I probably haven’t actually blogged on this blog in a good few months. Semi-witty three-liners and pointless factoids aside, content has been sparse lately. Here is at last one good reason for all you two readers still checking this page to bitterly regret that blessèd old time.
Today we are gonna rant. And we ain’t gonna rant on any topic either. We are gonna rant on US Politics. Can I get a hell yay, brethren?
Considering how long I have kept shut on that particular topic (not for lack of things to say, mind you), you better grab an umbrella, because I have a good year’s worth of rant spittle ready to come out. For similar reasons, I have opted to ditch my usual pointless attempts at structures and grand outlines and will just lay a few random thoughts as they come.
Let me start with a small story. A memory. My own belated September 11th, 2001’s “Where were you on that day?” recount.
As the cliché now goes, I remember perfectly what I was doing that day when it happened. I was sleeping. When my girlfriend’s phone woke us up: her best friend, attending Columbia university a couple blocks down from the WTC, was absolutely breaking down, trying to tell us what had just happened. We got up, went to the living room TV and saw on CNN as the first, then the second, towers went down live, amidst the usual empty buzzing of clueless newscasters. By then my two roommates were also up and watching.
But my strongest impression of this event, wasn’t this very morning. Sure it was tragic beyond words, yet I could not help but think all along, that 5,000 people dying an unfair and horrible death somewhere in the world is not such an exceptional event…
At this point, 80% of my US readership is reaching for their AK47 and the remaining 20% has stopped reading… But whether you like it or not, 911 was not, I repeat not, “one of the greatest tragedy of the past hundred years”, probably not even one of the 100 greatest tragedies of the past hundred years.
I can certainly accept that, as a US citizen, one would feel firstly concerned about the mass murder of their fellow American citizen, but then you should accept that, for the rest of the world, this is merely yet another occurrence of fucked-up senseless killing of Man by his brother Man somewhere on this planet… and that the one reason it made the news for the past 5 years, while most CNN anchors still couldn’t place Rwanda on a map, is that 911 was the killing of mostly white, upper-middle-class Americans (and please note the “mostly” in the preceding sentence and leave that reply button alone). Of course, this event also marked the first “attack” on American soil since Pearl Harbor, the temporary collapse of entire sectors of the economy and the beginning of The War on Vaguely Defined Abstract Concepts. But how exactly are such landmark statistics supposed to weigh against a couple thousands mass murders occurring every day at random corners of the world?
Anyway, my point wasn’t to start on the macabre deathtoll comparison game; rather, to tell you about what happened to my roommate back then. She was a nice, somewhat couch-potatoesque girl, overall easy to live with. Politically, she was absolute granola with a side-dish of tofu and large sips of Napa wine. Serious hippie crunchiness, even for my own pinko commie worldviews, but harmless. She was also a New Yorker, and took it all very personally, even though she knew of absolutely nobody who lived, worked or strolled anywhere near the towers on that day. In fact, I had more personal friends over there than she had. Yet it was all very emotional for her, and trust me: I spared her my own aforementioned reflections on the relativity of death. I just tried to comfort her the best I could and wait for things to settle eventually.
Except they never really did.
Like a lot of Americans, she went through through her own states of grief, focussed mostly around depression and anger. While I wasn’t so sure about her spending a week prostrated on the sofa, watching CNN’s droning 10 hours a day while eating comfort food, I was outright worried about the phase that followed. I mean: she used to burn incense and wear freaking hemp clothing, and all of a sudden, she was about the most rabid NRA member. She drank every last word blurted out by an obviously inept POTUS, nodded at the most asinine suggestions of retaliation or protection measures uttered by scared pea-brained soccer mums on Fox News, would have hung her panties on a flagpole, had it got stars and stripes on them…
In a word, she had morphed into the all-too-common stereotype of the modern reactionary conservative. People whose collective paranoia of Red Invasion, Homosexual Agenda, Islamic World Domination and everything remotely resembling vague unknown threats, are responsible for this ongoing sixth year of Chimpy wrecking havoc on the world at large.
Then one day, in the middle of arguing with her the finer points of “with us or against us” Orwelian rhetoric, I realised how much her grasp on reality had slipped, how a little fear and emotion had been enough to tip her over to the nutjob side, the dangerous kind of nutjobs. And this is my scariest memory of that time, because this is when I saw firsthand how fascist ideas gain momentum.
