Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather ’round, the circus is in town again!
Actually, the circus has been in town for a while, although it does seem, from what I can gather anyway, that remarkable numbers of people are less and less interested, for good reasons.
It’s the day of “mid-term elections”, as the lingo goes to label the national elections halfway between the presidential elections. At least it’s generally not like the presidential election campaigns that, these days, seem to last about two years (or more, depending on how you look at it).
We can expect the usual in this kind of event in terms of news coverage, the stuff I’ve talked about before, where, if you sort of let your mind go into a kind of soft focus, can almost be indistinguishable from sports coverage, complete with TV talking heads running their mouths endlessly and saying little, in vast TV studios where it looks as if the network involved has spent much more on the showbiz facilities and visual design than on funding the practice of actual journalism. There will be gigantic display screens (another part of the vast expensive facilities) with yammering talking heads proudly showing off their networks much more advanced and dazzling “news centers” (with whatever name they’ve given them like “Election Central” or whatever), with clever advanced electronics technology to serve the purpose of painting entire states of the union either red or blue.
Right there, that last bit, is a pretty basic clear sign of the state of things. Paint a state red or blue. The whole thing, this showbiz entertainment aspect of the proceedings, pretty much begs for the line from a play by the Bard himself.
“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
William Shakespeare- Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5)
It’s unfortunate that to even address the subject at hand means trying to fight through all kinds of noise pollution affecting people and making it nearly impossible, in some cases, to get through to people with what you’re actually saying, rather than having them immediately lurch into all kinds of programmed responses, cliches, assumptions, and so on, about what they think you’re saying, or going to say, if they would actually shut the fuck up a minute and listen to you say it.
Just one facet of this turns up as it did earlier today, as I saw, online, another example of a recurring item, of a form that goes something like “if you think the Republicans and Democrats are no different from one another, then…” followed by what’s supposed to be a fine example of how they’re not at all alike (and, naturally, the chosen party of favor in question is so much better). As I’ve said before many times, and try to get across to people if I think they’ll pay any attention and actually break free enough of their own personal political assumptions to understand, Brand R and Brand D are most certainly not the same (or, for that matter some sort of equal-but-opposite-polarity notion), but they are both, at this point in American history, completely corrupt, deranged, frequently idiotic, and ranging between useless and actively destructive.
Of course, another unfortunate aspect of discussing any of this is the probability of people going into reflex reactions about how this is “cynical”, which gets into another past subject, of the misuse of the words “cynical” or “cynic”. People use these to mean something like jaded or jaundiced or pessimistic or something, ignoring the reference to the Cynics of ancient Greece, people whose role was to question and objectively examine and get to the truth of matters.
Everybody here in the United States is familiar by now with a lot of the cheerleading bombarding the populace, with many citizens joining in and following along, telling their fellow citizens to get out there and vote, it’s our democracy, Our Troops died defending our freedoms so that we could participate and cast our vote, you don’t have a right to complain if you don’t vote, or variations of that like if you didn’t vote and you don’t like something, then too bad, it’s your own fault.
Sadly, the simple response to that is: BULLSHIT. If nothing else, things should be clear to millions of people by now who voted for Barack Obama for president, thinking that what he was saying was genuine, and that this would change things in a horribly corrupt, dysfunctional, and often even completely irrational and insane national government. The president himself is quite a subject, one I’ve written about often here. Part of the story there is the amazing reality warp of astounding numbers of Americans around me who seem completely incapable of seeing the man in his role over the past five and a half years or so as things actually have been in reality, whether it’s the “Obama critics” or “Obama supporters”.
But I digress. I have to stop myself from going into that at length, especially since I’ve been over much of it before, discussing just that specific case. It’s a good subject, an important subject, it’s even a subject that’s extremely relevant to the larger subject at hand, but it’s a lengthy diversion, and I’m not writing a book here. It’s bad enough that some people think I’m indulging in “long winded rambling” or something to that effect if I write more than two paragraphs.
The obvious and clear implications of the exhortations telling people you must vote ignore an obvious problem, which is that just because there is a vote being conducted, that does not then mean you really have any say. The standard response to this is that we’re America, we’re free and democratic, we’re not like those awful countries with theatrical sham elections where you have one candidate and the people obediently line up to cast their token vote to provide justification for the claim that some Fearless Leader character is popularly chosen by the people. Why, here, we have two choices, see! You can vote for whomever is offered by Brand R, or whomever is offered by Brand D! Hooray! Celebrate our great democracy!
Writer P.J. O’Rourke has a book I still have not read, but with a great title that has a certain resonance right now; “Don’t Vote- It Just Encourages The Bastards“. The man has a point.
Saying all this will be completely and virtually aurtomatically rejected out of hand by quite a few people, because it’s not what we’re supposed to pretend, essentially. All this is just one example of how many things serve as obstacles to actually fixing and improving all sorts of different things here in the early 21st century United States of America, because we just won’t stop pretending, and get a grip on things as they are. One of those is continuing to lend support to the pretense that the ritual of voting for one of two political brands you’re allowed to pick is actually a functioning representative democratic republic.
What’s the difference between the U.S. Congress and corrupt petty officials taking bribes at a Third-World border crossing? Only one of scale. – Charles Hugh Smith