Watching American electioneering coverage in mainstream American media is predictably baffling: how do people who are irrational on their best days become positively, rabidly psychotic? What is the trigger? Phases of the moon? Media-driven mass hysteria?
Looking from afar at the simmering anuran cauldron, it seems to be a competition to up the ante on stupid. But starting at stupid really only leaves a narrow register of insensate imbecility that can be adopted. Hence barking dogs, spank dat pink pony, diss dem beeaaaatches, beat dem Hoes, kill dem Niggahs an’ Spicks!
What about non-mainstream media? You know. That vast new territory of saner online citizens. Oh dear. The same thing seems to be happening there. Online blogger-cum-citizen journalists — ugh, what a horrendous misnomer — turn from being mostly just smart-alecky, crashing bores to frenzied psychotics. At the drop of a keystroke. Well, at any mention of the names Clinton and Sanders, anyway.
To explain this voluntary flight of all judgement it is really tempting to devise a vast conspiracy theory resting on a Ludlum plot — something to do with the water supply, psychoactive drugs, and a Vienna-based cabal of banko-fascist Freemasons.
Passionate advocacy is one thing. And healthy, too, if it’s recognised for what it is. And what it isn’t. But I’m seeing erstwhile ‘friends’ turn on each other to fight about semantics and the credibility of ‘polling’ that has never been credible. Really, now. So-called ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ behaving exactly like redneck trailer-park white trash.
I guess such people have never really been friends in the first place, but have clubbed together online in the past because their interests and prejudices match for all purposes … except the confected mass hysteria of electioneering. Too American to resist being called to the rally by the hidden persuaders.
It seems too difficult to see that nothing at all has changed since the whole charade began.
The clowncar is still the clowncar, with a vote for any of its sockpuppets being a vote for an American Taliban and all the cannibalistic nihilism of disestablishing the nation in favour of plutocrat freeholds, each with their own Taliban militia.
The Democrat party machine is still the ‘reasonable’ face of the Republican Party, and its sole candidate is still the best of the Republican candidates.
The sole independent, who nevertheless has to run as a nominal Democrat, is still the sole independent, running on a platform of moderately conservative European style social democrat policies.
The choice, therefore, is still the same it was at the last election … with one exception. Vote for the Taliban has been a favoured choice since Reagan. Vote for a more civilised face of conservatism has been the Clinton and Obama option. But now there’s also an option to vote for something different.
Not alien different. But probably more nearly pre- and immediately-post war different.
Those who argue for a Taliban state have made their position as clear as it can be: the USA should continue on a path of dismantling nationhood and all the evidence of a civilised and civilising state.
Those who just don’t want things to change either way also have a clear position: only Clinton can guarantee vacillation and inaction to buy off, for a time, the radical Taliban agenda.
Why is this so hard to comprehend? Let’s leave aside the die-cast partisans, who will never see reality or change their voting pattern. That leaves what are known as swing voters, who are increasingly the only kind that count. They tend to be young and mobile. And, I suspect, they include a large cohort of numbskulls, driven by a kind of ADHD, coupled with the compulsion of onanistic and instant self-gratification. You know the ones: constantly fiddling with something, whether it’s their own crutches or gadgets. Generation attention deficit wankers!
The concept of gradual change escapes them. They have no concept of history. They are beholden to the notion that anything not new is inherently worth less than recycled junk that has ‘New and improved’ stamped over the previous decal saying ‘New and improved’. This appearance of instant change and improvement then comes to take on a literal meaning for such delicate minds: ‘If I don’t get exactly what I want, and right now, I’m gonna sulk and suck my thumb.’ Never mind they actually never het what they want, only what they are told to want.
In the presence of so much imbecility, it is difficult to make out an opportunity for adult politics pitched at mature, educated, intelligent people. I guess they are just too restrained when it comes to yelling loud enough to be heard above the din of all the spoilt children.