March 11, 2005, The Unified Field Theory of American Politics
It's not a pretty picture. Some of you may find it unacceptably cynical, or not adequately liberal, or whatever. But I fear I'm about to speak the truth in a rather frightning way. No one comes out well in my version of the truth.
But it was drawn out by good old Kevin H., the macher di machers of of American Street, who was commenting on my post there called "What's the Matter with Kansas"?
The context of my post concerned a Mr. Rader, also known as "BTK", a serial killer operating for some time in the Wichita, Kansas area. Rader was unbelievably "proper"; indeed, he even enforced "quality of life" offenses against others, was a regular churchmen, scout leader, etc. He just happened to have murdered 10 people and terrorized a city. He lived on the same block as one victim, and should have been made for ties to at least three. But... because, I submit, in places like Kansas, "micro-propriety" prevails-- meaning he does all the over things required of him-- he made law enforcement pass right over him.
I was making a broader point, of course, that American politics have, alas, been reduced to the right's obsession with "morality" defined as its view of sexual mores. But in an e-mail to Kevin, I went much, much further. Here goes:
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. To tell you the truth, the bankruptcy bill (and other things) are kind of depressing me of late, and I'm not posting much on my own blog. Coming up with stuff for the Street (which actually has a READERSHIP!) is a nice break for me.
Anyway, to the topic at hand (not that our coming up with memes de jours will solve ANYTHING-- after the bankruptcy fiasco, I am convinced that OUR OWN PARTY IS THE PROBLEM, and should really be re-built from the bottom up and/or replaced with something like a "Labour Party" or a "Liberal Party" or the "Whig Party" or something that is about good governance and not about personal aggrandizement, celebrity worship, and whoring to big donors; but I digress...)...
Serial kiillers tend to fit a peculiar profile (with exceptions like Wayne Williams (Black and gay) down in Atlanta, or Dahmer (gay) for that matter, or David Berkowitz (born of Italian descent, adopted by Jews, both "not profile"). John Wayne Gacey, or BTK for that matter, fits it perfectly: a generally respected, not particularly suspicious PROTESTANT WHITE MALE who preys on other Whites, generally women, in a bland suburban setting.
Invariably they were mistreated as children, though not necessarily pathologically mistreated. They're response is that they see themselves as white males who, as Christian Americans, are members of the master race, gender and creed, and really resent the fact that others are not merely over them, but anywhere near them. The response is a lashing out to regain power.
Because this is bland, suburban America, where violence IS A VIRTUE, violence it is. Naturally, it would be a mistake to pick on, say, White males who might be oppressing you (your co-workers, your boss, although frankly, this is ANOTHER group of White Protestant male pathology-- notice its ALWAYS-- I'm not aware of exceptions-- White males who go in and shoot up their offices?), the serial killer goes after people he resents. Girls will do. Or women. Pretty ones, especially. Like the kind that made him feel so damned powerless in high school. While other guys (richer, better looking, whatever) got and banged the chicks in high school, we, alas, had to hang out with guys, maybe drinking bad beer, maybe shooting at things as we drove around downtown.
Well, let's just say that adulthood and its complete lack of accountability (let's face it: in America, other than industrial workers, fast food workers, agriculture and assorted other crap jobs at the bottom of the food chain, and jobs LIKE THAT such as at at a law firm I worked at where I was judged on my arrival time and how neat my desk was and NOT ANYTHING ELSE, like how good my work was, how much money I made the company, etc., most people can fuck off all day, and who would notice?) opens up some opportunities. The fact is, we are a free country, and it doesn't take too much to get away with bad shit. Most people coast, which is kind of why we are SO fucked as a country, we think even the PRESIDENT is a bullshit job we can put someone who coasts in (imagine if your doctor did that? or your airplane mechanic? When THEY coast, people die... kind of like the President, huh? but I digress...)
A woman who foolishly places herself in an isolated place (could be anywhere) is just asking for it, right? So our serial killer seeks out such circumstances, and then gets his little power/revenge fantasy. Since violence is cool, why not go all the way, right?
Fast forward: what have I just identified? Not merely the traits of the average ur-serial killer, but the traits of the quinetessential stereotypical Republican "values" voter. White. Male. Protestant. Bland. Suburban. The church-going and apparently proprietary is OPTIONAL-- not required. BUT-- despite being in a position to coast through successfully, RESENTFUL that anyone else is allowed in the game (damned women and minorities and furriners, etc.) And gun loving. MAN, gun loving. AND. RESENTFUL. OF. WOMEN. ABOVE. EVERYTHING. ELSE.
Unfortunately, the bankruptcy bill is the most important exercise of our current cycle (the war vote was the most important of our generation, but note the heavy overlap in pro-fuck-debtors votes and pro-fuck-reservists votes). Notice-- the GOP SENATORS THEMSELVES are putting a stop to tax cut mania, and even to environmental degradation, they say "there are limits"... Dems could EASILY hang together and kill bankruptcy repeal (you know-- to help POOR AND WORKING PEOPLE?) but feel they only have the cojones to do ONE THING-- and that is block anti-abortion judges.
We are fighting the battle of high school: it is the sex-deprived nerds (who now control all branches of government) against the cool kids, who want to (and GET TO) go all the way. We are fucked up. Yes, we know the problem. (But our side is as guilty as their side (moreso-- THEY SAY they want to benefit the rich; we just DO IT.)
