Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One Prozac a day

The blogger over at Who Is IOZ? states, with some goddam authority --

"The standard Democratic line is that they have to "frame" their policies on queers in rhetoric that obscures gross gayness from a disquieted Ordinary America, in order to win elections, in order to get power, in order to . . . The last is the great unaswerable, though lately it seems to be "in order to be marginally less objectionable than Republicans."

Much of the always cogent, often hilariously funny work over at Who Is IOZ? is all about the gay, which makes sense, as whoever IOZ is, he's pretty clearly a rump romper. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) However, he's also a libertarian, and apparently, he and all his libertarian friends feel that, as one could easily infer from the passage above... well, let's not infer, I'm sure I can find a more explicit statement somewhere... hmmmm... let's see... oh, yeah, this one will do --

"Speaking only for IOZ: I'm not a utopian. I've compromised my principles voting for Democrats and Republicans alike in every municipal, state, and national election since I was old enough to vote. Mostly, I've compromised in favor of Dems, though I think their economic ideas are boneheaded and their social progressivism a tissue long-since torn and balled up in order to grasp fitfully and fruitlessly at the votes of religious morons who believe that the resurrected and risen human incarnation of their goatherders' god takes an avid interest in the sexual politics of America in the twenty-first century. I've compromised even as they sell my fellow fags up the river time and again in order to appeal to a mythical moderation that seeks Booker T.-style incrementalism. I've compromised even as they fanatically continue a cruel, futile drug war that long before 9/11 or even Oklahoma City laid the groundwork for a militarized surveillance society that disaccords with every principle of privacy I hold dear. I made these compromises with "mere regret," in the words of Denise Levertov, because I considered, on balance, the Democrats to be more favorably disposed to protecting our few remaining rights, and because though they too are a party of foreign interventionism, they remained marginally more skeptical of the gross application of military force, although bomb-happy Bill Clinton was no piker where airstrikes were concerned.

But there's a line, and in the last six years the Democrats crossed it. They sacrificed principles first for political exigency when the GOP ratings rode high and Bush was ephemerally popular, and then, even as the Republicans' ratings tanked and Bush returned to his pre-9/11 incarnation as a stuttering dimwit totally out of his depth as a Chief Executive, they still got-along, went-along. Their own members abandoned them in order to codify torture, secret prisons, and kangaroo courts. They grinned and voted for billions of dollars of war appropriations, lest some towheaded Republican backbencher in the house shout "doesn't support the troops!" They got steamrolled again and again, and their single political triumph was grumbling away the President's goofy Social Security pseudo-plan, which would have been more impressive if they hadn't managed to save a Rooseveltian hand-out while winking away the Bill of Rights."

So, you know, you get the impression that IOZ just doesn't like the Democrats.

Fair enough. I ain't so wild about Eeyore these days, either.

But here's a somewhat re-edited version of my response to him, taken from one of his comment threads:

See, I've read you, and I hear you. I'm not at all wild about our system either, and I'm certainly not enthusiastic about the Democratic Party.

Yet, for all that you manage to so neatly sum up liberal responses to your positions in the snarkiest, most denigrating fashion possible, you don't respond to those criticisms in any meaningful way. You just go into this long blathering memoir about how you didn't leave liberalism, liberalism left you, and anyone who votes for the lesser of two evils is a traitor to the human race, and all that good libertarian 'vote your principles no matter how badly it fucks the entire world up' stuff.

But you won't tell us the most vital thing: what would you have people do instead?

I will employ somewhat ironic understatement here: things are very very bad. Perhaps we cannot do anything about that. Perhaps the entire system is corrupt and the world is divided into a small ruling predatory class and very large population of meat. Maybe everything on Rigorous Intuition is true, and anyone who attains power anywhere on this globe has already long since been initiated into the secret Satanic pedophile cannibal drug running arms dealing conspiracy. In which case, there's nothing to do except get a lot of guns and start shooting at everyone in a position of authority anywhere.

But, assuming one thinks that participating in our democracy (whether you want to put air quotes around that word or not) can still have some significance -- again, what would you have us do?

You're certainly bitching plenty, and you certainly have an aptitude for invective, but, again -- you don't want us to vote Demo, you sure as shit don't want us to vote Republican -- exactly how is it you recommend we vote, so that we get this hellish juggernaut off its tracks? And if you don't want us to vote at all, then what should we do instead?

You bitch a lot. But you seem pretty bankrupt on actually suggesting anything.

To which IOZ comes back, pert as you please:

I recommend you withhold your vote, either by abstaining or voting for a principled independent/third party bid, for as many elections as it takes until your party addresses its deficiencies. That's it. That's the recommendation.

Your party acquiesced on every issue of importance for the last six years. Not once did it manage to slow the slide. On war. On torture. On habeas corpus. On wiretapping. On judicial nominations. On further militarization of the police apparatus. On continued war appropriations. Hell, you can't even turn on the television without watching Harold Ford and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Jim Webb and the rest of the rising stars climb all over each other to make sure that Americans know they don't like fags nearly so much as Republicans say they like fags.

You're giving that venal bunch of cowards and reprobates a reward with your vote. You're affirming thier ineffectual cowardice. You're keeping their nose in the trough.

Yank it out.

