"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Almost without exception, the election results coming in from around the country this morning represent a stinging defeat for those of us in the reality-based community. In addition to Dear Leader's narrow electoral victory - and convincing margin in the popular vote - we are confronted with a House and Senate dominated by Karl Rove's brownshirts, ready to do his bidding. We have eleven states (if I recall correctly) that have resoundingly adopted hateful anti-gay ballot measures. We awake this morning in a nation that has embraced fear over hope, ignorance over reason, and the worst kind of crypto-fascism over freedom.
We will continue to bleed jobs like a hemophiliac. We will continue to run up incomprehensible debts for our children and grandchildren to pay. We will continue to plunder the earth of its resources - for a tidy profit, of course - until we can truly say that no strip mall has been left behind. We will remain bogged down in a doomed, stupid war that our own military leaders (including our soon-to-be-former Secretary of State, Colin Powell) increasingly recognize as unwinnable, while Osama bin Laden gloats. But hey - at least there won't be no faggots getting married, so it's all good.
How did it come to this?
As I see it, there are two possible explanations. First, it is possible that Americans are the dumbest, meanest creatures ever to walk the earth. This explanation has a certain attractiveness. For one thing, it would go a long way toward explaining the popularity of Fear Factor, and The Passion of the Christ: Team Jerusalem, and Celine Dion. It would explain why we are having an earnest national debate about whether it is morally acceptable to execute children and retards. It would explain why Ann Coulter is allowed to walk free. Also - and I think this is the real selling point - it would make the rest of us feel really good and superior. It's not our fault that America has become its own little Axis of Evil; blame those knuckle-draggers in the flyover states.
The other possible explanation that I see - and the one I choose to believe - is that America is a fundamentally decent nation that, unfortunately, has been duped by the most sophisticated and well-funded propaganda operation ever conceived. From the time we enter school - which has evolved from a place of learning to a place of standardized test preparation - until we die, slumped over in the sickly glow of our televisions, Americans are bathed in a noxious stew of vacuous corporate cheerleading and paranoid religious twaddle. Our God is a vicious, vengeful God, and He has Sean Hannity on His speed dial. Abu Ghraib does not offend Him, but He goes positively medieval whenever His Bechtel stock loses value. And look, over there - it's Scott Peterson!
Either way, it's time for a reckoning. What do we do now?
I'll be honest - if I were still a young man, I would be sorely tempted to fake my own death, learn the Spanish words for "whiskey" and "fellatio," and move to Costa Rica to pursue a career smuggling exotic plants and reptiles. I still may. But the better choice, I think, is to roll up my sleeves and fight these motherfuckers until either they or I lie dead and bleeding in the gutter. Call it a hobby.
There are midterm elections to prepare for, and the time to start preparing is now. There is a gaggle of pretty, perfumed whores in the employ of CNN and the New York Times to shame, if indeed they are capable of shame. There is righteous anger to indulge, and, every now and then, there are moments of genuine beauty and joy and wisdom to celebrate and cultivate. There is a culture war to win. And there are truths to tell, even if no one wants to hear them.
But first, I'm gonna take a short break. This time I mean it - I'm signing off until at least Sunday or Monday. I'm going to spend the next few days licking my wounds, and drinking some beers, and playing with my son. I might even try to generate some income, so I can afford to get a haircut. And then, I'm coming back - tanned, rested, and ready - and loaded for bear.
I hope you'll join me. We have work to do.