You know that ubiquitous quote about liberty and how those willing to trade it for security are deserving of neither? Every month I look at the news and come away convinced it simply cannot get truer as far as US politics are concerned, this is just it. Yet, every month without fail, the American public and the Rovian oligarchs that govern them, manage to outdo themselves. For fuck sake, do you realise that the current president of the United States just repealed the Habeas Corpus.
And some people are still on the fence as to whether this government has some authoritarian leanings?
Let me tell you: historically speaking, the US is now sitting well beyond fascism, it lays somewhere between medieval times and torture chamber-equipped 17h century despotism. Dubya’s official leading man in the realm of democratic advances is now Edward I: a guy who slew his way to the throne and completed the Tower of London. Just in case you haven’t heard of that place, let me tell you: it would have made Abu Ghraib look like the Four Season.
Talking about quotes, there’s another one, slightly less popular, perhaps on account that Nietzsche didn’t help frame the US constitution, but worth re-hashing nonetheless. That wise man, who knew a thing or two about fascist temptations, once said: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster”. By now, a cursory look at any random die-hard conservative columns makes me seriously wonder which side the monsters started on. I try, you know, I try, to be that bleeding heart joke of a guy, with enough empathy to at least understand, where he disagrees fiercely, to understand how much fear and misery it takes to become such shallow egotistical beasts as the guys still standing behind Rove’s buddies and justifying their actions… But I am afraid my abilities stop just short of that, I am ashamed to realise how easily I reach that point where I just want to acquaint their head with the pavement in lieu of ideological debate. And that’s when I remember how they turned into these lumps of toxic knee-jerk hatred, take a long deep breath, and resume a healthy non-violent contempt toward them, content in the knowledge that even by the most optimistic karma estimates, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and O’Reilly will all reincarnate as the hairy lower backside of a diarrheic baboon.
Now, before I go and resume pounding walls in anger while verbally abusing my collection of plush toys, let me deliver one last small message to the important proportion of the US population who has, in recent times, come to change their mind about the greatness of their Commander in Chief. Depending on which landmark polls you go by, you’d be somewhere between 30% and 50% of registered US voters to be much less enthusiastic about him than you were, 5 years ago. You’re a mixed bunch of relapsed liberals, libertarians, sane moderate conservatives (an incredibly rare occurrence, but they exist, really, I even know of a few), hell, I bet my former roommate is in there, as well as a long list of random people who woke up sometime during the recent months with a strong rectal pain and some idea where they got it from…
First of all, Welcome Back to Reality-Based Politics, it kinda missed you whilst you were gone.
Second, and most importantly: Fuck You.
Fuck you for daring one second pretending you could not foresee where it was all heading when you took your example after a grown man talking like a six year old talking like a John Wayne movie. Fuck you for pretending now that you care more about the war in Iraq than the cost of your daily gas refill. Fuck you for looking wide-eyed surprised as if you had seriously ever bought that whole bunch of WMD bollocks. Fuck you for changing your mind long after damage has been made. Fuck you for finally hankering after constitutional rights, when you realise that their loss potentially also applies to your pale suburban ass, not just them dark-skinned furriners. Fuck you for not seeing how one thing always lead to another, especially when that one thing involves invading a country, detaining people illegally and letting one branch of power completely take over the two others.
In fact, fuck you for a lot of things: I may have more sympathy for the actual nutjobs who are still under some delusion that they made the right choice, back in 2004. They may be utter morons, but at least they are consistent morons. And your gullibility, hypocrisy, momentary lapse or reason, absence of imagination, whatever… are the reasons we all got here in the first place.
That being said, take a deep hard look at the state of the world and how it’s improved so fan-fucking-tastically in 6 years of Bush fanaticism. Think about the few millions Iraqi kids who now hate your guts and are channeling their anger into the next generation of anti-western terrorism. Think of your constitutional liberties and how few of them are still currently effectively guaranteed by your government. Think of exactly how safe you are with half the world willing to blow your country up and the other half no longer giving two craps about it.
Alternatively, just think about how much your Ford Excursion is costing you at the pump, if that’s what it takes.
Then fucking go vote next month and try using your brain this time.
Oh and sorry on the liberal use of profanities in this entry, I guess I am a teeeny bit miffed by that particular issue…