Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Having been absent from the American media for five weeks, I’m really quite out of touch with what’s considered acceptable behavior for reporters and what’s not. I’m not kidding; five weeks is long enough to really change things. And for the past two weeks, I’ve been trying to avoid the television over much, because it’s sort of overwhelming to hear references to apparently important events which you don’t remember happening. But today I watched part of the President’s press conference and I was quite surprised.

To be fair, today’s awful behavior wasn’t entirely new even out of the context of the past five weeks. President Bush has always been attacked; and he’s an extremely attackable guy, the way I see it, since he doesn’t seem to manipulate the media like Bill Clinton did by barring reporters and all that. At least, overtly, he’s not so manipulative. Anyway, the last question asked by a reporter at the press conference was asked by a guy from the Los Angeles Times, and his question was, typically, about California since Californians and New Yorkers consider themselves the only states in the Union, and additionally, highly abusive toward President Bush even making reference to the 2000 election where, supposedly, he got into office through some sort of “partisan[ism].”

Who the hell is still hung up on the 2000 election?

I’m serious, if you’re still bitching about that, shut up. You lost. L-o-s-t. You’re not going to get the past three years back, nor next year either. You’re just not. Shut up and deal with the reality you were defeated. D-e-f-e-a-t-e-d. Legally, too. Just because the Electoral College doesn’t suit your present purposes, that doesn’t mean that it should be cast out until it does. What you ought to be doing now, is building up your cracked and bleeding political party so you stand half a chance in the next election. But of course, you can’t and won’t do that because it’s too damn hard. The Democratic Party is in one hell of a state. So your only option is to continue to bitch and moan about the 2000 election, even though it’s sad and obvious political mud flinging, and ceased to be very persuasive to any normal (and no I don’t mean Conservative, I mean non-Commies; no, I don’t pretend there isn’t a difference between the two) on 9/11, for right or for wrong.

I used to think about going into politics. I used to sort of like politics. I wanted to care about what was going on in the world. I didn’t want to save the world, per se. I just wanted to affect the thing in a positive way. But I got tired of politics on my first set of teenage news message boards, and I’m well aware that they’re a lot less political and a lot more free and idealistic than real politics were ever intended to be. Not only do some people truly cherish crackhead opinions; they continue to hold those crackhead opinions stubbornly, after having been effectively corrected through a sound verbal beating. I love a well-constructed argument like nothing else in the world, and my poor heart can’t take the constant frustration of seeing a good argument fall on deaf ears.

In any case, I’m tired of American politics. I don’t like George W. and I never did. I found him a terrifically better option for America than Albert “Green Party” Gore, and I still do. But I didn’t vote for either one, and you can bet I wouldn’t again if I had the option. I voted third party in the last election, and “threw away my vote,” but I did so with a relatively free conscience. I spent a lot of time in Europe trying to explain the complexities of American politics to people who believed that we all just loved W. and hated the entire continent of Europe. Not so.

The American dual party system, while still superior to that nasty proportionally representative system they mostly use in Europe, has brought about, basically, a system in which most people attach themselves to one pet issue and assign themselves to a party based on that issue. For instance, if you’re pro-life, and fervently pro-life, then you’re going to be a Republican. The Democratic Party is all about abortion, and you can’t escape that. So no matter how much you like the idea of – umm, say, what else is it the Democratic Party has these days? Oh yeah, no matter how much you like the idea of Gay Public High Schools, you have to vote Republican because it’s the only way to save the unborn babies. And this is an intelligent voter in the US; someone who actually cares about at least one issue.

I’m tired of American politics, but I’m damn well glad that I don’t have to deal with the whole of world politics. In France, I learned that the French hate Chirac, and they only keep him around because it means that they stave off LePen, that neo-Nazi. And in Germany, they only keep Schroeder around to piss us off. Nobody seems to elect anyone because they really want them; democratic elections are based on who seems the least offensive, and most tolerable. The entire world community is utterly apathetic; we’re spoiled.

And maybe it’s not the worst thing. A generation of average politicians, or below average politicians, can do a hell of a lot of damage. But then, so can a generation of above average politicians. The main thing, it seems, is that we should all work on slowing down change. Real change comes about from the bottom up, so stifling the legislative process is generally a good thing. If it has to be imposed from the top down, the nation isn’t ready and won’t be without some blood being spilt somewhere. Changes imposed from the top down always reflect the minority opinion anyway. At least in American politics it does, and I suspect it’s much worse in Europe.

I’m always for the party that pisses off the most, and let’s me do what I need to get done without getting in my way. I don’t vote for anyone who preaches as if they’re the salvation of man. I don’t believe in anybody who condescends to me; or worse, who condescends to the fatherless, the widow, the poor and the uneducated. I don’t oppose social safety nets, but in this day and age, you have to be silly to think that they’re the answer to all of America’s problems. Communism is not the answer, Fascism is not the answer; it may well be yet that Democracy isn’t the answer either. And it’s wrong to be satisfied with our current system just because it’s just okay enough for now.

I wonder where all the world’s decent troublemakers have gone. Where’s our Socrates or Locke or Jefferson?