Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apathetic is as Apathetic Does

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

I suppose I should be a gracious loser and express the usual pious platitudes about how great it is to be in a free country, a democracy where every person has one vote. I suppose it's also incumbent on me to respect that democracy, accept last night's brutal results and say, "The people have spoken."

But the people have not spoken.

Most of them don't during your typical midterm, largely because the presidency isn't at stake. Typically, a midterm will bring out anywhere from 30-40% of the vote and last night wasn't much of an exception. The final national numbers aren't in, yet, but I think it would be safe to say that voter turnout last night still didn't get above 45%, if that.

So, no, the people have not spoken. They are the biennial, post-Nixonian Silent Majority.

And these people who'd decided to stay home have nothing to complain about because they forfeited their right to do so by saying home and pissing and moaning about attack ads, dead-catting, mud-slinging and name-calling. At the bottom of all that filth there were still the issues and they didn't dissolve beneath all the muck and mire. The issues, like our unpaid bills and terminal disease, stubbornly remain.

So let's take a look at what we will have come New Year's: With all but 10 House races decided, our only bright spot in the country is that southern New England (RI, CT and MA) made a clean sweep. Add to that Blumenthal's victory over Linda McMahon in the CT Senate race, former liberal Republican Lincoln Chafee winning his Dad's old Governor's seat and Deval Patrick easily winning re-election as Massachusetts' chief executive. We did our part but the same can't be said for the rest of the country.

At this moment, Republicans now have 240 House seats and almost took the majority in the Senate. And, most disheartening, while we lost liberal icons Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson, not one Republican incumbent of any consequence lost their seat in either chamber. Even Lisa Murkowski, as one of 1600 qualified write-in candidates in Alaska, beat Joe Miller by 7 points. Yes, Joe Miller was so repulsive to even right-leaning Alaska, that "One of the 1600 above" was preferable to him.

Meanwhile, we now have psychopaths like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul about to enter the Senate and we were treated to presumptive House Speaker John Boehner weeping before a plexiglass podium like a bi-polar Oompa-Loompa.

Here's an idea: We ought to make an Act of Congress that permanently rescinds your right to vote if you sit out two elections in a row. How one can call oneself an American while refusing to vote yet whining about who gets in, who gets tossed out while accepting federal benefits in a countless variety of ways is loathsome, despicable and ought to be grounds for a recission in citizenship or at least some of its benefits.

And while the will of the people who did vote ought to be respected, since voting is the very heart of a democracy, one must nonetheless marvel at the sheer disconnect, the panic and the absolute fingers-in-the-ears, head-shaking, stubborn ignorance that went with sweeping back into power the Republicans, the very same people who'd gotten us into this mess, the very same party whose entire strategy boils down to, "Less regulations, less taxes and No to everything Obama wants."

And when the inevitable gridlock get us even less reform and protection over the next two years, we're going to take it out on Obama twice as mercilessly as we did last night. And, like the last midterms in '06, voter dissatisfaction had victimized the President's party as if the legislative and executive branches were the one and the same.

Except in '06, we at least had a point. This time around, we didn't. And many of us chose to stay home.

Russ Feingold stood up to Obama and his excesses in Afghanistan and foot-dragging in Iraq. So did Alan Grayson, who also stood up to the evil banks and the Fed. But Russ Feingold and Alan Grayson didn't lose to other men: They lost to ultra right wing corporations too ashamed and cowardly to admit who they were financing. They lost to the US Chamber of Commerce that openly champions hollowing out the American workforce by outsourcing jobs to foreign countries that pay pay them "dues". They lost to the US Supreme Court and their stupendously brazen and pro-corporate decision named, ironically, Citizens United vs the FEC. Consider last night's results a test drive for Citizen's United in 2012.

The citizens of this country have been anything but united since 9/11 and the SCOTUS's decision only proves that even 45% of our citizens united with the common desire to vote is no match for a handful of corporations and their political arm in the Chamber of Commerce.

You have only yourselves to blame and I have nothing but withering contempt for every single last one of you.

You just put back in power a party that is largely if not entirely responsible for everything that is wrong with this country, as if the GOP learned their lessons from their "thumpin'" of four years ago and will finally get things right this time, as if this wasn't the party that also voted for the bailout that allowed executives to resume handing each other billions of our tax dollars as bonuses, the GOP that called you a bum for needing UI extensions because your job was outsourced by them to Asia or Mexico, as if the GOP actually has a plan to help you keep your house after that same party repealed Glass-Steagall (with new Senator-elect Pat Toomey's help) and took away your right to file for bankruptcy.

