The national media continue to be fixated on the Rombama-Obomney horse race, in which we witness two guys who are either clueless or totally insincere joust to see who can utter the most popular and soothing platitudes, and who can best galvanize their supporters with fear of what will happen if the other guy gets elected. I cringe to think of what will happen no matter which of them gets elected. They are both advocating policies that put not just the American people, but all life on the planet, directly in harm’s way. “Dangerous to self and others” used to be grounds for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital and forced medication. When did it become politics/business as usual?
A man who was a teacher of mine for many years used to point out that inducing fear in people is a way to manipulate them into doing something they wouldn’t go for unless they were afraid–like being the bottom level of a hierarchy, the level that takes the most stress and receives the least benefits. Some of the big fears that are being manipulated in this election revolve around questions of family planning, abortion, and sexual choice. I humbly submit that the reason there are clear-cut differences between Republicans and Democrats on these issues is that they are not questions that impact corporate bottom lines, even as they do play on peoples’ deep conditioning. It’s called “getting people by the short hairs,” and it’s a particularly nasty form of manipulation.
My old teacher also liked to use the metaphor of “pulling a band-aid off a hairy leg” when talking about going through personal changes. Do it fast, he meant, otherwise you just prolong the agony. By that standard, I suppose we would be better off if Mitt Romney gets elected, since his flavor of psychopathy is obviously much less in touch with reality than Barack Obama’s, and his proposed “solutions” will make things much worse for more people a whole lot faster. RIP that band aid right off! Lots of pain for lots of people. Not pleasant, I agree.
On the other hand, we have Obama’s seductive, I’m-on-your-side brand of insanity, which attempts to placate the increasingly deprived masses with a few more crumbs from the table of the one-percenters. The fact that this can be successfully sold as “socialism” to a significant number of American voters simply indicates how many ignorant people there are in this country. Not necessarily stupid, mind you, but ignorant. That’s an important distinction. Ignorance can be cured.
That’s why Jill Stein and the Green Party continue to campaign. “Teachable moments”–times when people are open to new information and a new point of view–will occur at an increasing rate as the changes our society and our planet are undergoing accelerate. There is still time for sanity to prevail.
music: James McMurtry, “We Can‘t Make It Here Any More” (first link is to James’ website, second to a video for the original song [which, ironically, contains a “had enough? Vote Democratic” frame in it], and third goes to an update of the song with Joan Baez and Steve Earle joining James. That track comes from an album intended as a benefit for Occupy, which you can buy here.)