Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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12 December 2012

Why Such a Disaster?

My house got some pretty serious damage during Sandy. So I had this joke formed in my head for when I would meet up with people who would express their concern. It would go something like this:

Concerned Person: So how are you holding up?
Me: Oh, not good. What a disaster, it's just devastating. And worst is, there doesn't seem to be any hope that things will get any better.
Concerned Person: Oh dear. What does your insurance company say?
Me: Oh! -- You mean the house! Oh no, that's coming along fine...I thought you meant the election!

I haven't been really going out much, but I did get to use it once, and it worked pretty good - they laughed heartily, at least. I had another opportunity, but these people are extremely nice liberals and I didn't have the heart. And of course they'd just think I was crazy - what disaster?

And "what disaster?" indeed. As the man said to the fella who looked like a horse "Why the long face?" Is it really a disaster that Obama is going to raise taxes on wealthy people? Is Obama care really a disaster - and would it be any less of a disaster with Romney who would be unable to repeal it anyway? Is it really a disaster that America isn't even more pro-Israel than it already is? Have you lost your mind?

No, I don't think the next four years are going to be a disaster because Obama was re-elected. I still believe that Obama is smart enough not to do anything really stupid - though his apparent preference for Susan Rice as SoS has given me some pause in that regard. It's going to be very annoying for sure - more and more "disparate impact" suits - one of the more pernicious developments in Pink America - and of course the grotesque insufferableness of the Obamas and their shamelessly fawning lapdogs in the press. So while the next four years will be terribly annoying and could well be a disaster, I don't think Obama's election over Romney would be the proximate cause of any such disaster.

It's the handwriting on the wall that so depresses me. Or is it more like graffiti? It shouts down at us triumphantly and accusatorily: "Your America is over. Our America begins today. More Fair. More Equal. More Just. Get over it."

If you've had kids or been around children much, you know what the meaning of "fair" - it means someone else has more than you and you want it. "Justice" has a similarly straightforward meaning - if it favors us, it is just.

Many seem to be operating under the delusion that the Obama movement seeks to somehow level the playing field - to make sure that the unscrupulous machinations of the rich are reined in and their undeserved riches will now be spread among the middle class. Seems perfectly reasonable - after all, we did just suffer a severe financial crisis where a whole bunch of bankers made tons of money bankrupting their companies and bringing the economy to its knees - so it only makes sense!

Many on the right believe Obama is a socialist - an extreme left-winger. But he is nothing of the sort - sure he's very 'liberal' - he's the New York Times Editorial Page exemplified. But such grandiosity of purpose does not interest him. Just as the driving purpose of G.W. Bush was the Bush Dynasty, what drives Obama is his own attainment of power. He is hideously insufferable, but he almost surely won't do anything as stupid and destructive as, say,  invading Iraq.

No, it's not any specific acts or policies of the Obama presidency that I find so depressing. What we saw last month was sea change in electoral politics. Oh, yes they're all talking about it. Here's Maureen Dowd yesterday:
The Mayans were right, as it turns out, when they predicted the world would end in 2012. It was just a select world: the G.O.P. universe of arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys. Just another vanishing tribe that fought the cultural and demographic tides of history.
Nice. But forget the hate for a moment and let's focus on the triumphalism - and how, like most victors, Dowd is sure to paint her side's victory as an improbably triumph of an underdog. White men, lost, you see, because of "a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count." Again, let's put aside the sheer stupidity of such a statement, and understand that Dowd is outlining the tribalism that has come to dominate our discourse. As a natural tribalist, she can't resist shaking her poms-poms in her opponents' face:
President Obama’s victory margin is expanding, as more votes are counted. He didn’t just beat Romney; he’s still beating him.
Yeah, we're kickin' butt! Unlike her clueless (and, of course, white-male) colleagues, who think the election is all about policies, Dowd understands the war being fought, and she's pumped 'cause she's winning.

Now, admittedly, "policies" weren't totally irrelevant. Many "white men" (a term which is actually short-hand for "working white men and married women") voted against Romney for his policies. They rationally see the anti-tax absolutism of the Republicans as mistaken or their hawkishness as dangerous, and voted for Obama. But otherwise, policies are irrelevant. How else could you explain the insanity?

Preventing pregnancy has never been easier - birth control pills go for about $20 a month, there's a morning-after pill, all sorts of options readily available. New female college graduates now out-earn their male counterparts. And Obamacare promises free birth control for all! Yet when Republicans protested that religious institutions not be required to pay for this free birth control, they were denounced from sea-to-shining-sea for waging a 'War on Women.'

Similarly, life has never been better for gays, lesbians, trannies, etc. They're having weddings at West Point for god sakes, widely celebrated throughout the media. But those who object to gay marriage - a practice universally banned and pretty much relegated to the "absurd" file - are now considered evil bigots unworthy of society's polite attention.

And we just saw the Republican presidential race run its course from primaries to ultimate defeat without a mention of affirmative action and racial preferences, without reference to black crime or absurdly high levels of black illegitimacy - without any mention of racial issues whatsoever, despite the president himself being black and his black attorney general pushing a fairly aggressive race-conscious agenda. Yet these same Republicans were continuously denounced as racist at every advancement of their tame agenda. Even tax cutting, the one policy Republicans could push without any racial-angle, was attacked for having a racist agenda.

And so the Orwellianism will march on essentially unopposed. There are no voices of opposition except in these fever swamps of the Steve-o-sphere. Fox News, which looked so promising a decade ago, has descended into self-parody, a cocoon of mainstream Republican promotion which exists only because it is an unusually profitable enterprise in the brutally tough cable news business. Tribalism will thrive in America 2.0, as ethnic groups build alliances to topple majority control then fragment to divvy up the inevitably shrinking pie. The Republican tribe will indeed wither, as Miss Maureen prophesies, but her tribal alliances will just get uglier and uglier. And that is why I'm depressed.


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