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Feature Story April 17, 2003
 
The Bums Will Always Lose
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 5
 
So the stupidity you see in the Republican leadership is strength, not a weakness. You should fear it rather than convert it into your own private hope. George W. Bush's every simple-minded blunder should demoralize you.

Stupidity in one's leaders has another advantage: it appeals to the voters. The American voter appreciates Bush's verbal and intellectual deficiencies. It seems to make him one of the people, and in American Populism, "the people" are always just naturally good and innocent. Which brings us to the third false hope:

3. Populism

"Ordinary fuckin' people-I hate'em." Harry Dean Stanton, Repo Man "Normal People"

Populism means pretending that ordinary people are nobler, more real, or otherwise better than more educated folk. It's doubtful that anyone believes this, but nearly everyone pretends to. And nobody is more noisily populist than the sad remnant that passes for an opposition in the US. They love the common people, the good ordinary American -- unrequitedly. The ordinary Americans hate the "elite" -- and decades of commentary by reactionary talkshow hosts have made it clear that all leftists, no matter how abjectly poor, are "elite," whereas billionaires are "populist." (Thus the strange phenomenon of "outsider" or "rebel" or "maverick" billionaires.)

But no matter how loudly and often the ordinary Americans call Rush Limbaugh to demand that all "liberals" be thrown into cement mixers, the "liberals" can't bring themselves to admit that maybe, just maybe, the ordinary American is a jerk. Impossible! No, no-it's just that the rightwingers are deceiving them. If only they knew the Truth, if only the media was balanced, ordinary Americans would all vote Socialist, right?

Sad. Reminds me of the way Russian peasants used to say that "the Tsar is good; it's his advisors who are evil." The would-be populist liberals tell themselves exactly the opposite lie: "Sure, all the people they elect are evil maniacs, but you can't blame the ordinary American people...."

Sure you can. It's easy. Here, let me say it for you: the majority of Americans are credulous bigots who have abdicated their responsibility to try to understand the world, transferring authority to the Bible. And as Stevie Wonder put it, "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer."

Think of it in Simpsons terms: Ned Flanders is a "nice" guy in the way Americans are. But Ned Flanders votes for monsters. Ned Flanders votes for Jesse Helms. Ned Flanders voted for George W. Bush. Ned Flanders is a dangerous lunatic. And there are something like 160 million Ned Flanders in America (only most of them aren't even "nice.")

They're too cowardly to look at the world. They've run to their idiotic Bible. And when you get your Middle Eastern policy out of the Bible, rather than actually learning about the place, you suffer. (And so do the Middle Easterners.) When you elect a President because he talks about "walking with God" more loudly and shamelessly than his rival, then you suffer -- because you've voted for the more shameless candidate. That's one reason the Right will always win: because they have no sense of shame. Thus they can invoke Jesus as a personal friend in front of a large audience and assert that God likes our country more than any other. It's very difficult for anyone with a brain or conscience to do that. And the electorate has made it clear it won't tolerate anyone who won't share its delusion enthusiastically.

160 million Ned Flanders (only not as nice)...thanks to them, we will always be governed by the most shameless, the most crazed rightwingers driven by little more than petty malice-their true representatives.

4. "The Worse, The Better"

Leniin

One of the most desperate hopes is the old radical belief that as conditions become unbearable under rightwing rule, people will get radicalized and start to revolt. I used to believe something like this: I used to think that Americans didn't really care much who was in charge, as long as nobody interfered with their money. That seemed like a good way to explain what happened to Reagan. His dirty-tricks squad was caught actually selling weapons -- to Iran, the country which hated us most!-and funneling the cash to the Nicaraguan Contras. But a strange thing happened: he got off. The country just let him go. The only way that made sense was that people were getting rich under Reagan, so they didn't mind what he did on his own. He was like a degenerate stockbroker who makes his clients money; who wants to turn in someone like that?


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dolan@exile.ru
 
 
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