And then I said:

Can't do it. I lived in Florida in 2000. I voted for Ralph. I fucked up the entire planet. You want me to keep being irresponsible, to keep living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Can't do it. The very notion that there's no difference between Repugs and Dinos could not have been more forcibly exploded in 2000, and since.

Are the Dems weak? Sure. We're a majority ruled country. The majority of us are dipshits. I cannot tell you how it sickens me that all the political wisdom has told us, over the past fifteen years at least, that all our national elections have been decided by the undecideds. How in the name of God can anyone be undecided for six consecutive seconds of consciousness, when presented with a choice between Bush and any fucking thing else? Our elections have been decided by idiots for decades.

Still, abdication just won't get it done. Give me a viable third party that addresses my issues, I'll jump. Give me a billion dollars, I'll start the damn thing myself. Until then, I will vote against the greater of two evils. It's all I can do to make a difference with my vote.

And then he says:

See my next post, "The Power of the Purse." It addresses these issues.

Voting for Nader didn't fuck up the universe. That's what you call "propoganda." Not very skillful propoganda, but nonetheless.

Dems are a less conspicuous evil, but not necessarily a lesser one. As I note.

Does his next post, "The Power of the Purse", address any of the issues I raise in my oh so cogent comments? No, it does not. It's just more goddam whining about how the Democrats suck nearly as bad as the Republicans, so he and his libertarian friends are going to take their bats and their balls and go home and play with themselves until, you know, the Fag Police come by with the big gray trucks to take them off to their collective rendezvous with Christian right wing destiny. ("Say, mommy, those trucks have no exhaust pipes." "Never mind, dear, it's just homos in there anyway.")

See, you heard this shit all the time back in the run up to the 2000 elections, mostly from the Nader campaign, and I bought into it big time back then, too. I imagine the country heard it a lot when Ross Perot was running for President, and before that, when John Anderson was running, although I have only the vaguest memories of those particular campaigns. "The two big parties are equally corrupt. There's no real difference between their candidates. If you want real change, you have to vote for a third party."

It's not that it isn't true, to an extent. Anyone who manages to clamber on top of either Horton or Eeyore is going to have pretty much entirely mortgaged their souls on the way. They are not going to do much to upset the status quo, and they certainly aren't going to do anything to hurt anyone currently enjoying a position of real power or privilege.

And that sucks, I frankly admit it. But that's the way our system is set up. If you like our culture and our society and our nation -- and I more or less do, there are a great many problems with how we live, but for the most part, me and those I love manage to eke out comfortable lives within this social context -- then, well, this is the deal you live with. You pull the levers that the men behind the curtains allow you to pull, and you hope they're actually hooked up to something, and that is all you can do.

If you really want to change things, you do not vote for a third party candidate, or abstain from the elections entirely. You put down the remote, get up off your ass out of your recliner, go outside, and start organizing a national strike of all working class people. Or you join a militia. Or you at the very least get a job under the table where you get paid cash and you refuse to buy anything you would have to pay any kind of sales tax on so you are not in any way supporting an irrefutably corrupt and oppressive system that you want nothing to do with.

If you are not willing to do those things, for whatever reason -- you got family, they need to eat, you're just too goddam comfortable to bother with it -- then, you pull the levers the system allows you to pull, and you do what you can to make sure those levers function the way you want them to.

Abstaining from the election will not 'punish' Party A. Abstaining from elections does not 'punish' anyone except, maybe, you. If, in point of fact, you are more inclined to vote against Party A than vote for anyone or anything, then abstaining from the election will simply reward them.

I said that I heard IOZ, and I do. As I say, I bought deeply into this mindset when I was only a tiny bit younger. But the idea that there is no real difference between Demos and Repubs, that there was no essential difference between Gore and Bush back in 2000, has, I think, been spectacularly splattered in the years since. As has the concept that one vote really can't make much of a difference. If 40 other people just like me had voted for Gore instead of for Nader back in 2000...

...well, pragmatically, I guess that would just have been 40 more votes that had hanging chads and had to be discounted, or some shit. But, still, you see what I'm saying here. Had Gore been acting President for the past six years, even with a Republican dominated Congress, the world would, of necessity, have to be in a much, much better place right now than it is.

Both parties are corrupt, and their candidates are corrupt, and nobody who ever gets elected to any position of power in this country will ever make the kind of changes we really need. You can't vote for good government. It's like Jack Nicholson says in The Departed -- Nobody gives you nothin; you gotta take it.

But if you don't want to be bothered to go to all that trouble -- and it's a lot of trouble, and there ain't no guarantees, you can easily end up in jail or dead -- well, then, you can vote for better government.

So, yeah, I'll settle for 'marginally less objectionable than Republicans' at this point. Those margins are pretty large; they encompass a few hundred thousand blown up people, several thousand more illegally imprisoned and/or tortured people, and nearly all of our allegedly inalienable rights.


At 4:28 PM, Blogger AaA said...

Oy vey!! I just figured it out.

It is the patriotic duty of every good American citizen to vote for the most inept, bungling moron to occupy any political position. Our FFs designed the government to barely function so it couldn't get organized enough to enslave us. Putting competent people into that environment is simply turning them loose in the candy store at midnight.

We NEED more inept morons in Washington. God save us from the capable!


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