No clean hands in the voting booth
Prajwal calls me to task for my post-election thoughts:
And you placed blame, so much blame. Did your fiery polemic strike the king makers who in the shade craft shadows of deception to cloud the minds of the electorate? Did you indict the politicians, who employ falsities and facades to build careers of power and influence? No. You pointed at your neighbors. At the voters. At America.
First, my apologies for the slow reply.
The king-makers? The "shade craft shadows" that "cloud the minds" of Americans? Who are we fighting here, Republicans or Jedi?
I think the difference, frankly, is that I'm holding the American people in contempt -- and you're holding them beneath contempt. You're denying the electorate any agency whatever. People voted for a war-monger but not for war? For the agents of aggression but not for aggression? For the most enthusiastic proponent of a broken death penality -- but not for an unfair death penalty? People voted in huge majorities for explicitly anti-gay legislation. But they aren't homophobes. Just ... what? Confused? Did they imagine they were voting for some manner of equal rights? Just how blinkered do you think we all are?
Have we no responsibility when we step into the voting booth? The nation unleashes wars of aggression, innocents die -- and because we vote in private we have no culpability? Some 100,000 people die in Iraq, but none of the war's rabid boosters are to blame, because USA Today and Fox News are bad sources?
Voting isn't free and their backwards motherfucking vote to kill medical funding that would help millions of people isn't fucking cool with me. I can't stop them from voting. But I'm not going to swallow it and blame John Kerry for failing to "frame" something properly. If these are adults capable of being swayed, then they're capable of bearing some responsibility for the course of the government they're steering into disaster after disaster.
And I'm going to spit it back in their face. Sure, I'll be happy to help think of ways to win next time. But I'm not going to censor my thoughts on what a lot of fucking assholes they are for forcing us to do this. We have rights, not poker chips. And when some Bible-quoting dickhead decides to stop respecting a whole slew of those rights, I'm not going to feel bad about misunderstanding his perspective. He can eat me.
You're damn right I placed a lot of blame. Murder-by-committee still leaves a body in the ground. Yeah I blame America -- who should I blame? Denmark? Poland? America did this; there's no way around that. George W. Bush bears the lion's share of the blame, but 60 million enablers cannot all have clean hands.
This is a pretty rough tension, but America is a land of paradox. It can handle me shouting at it and trying to win it back. How much worse, I think, to pretend that the nation is so incompetent that it doesn't even know what it's doing, that the people actually agree with us, think like us, but are too stupid to know it.
Forgive them, father; they know not what they do.
OK. I can handle that. But I cannot just ignore the crime, pretend that ignorance lets tens of millions of people off the hook for all the pain that's about to befall the nation and the world with that man in the White House another four years.
So with all do respect to the process of winning back the middle ground, I stand by my hearty "fuck you" to the heartland.