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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
“They have taken the bridge, and the second hall. We have barred the gates, but we cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. Drums . . . drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming.”
So read the Facebook status message of one of my friends this morning. The quote, attributed by him to J.R.R. Tolkien, is perhaps far too applicable on this particular day, election day 2010.
I should start by stating that I am decidedly not a Democrat. Both parties are funded by the same multinational corporations, and both are beholden not to the interests of ordinary citizens, but instead to the corporations that paid to put them in office. Chomsky’s description of the Republicans and Democrats being arms of the same “Business Party” is highly accurate.
However, we as a nation tend to fare far worse when Republicans are in charge then when Democrats are. It would seem the reason for this is that Democrats at least pretend to be progressive, and pretend to represent populist interests. Republicans, on the other hand, are unabashedly the party of big business, but somehow they’ve managed to fool the masses into thinking that what’s best for multinational corporations is also best for them. The fact that such a belief is so widespread is testament to one of the most organized and highly effective propaganda campaigns in history.
Still, I despise most Democratic politicians because they strike me as being utterly spineless and decidedly two-faced. In discussing the character of Democratic politicians, I am reminded of a conversation I had some time ago with a South African about the differences between “communist” China and the “democratic” United States. With China at least, he said, you knew what you were getting. The US, on the other hand, was perhaps the greater evil since it disguised itself as being this grand beacon of freedom and democracy, while simultaneously raping and pillaging the world behind the scenes. A similar comparison could perhaps be made between the Democrats and Republicans.
And yet there is absolutely no question that our country will be dramatically worse off, at least in the short run, if the Republicans gain as many seats as they are currently expected to. One hopes that the potential for a Republican blowout has been greatly overexaggerated, as suggested in the recent NY Times blog post, “5 Reasons Democrats Could Beat the Polls and Hold the House.
Yet in reading this article, a couple of pertinent issues quickly stand out. The first issue is apparent from the very opening, which essentially details all of the improbable events that would have to occur for the Democrats to maintain a majority in the House. The article then raises the specter of a “77-seat Republican gain.” Utterly frightening, to say the least.
However, the second issue which becomes apparent in reading the article is just how detrimental our “horse-race” political coverage can be. Rather than focusing on meaningful issues, this article – and the MSM in general, obsesses over candidates’ performance in various polls, which in turn influences the outcome of future polls. Part of the reason that Republicans might be so heavily favored in current polls is because horse-race coverage has made the Republican victory seem so inevitable. One wonders if media coverage focused on the issues rather than on the horse-race, how the poll results would differ. I suspect that Republicans would be polling in single digits in many parts of the country, since anyone who actually listens to what the Republicans – and Teabaggers – are saying quickly realizes that they are not someone you want to be representing you in office.
And so yet again, we have been completely f*cked by our mainstream media. How many progressive-leaning voters will stay home tomorrow, convinced that their vote is meaningless and therefore not worth the effort? And how many additional potential voters switched off from the political system altogether after being exposed for so long to the absurdity that is our mainstream political media coverage?
One only hopes that Paul Krugman is wrong when he writes things like the following:
“This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness… If the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
Now, being a columnist for the New York Times automatically makes it impossible to fully trust Krugman. Even within the article I’ve linked to, Krugman’s carefully worded defense of the Federal Reserve is enough to make one cringe. But Krugman is a highly intelligent individual, and sometimes seems to represent genuine populist values. So if Krugman is afraid, there is probably just cause to be so.
Sadly, there is very little we can do to avoid the oncoming madness. Americans have notoriously short attention-spans and are equally notorious for their apathy and ignorance with regards to the political process. So millions have swallowed the corporate propaganda campaign smearing the Obama administration (partially deserved, perhaps, but greatly distorted) and anyone who might be classed as a “liberal” (a curse word in “conservative” circles). Regrettably, that is the state of our nation. It’s in times like these I remember why I live abroad.