The Talking Dog

April 28, 2012, Old High school

It's hard to figure out even where to begin with this (apparent) observation that "Barack Obama is too cool for American voters," based, perhaps, on a recent appearance of the President on the Jimmy Fallon show.

Well, back when he and I actually were in school (albeit two or three years after high school), the young Barack that I encountered in our junior year at Columbia [in some political theory class or something, IIRC] was pretty damned cool... actually, he was probably cooler than he is now, truth be told.

But... does this matter? We're way beyond mere "style vs. substance." There, is of course, no "substance," because there is no "democracy," only a pretty bad impersonation of one. The same goes with "freedom," "checks and balances," and, other than in appearance, our "republican form of government." "Equality under law" has always been more aspirational than real, but it sure ain't real now. At this point, only paid shills of the system itself even attempt to deny that the "two parties" are both beholden to (and wholly owned by) the financial sector.

The fact is, whether it's totalitarianism expanding the Bush/Cheney approach to national security, or totalitarianism extending the Bush tax cuts or totalitarianism seeing to it that Jon Corzine and the financial sector are above (indeed, beyond) the law, or just about anything else I can think of, it's really hard for Republicans to sincerely challenge the Obama Administration on the substance of its programs (which, to be fair, were largely also the Bush programs, the Clinton programs, the first Bush programs and the Reagan programs, with only Jimmy "Eat Your Damned Vegetables" Carter as an exception to pure governance-by-the-financial-sector-and-defense-contractors that we have "enjoyed" along with flat or declining real incomes for the overwhelming majority of Americans, made up by skyrocketing debt levels) since 1981 or so.

In the imminent "election" between "the two parties," neither party can really challenge the other on policy... the "war on women" is far more bipartisan than anyone will care to admit, the "war on the poor" continues unabated, the "war on everyone else in the universe" drives everything else in American policy, and the über rich consolidate whatever power and real resources that they don't already control, and those unhappy with their lot are welcome to pound sand, while the police state also consolidates... the logical extension of the repeal of the Bill of Rights by the Supreme Court in Padilla has given us the NDAA and other abominations, seen on the ground in the form of heavy-handed reactions to the largely peaceful Occupy! movement, or indeed, to any actual expression of dissent from Our Perfect American System [TM].

Anyway, it seems we are "enjoying" an "election" coming down to "coolness" amidst the otherwise nightmarish economic, environmental, social, moral, legal and other morasses we are now "enjoying"... I suppose this is all consistent with being a nation (any nation) where Kim Kardashian gets a dominant place in the national discourse.

How to deal with it all? I think I have the right idea by trying not even to think about it (hence the light blogging)... but old habits die hard. First, of course, the traditional bottom-of-the-hole advice is "stop digging"-- and so I'd also suggest that we please stop pretending there is any meaningful substantive difference between "the two parties" (if there is, someone did something wrong.) That said-- feel free to vote based on "coolness;" at least style may be a genuine difference (can't seem to figure out any others.)

Still and all... even though none of this matters... I do agree that Mitt Romney is incredibly uncool. Well... I guess it's back to the old Etch-a-sketch.