Well, it may be turning fall outside, but inside the hot
house asylum of American politics it's definitely springtime. Springtime for
Hitler that is- or at least the mustache. That notorious, trademark tuft of
facial hair is in full bloom all over the country sprouting up like an
irrepressible weed in the most unlikely of places- the Photoshoped upper lip of
our young, urbane African American President.
Unlikely and absurd, anyways, for those of us who are a part of the non-certifiable majority who find the Hitlerian makeover of the President- that signature artwork of the GOP goon squads who have been attacking Democrats with the same mania they normally reserve for the free dessert buffet at Harrahs, something of a head scratcher.
Yes, it really is that grotesquely stupid and ignorant and might even be laughable if not for the fact that their thuggish tactics bear such a strong family resemblance to the man and the party they love to hate. The nonstop repetition of over-the-top lies and coded racial slurs, the beer hall loutishness used to disrupt meetings of elected officials, the open brandishing of firearms and other weapons to back up the undisguised threat of political violence, are all right out of the Nazi playbook.
And it's working.....Great.
So now we're left with the demoralizing question of how such a toxic, calculated political reaction manages to get instant traction as the anointed, all-American opposition of the politically dispossessed.
Or is it because the corporate mainstream media would much rather lavish face time and credence on the reality TV antics of the inevitable Right-wing backlash to the election of our first black president- a backlash the Left naively thought we were "beyond"- rather than the legitimate concerns and misgivings that are dawning on much of the rest of the electorate about someone who sold himself as the ultimate change agent who seems unwilling or unable to change anything? Or is it because the Obama campaign wasn't really a political campaign after all, with a real political constituency driving a real political agenda that would begin on inauguration day, but a movement to elect the first African American president whose only endgame ended on election day?
I could go on but what's the point. Suffice to say that our current political condition is a target rich environment of likely reasons- none of them edifying- that would explain why a patently perverse, populist uprising made up of corporate sponsored vulgarians shouting down their self interest, which would be illegal in most Western democracies and unthinkable in all of them, gets front page billing in this country as another bracing episode of the freedom loving, cracker-salt-of-the-earth sticking it to the fatuous, liberal elite while the ruling party obliges its paymasters by cowering in the corner.
So what's new? Nothing. And that of course is the real problem.
The sound and fury of a seemingly seismic shift in the electoral landscape that sweeps into office the first African American President, dozens of new Democrats in the House and a half a dozen in the Senate, signifies absolutely nothing that has made a meaningful difference in the lives of quiet economic desperation that are being eked out on a wing and a prayer by the bottom 80% of Americans.
It's not supposed to. Because were are not a Western democracy where votes are not only counted, but count. Not remotely
We are a one party corportocracy tricked out as a checkbook democracy with two political brands whose only real competition, despite the dog and pony show of partisan politics, is about which one can service the business of business better and claim the fatter check.
Ever since the Democrats started squealing at the same corporate trough as the Republicans, the Left has responded by sucking on a hopeium crack pipe that the Democrats have been more than happy to fill with fluff victories about identity politics and other class lite issues that have little or nothing to do with the basic economic interests of the vast majority of Americans. In the process it has become what would be considered in any other Western democracy an oxymoronic joke: a Left without a defining class consciousness. Hence, a Left that has never understood, let alone mobilized, the seething reservoir of class resentment that has been growing for decades in this country as more and more of the nation's wealth has flowed to the top.
What the birthers and deathers have been told to think may be certifiable, but what they feel is only too real. They are the screwees in a predatory relationship of mutual contempt with a paternalistic, economic elite that always insists on having things its own way. That the Left has been completely AWOL pursuing feel good obsessions and symbolic sideshows rather than seizing on their resentment and turning it into a compelling, progressive program of economic self interest and basic justice, is not the fault of the people we have all rightly called crazy. It is our fault: the fault of every person whose moral and critical intelligence makes them a Lefty- a liberal, a progressive, whatever.