The same party that started needless and illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to no appreciable benefit to either of our three countries and eventually cost us trillions bloating the military-industrial complex, the party that wanted to deport over 11,000,000 hard-working brown people, wanted to spy on you without FISA court warrants, that strive to make our children more ignorant in schools, to make abortion illegal even in cases of incest or rape, the same party that is bound and determined to remove the very last sinew of regulation on any industry even as they're polluting our ecosystem and killing us. The same party that demonized African Americans after Katrina, wounded veterans when their neglect was revealed and the newly unemployed and homeless when they understandably looked to our government for help.

These are the people to whom you've handed back the keys to our seat of government. We took a half a step in the right direction away from the Bush-era fireball of failure and are now about to take ten steps back into the Low Dark Ages. They have learned nothing, never will learn anything and months ago were already vowing to impeach our president for spurious reasons and to block his every objective that isn't named after Afghanistan.

Bravo. Well done. And I hope you all rot in the hell you've just accelerated. Because if you thought this midterm election was brutish, long and nasty, imagine what things will be like in two years.


At November 4, 2010 at 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please stop attacking people who refuse to cast a vote for either the douche bag or the shit sandwich offered at election time.'

Not voting is just as valid an exercise of 1st amendment rights as is voting. Moreover you people who keep voting for these do-nothing sellouts are fully 100% as responsible as they are for the stinking mess the country is in.

The people have been disenfranchised by big money, Diebold and a tightly controlled selection process that ultimately presents the American people with a choice of two ripe and ready corporate whores.

Continuing to legitimize this farce every four years is as effective an exercise in democracy as putting a band aid on a jugular would is an effective exercise in emergency medical care.

Every vote you cast legitimizes this charade of democracy and empowers some lackey who has foresworn to do as his/her corporate master bids.

We the people haven't a chance in hell against those odds.

At November 4, 2010 at 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of no cases of the re-animation of dead tissue. All the wailing in the world won't bring the corpse back to life. Do yourself a favor and give up.

At November 4, 2010 at 3:56 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Sorry, I disagree. Anyone who didn't vote to at least keep the wolves from getting past the gate again deserves s swift kick in the nuts or twat with a steel-toed boot and a poison-tipped knife at the end.

At November 4, 2010 at 4:04 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I suppose you right wingers have tried in the resurrection of Ronald Reagan and Joe McCarthy. You have my sincerest sympathies. But do keep trying.

At November 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM, Blogger jo6pac said...

I thought you might enjoy this.

At November 5, 2010 at 1:47 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I did. Thanks. I'd forgotten that it's the 5th of November.

At November 6, 2010 at 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voters are responsible for what the assclowns in Washington do. Remember they had a majority and still claimed inability to get anything done.

Voters put these people in office!

At November 6, 2010 at 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the American people would have the guts for a Guy Fawkes day.

At November 6, 2010 at 11:38 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

And non-voters keep them in.

At November 6, 2010 at 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, anon., if you do not at least participate in the process, you do not get to bitch about the results.
this week, next month, a year from now, you do not get to bitch.
mrs. jp

At November 7, 2010 at 8:26 AM, Blogger Mr. 618 said...

JP, you are 100% correct. My wife, the lovely yet talented Mrs618, did not vote, not because she didn't want to, but because she was too frickin' sick to get out of bed (and obviously, it was too late for an absentee ballot). But even so, she has no right to complain from here on out (I think I would have spread plague germs around town hall, given the number of teabaggers in town).

You and the lovely yet talented Mrs JP hit it on the head: if ya didn't bother ta vote, kwitcherbitchin.

At November 7, 2010 at 11:27 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, if Mrs. 618 was too sick to vote, there's not much that can be done about it. Obviously, my diatribe doesn't pertain to her since I'm assuming she would've voted.

Hope she's feeling better.

At November 11, 2010 at 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS POST IS IN TWO PARTS... sorry for the length.

Your argument "you do not at least participate in the process, you do not get to bitch about the results.this week, next month, a year from now, you do not get to bitch." is vacuous and empty, devoid of logic or discipline. By that logic, no one who votes has any right to complain -- you got the government you voted for and the people in government you empowered.

Not participating in the fraudulent election process is as valid as participating and even better, I don't bear the responsibility of putting these people in office and giving them power.

