Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The election season is upon us - Democrats, Republicans, Tigers, oh, my!

As you may have noticed, I don't often opine about political matters. But it's election season here in America and I am feeling the urge to weigh-in on the subject.

The Republican candidacy is more or less insured in the person of John McCain from Arizona. I'm going to say this out loud so people, particularly the Europeans that read this blog, can get it straight and clear: McCain is in a lot of ways to the right of George Bush. Arizona is perhaps the most viciously pro-business state in the Union. Their entire industry revolves around grinding Arizona down to sea level, throwing the rubble in a hopper and pouring cyanide over it to leech out metal. This is the same Arizona that has vigilante patrols going back and forth along the border with Mexico to keep all the brown people out, while on the other hand paying them pennies on the dollar to do the worst work in Arizona. Like, one of the county prisons in Arizona is open air in the desert where the sheriff brags that it costs thirty cents a day to keep prisoners in tents feeding them a starvation diet of beans. Arizona is it's own world, especially outside the cities. But it's the state from which McCain comes, and Arizona has a tradition of right-wing libertarianism and fetishizing the rights of property owners. It has a tradition of literally murderous racism towards Indians and Mexicans, and is one of the most stratified societies in the US.

Above this, McCain is quite open in his belief that the US doesn't flex it's military muscle enough. If McCain is elected, he will seek more imperialist wars that will kill millions. He will drain America's treasure to secure military action abroad, and if he is allowed to do this for the life of me I can't see how a draft won't be enacted.

On the Democratic side, things are still up in the air between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. To me, they're the difference between red and blue Play-Doh. Their differences are superficial. I will vote for neither of them, because I think their brand of liberalism is ultimately worse for the world than the rightism of McCain and Bush. I came to this conclusion during Bill Clinton's term in office when he lead America into a savage attack on welfare in American history and got away with it without a peep from anyone. He did other things, too, like fuck up the environment by continuing the Reagan-era deregulation of industry, not to mention NAFTA which is as regressive a treaty as anything on earth, designed to make sure that US manufacturing jobs vanish to other places . . . which has, I should add, exactly what was happening. So, I learned some time ago that Democrats like Obama and Hillary Clinton are largely just conservatives who can give y'all a kiss and a dance before they fuck you. You'll get fucked, mind, and fucked hard, but the Democrats will give you a kiss and a dance first. They'll say how pretty you look in that dress before pushing it up over your head. So, I won't vote for them, either.

And even if I could vote Democratic, it wouldn't matter. Red and blue Play-Doh. Hell, with McCain they constitute red, blue and green Play-Doh. They're all candidates that have been vetted by the Powers That Be and been found acceptable. They all go in front of the cameras and say one thing and then meet behind closed doors with billionaires to insure them that they'll play ball where it counts.

That said, I am finding the contest between Obama and Clinton to be intensely interesting. To me, what is important about this is the US is deciding who they're more comfortable with - a black man or a white woman. And the answer is . . . a black man!

In my political opinion, all other things being equal, Obama is more likely to be elected President. Why? His lack of a record. People will talk about that like it's inexperience, and it is, but there's an interesting epiphenomenon that goes on with senatorial candidates. The very process of being a senator is one of compromise. It's the way the system is designed to work. But during Presidential elections, the compromises of senators looks like weakness. Obama, lacking a substantial record, is largely invulerable from that direction. They attack his "lack of experience" because they can't attack his record. Both Clinton and McCain are vulnerable on their much longer and more involved records (and McCain most of all). But all other things aren't equal. The Clintons - meaning both Bill and Hillary - can run a mean campaign (as Obama is now finding out). As if any of that was the reason why people are selecting Obama!

They are choosing Obama because people would rather have a man than a woman in office. No one I've spoken to about the subject has bothered to explain to me what opinions or policies that Obama has that they prefer to Clinton's opinions or policies. And I have heard a lot of chatter that boils down to "she's a bitch". Which, translated, means, "I don't want a woman as President."

And the press! Oh! My! God! There have been a few times I've felt bad for Clinton, the way the press has been trivializing her and building up Obama as Jesus fucking Christ. You'd see articles with titles like "Barack Obama continues to walk on water" and then "Hillary's hair-do is frumpy". That's exaggeration, but just a little. Now, in the past few days she's been playing the role of cast iron bitch, playing into the stereotype and that's a good idea. For entirely too many people, bitch means "strong". When she was trying to play it above board, keep it to the issues, act from a position of experienced dignity, she was ignored and trivialized. Not any more! Still, the sexism was interesting to see, especially absent any of the race baiting I expected from the press.

(My friend Becky opined that the reason people are preferring a black man to a white woman is that women are really poised to take everything over. That women, generally, are socialized to do those things that need to get done in the modern world. They work together well, they do well in school, more of them are going to college and succeeding in college than men. Entire professions that were once exclusively male domain are under immediate and direct "assault" by women as they succeed in the system obviously better and in greater numbers than men. So, since they can't keep women out, anymore, with an argument of ability, they're striking back in other ways. I think there's quite a bit of truth to this, I should add.)

By which I have concluded that the Americans would, generally, rather have a black man than a white woman as President. It would have been ugly any way it went down - one of them should have backed off until the next damn election rather than do as they've done and driven a wedge between what passes for progressives in the Democratic Party - but the way it is ugly I find fascinating.

Of course, Clinton isn't just going to roll over. The next couple of weeks will be interesting - stuff like with the turban, which was catastrophically mismanged by Obama's side; one of the truths of election politics that even if there is sexism or racism directed at you, if you mention it, you're looking like a weak whiner.

But, still, that's the election as I currently see it.

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