Crumbling Idea of America

There is one broad statement with which just about every American voter will agree; a single unifying idea the expression of which will not devolve immediately into argument between irreconcilable poles:  America is the best country on earth – both the most free and the greatest force for good in the world.
For the purposes of this bit, I take no position on the veracity of that statement.  I merely point out that, sadly, this would also seem to be the only thing on which Americans might agree.

It appears Barack Obama will be the next president.  National polls have him leading by 10-stretching-14; he’s up in the swing states and threatening to turn red states blue.  John McCain seems to be most successful at turning rather stupid people both red and blue in the face, and this raises some dangerous and frightening questions about how America moves forward after this election.

Overt racism is represented, one hopes, in only a small percentage of American citizens.  They are loud and when they shout everyone tends to notice, so it may only seem like they’re coming out of the woodwork.  But they’re present at every McCain or Palin rally, telling the cameras that they’ll never vote for a black man (or woman, presumably).  This in a country where, so it is repeated ad nauseum, the notion of equality is one of the things that makes life so wonderful.

Then there’s the subtle, quiet racists.  They won’t vote for a black man, either.  They make the argument that Obama lacks experience (or some other apparently considered critique) and immediately wind up sounding like one of Sean Hannity’s bullet-list graphics:  Conclusions with nothing behind them; bald assertions mindlessly adopted, revealed as shallow in the face of the simplest inquiry.

Then there are the religious zealots.  From them we hear “Baby Killer” and Muslim or “Not a Christian”, which bleeds over into a host of accusations about turbans, Arabs and born in Kenya.  Some of them love Palin because that damn Evolution is only a theory and school children should be taught the TRUTH – that God made us special and we ain’t come from no monkeys.  Others are the sort who believe that Jesus was a white, English speaking man with blue eyes despite having been born in the middle east 2000 years ago.
Hussein is one of them there Arab names and Arabs hate Jesus.

Next the faux capitalists.  These are a fun bunch.  They’ve never read Marx or Keynes – couldn’t tell you the difference between Adam Smith and Adam Sandler.  But they know one thing:  They hate those fuckin’ commies and Barack Obama is one.  Or a socialist.  Same difference.  Redistribution of wealth is bad.  But they pay their taxes and donate to charity.  They work for wages without health insurance while the CEO of the company that employs them hauls in another annual million dollar bonus.

What do these people have in common?  What is that unites them, aside from their hatred of the communist, Arabic, Muslim, socialist black man named Hussein?
They’re all stupid.  Not just mildly sleepy – dozing off at the wheel but managing to keep it rubber side down – these people are blithering idiots, their foolishness only exceeded by their certainty.
A dangerous mix of brainlessness and inflamed passion, many seem willing (perhaps even eager) to refuse to accept an Obama presidency despite the electoral results; to trash the very idea of representative democracy because they didn’t get their way and they’ve been stoked to flash point by a campaign aimed directly at their fear and hate.  Too stupid to know how dim they are or recognize that it was precisely their stupidity that made them targets in the first place.

This, I think, is a bigger threat to America than all the suicide bombers, anthrax mailers and every last enemy combatant in Gitmo combined.
This election is certainly about change but there’s always side-effects…unintended consequences.  One of these has been the exposure of America as a giant fucking hypocrisy – a self-satisfied, Kentucky Fried bucket of bullshit driving too fast through the Wal-Mart parking lot in a gas guzzling muscle car with the back seat jammed full of kids happily eating paste.
Of course there’s a fair argument that it has always been so but I’d suggest that it has never been so nakedly displayed or so proudly embraced.
“I’m an AMERICAN and I ain’t votin’ for no nigger named Hussein!”

In the wake of George Dubya Bush and given the platforms, character and tactics of the two men vying for the oval office, that the polls are not 20 points wider speaks only to the prevalence of the sorts of ignorance noted above – a list of categories meant only to be illustrative and by no means exhaustive.
As November 4th draws closer, there are still something like four in ten who believe another term of GOP leadership would be fine OR that Obama is not better suited.   Could there be any more patently obvious proof of stubborn ignorance and racism in America?

