Culture War, Class War Afterword –
Chapter 30: Does Politics Matter?
So Did Politics Matter?
As we approach the end of this book-length exposition, I wish to focus on a pervasive attitude in the West of late. I have noticed how many folks in these established democracies, notably among the educated, present themselves in a way as to be above politics…as if politics is a profane activity that only ruffians and crooks get involved in.
Never mind that it has been through the “dirty” political action of their forebears they have been blessed with educational opportunities; unions and workers’ rights; the right to vote for women and minorities; freedoms, opportunities, and jobs; civil rights; relative peace, sometimes, or maybe just the privilege of not living under war; environmental safety; and so much more. No doubt more needs to be done in all these areas, but that’s part of the point: How ungrateful is one to be too good to dirty oneself in those matters that people of the past engaged in, which benefits they enjoy, but be “too good” to do anything to defend, let alone expand, those privileges for those to come after?
At length in several earlier chapters I discussed a “time capsule”—an article I had written just prior to the 2000 election in America that ended with the Supreme Court giving the presidency to George Bush. I related my astonishment at how closely the events that followed that election traced the course I predicted if Bush were to become president.
Now that the “time capsule” has told its tale—and I have related what this perception did to me, how it changed me—I’m curious as to how many others had any thoughts at all similar to mine during that period leading up to the election in 2000. Perhaps more did among the people reading this than in a random sampling, I would guess.
2000 Election Inconsequential?
Still, bemusedly I recall that at the time, as I made posts on international list services, principally on topics of deep feeling psychotherapy, psychohistory, and childhood and parenting, I was especially targeted for attack by non-Americans—several French and a German or two—who wanted to know how in hell a mere American presidential election was a thing of consequence to them, or to any non-American. I was brow-beaten also for daring to insert politics into matters pertaining to how we teach and love our children, or how we can help to love away each other’s traumas. Most often I was told it didn’t matter who won—Bush or Gore, Democrat or Republican—that they were all the same.
Being “above” politics—intellectuals…
More telling even than the attacks and the efforts to muzzle me about such “inconsequential” things was the vast stillness and silence of all the rest who sat watching or ignoring the drama, unmoved by the muzzling of opinion. Perhaps they felt themselves “cleaner” for not knowing, caring about, or in any way allowing their superior intellects to be dirtied by even the slightest rub up against the mud of profane politics. So also they were staunchly complicit in the ostracism that was the end result.
Shocked, I found that only one person out of all the three-four groups I participated in spoke up for me or supported my position. But even then, disappointingly, this woman who did support me spoke not on the grounds of the need to avert a disastrous outcome in the election. No, she aped the prevailing and supposedly “superior” position of neutrality about that. She upheld with the rest that, to me, strangest of notions about intellect and knowledge—that its true nature is detached.
This belief that an authentic quest for knowledge is dispassionate I have seen to be prevalent; I observe and hear it espoused repeatedly all about. Surely there are others thinking this to be strange too, I hope. And is it a mostly American thing somehow? Are those in other cultures more appreciative of passion?
They think that being fair means to not care.
The essence of this view is that intellect, first-hand knowledge, and intense study and thorough research in any and all fields of knowing lead always to a neutral, dispassionate position in the end and an acceptance of all the officially accepted traditional positions–however dissonant, contradictory, even essentially opposed they might be and crying out for fresh insight and re-envisioning of them.
That stance is a total painful mind-bender to me, as my view is that intense and passionate search for truth and the actualities of events is the path to greater awareness. For I know of no original contributor in any field, especially of the genius caliber, who has not–by necessity in fact, else it’s not a real contribution–come out in the end as passionate advocates, committed and fervent articulators of their insights. I have observed them to identify with that specific and thoroughly detailed, often comprehensive, even visionary position, which they having suffered, sweated, and patiently waited, and sacrificed for before arriving at it. I see these truly original contributors to be passionately identified with their discoveries and hardly neutral about their validity!
