Old habits die hard. Really hard. Just ask Dr. Strangelove about that embarrassing Third Reich arm. Or poor Hillary Clinton, after she's spent hours daubing lovely populist lipstick on her inner capitalist pig. For pigs, like human habits, are cussedly stubborn creatures. Just paint the most luscious--even collagen-enhanced--populist smile imaginable, turn your back for five seconds, and damned if that pig hasn't rushed out for another mouthful of equally luscious capitalist mud. Damn pig! It's enough to cost a hardworking Wall Street girl a coveted U.S. presidency.
Lipstick on a pig--Meet Hillary's campaign mascot.
(image by theilr)
See, it takes certain piggishly ingrained habits--honed to the point of second nature--to pull off a real populist touch. Perhaps even a habit of sincerity. Now, we all know that's well outside Hillary's emotional gamut. A staggering range liability for an actress who, after a fast life cavorting with Wall Street's disreputable crowd, is a now auditioning for the role of Main Street's apple-cheeked sweetheart. But, hey, with enough disciplined practice, anyone can fake populism enough to dodge the most grievous public blunders. (Don't think so? Then explain how we staff all those political jobs.) And, as top cosmetologists will tell you, that's even the case with applying lipstick.
Which returns us to Hillary's inner capitalist pig, who clearly unconsciously bridles at the mere mention of populist cosmetics. And who, right before an important Hillary speech or interview, simply must have another mouth-wallow in his cherished capitalist mud. Which, despite the frantic emergency towel swipes of Hillary's appointed lipstick guru, never quite comes off. Making for the most bizarre, unseemly lipstick shades ever seen on a candidate.
Like, most recently, the abominable lip smear I can only dub "Police State Populist." No, no, no, no, and NO! Weeping Jesus, what the h-e-double lipsticks was Hillary thinking? But, in sheer populist fashionista horror, I'm getting ahead of myself; I need to explain what I mean by "Police State Populist." Rest assured, gentle populist reader, that I write to no other purpose. For then you, too--with the most ear-piercing catcalls, I hope--can call Hillary out on her unspeakable fashion blunder. For no conceivable shade could as lastingly betray Hillary's unreformable inner capitalist pig.
See, Hillary, populist fashion hangs together by its own inner logic; it really does. So that shabby-chic purse won't save you if your shoes keep screaming, "Wall Street." And never is this sense of fashion coordination more crucial than when trying to lipstick an inner capitalist pig. Never trust your instincts; they're sure to be wrong. And least of all be honest. Honesty in choosing a particular capitalist accessory--especially when honesty's not your normal style--tips off even those wholesome, gullible Main Street beaus you're trying to court that you spent your whole prior life "working the Street."
And whatever the seismic force of your inner vendetta, never talk of Edward Snowden. I mean really, except at gunpoint. (Assuming you've got any rational control over this tic, and it's not, as I anxiously fear, like Dr. Strangelove's arm.) To explain why, let me pass along some priceless pearls of wisdom from a top populist fashion guru, activist philosopher Michael Walzer.
See, Hillary dear, Walzer informs us there are two styles of politics, electoral and movement, though you'll probably hardly believe this, having spent your lifetime exclusively imbibing the more elitist electoral kind. Remember all those simply ghastly people in fall of 2011, creating such an unsightly disturbance outside those decorous Wall Street boardrooms you love to haunt? Yes, Hillary, they were doing movement politics, and as a good pretend populist, you're supposed to be pretending to like them. Now, be a good girl and take an anti-emetic in advance if you're ever forced to talk about them. Or--swallow that pill now--even talk to them. Look to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for imitable examples. Yeah, I know, they actually seem to really like them, and that's clearly not in your blood. But running for first woman president clearly is, and it's just some of the training sh*t you gotta put up with. You know, "Cry in the dojo, laugh on the battlefield" kind of stuff.
But, you're probably wondering, why must they make such an unseemly ruckus? Well, Hillary dear, that's where fashion guru Walzer comes in. See, electoral politics almost always works for your class, but not quite necessarily for theirs. To the point they think what your class is doing is downright crazy, like needlessly frying the planet or launching expensive, unnecessary wars. And, of course, if your class has properly done its work--and in recent days, it plainly has--their voices simply never get heard. At least not in electoral politics. Yet they cling to this silly fixed idea that their voices should get heard. So they seek out another type of politics. That's where this raucous, messy, unsightly street stuff--movement politics--comes in. And if you're not careful, it might start showing up at your rallies.
