Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Great White Hope

I predict that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president. I believe the fix is in. Somewhere a gaggle of old white guys—good old boys—have been tasked with choosing The Great White Hope; they’ve chosen Romney.

Romney will get the party nod not because he is the most knowledgeable about economics or foreign policy.  So far his performances have demonstrated he has about as much depth as a wading pool. And it sure isn’t his ability to connect with audiences. To quote Robin Williams, “He has the warmth of a snow-pea.” Those who have dubbed him “the Rom-Bot” are closer to the man’s political raison d’etre.

What those wizened old bastards, waxing cynical in their dotage, are counting on is Romney’s ability to be the Everyman. Now, in this context what this means is Every White Man. I realize this excludes many progressive white people who, if they read this, would object however; according to the political arithmetic of electoral showmanship you are no longer really white. You are beyond the pale.

Romney’s appeal is to the pale, to the anemic, to the walking dead. It is an appeal of a blank slate upon which these unimaginative denizens can attach their hopes, their dreams, and their less than subtle racist visions of restoring the United States to greatness. For greatness read whiteness. And Romney, lacking much of a vital identity of his own, will not bleed through the layers of gauzy hopes projected onto him. 

Romney stands ready with the image of the privilege he carries as a White Man to reoccupy what is surely thought of His Proper Place in the White House. And that warms the cold hearts of those geezers who have made Romney their man.       

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Myth of Morality

I’m only several pages into The Forging of the American Empire by Sidney Lens and I’m already struck by his summation of the animating impulse of American Empire under the phrase the myth of morality. So powerful and all embracing is this myth that we have committed the lives of men and women and our economy to the pursuit thereof, blind to the reality that underpins it.

The grace notes of this myth are on full display in the campaign rhetoric of the presidential candidates. We hear of democracy, freedom, equality spoken against a star-spangled backdrop of political tradition and we think we know what is being said. But what does democracy mean in a context of disenfranchising voters, a feat that if accomplished turns those thus affected in unpeople. The unpeople according to George Orwell are those who are not considered, whose viewpoints are not just ignored but negated. What does freedom mean in a context of indefinite detention, an ugly provision of the odious Patriot Act granted continued life by Obama? And what can equality mean against an overall backdrop of privilege, a disappearing middle class, and institutional racism?

Those questions, however, if raised at all, are answered with an insistence in the primacy of the myth and with impatience for what is deemed obvious. As Howard Zinn, in his introduction to Len’s book, writes:

            In early 2003, Michael Ignatieff, a Harvard professor, wrote in the New York

America’s empire is not like empires of times past, built on colonies, conquest and white man’s burden. We are no longer in the era of the United Fruit Company, when American corporations needed the Marines to secure their investments overseas. The 21st century imperium is a new invention in the annals of political science, an empire lite, a global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights and democracy.

Only someone blind to the history of the United States, its obsessive drive for control of oil, its endless expansion of military bases around the world, its domination of other countries through its enormous economic power, its violations of the human rights of millions of people, whether directly or through proxy governments, could make that statement.

As Zinn makes clear, we must ignore American misdeeds in order to derive solace from this “myth of morality.” We trumpet our bellicose international interventions in slogans such as “Freedom Isn’t Free” when, more to the point we should proclaim, “Free Markets (so-called) Are Not Freedom!”

Monday, January 2, 2012

Change the Channel

...oh, and Happy New Year!

Two days into 2012 and I'm wondering if perhaps the world didn't end after all. Even after 10 days of time off in which I did little but eat and rest and read (with a little writing thrown in for variety) I'm left feeling weary and worn-out.

And while reasons for my exhaustion may include my advancing years, I'm blaming it on 2011. Think of the the multitude of significant events that took place in 2011. Without taxing my already low energies I think of the continuing economic crisis, the continuation of the most odious aspects of the Patriot Act, the continuation of Git-mo (I'm too tired to look up the proper spelling for Gwantomato), the entire host of GOP candidates for President...

As these events occurred I was subject to outrage. I ranted. I raved. I had long phone conversations. I wrote letters. I signed petitions. I tried, in short, to take a stand. But on what was I standing?

It seems a continual game of the Rabid Right to successfully bait the left with outrageous statements. And at this juncture I realize that I should trot out an example of such outrageousness, but I lack the strength to do so. So, lacking the energy to produce proper evidence I ask that you trust me.

Now that I've gained your trust, I want to say that the Rabid Right--and by Rabid Right I include the Republicans and Democrats-- is wrong. Wrong about what, you might ask? Well, don't ask; you trust me, right? Well, alright then...

As the past few elections have demonstrated, being in power is about tapping vast amounts of cash. Remember, Obama raised record amounts of $ from Wall Street. That's right, this so-called socialist raised a shit-ton of dollars from the seat of capitalism. And when the rent came due, Wall Street got bailed out. You might wonder what Obama got out of the deal besides a peculiarly shaped office from which to run the world, yet isn't that enough? And isn't that reason enough to spawn a host of power-hungry misfits to run for office? Strip away the rhetoric (I almost wrote high minded rhetoric but there is nothing particularly high minded about bigotry and greed ala' Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, or Newt Gingrich. And as for Romney...Well, tailor's dummies don't say much) and very little is left.

Or rather, what is left is injustice. Surprised? That's because the thick fog of bullshit usually hides that unpleasantness. And that is outrageous! And that exhausts me, and so I'll close now.

I wonder what is on T.V.....