So I wonder: Is it somehow profane or crude to be passionate these days? Have we become so “cool” as to look down our noses on those who are fully alive and fully engaged in life, not “compartmentalizing” or “managing” it from afar? Not multitasking it at a safe distance?
If so, what has happened to the life force in people? Are these claims to having superior numbness about life-and-death matters ego? Neurosis? Are they perhaps a byproduct of the huge injections of pharmaceuticals that are at present being shot into the veins of our social body?
Not to be smart so much as to be seen as smart
So that dispassionate position secretly says to me that like C-student Bush these people are not so much intelligent as seek to have the position of intelligent, rather, of intellectual. Their motive is not knowledge, but the benefits of traveling and being accepted in such society and circles. Therefore, it seems, the hardest place to find intelligent discourse is among the groups who are avowedly intellectual by definition.
And this stance of neutrality–sometimes only purported, though, as happens often in the field of journalism–strikes me as a real howler. For it would have us believe the most intelligent of the bunch were the last ones to adopt the heliocentric universe and the globe-like nature of our home. Wouldn’t they also be the last to position themselves on the side of evolution, too?
Just imagine any of the great and thoroughly established positions of our days, which once were astonishing discoveries, and I doubt you’d of found these neutral dispassionate types as first to the lecture halls to learn it. More likely these disinterested “smart” folks woulda been the stolid types–the Salieris, hardly the Mozarts–happy to have a position and eager to pick up its paycheck and then to enjoy the ease of hearth and home, comforting and filling food and drink….happy to be aware of the raskolnikovs, demians, and steppenwolfs in literature but totally nonunderstanding of such a nature and hardly believing that such people even exist, let alone walk among them.
The person who supported me did not do so on the merits of the warnings I was making about political developments–remember they ended up proving true. No, I was supported only on the grounds of fairness, individual expression…you know the old Bill-of-Rights type of support talk. Though who knows if she may not have been afraid to express her political concerns after witnessing the way her esteemed and “supposedly” high-minded idealistic–and oh-so-eminently mannered, always appropriate, ever so intellectual and high-spoken–colleagues had, in what seemed an immediate and collective and nearly audible harrumph-like reflexive turning away and textual mouth-covering, nose-holding reaction, directly upon my raising the question of politics—and worse, of espousing one position, party, and person over another–apparently perceived such a thing exactly the same as if I had loosed something dirty, stinky, sensual or sexual, and at least lowly, for certain profane, into the space which of a sudden it seemed all had judged to be reserved for only sacred topics…whatever that could mean.
And keep in mind it was only one person out of the several large groups I was following and posting with that found any reason at all to support me.
So now among those various groups I wonder how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics? I wonder this of those who considered their sympathetic and helping actions in person and one-on-one to be the only actions useful in the problem of worldwide human misery.
I wonder, as well, if there are still those–after the last American presidential election of 2008—who are still maintaining it wouldn’t have mattered a twit, in terms of the future of our world and the degree of suffering and dying and torture that it will witness…assuming even that it survives…in the coming upcoming years if McCain had won.
Gore not winning inconsequential?
And I wonder how many catastrophes created by their haughty disinterest around politics it takes to rouse them to interested concern. Just how many are required of tragic Katrina debacles; environmental collapses; massive and increasing species extinctions; stolen elections and rigged voting machines; losses of democracy, human rights, and habeas corpus; governmental mass murders orchestrated to instill fear and hatred enough to wage endless costly wars with the concomitant extinction and suffering of hundreds of thousands of collateral innocents; big-brotherish listening in and recording of all electronic activity; worldwide slaughter and rape of innocents which if not perpetrated then simply ignored or allowed; and worldwide economic collapses, to name just a fraction of the unexpected, unprecedented “dictatorial” actions that resulted from the fact that a Bush not a Gore, a Republican not a Democrat, was placed into the most powerful position on the planet in 2000 by a Supreme Court picked mostly by Republicans and against the will of the majority of Americans–both popularly and electorally.