You tell me? The fact that the profile of the average serial killer and the average Republican voter are probably identical is interesting, but... so what? Most Republican voters aren't serial killers (though, many of them COULD BE!) We. Have. Got. To. Get. Roe. Reversed. Ourselves. So our party can go back to the business of being a political power about protecting the powerless... Planned Parenthood reports that abortion is unobtainable in over 86% of the counties in America. For a hypothetical right that is best left to the states (and the COOL states will keep it legal), we have to sacrifice EVERYTHING ELSE? I say NO! STOP THIS! Abortion should never have been a federal matter to begin with. The uncool states HAVE EFFECTIVELY ALREADY BANNED IT. A formal ban (after Roe is reversed) will change NOTHING. But I digress.
You see-- in that, and ONLY THAT SENSE-- the crazed serial killers and the Republican voters are not only aligned with each other, but with one version of reality: they tend to be SEXUALLY POWERLESS. Their wives can tell them to go to hell, and they don't get any, despite being able to command their little business ventures and other stuff (like our entire government). Dem voters these days are overwhelmingly SINGLE WOMEN: they CAN SAY NO. They hold THAT ONE PARTICULAR POWER that is so fascinating to Republicans (and to serial killers). And indeed, its the consequences of them NOT saying no (or saying no and getting raped anyway) leading to abortion that have become equated with "moral values".
I don't know. As I said-- many things are depressing. But this can explain almost our entire political existence for the last few decades.
Ralph Nader ends up being right (proven so by the bankruptcy bill): the Dems are NO DIFFERENT, certainly NO BETTER, than the Republicans. Al Gore was a notable exception who Nader killed off, but in the macro, Ralph is right, I'm afraid. At this point, we have bullies in the bully pulpit: if we remain silent, they WILL seize the silence as consent, and they will continue to abuse our Constitution. We usually would have an opposition party to deal with that sort of thing. Unless the issue is somehow tied to abortion, we have no opposition party. We are the United States of K-Street lobbyists, basically. Whores on both sides of the aisle.
Frightening. Certainly takes the fun out of blogging when one considers all of it.
Well, I disagree with you as to both your diagnosis and your prescription. I also think that your plan is a day late and a dollar short: there's no hope that reversing Roe would leave abortion to the states. If Roe is reversed, abortion will become a federal crime (punishable by death) as fast as the legislation can be drafted. You didn't seriously think these people actually believed in Federalism, did you? Federalism is only for those who do not control the national legislative agenda.
Posted by mamayo at March 11, 2005 11:36 AM
The link for which you're searching is sociopathology, the disconnect between oneself and society. Key attribute of serial killers; found among social Darwinist conservatives to lesser degrees.
I'm fed up, too. I've got an interesting discussion started simply by suggesting the Dems might not be the answer to everything we want. Come on over and put in your two cents, if you're so inclined.
Posted by Shakespeare's Sister at March 11, 2005 12:25 PM
TD, I knew you had it in you, realizing your previously unstated anger. You're taking the first steps. Goody, goody.
Posted by Your Friend Hannibal at March 11, 2005 1:10 PM
Yes, TD. Feel the power of the Dark Side.
Posted by Emperor Palpatine at March 11, 2005 1:11 PM
TD, I surtanely understan yu feelens abut pashun and self control. Duren the trial, when that sweet young boy was testafiing, it took all I had to stop me from touchen myself.
Posted by Michael J. at March 11, 2005 3:16 PM
If the Dems can hold together on one thing, its abortion. They will muster a filibuster to stop such a federal crime. Besides--recent Supreme Court jurisprudence (LOL) limits the commerce clause, so such restrictions might not even be constitutional. I said this might be the case-- you are right about whoredom of the right. BUT-- I am right about whoredom on the left. Until we fall below 39 Dem senators, I submit this is the one (and only) issue they WILL hold together on.
Shak's Sis-- I am seriously considering holding a public burning of my voter registration card, preferably in front of the Capitol Building. The "Just say no to everything except abortion" party is just not particularly useful-- which explains why the GOP made inroads among EVERY SINGLE GROUP excepting single women in the last election, despite having a reactionary, social Darwinist, foreign policy and enviornmentally suicidal and shortsighted policy. Its THE DEMS THAT ARE THE PROBLEM. The bankruptcy fiasco just kills it for me. They can't hold together on a bill DESIGNED TO FUCK THE POOREST, MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THIS SOCIETY FROM USURIOUS AND ABUSIVE PLUTOCRATS AND PREDATORY LENDERS? How DARE such a Party claim a mantle of representing the People. How DARE THEY.
Hannibal-- stay in school, man. Palpatine, the Connecticut voters will have YOU out on your ass soon. And Michael, man-- didn't your lawyer tell you that the jury has to LIKE YOU? Makin' them wait for your ego is the one sure way they're gonna send you to the slammer, Dude.
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Posted by U53N3TK001D00D at March 11, 2005 6:04 PM
Out monsters hide in plain sight. Or, the banality of evil.
Posted by lulu at March 12, 2005 2:43 PM
correction - "Our monsters..."
Posted by lulu at March 12, 2005 2:46 PM
Think of it all as "family values". MANSON family values.
Posted by the talking dog at March 12, 2005 5:15 PM
Unfortunately, I believe we'll get to see which of us is right about the Commerce clause "jurisprudence." I don't think they'd hesitate to uphold a federal criminal statute for even one hot second. They've always been able to find a federal interest in preventing people from crossing state lines for immoral porpoises. And in abortion, they'd have all those deep concerns about violating the constitutional rights of the unborn. Piece-a-cake on federalizing this thing--give me a tough one like pre-empting state legalization of medicinal marijuana when the marijuana in question in grown and marketed entirely within state borders--your "federalist" Justice Dep't brought that case, remember?
Posted by mamayo at March 14, 2005 3:11 PM