You labor under the delusion that your vote is meaningful when in fact, your choice is made for you in advance. McCain had no chance of becoming president especially after they forced Sarah Palin on him. The elite wanted Obama to win because they knew they could count on him to do their bidding. And boy is he ever doing that. Cockburn had his number years ago.

Your vote meant anything at all since 1980 when Reagan was catapulted into power and the dismantling of the USA began. Reagan's first official act was to abolish the Fairness Doctrine and its contomitant Equal Time Amendment. This was done so that the wealthy interests could take over the public airways, print media. Obviously the result of this has been disastrous, we no longer have a press in this country, we have a propaganda organ. This was necessary to innudate the people with fake history and stupid arguments -- to propel the know-nothing demagogues like Glenn Beck (who now openly advocates Jew hating, have you heard?) into the public spotlight. Propaganda is a necessary socialization tool and can easily be used to inculcate any kind of public sentiment you want, as our "ruling class" well knows. This is a technique they have used for hundreds of years with great success.

Then, Clinton, a democrat, dismantled the welfare safety net and expanded the police power even more than Nixon, whose Omnibus Safe Street and Crime Control Act of 1968 put more police on the street than at any time in history! Under Clinton we got NAFTA, CAFTA, SHAFTA for the American worker, as you well know.

Bush destroyed any semblence of illusion that the US is a benevolent force in the world; the Patriot Act dismantled (illegally, but what the hell) most of the constitutional protections we have lived under since the inception of the USA.

Now Obama expands the Patriot Act, encumbers the American taxpayer for trillions so that his BFFs the "too big to fail" banksters don't suffer financial losses for their repeated acts of piracy. Instead of jaling these crooks, our "ELECTED" representatives gave our money and our grandchildren's money away -- DESPITE BEING TOLD NOT TO BY 80%+ of the population. Obama has and will do NOTHING to change business as usual, which if you understand what is happening, JP, and Mrs. JP you will see that the Borg banksters are eating the US... having destroyed and consumed the so-called third world, they now are eating the first world.
LOOK at who Obama appointed to the catfood commission -- these people are there to give legal cover to him when he, a "democratic" president, signs on to the destruction of Social Security.

LOOK AROUND YOU. Democratic governments EVERYWHERE are becoming more totalitarian by the day -- against the will of the people. the global banksters have a plan: it's called the Global Plantation. A world without labor standards or laws. They are well on their way to accomplishing this.

At November 11, 2010 at 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 3
The economic destruction of the US is almost complete: they have stolen everyone's hard earned savings; destroyed manufacturing leaving only low pay no benefit service jobs for everyone else; they gave away gazillions of tax debt (can't really call it dollars since it doesn't exist yet) to the banks to purchase their shitty assets, and yet, the banks STILL RETAIN CONTROL and are foreclosing on those bad loans, despite having sold them to "we the people" ... ever wonder how that works?
They are now, by hook and crook, reacquiring land for the gentry, because in a feudal society the serfs don't own land. They want Americans to join 79% of the human world on the "less than $1 day diet" Your congress and Your president are helping to make that happen.

Only the charade of democratic process remains in the shadow of this global disenfranchisement process.

So Please don't tell me I haven't any "right" to bitch. I have all the fucking right in the world. People like yourselves who continue to believe that there is a difference between the banks and government can easily be fooled into thinking your vote "counts". But in fact, it doesn't and hasn't in this country for at least 30 years. BTW I wasn't always a non voter. But I figured out that it was a scam a long time ago. After Nixon was pardoned, I decided I would rather not bear the responsibility of empowering these criminals.

And twist logic into a pretzel if you want, not voting is a neutral act that has no actual effect on the outcome of any election. Yes, non voters mean, uh, less total votes in the election. But non voters do not determine outcomes -- voters do. You can't seriously argue that an election would turn out ANY given way if non voters voted.

At November 11, 2010 at 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 4
Despite whatever minor legislative gains people may make locally, or whatever small national level fights, from having "their party" in power, none of these little events affects the overall scheme because the Congress and President DO NOTHING to bring the US economy back; MAKE NO LAWS that actually inhibit this upward transfer of wealth and property, while the SCOTUS continues to dismantle what's left of the constitution and continue to interpret it to favor the rich. A different President WOULD MAKE NO DIFFERENCE at this point because even a panel of progressive supreme court justices would be forced to take their marching orders from the banks.

Your Congress
Your President

They are all working against you, your family and everything you ever cared about. If you think your vote is going to change all that... or even 360 million votes is going to change all that, you are sorely mistaken.