How much tragedy does it take?
I wonder just how many such events have to happen to bring about that relatively minor percentage point swing in opinion away from the Republican perpetrators of these atrocities that would allow, at long last, the election of a person from that thoroughly besmirched, maligned, lied about party. You know, that ridiculed and laughed about other party of namby-pamby “bleeding hearts” expressing concern for the suffering; that party who has members espousing useless, profitless, “kumbaya” moments of fellow feeling, community solidarity, and global caring; who have passionate aspirations and allegiances to invisible principles and values which involve the betterment of others—even non-Americans!—beyond just oneself and one’s kin; that party which—as empty-headed , soft, and nonsensical as it sounds—actually values these ideals higher than motives of profit—the dimwitted snots actually deeming a good number of things to be greater than money!
Just how many calamities need to occur in America and the world in order for a Democrat to be elected to the helm? Why else would there be only an infrequent election of someone from that alternative party?
The consequence of this is that the Republicans have managed even greater control, after their decades of entrenchment and ever increasing bloating of power and riches arrived at primarily through the consistent scapegoating and then feeding upon and stealing from the vulnerable, the helpless, the poor, and the different.
The Republicans have maneuvered and bought themselves into actual ownership of so many of the necessary societal institutions–education, for example, and most of all the mainstream medias. Then as owners they direct the pundits of the popular media. So these talking heads come across as though programmed in their utterances so that the narrowest vision is presented.
We hear this paid-for perspective packaged in snide comments and insulting and misinforming appellations carefully crafted over time by Republican operatives and fed to their lackeys for the purpose of beating down the comprehension of the public through repetition and the total lack of any accompanying informing or contradictory viewpoint.
Notice in this regard the rise and fall the “liberal” moniker, somehow brought to its grave by someone’s strange verbal construction , however lacking in meaning but, having the quality, the crucial thing sought, so as to malign and affect opinion and feeling, of it sounding offensive and wrong and something that nobody, I mean nobody, would find appealing and identifiable to themselves.
By this I am referring to the success of the nonsensical but hugely unappealing epithet of “bleeding heart” which, added to and repeated endlessly along with the word, liberal, has succeeded in the complete and utter destruction of the use of that word. The connotation of this word, even, has been so successfully made to be distasteful as to sully even the words in its vicinity, as in the unappealing and rarely ever talked about anymore “liberal arts” education, school, or ideal.
Mainstream media have managed to convince nearly everyone, somewhat, of the validity of Richpublican-biased talking points—“obvious truths” which are in fact not–through methods of endless repetition. They have poisoned common perceptions through the trick of the derisive appellation, concocted for the media by Republicans, to be endlessly rained upon their opposition. The opinion-creators have reached unprecedented skillfulness in the practice of mesmerism through the never-ending manufacture of nonsensical straw men which, in the practice of their being pummeled, provide ongoing drama to distract the millions from the issues of real and direct concern to them, to their lives.
How much of this is required? How much suffering needs to occur each time in America and the world in order for at long last a Democrat be chosen?
So, a full eight-year course of Republican fare later, served up for, and often force-fed down the craws of both Americans as well as non-Americans, I wonder now how many of those that criticized me still maintain that in Europe they are only slightly, if at all, affected by American politics.
I wonder how many remain unchanged of those who put up their noses at politics and proclaimed proudly their neutrality or their lack of involvement in it–thus expressing their superiority in either their not being brainwashed like us others into thinking it mattered or in their purity and elitism above us worldly creatures in being above such roughish activities.
I wonder if they still think such things.
And since some of them also espoused that the personal one-on-one sympathetic and helping activities they engaged in were the only ways one could expect to ever make changes in the world and to alter the global trajectory heading inexorably toward the environmental abyss (among many others), I wonder if by now they’d bothered to do a little math around that concept–what with people and their needs and their sufferings ever rising at the same time as we rapidly increase global warming, overpopulation, and the like.
