So that’s what an ass-whuppin’ feels like; 1994 was so long ago that I had pretty much forgotten.
Honestly, I have to confess that I manage to enjoy every election, even those like this year’s when our frenemies, the Republicans, sweep the table. I remember in 1992 when I took Little Four-year-old Grace Marie to the polling place with me, Mom Darla, in an effort to keep our daughter’s feet on the ground, made it a point to explain to her that “not every grown-up gets as excited about election day as your Dad does.”
“OK, Mom,” she replied.
Tuesday morning, after I cast my (pathetically ineffective) vote, I started my walk to school and by coincidence the first tune to pour out of my iPod was Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”
I ask you, how cool is that?
Anyway, here’s what I think: America is fantastic – Abraham Lincoln! Rally to Restore Sanity!! Election Day!!!
On the other hand, America is a mess – Sean Hannity? Governor Rick Scott?? Flowbee???
My Island Buddy, Steve, recently sent me some comments highlighting the more frightening features of the “America is a mess” side of the story, some of which I will present here as my own ideas. Since he is my buddy, I'm figuring he won't sue me for stealing some of them.
The basic political story of 2010 is this: In the infamous Citizens United decision, conservative Supreme Court justices voted to allow corporate moneyed interests to continue screwing us with increasing vigor and this has doomed Americans to serfdom. The day is just around the corner when we will have to beg BP to please allow us to spend our free time cleaning their oil off our beaches at which point the BP executives, if they are in a generous frame of mind, will nod to their Senators and other Congressional minions who will write a law allowing us to do so.
OK, maybe we aren’t there yet. But I do think that at the very least Schoolhouse Rock needs to update its cute little “How a Bill Becomes a Law” video. I was introduced to this wonderful educational cartoon by My Favorite Student, who, when she was a little girl, got together with her pal Meryl and did performances of some Schoolhouse Rock scenarios for Darla and me.
In the original version, an adorable little rolled up and ribbon-bound bill sits on the steps of Congress waiting while House and Senate committees debate it. Then Presto! it becomes a law after the wise ones of Congress vote for it and the president signs it.
The little bill was sent to Congress in the first place because concerned citizens wanted a law which would prevent school buses from being crushed by trains at railroad crossings. What could be simpler or more benign?
1. Citizens see a need and consult their Congressional representative who
2. writes a bill on behalf of America’s school children, and finally,
3. after a lot of jingle singing, it becomes a law.
But I would like to propose a new, more realistic version of “How a Bill Becomes a Law.” This updated version would open on a scene in which a group of thuggish characters sit around a bottle-littered table in a smoke-filled room barely illuminated by a single dangling light bulb. On the wall hangs a poster of Satan who looks surprisingly similar to Dick Cheney and who smiles with self satisfaction as his tobacco-stained fingers gently stroke a little model of an oil derrick which reclines in his lap. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” plays in the background.
So the thugs put together a bill that makes it unconstitutional to ask any member of Congress where their campaign funding comes from and which contains a supplementary clause prohibiting any citizen from complaining about oil on beaches, residents, clothing, children and all accouterments thereunto appertaining.
The bill produced in this foul little room is then made public (to the tune of the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”). As the bill shoves its way through throngs of protesting citizens, it swaggers up the capitol steps where members of Congress genuflect before it and quickly rubber stamp it. Then President Palin signs into law.
Of course it isn’t set in stone that things will turn out this way. After all, America has survived crises in the past and I still have faith that we will survive this one too.
You may well ask, “But, Comrade CultureWorld, what can we do to keep Satan from taking over America?”
Naturally, I’m happy to advise. First, as a general rule, you should favor Democrats over Republicans in your voting because Democrats never use dishonest or unfair ads in their campaigns.
Oh all right, so Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson used a grossly dishonest and unfair ad against his Republican opponent this year, but that’s only one.
OK, OK, so Democrat Jack Conway used a ridiculously stupid and unfair ad that tried to make Rand Paul look like a slave of Aqua Buddha. Very well, I admit it. Democrats can be creepy too. But the main advantage of the Democrats is that they are somewhat less in thrall than Republicans are to the corporate money that has been steadily smothering our democracy since 1980. In other words, in order to fund their campaigns, the Democrats frequently go whoring with Satan; the Republicans, however, are happily married to the Prince of Darkness.
The second thing I recommend is that you not watch FOX News…unless you simply want to keep tabs on what the Forces of the Dark Side are up to. If you actually believe that Fox is “fair and balanced,” it may be too late for you.
I would like to recommend as an alternative to Fox, the Morning Joe program on MSNBC, hosted by Joe Scarborough. I know, Joe Scarborough is a conservative Republican, but he’s still cool. (Yes, I said cool – now bear with me here.)
You know those types who go around saying nutty things like “Obama is a Muslim,” as if they were idiots? (And I use the phrase “as if” liberally here.) Well, Joe treats them they way they deserve to be treated, i.e., as though they inhabited their own little Sims World where anything they want to make up can be true.
Being a conservative Republican, Joe is a bit askew on some issues, but what distinguishes him from those right-wingers who seem to have Ph.D.s in ignorance (e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck), is that he respects people whose views he disagrees with as long as their views aren’t just plain wacko. And his program has people like Eugene Robinson and Katrina vanden Heuvel on it -- smart people who actually know stuff and who are not slaves to the corporatacracy.
So, I say, turn off Fox and turn on Morning Joe.
Anyway, back to my original point: Even given the new influence secret money now has on our elections, and the newfound power of crazies like Michelle Bachmann, I still have faith in our country. We may be in for nasty weather, but after all, we more or less survived the Bush presidency, so I believe we will survive the current rise of the right. In the name of Aqua Buddha, I do hope so.
From Vintage American & ARose Books