In advance of the punditry sure to bubble up and over in the next several months, I’ve gone ahead and drawn my line in the sand. What follows below are issues that will likely play a significant role in the 2012 election. I loathe them, and I thought you ought to know about it.
You’re “disappointed” with politics. You’re sick of selecting “the lesser of two evils.” You feel like government is “corrupt” with a gang of “career politicians.”
You know who’s to blame? You are. Because Citizens United is barely a toddler, and all the high-office offenses which guide your disaffection with politics, are remedied by you –your political consciousness, your political presence, and your political action. Action via apathy in this regard is inertia. It’s spinning your wheels and chasing your tail; it’s a way to get you nowhere fast. In other words, let it be known for all time that closed mouths don’t get fed. It would behoove you to speak up.
Voter Disenfranchisement Tactics.
…particularly those voting-day- switch-a-roos. I’m convinced they prey upon the weakest among us. You don’t have to know why American elections are held on Tuesdays, but you should know that our elections are generally held on Tuesdays. We musn’t be so easily disenfranchisable. A
asshole patriot puts up a scrawled, misspelled note announcing Election Day has been postponed to Friday the 13th to dupe test the waters, and some sucker falls for it. Ignorance aint no ways bliss, policy-wise.
“The American People”
In every election cycle, the pandering politician will defer to the sage, rational psyche of “The American People.” The American People know what they want…the American People are tired of…the American People are smart enough to…. No they don’t, and no they aren’t. Collectively, the “American People” is a C student who struggles with separating fantasy from reality. We are consumers for whom happiness is measured in things. And for whom consciousness is, you know, nerd shit. And through it all, we feel entitled to be outraged when irrationality and irreverence begin to pervade our politics. Indeed, deferring to us is a tremendous, albeit unavoidable, risk. We were once worthy of such a grand vote of confidence, weren’t we? …we are who we elect.
The “Taking Advantage of the Black Vote” Meme
I bristle at the assertion that Black people should vote Republican simply because Black people have historically voted for Democrats, and because Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. (presumably God and Jesus, respectively, to Black Americans) number among their ranks. To string together the philosophies of “the party of Lincoln” with those of the Republican party that exists today is to completely misconstrue history and to undervalue the evolution of Republican/Conservative ideology. The phrase, “40 acres and a mule,” was commentary on the failure of Reconstruction efforts to redress Black economic underdevelopment resulting from slavery. Not to be outclassed by General William Tecumseh Sherman, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln’s successor, rescinded Sherman’s Special Field Orders, No. 15 (the military order which actually secured for free Blacks 4o0,000 acres of land around South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida). As a result, them 40 acres, and the opportunities for economic parity that came with them, went back to the previous white owners. I’m not suggesting that Black Americans should never vote Republican; a good idea is a good idea no matter the camp from which it emerges. What I demand is that the GOP work for the Black vote, and “…but you always vote Democrat” isn’t convincing enough. Al Sharpton colorfully stated a few years ago that, “We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres. We didn’t get the mule. So we decided we’d ride this donkey as far as it would take us.” Given the party representatives vying for executive office in 2012, I agree with Reverend Al completely.
I think it was Bill Maher who first drew my attention to these perpetual and farcical fence-riders. These cats aren’t carefully deliberating their political choices. Instead, it seems they feed off the attention of pandering partisans. The Independent beats his chest extolling the virtues of military might while watching carefully to ensure that his Medicare and Social Security checks make it to the mailbox on time. In 21st century politics, you can’t have it both ways. Ideologically, you’re either realist-progressive, or a nostalgic conservative, seeking desperately to turn back the clock on social and cultural progress while quietly concentrating opportunity in your hands, and yours only. Andrew Bacevich writes in The Limits of Power that “When it came to ensuring … every American should get a fair shake, the contribution of modern conservatism has been essentially nil.” One more time for the slow kids in the back: You cannot have it both ways. And the choice couldn’t be clearer. Grab your balls and Pick a side.
Like it or not, election season is upon us. Choose wisely, ladies and gentlemen.