It’s now past the official election day here in the US, and the barrage of noise of endless political campaign has ceased, a great relief.
In a glance over American history you can find plenty of examples, whole eras, where the drama of politics has been pretty crazy and absurd, and loaded with all kinds of the general noise we refer to as “bullshit”. The irony is that now we have great heaping buzzing piles of bullshit clogging the works of public consciousness and communication, while we congratulate ourselves on being in “the Information Age”.
Strange things pop up sometimes in what Facebook calls, a real euphemism here, the “News Feed”. The eve of the election, among that stuff, some character I don’t know popped up in comments on somebody’s page, spewing belligerent idiocy about the current incumbent president as a “Marxist”, who, according to this fool, was also “about to take over like hitler” <sic>.
This is somebody with no understanding of the reality of the current president and current events of his own country, what a Marxist actually is. The character probably has not a clue about what Hitler was and the history of that era that saw Hitler able to take power in Germany and cause years of madness, suffering, death and destruction in Europe, with Europe taking decades to recover.
The extra kick is that it was people exactly like this obnoxious fool who allowed Hitler to take power. Transplant him back to 1932 Germany, and this asshole probably would have been out in the streets wearing a brown shirt and painting “JUDE” on shop windows.
How about this one? I came across a comment on Facebook, from someone I don’t know, thank God, who described President Obama as follows: “a racist extremist heretic/muslemish psycho”.
This is a perfect example of what I’ve been talking about recently, a really bizarre running phenomenon, of people operating in some kind of really nasty mental illness. It’s based on ideas they’ve been fed about a kind of fictional cartoon villain version of Obama that looks like the president, but has little to no relationship to the actual reality of the man and his time in office.
In one sense it’s a waste of time to pay attention and examine these people. At the same time, on the other hand, you can’t just totally ignore this and pretend it isn’t there. In the public domain of politics and governance, we still have the same reality to face in this kind of thing. Here in America in the early 21st century, many of our fellow citizens influencing things are either hopelessly ignorant and sometimes just plain incredibly stupid, or even qualifying as full out batshit crazy.
In the presidential election, we now have the re-election of Barack Obama, and at least we managed to avoid facing four years of Willard Romney as president. It was close enough that I kept thinking “how is this even possible?”, pondering the question of who could actually seriously consider things and choose Romney as their president. Avarice, gross pandering, and chronic blatant lying are not good characteristics for the office. I can only hope that Willard Romney finally just goes away and is relegated to the dustbin of history.
With all the melodrama and sheer massive loads of bullshit associated with this election, what seems to completely escape not just the majority, but, it seems, nearly all of the American population, is that either way it goes, in the presidential election, we are still going to have serious problems and challenges and needs for major changes of a lot of things about what we do, and how we do them.
To quote Monday’s edition of James Kunstler’s blog again:
Anyway, once this dreadful election is over the floodgates of events will open up and we will once again be forced to reckon especially with the epochal forces that seek to shatter the financial system. Sandy was a kind of preview of coming attractions for a different sort of wreckage to come.
Here in my little corner of the web, I have, for a couple of years now, been trying to do what I can to make more people aware of our predicament of diminishing returns in petroleum, and underground resources of hydrocarbons in general, along with what that means and implies for our future in terms of economics. Far too much has been built around assumptions of these substances being always there, and effectively unlimited, and perpetually cheap, and the reality in this department is not just going to upset all that, it already is.
In the news, one story about the business of housing reflects something that both probably puzzles people, and is a big glaring clue; Housing market rebound fails to recharge economy .
People are still stuck in notions of “the economy” evolving around building more suburban sprawl, and financial games. This already, realistically, has ended, the decades long charge of suburban sprawl expansion is done, over. The financial games have put on enough of a display of spectacular crash that this was as much clue as anybody should need to get their heads around things in that department. However, this still doesn’t seem to be well understood by most of the citizenry.
One item that popped up again was the long running notion of “eliminating our dependence on foreign oil”, but as has always been the case whenever this particular theme arises, virtually nobody in the realm of politics and government is willing to actually state the details of reality of the resources that remain, how that all physically works, and the absolutely basic, elementary, fundamental issue, that being how much of the stuff we have used up already and how fast we still are using it up.
I’m actually a little tired of trying to point out the obvious; reality will be what it is, whether we understand it, or even acknowledge it. Right now, as I write, the large region that was just battered by Sandy, the storm described as “unprecedented” by the weather people who were looking for a new term to describe what this monster phenomenon was, is facing more hard weather. The same area hit by this is now looking at what appears to be a major snowstorm moving in. Not what people needed, to put it mildly.
The Earth is already coming to smack us around for abusing it, and we are going to be dealing with this, more and more often, in increasingly severe terms. News in this area warns us that the DC area is probably facing severe flooding problems in the coming decades, sitting as it is along the Atlantic coast.
Just a couple of days ago I pointed readers to the report of the Congressional Research Office that was quietly hidden away under pressure from Republican political critters in Congress, indicating what a lot of us already understood as obvious, that the decades old notion that cutting taxes, cutting taxes, and cutting taxes some more is good for the economy (and better for government finances!) is pure bullshit.
Along similar lines, most people still don’t know of what’s often referred to as “the Hirsch report“, submitted to the government at large in 2005, putting the reality of finite fossil fuel hydrocarbon resources and consumption in clear form, warning us to get our asses awake and in gear to make adjustments now.
It might be overoptimistically naïve to think that now that the 2012 election circus is finally over, some functional sanity might take hold in the domain of politics and governance in America. We can only hope. But realistically, we still face the demands of reality that are pushing us toward facing them, and that includes facing the fact that simply casting a vote, especially one limited to being between the either/or binary options of the D/R clubs, will do little, alone. What’s necessary in the civic public realm is people starting by actually understanding where we are and what’s happening, thinking rationally and realistically with a little general sense and goodwill, and voicing to elected public servants what is actually needed.
In that area, and in general, there is a clear need for a clearer understanding of general consensus of reality as things really are, and from there, understanding that most of it is all on us.