Rubbernecking: The Train Wreck of Integrity
My beloved and I were talking to a friend the other day when the topic of the 2012 election came up; we three range from being repulsed-by to highly-skeptical-of the notion that social progress can come from a violence based hierarchical institution deriving its powers from a corporate oligarchy.
Nevertheless, our friend reported being grimly interested by the presidential electoral process, the cultural dynamics revealed and the narratives surrounding the spectacle. I am drawn to the dark process in a similar manner. While I don’t endorse any aspect of the imperial corporate theocracy, I can’t help but be fascinated by–as one example among many–the moral wreckage of the political sycophantic class as they attempt to bend reality with pseudo-reason to indicate the superiority of their preferred ruling party.
I come to the apolitical position from the left. In my experience, most rank-and-file progressives believe the function of government to be something along those lines of uplifting and empowering human beings, protecting them from violence and helping them recover from catastrophic events. The policy staples around these abstract goals are socially libertarian in the personal realm; anti-war, anti-prison, anti-empire, anti-corporate and pro-human in the political realm.
With the political season upon us, 15 months out from the election, the political lackeys of the democrat-aspect of the ruling class are having trouble herding the rank-and-file progressives into their reelection effort.
For whatever psychological failing on my part, I can’t stop reading their attempts to alternately lure and beat their one-time supporters back into the fold. It hits the same sweet-spot for me as watching theologians doing n-dimensional mental gymnastics to prove the inevitability of their god’s/worldview’s existence.
These efforts are impressive at first because the establishment propaganda has to paint rampant corporatism, endless global war, overflowing prisons as matching exactly that which the voting progressive cares about: peace, human dignity, and justice.
Since, no matter the intellect of the authors, this approach fails on targets who’ve retained the ability to Google or otherwise access anything other than American mainstream media; the effort then devolves into incoherent screaming about the danger of policies worse yet than those that are being put in place by the current regime. Voting for a third party, or heaven forfend, not voting at all puts a reluctant progressive into the camp of the childish, the naive, the selfish, and the irresponsible.
On top of this circus, this election cycle has an extra-fun twist. Since the late 19th century, Texas congressperson Ron Paul has been providing the catch-all for the principled political right that Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich supply for the principled political left. These are the most potent and potentially revolutionary wings of still-engaged people in society; they can’t be allowed to float away from the established political institutions. One or two representatives are allowed to sit in congress or run for president thereby providing a thread of plausibility that the system can be improved “from the inside.”
Ron Paul is against foreign wars across the board, against imperialism, against the war on drugs, and against federal “protection of marriage,” etc. and must be, I guess, freaking out the democratic machine a little bit. It sounds like, from the blog chatter, there are progressives who are “being tricked” into supporting Ron Paul.
If they are supporting Ron Paul, then they have been tricked. Ron Paul can’t change anything any more than Barack Obama could. It’s impossible to turn an organization against the purpose for which it exists.
But why would democratic machine parts care that Ron Paul is running in the Republican primary? Wouldn’t their time be better spent doubling down on ridiculing Rick Perry’s idiocy or Mitt Romney’s magical underpants, or some aspect of a candidate who might actually win the Republican nomination?
The only thing I can figure is that it’s simply uncomfortable to have his wildly popular positions in the political discourse without a democratic counterpart. In 2008, Ron Paul was easy for the left-o-sphere to ignore because they had Kucinich to point to as their principled anti-war candidate and once he was gone, Ron Paul was as well.
This time around, everyone who watches this garbage only gets to see republican candidates and compare them to the legacy of the incumbent democrat. When the sole anti-war voice is Ron Paul and he’s also against the drug war, etc., it creates an uncomfortable level of cognitive dissonance that may cause right-thinking lefties to give up on the system and look elsewhere for social progress. Any efforts made in this direction reveal that the state is the violent defender of social stagnation–which is the realization that all state PR and the electoral process itself is intended to obfuscate.
The democratic vote-rustlers have to associate the anti-war, anti-drug war, pro-human stance itself with racism, homophobia, misogyny and any other label a progressive voter would be mortified to have applied to them. This may work against the truly psychologically feeble for whom the badge of “progressive” is a part of his/her identity. For an increasing number of people being called a racist for opposing war or for questioning the justice of the largest prison-state in the world will serve to make the nature of the nation-state and its toady mouth pieces that much clearer.
-  Myself included. ↩