Anyway, my overall point is, in a democratically governed Republic, you have the option to vote or not. Doing either ultimately affects nothing.

The banksters are going to have their way regardless of and with the full complicity of whoever is in office. Why is this happening? It's a cycle that occurs every hundred or couple hundred years .... the robber baron cycle.

Sometimes, the people oppose it and refuse to allow it (i.e., france, iceland (they are jailing their banksters). In America people go to the polls like ignorant sheep every four years, delusional in their belief that their vote will bring meaningful change.

How's that workin for ya?

Apathetic? No I'm not. I care passionately about what is going on. I recognize however, that the ritual of voting has had no meaningful beneficial effect for Americans and that some other way is needed now.

At November 11, 2010 at 2:11 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

First off, please try to marshal all your thoughts and arguments before attempting to post them in a comment section with a limited threshhold. Since comments have to be moderated, that means I have to read every one of them before deciding whether or not they're worthy of being posted. That means I had to wade through something upwards of literally a dozen comments from you in various stages of completion and I can't be sure that I approved every word you meant to write.

Another thing: Merriam Webster. Make friends with him.

Now, what you appear to be saying is that inaction is not only a good thing but it also speaks as loudly as a vote.

I used to think that way until I saw what happened in 2000, when I realized the presidential election was decided by less than 330 votes in one state. Never again, I said, and from 2004 on I have been a proud voter.

I do not think, nor will ever believe, that refusing to be part of the solution does not in any way make you the problem. A nonvote does not speak as loudly as a vote. All it does is make you look stupid, dull and disengaged along with the other 60% who can't be bothered to vote. If you did not try to affect the outcome of any election, you do not deserve to complain about the results, simple.

As for the rest of what you said, I couldn't agree more. This administration is hardly any better than the last and has outstripped the Reagan and Nixon administrations in certain evils (the Nixon administration, btw, didn't start in 1968 but 1969).

But withholding your vote because you don't like the field, while it will inevitably present some ethical challenges, is not a valid response. I'm ashamed of the fact that I waited until I was 45 before exercising my right to vote for the first time.

Good candidates worth voting for starts with a strong grassroots. For two magical years, Florida's 8th district fielded a keeper that they decided a week and a half ago wasn't such a keeper, after all. Now Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold are out of office because of too many people like you.

Meanwhile, in 230-240 congressional districts, more deluded voters and psychopaths went to the polls than us to vote for these Republican crooks and liars, which explains why Obama is now caving in to every GOP demand regardless of how insane it is because he lost his congressional majority.

And the House under Pelosi, at least, passed more progressive legislation than the Senate because the Democrats let the minority GOP have their way too often.

Are our choices limited? Hell, yeah, thanks largely to the media and the Bilderberg Group. But at least we have a choice and, unlike certain 3rd world countries where electoral fraud is more blatant, chances are your vote would still count if you chose to vote. You also seem to be forgetting about the primaries, where you have a larger field from which to choose. During the Democratic primaries, I voted for Kucinich since he was on the MA ballot (I was onto Obama from the start).

Myself, I experience at least a brief, boyant feeling that I helped make a difference or to maintain a status quo worth keeping every time I walk out of the polls. I never feel more American than ever right after I vote, a better feeling than sitting on the couch on election night and growling at the TV will ever give me.

At November 12, 2010 at 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the 2000 election was planned to go to Bush in advance and would have regardless of the number of votes cast for Gore. In 1996 a former member of government told me something that I thought he was kidding about at the time. However over these last 10 years I have since reconsidered.

He said..."Bill Clinton will be the last democratically elected president of the USA."

I didn't really understand what he meant at the time; and he would not say anything more except that the imperial priorities would take precedence over constitutional considerations.

But if I understand what you're saying, you know your vote is worthless, but you do it anyway because it feels good.

Fair enough.

At November 12, 2010 at 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I actually would have voted for Kucinich but as you are aware progressives have been shut out. That won't change until the world reacts to the Plantation.

I'm not all doom and gloom, JP. I believe that in about 20-30 years, the WORLD will undergo a massive progressive revolution. I am sad that I won't be here to see it.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

At November 14, 2010 at 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said, "We ought to make an Act of Congress that permanently rescinds your right to vote if you sit out two elections in a row. How one can call oneself an American while refusing to vote yet whining about who gets in" I'll go one further. If a person is getting welfare of any type, or works for the government, take away thheir vote until they are off of welfare or in the private sector. That would be fair.


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