Lastly, having heard it so proudly proclaimed before all elections and by personages both public and private and with equal sort of superiority, I wonder if there are still those who think politics does not matter and does not really affect them in their daily pursuits.
But what did it take?
One the other hand, if some of those I refer to have subsequently reevaluated their status as being above such concerns of lowly humans, I ask what did it take? How much suffering is required of us before those who would but for their egos be at our sides descend to join our ranks? And, it being so much misery, why so much? Do they actually feel that empathy for others they seek credit–and some being “helping” professionals, profit–for having?
Not to belabor but to expose this perspective so easily shunned and darkened, I ask just how much? As Ted Kennedy roared in the Senate, “Just how much greed is required by the other side? Just how much money does it take? How much is enough?”
And my version of that: I ask just how much is wanted of infinite debt–burdening Americans and their children for generations without end–created not out of any spending for healing or the alleviation of suffering of any kind but solely out of the desire of that wealthiest, unnamed one percent of Americans–since the Sixties, but especially rapidly since the Eighties with Reagan-Bush I and now with Bush II, and controlling sixty percent of all resources…still wanting more, refusing to contribute even the slightest, and in the end result, not merely aligning their riches to bring illegally into power another Bush to redistribute upward the wealth alongside the stomping ever increasingly into the dirt of the poor and working classes?
We must not forget a budget surplus after eight years of Democratic leadership in the Nineties, a hard fought for budget surplus, cavalierly gifted to the least needy and the most greedy, as practically Bush’s first big act after receiving the Presidency…almost like it was a payback.
And how unbelievably outrageously despicable this, continuing with Bush right up to the end, to the final days of Bush’s second term—everyone being aware of Obama’s plans for major changes in health care, the environment, jobs, and so much else to benefit the greatest numbers and the most needy—well, too conveniently to not be suspicious and yet with all the boldness of an outlaw gang of the old West terrorizing the citizens of an isolated town, who unashamedly and in their last looting before moving on, resort to stripping the town bare, removing even the gold in the townsfolk’s teeth, and laughing uproariously, powerdrunk, upon overhearing the sobs of mothers contemplating the feeding of their children, the agonized groans of fathers feeling defeated and helpless to protect, nor even to sustain their families.
We observe the strong arm tactics of the representatives of these greedy elites calling the shots of politicians from their hidden or disguised positions. We hear the Democrats of Congress bullied with another fearful specter, some kind of financial nuclear holocaust at the eleventh hour. With all the temerity to actually employ, undisguisedly, the high pressure, railroading tactics of auto salesmanship, we see an extortion by the rich of such magnitude as if wanting to insure the failure of America’s leadership in bringing forth the society of ordinary opportunity for all, and a health care affordable enough to allow citizens a little respite from the knowledge of their inevitable death.
No, instead we see what seems an attempt to rob the store one last time…and hearing the voices of CEOs like that at Chase who afterwards bragged that they would not loan out even a penny of the thirty billion they received and instead use it buy up their competition, thus insuring even greater profits…it is difficult to believe it was anything BUT what it so obviously appeared to be, this theft.
But its results go far beyond that, handicapping the sincere efforts of good politicians and leaders who would want to make a better situation for us all, and doing it so severely, beyond draconian, as to insure a kind of soft burden or soft cage of enslavement for Americans forever into the future.
So great the theft, so great the extortion over the course of eight years that at least one expert has written a book, whose calculations he struggles with in every scenario having results that all carry one conclusion in common: that America will never, repeat, never again be able to regain the relative material gains and ordinary prosperity for those who worked for it that for a long time it held out to its citizens.
And No Sooner Had…
Yet immediately after the election of a Democratic president we hear the persistent cacophony of Republican and wealthy misconstruction and misinformation. They cry out all the louder now in blaming Obama for the very things they had accomplished during their eight years at the cash register, as if by doing so they could blot out the memory of the much greater outpourings of tax dollars for their rich friends and for ends much less noble.
