ball like Bush was ever nominated in the first place for the world's most important job and how he got reelected when all of today's disasters were easily visible.

The answer to these questions might be that the majority of Americans were always in agreement with what Bush was selling; that they were totally untroubled by the moral implications of things like invading countries that had never harmed or threatened them, or torturing prisoners or wiretapping, but have only come to detest Bush's obviously incompetent execution of those policies... never the policies themselves.

Despite having a larger proportion of university graduates than any other nation on earth Americans give most of the world the impression of not playing with a full deck. Remember that Noam Chomsky (may he live a hundred years) always says that if Americans studied politics with the same attention and sophisticated knowledge with which they study sports it would change the world.

Americans didn't used to be so stupid, once upon a time they were able to follow the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. What exactly has happened to the American brain since then must be very complex.

At the bottom, I think it is because there is a fundamental contradiction between America's republican institutions and its elite's, imperial, hegemonic, obsessions. I have the feeling that it was decided (perhaps by an unspoken consensus) that the only way to preserve America's institutions and to try to rule the world at the same time was to mentally castrate the American population.

The problem is not really Bush, we should be grateful that his abysmal incompetence has allowed us to see how our system actually works, grateful for the mirror he holds up for us. No, I'm afraid that the problem is with Americans themselves: by their fruits ye shall know them: the people themselves will or wont finally change the politics, it will never be the politicians who do it.

The future looks rather frightening, to say the least. We have seen that the American people can tolerate Dick Cheney and yet simultaneously be enchanted by the empty rhetoric of Barack Obama. It follows logically that America's future probably holds a politician who combines the heart of a Cheney and the mouth of an Obama... Hopefully he (or she) will be as incompetent as Bush. DS

1 comment:

Forensic economist said...

Welcome back, David.

I too am back from vacation -- a couple of random observations from vacation spots:

At a campground near Yosemite the campground manager spotted that I was reading Obama's latest book. He told me he would never vote for him since Obama turned his back on the flag during the pledge of allegiance, which he knew was true since he had seen it on TV.

On Cape Cod, we visited a bookstore. Admittedly it is a beach resort, but the political shelf was small and hidden in the back. Mysteries and photo books were in the front.

What we -- the politically aware -- may miss is the number of Americans who are unaware or don't care.