But what does this all have to do with Edward Snowden? Well, duh, everything. See, Snowden, like Manning before him, unwittingly stumbled into working for your class's police state. Maybe it was economic need (whose class, after all, "creates jobs"?), or maybe both thought they were truly, patriotically protecting fellow citizens from terrorists. Now hold your guffaws, Hill; do you think your class would dodge the pitchforks for one day if its propaganda weren't effective? So effective was that propaganda that both sincerely believed "support staff for oligarchs' police state" wasn't their real job description. And felt obliged to warn fellow Americans when they learned the true nature of their work. Yeah, I know, we could make those job descriptions clearer, but, Hill, if you want to be president, you must really start doing your homework on legitimacy.
I know this hard is for you to swallow, but when going through official channels, whether at the polls or the workplace, accomplishes diddly squat for most Americans, they really think that's a problem. Such a big problem that, in their demented minds, it nullifies our government's legitimacy. That's when they start inventing channels of their own--even illegal ones. See, when they see their government doing illegal things for bad causes--like launching insanely costly aggressive wars--they figure, what's so bad about doing illegal things for good ones? Like, say, giving a supposedly democratic citizenry the smallest clue about what its government's up to. Absurd as it sounds, they think government's supposed to mean something besides raw power--and brainwashed or tear-gassed obedience.
Sorry, dear populist reader, if I've briefly abandoned you, maliciously relishing my imagined role as Hillary's "populist counselor." You're actually the only listener I ever had in mind, and wrote in hopes you'd profitably eavesdrop on my session of "fashion counseling." For the truth--as you've surely guessed--is that regaling Hillary with Walzer's pearls of populist wisdom is, for me, the quintessential case of "casting pearls before swine." If elected, she'd heed popular will only under the most savage pressure from movement politics. Her reflexes of lapdog loyalty to Wall Street are as untrainable as Dr. Strangelove's "Sieg Heil" arm, and her Wall Street donors and contacts are at the ready for instant "dog discipline" should she show the least lapse into genuine populism. But her recent savaging of Edward Snowden, a colossal hero to any genuine populist, shows how reverently she heeds her oligarch masters' whistle.
In short, misreading Hillary for a populist is genuinely dangerous. "Police state populism"--flattering populist aims while, in Obama's trademark style, surreptitiously aiding the police state to crush them--is the only lipstick shade she can ever offer. The normal channels of populist will are gated shut, and if the cancerous police state is allowed to grow, even movement politics will no longer be an option. So, while movement politics still is an option, I'd suggest building it behind the presidential run of Bernie Sanders, an instinctive, reflexive populist whose almost instant reflex was to support both Occupy Wall Street and Edward Snowden. And to support Snowden in precisely the right way, perceiving that his revelations were a crime--an act of needed civil disobedience, as Snowden himself perceives them--but a crime demanding the greatest leniency, as it alerted us to the wrongdoings of a far more criminal government. Only an unforced instinctive populist could get these crucial public issues so spontaneously right, and only someone like Bernie merits being focus of a massive populist movement. That's exactly why I've proposed an "Occupy for Bernie" movement.
One last essential thought. As a faux populist--or better, "police state populist"--Hillary is a genuine public danger, since a nation desperately needing reform can't possibly survive a repeat performance of Obama's trademark gimmick. And since her candidacy's a flagrant menace to the common good, she should not be handled with kid gloves. Indeed, with pugnacious public truth-teller Bernie Sanders as our fulcrum, we should make the 2016 election a referendum on our cancerous public hypocrisy, where the most flagrant lies--like the non-urgency of immediate climate action or the viability of a "global war on terror"--are falsely reverenced as the only admissible "truths." And the Occupy for Bernie movement, as a populist pressure movement, need not limit itself to the polite public etiquette imposed on Bernie at the podium. I'd love to see the lipsticked pig made Hillary's unofficial campaign symbol, and her campaign trail bird-dogged by Bernie-supporting Occupiers sporting lipsticked-pig masks. And needless to say, punctuating Hillary's faux-populist sentences with rebel yells of "Police State Populist!"
If you agree it's time for a frontal war on national public hypocrisy--or simply feel Bernie Sanders represents a far more genuine populist choice than Hillary Clinton--please consider joining the Occupy for Bernie movement.