D – 34 and counting*
[This too was written before I came back. And I note, with malign glee, that "legacy parties" -- the theme of this essay -- has successfully propagated. Ha. It only took about two years of steady work. Nevertheless, it really is possible to change the discourse from the bottom up... --lambert]
“We’re one, but we’re not the same We get to carry each other carry each other” –One, U2
Today, in very short, pre-getting-ready-to-pack form, I’d like to call out the Campaign Countdown theme of “Legacy Parties” (that is, the Democrats and the Republicans, as opposed to “emergent parties” like the Greens or the Libertarians. Or maladaptive, extinct parties, like the Whigs).
Partisans, whether professional, wannabe, or amateur, insist that there are great, or at least consequential, differences between the two legacy parties. From where I sit, outside the fray, this insistence looks like “the narcissism of small differences”: A battle over cultural and factional markers, and nothing more. I’m so old I remember when drinking PBR actually “meant” something! (Wikipedia entry on narcissism; readers please feel free to improve). The only real difference in social practice I’ve ever been able to find between the Democratic and Republican aristocracies is that the Republican aristocracy is rife with animal torturers. True, that’s a mark of sociopathy, but then again, “Two words: Predator drones.” It’s clear that both legacy parties are in “some kinda awful” [NSFW] mutually reinforcing symbiotic relationship; that’s why Obama gave the Republicans a hand up in 2009 after the Democrats had them down on the mat, instead of commencing to stomp them. One famous metaphor for such a relationship is “the ratchet effect”; I prefer The Drunk and The Enabler. The Drunk rolls home and takes off the side of the garage trying to maneuver the car into it, staggers into the house, smashes some furniture, beats up the kid who wasn’t quick enough to hide, then passes out on the living room couch with the lights on and Rush Limbaugh blaring. Then The Enabler gets The Drunk up in time for work, gives him the rent money to repair the car, and makes sure the kid wears long sleeves to hide the bruises in school. The parallel between Bush destroying Constitutional government and Obama normalizing and rationalizing everything Bush ever did is pretty close, isn’t it? So which rider on the Merry-Go-Round gets your vote?
We also have the “Romney” and “Obama” themes. I don’t like Romney’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity. And I don’t like the sleazoid campaign he’s running. Then again, I don’t like Obama’s chilly personality, his fealty to malefactors of great wealth, or his religiosity. And I don’t like the sleazoid campaign he’s running. So there we are. One thing I know: I’m not voting for evil any more.
* * *
So, readers, I’m now offline for three days travelling back to the States. I just hope nobody in the Stasi took offense just because I called the JFK Customs and Immigration area “dimly lit” and their personnel “happy.” Maybe I should head over to the backpacker’s district and get the following tatooed on my arm before I go:
On the advice of counsel, I invoke my right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. I am concerned that this grand jury [or whatever state organ] is seeking information designed to infringe or chill my associational privacy, and that of others, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that it is using information obtained without a search warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. I define the preceding statement as ‘invoke.’ and when I say ‘I invoke’ in the future I am referring to this statement.
Kidding! Or not. Love the meta of “I define the preceding statement as.” It’s like we’re wrestling our way through a thicket of Enabling Act-style legalese instead of claiming our rights as citizens under the rule of law. Or something.
* 34 days until the Democratic National Convention ends with tubs of Boston Baked Beans for everybody on the floor of the
Bank of America Panther Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Miracle on 34th Street. If Charlotte has a 34th Street.