As is said, opinions are like asses – everyone has one.  And as Churchill pointed out, one’s right to an opinion does not obligate me to take it seriously.  Not all opinions are created equal.  Thus, I have no problem – none at all – dismissing those who claim Barack Obama is a Muslim, a socialist, a terrorist, or who call him a nigger, as being insufferably stupid and perhaps irretrievably so.  On that basis alone and without a second glance, I dismiss their opinions and give no weight to what they think ought to be done or how things ought to work.   Rule 4 – Ignore advice from the obviously and painfully stupid.
Yet these morons are permitted to vote.
Speaking of threats to democracy.

Now comes the last, worst GOP strategy – allegations of massive voter fraud and ginned up attacks on ACORN and anyone else who would seek to ensure that the people both get to vote and get out to vote.  After firing up these various bands of ignorant, racist, xenophobic fuckwits, the Republicans are laying the groundwork to justify and provoke their rejection of any result that does not accord with what they consider a fair electoral outcome, namely President John McCain.

The Republicans have demonstrated that they are willing to appeal to the worst, most base, ugly and repulsive elements in America in order to try and squeak out a win.  They have further demonstrated that if they cannot win on the issues and the merits, they are willing to divide and destroy America rather than cede defeat to the more qualified, competent and popular candidate.  They are unwilling to face up to the past eight years of Republican failure, misfeasance, nonfeasance and malfeasance; the rejection of a senile old warmonger and his incompetent Alaskan beauty fluff, choosing instead to make moving forward as difficult as possible if not altogether impossible.

Wrapped in a flag, carrying a bible…and leading a chanting crowd of stupid fucks with pitchforks.  So marched over the edge of sanity and into the abyss the idea that once was America – the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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10 Responses

  1. You suggest that to be a member of the Republican party that one is a (1) racist, (2) religious zealot, (3) faux capitalists, or (4) just simply stupid. You should recognize that both parties are full of crazy, outspoken, often simple-minded people; morons as you suggest, that are permitted to vote.

  2. @ Nora:
    Yes…that’s true. Stupidity has no political stripe. However, the Obama campaign has not made a concerted effort to appeal directly to stupidity on the basis of racism, hatred, xenophobia and fear. The Republicans have, and have done so since discovering how well fake terror alerts worked back in 04.
    When you make direct appeals to racism, you have to wear it.
    False equivalency of the sort, “There are stupid people everywhere” doesn’t cut much as an excuse.
    And, in point of fact (since I really hate ad hominem / straw man argument), I never asserted that to be a Republican one needed to be any of those things. I SAID that the GOP has directly, cravenly, obviously, openly and without any apparent remorse or regret appealed directly to the most base and ugly facets of hatred and fear in order to motivate anti-Obama votes.
    This is one of the big reasons why so may heavyweight, intellectual and respected Republicans have endorsed Barack Obama: Frum, Parker, Buckley, Powell…people who lament that conservatism has been so infected with gutter means and shallow motive and reject the politics of hate and fear as employed by McCain/Palin.

  3. Well, I could not have said that better.

    “Holy shit, did you know that Obama is a Muslim with a crazy preacher?”

    “Uuuh… which of those did you say he was?”

  4. I don’t see America or a common imagined idea of America as crumbling at all.

    First one has to understand that America was built critically flawed from its birth. It was a thoroughly rushed experiment conceived by people that have far too often been unfairly considered almost like gods.

    America has gone through what would seem in close up as a massive torrent of different evolutions with contradictions. But stepping back a bit, one could realize that America is still far too simple. From this perspective, the once enormous trenches and mountains are just a smooth baby’s surface instead. There is still plenty of time left for scars and wrinkles to follow.

    America really hasn’t been properly defined either to overwhelming approval as of yet in my view and that is suppose to be just one of its many endearing possible proposed descriptions.

    I do think this election is important, except that it maybe is only for another small moment of time.

  5. Jebus on skis, Sharon – get back on your meds.
    You’ve taken to rambling incoherently.

  6. Another shinning example of argument theory…

    I neither expect nor do I seek out agreement since I learn and grow much more within conflict. As long as you keep up this standard of work in your writings’ premises, it doesn’t really matter nearly as much if your responses are lacking.

  7. Argument theory.
    Of course. Words. You win.
    The other not this as it were but could.
    Words.
    Argument theory.
    Got it.

  8. “The other not this as it were but could.”

    Yes, exactly. Its all gotta be about job creation.

  9. watch “The Crumbling of America” show on history channel :))

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