In fact, we’re already finding the ends ignoble, as the banks took the help and then conducted a campaign to bankrupt and default everyone they could find who was dangling on the edge, not well-off like them, nor yet overboard.
It seemed a calculated attack on Americans by the faceless wealthy elite who for reasons we can’t understand appear to want to actually destroy or weed out of existence all but the very strong—these harder ones who, often, we see, are the very types who have aligned themselves with the multinationals and have no patriotic interests.
It is hard to understand, this assault on ordinary Americans by this unknown faceless enemy and for unknown reasons. But sure enough, with talk of a great depression and about and having received unprecedented handouts to help those struggling with debt, we find that moneyed sliver of us precipitated a nationwide campaign, then ratcheted it to full speed, involving the unilateral, universal, and comprehensive doubling, tripling, and more of credit card interest rates, whose effects, while many are simultaneously facing job layoffs, could only bring about more often than not the loss also of home loans, meaning loss of credit, job, and home all at once. One can only wonder at the designs behind such cruelty.
As for me, my greatest wonder is how it is that some of the American people are still going along with the Republican lies as they cover, still, for the continued looting of the poor by the rich. Eight years long; but still continuing. And, again, I’m wondering at the perverse gullibility of some people following blindly those many in the media who are engaged in the coverup, the bait and switch, the offering up of newly elected Obama for the sins of a secret wealthy class over the course of almost thirty years plundering the poor with Republicans help and now without even connivance, shame, or aforethought. In plain sight.
And we see them continue the plunder, with even more obvious support from the media, as they target job-stimulating “earmarks” many of which are scaled in terms of dollars measured by thousands, while individual bankers so very recently bragged about tens of billion being extorted.
It is incomprehensible to me that after all we’ve been through and with all that we see we must deal with, not only now, but also as far into the future as we can imagine, that a good many Americans are still singing with their “daddies” the Republicans. I mean at one time at least one was rewarded with bread and circuses for such misplaced loyalty.
Even as they suffer, even as they lose their jobs and self-respect in being unable to care for their families, or even themselves, still these are mesmerized, seemingly unconsciously acting against their own interests. One wonders again at how long one will feed on one’s own entrails before at least noticing.
So does politics matter? Did politics matter? Can you guess that I think it does?
In the last chapter I began to address that curious behavior, which is uniquely human, of choosing to punish oneself and to attack innocents—being unable to accept happiness—while the perpetrators of suffering stand untouched and in sight. Indeed, listen up and you hear that it is the voices of these guilty that are still pronouncing horrid acts to be done, spelling out in detail the sufferings to be endured and to be inflicted. Yet people, as I have shown, allow, even wish this upon themselves.
In the next chapter I look into another aspect of that weird masochism, particularly of many Americans currently, to derail their own well-being by buying into wishes of their puppeteers to go after—to attack, ridicule, and beat off—the very ones who would put out a hand to help them from their suffering, to beat off the very rescuers who swam out to save them from drowning.
I look into the strange success of the “directors” in getting folks to take pleasure in their enslavement by embracing the scapegoating of those with good hearts wishing to raise us all, including them, up, thus ensuring their continued and even increasing agony.
I ask how is it possible that the ones most good of us have been made to receive judgement as being not good? How is it possible for people to be made to feel proud and superior for shouting down our positives instead as bad, stupid, or naïve…even at great cost to their own happiness? How is it possible that cyncism, mean-spiritedness, even covert racism and other hate, has been made “cool,” hip, and more real than that which would actually bring what is wanted?
In the upcoming section I ask, why is good so bad?
Continue on this site with
Culture War, Class War Epilogue –
Chapter 31: Why Is Good So Bad?
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Tags: politics,time,capsule,psychohistory,intellectuals,election, Republican, Bush, Gore, American, 2000, Democrat, Obama, McCain, lies, wealthy, filthy, rich
#1 by ana lavigne on August 18, 2012 - 7:13 am
Long and interesting, Michael!!!!