Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bad Cultural and Political Vibes

It's been a while since I've made a political or cultural commentary on this blog. It's not because I haven't been thinking a lot about culture and politics. It's because I've been overwhelmed by the multitudinous aspects of America's current dysfunctional funk, including but not limited to the backlash against healthcare reform by the same people who are getting screwed by the current system, the increasing skepticism about climate change and science in general, and perhaps most disturbingly, the recent decision by 5/9 of the supreme court to remove what little defense we still have against soulless corporations running roughshod over the political process.

Making sense of it all is beyond me, but I want to share some bits from two recent opinion pieces I read, which I think do a pretty good job of dissecting the current zeitgeist.

The first, by Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle, even manages do it in an entertaining way. Here's one of my favorite bits:

"We don't like anything right now. No politician, no decision, no situation, no inhale, no exhale. We are sick to death of all of it, including ourselves."

And here's the whole article: Why are you so terribly disappointing?

The second article, from the BBC, looks more specifically at what's up with the Obama-hating, talk-radio-listening demographic, and why they keep swooning over slick, enrich-the-rich republicans like the guy who just won in Massachusetts, and hating on do-gooder do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do intellectual liberals who might actually improve things for working folks. The article quotes an exchange between Al Gore and George Bush from the 2000 presidential debate to show how the liberals, despite being correct, can lose to the right:

Gore: "Under the governor's plan, if you kept the same fee for service that you have now under Medicare, your premiums would go up by between 18% and 47%, and that is the study of the Congressional plan that he's modelled his proposal on by the Medicare actuaries."

Bush: "Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers. ... I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the internet, but he invented the calculator. It's fuzzy math. It's trying to scare people in the voting booth."

Of course, Bush won that debate and the next two elections. I guess people hate numbers even more than they hate bullshit. Here's the whole article.


Johnny Douglass said...

Ain't it the truth. My other favorite quote from the second article was the one that described "the paranoid style" of American politics, in which God, guns and race get mixed into a toxic stew of resentment at anything coming out of Washington.

Catapulting Aaron said...

Don't blame me, I voted for Nader.

Frank said...

So you are telling me that Nancy P is not a do as I say not as I do, holier than thou. Rich free loading Democrat? Using military aircraft to fly her children and grandchildren around! What a load.

James Douglass said...

Dad- Yep.

Aaron- Ok, you're off the hook.

Frank- No, you misunderstood me. I'm saying Nancy P, Al Gore, etc. ARE do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do holier-than-thou types. So we actually agree on that.

Of course, I think republican leaders are the same way, even though they're better at pretending they're down to earth. I only prefer the dems because I tend to like their policies better.

Both democrat and republican politicians are rich elitists, but at least the democrat politicians push laws that are good for the working and middle classes.

Van said...

James - the only way that the Democrats can make progress on important issues such as healthcare is to completely marginalize the Rebublicans and move forward. It worked in the 1930's, it worked in the 1960's and it will work now. But what we're missing now is solid leadership. However, after the State of the Union Address I think that President Obama is getting his bearing again. We'll see.
Conservatives are afraid of change, but they are also afraid of democratic power. The Democrats achieve power by implementing programs that serve the people, so dare I say it...the Republicans are afraid of democracy?

Brian said...

An alternative point worth considering: