Thursday, November 04, 2010

Election Postmortem: A Picture of Dorian Gray

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

It is said that insanity is repeating a failed strategy in the expectation of one day getting a different result. Because that never happens, the nation is nuts! Just enough people always vote against their own interests to guarantee that wealth will continue to 'trickle up', that wars benefiting ONLY the very wealthy will continue to be waged, that everyone else will suffer declines in education, the environment, living standards, and the plague of fascist law enforcement taser fetishists and/or authoritarian perverts.

Like a vain Dorian Gray, a huge chunk of the U.S. electorate has sold its soul for a temporary feel good. Keep it up! There will be a reckoning. If I were living in a posh suburb and voting GOP, I would be well advised to check on that oil portrait collecting dust, out of sight, down in the basement.

The mid-term election pleases no one and disappoints everyone. Surely, the screwed-up process and endemic flaws at every level could be overcome were there a will to do so or if 'politicians' had anything meaningful to offer. To be honest, I have not checked the 'turn out' numbers. What for? What's the point? I doubt that there are any surprises except, perhaps, that anyone bothered to show up at all. That is not cynicism on my part but a lingering optimism that should any politician ever tell the truth, eschew spin and BS, outline a real program with real solutions about real issues, the people would --indeed --show up and vote! Ummm maybe not! Maybe we're just screwed up! Maybe we should expect or deserve to be robbed by just one percent of the total population. I will say this: if you voted GOP or tea bagger, you are a big part of the problem.

The chart at right is just a small part of the economic debacle, the black hole left Obama by Bush. That anyone not a member of the plutocratic one percent votes GOP is simply insane.

The people themselves are part of the problem and until they stop blaming everyone but themselves, the nation, Democracy itself, is finished as the economy is sucked into an increasingly tiny black hole: the nation's wealthiest one percent.

If the wealthy are so wealthy, where is the money? The quick response: OFFSHORE!

If the economy needs a stimulus, who should get the money? If you said rich investors, corporations and/or banks, you FLUNK this course. That is precisely what is done with every stimulus and, in every case, it fails. The wrong people get the money which they quickly invest offshore, perhaps Switzerland or Panama or wherever the financial cognoscenti squirrel away their 'winnings' these days! The point is this: they are cashing in their chips and leaving the casino with their booty, your ass! Ocean's 11 have nothing on these guys. This heist has been going on at least since the ascension of Ronald Reagan. The official stats at the Bureau of Labor Stats, the Census Bureau and the U.S. Commerce Department - B.E.A. confirm me.

Democrats, meanwhile, have a classic positioning problem. That they perform better economically is not enough. Most people don't understand economics and are often suckered with slogans. Sadly for the nation, being right is no longer good enough to get you elected. And being wrong is --unfortunately --not enough to get you thrown out of office; ergo we are stuck with the increasingly stupid but powerful, evil right wing noise machine.

So --how does one begin a revolution? The late Howard Zinn left us a clue and it is that great Texan, Bill Moyer, who draws our attention to it in one of his recent speeches.

One month before his death he finished his last book, The Bomb. Once again he was wrestling with his experience as a B-17 bombardier during World War II, especially his last mission in 1945 on a raid to take out German garrisons in the French town of Royan. For the first time the Eighth Air Force used napalm, which burst into liquid fire on the ground, killing hundreds of civilians. He wrote, “I remember distinctly seeing the bombs explode in the town, flaring like matches struck in the fog. I was completely unaware of the human chaos below.” Twenty years later he returned to Royan to study the effects of the raid and concluded there had been no military necessity for the bombing; everyone knew the war was almost over (it ended three weeks later) and this attack did nothing to affect the outcome. His grief over having been a cog in a deadly machine no doubt confirmed his belief in small acts of rebellion, which mean, as Howard writes in the final words of the book, “acting on what we feel and think, here, now, for human flesh and sense, against the abstractions of duty and obedience.”
--Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!", 2010
Another friend of Dorian, the artist Basil Hallward, awakens Dorian’s vanity. After admiring a portrait of himself painted by Basil, Dorian declares that he would give his own soul if he could remain eternally young while the portrait grows old. He gets his wish, and the picture shows the gradual disfigurement of his soul as he sinks into a life of degradation and crime.
--Excerpt: Synopsis of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'