Tuesday, February 12, 2008


In my humble opinion, which you are probably sick of hearing, with John Edwards out of the race for President we are in for another battle between corporate favorites (be they white, black, male or female).

Still, I will vote simply because who could stand another four/eight years of the GOP - not me, not the country, not the world.

But voting is hard. Not the casting of a ballot, (although getting your ballot counted is another matter), just working up the energy every four years to vote for the candidate of someone else's choice.

I mean I envy those enthusiastic Obama supporters. They look so happy, so excited, just thrilled to death. That would be fun, but...

The guy who wrote the letter below asks Joe if Obama is like McGovern. Joe says no, but I think I know what that fellow is implying.

I remember 1972 (thirty six freaking years ago). There was all this enthusiasm by many just to the right of the far leftist like yours truly for this so very progressive anti-war candidate (us real radicals knew that only the revolution could save us all - those were the days, my friends). They were out with their buttons, their bumper stickers and their wide eyed enthusiasm for this strange white guy from South Dakota (who I can't quit remembering whined every night on the news, "Mr. Nixon, can you honestly say your agents did not bug...). George McGovern was calling for America to "Come Home" and like Obama's "Time for Change" who really knew what that meant. It didn't matter. He was against the war and...that was enough his followers needed to know (earlier they'd pretty much felt the same way about Gene McCarthy). George ran through those primaries, racked up those delegates, and got himself nominated at one of the more bizarre Democratic Conventions you'll never see again. He gave his acceptance speech well after midnight when virtually all of the country had long ago gone off to bed.

And he proceeded to lose in a huge landslide to Richard Nixon.

I wondered then what would become of his young enthusiastic following. Me, I just shrugged. I knew, or thought I did anyway, how things worked and I knew, or thought I did, what we had to do to change the country, and I knew it didn't involve voting. But what happened to those just to my right who were also sure that they had known.

So when many of my friends, people who I respect, tell me that the big reason they now are Obama supporters is they love the way he brings out all that love and enthusiasm from today's young people or from people who never vote, a couple of things bother me.

Back in those 60s which lots of folks like to say Barack somehow brings back memories, the young people like me weren't all agaga about political candidates. We didn't think then a movement based on Gene McCarthy or Robert Kennedy was THE MOVEMENT. No, our movement was in the streets, it was us. We were turned on by the Black Liberation Movement, by the likes of the Black Panther Party, by Malcolm X, by Marin Luther King, by those who put it all on the line marching across the South, not by a black politician. There is a difference folks. We saw LIBERALS as co-opting us. They weren't our heroes.

There were certainly those folks, others from my generation, who were "Clean for Gene" and who were all out for McGovern, but they weren't us. They were the good kids. They were never who we were.

Anyway, I have this deep seated fear that if Obama is the guy and if he goes down what happens to those people, the good kids? Do they go on to be like the good kids of the McCarthy and McGovern campaign and go into business or into the democratic party?

And then I wonder, too, what if Obama wins and what if I happen to be right for once and he turns out to be not all that different that all those democrats before him...what happens to all those people who wanted that "real change."

And above I've been mostly talking about white folks.

What about African Americans? It's not for me, a white guy, to speculate. I'll just say Obama quotes Martin Luther King, but he ain't Martin Luther King. There is a difference between an Alabama primary and an Alabama jail.

And then I wonder if anyone will notice when REAL CHANGE doesn’t happen? We're pretty much trained these days to only notice the drama on TV. It'll be eight years before we notice that we don't have universal healthcare.

Hillary Clinton won't disappoint anyone much I suppose. We can be pretty sure she is what she appears to be. Maybe that is a good thing; maybe it is a bad thing.

Maybe I've become way too cynical.


The following comes from one of my more favored web sites, Joe Bageant's "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War." Joe is, of course, the author of the book by the same name. What appears below is an exchange with a blog site reader.

Greeting card platitudes from Obama

Dear Joe,

Let me first say how enjoyable Deer Hunting with Jesus was. Very. For someone of a younger generation like myself, it is very heartening to know some of those elders who avoided the mind trap of growing up in society are still freeminded. Do you see Barack Obama's campaign as in any way analagous to George McGovern's campaign in 1972 (ignoring the different Republican candidate)? Hope? Idealism?

Much respect,



Dear Claude,

You are too kind in your assessment regarding my supposed escape from the mind trap of America's crude media driven consumer society. You are talking to a guy who lies around on the couch in his under shorts, eats corn nuts, drinks cheap beer, and watches crime shows fer god sake. ;-)

But no, I don't see any resemblance in Obama's campaign to McGovern's. McGovern was what he appeared to be. Like any other politician, Obama's every move, word and nuance is extremely calculated and orchestrated in ways that were not possible, or even imaginable, in 1972, Same with all American candidates today.

The business of local and state politics is the business of turning virgins into whores. The business of national politics is polishing up whores to look like virgins. Of course some whores are nicer than others, but one does not get to play the back room high stakes game of presidential poker by being idealistic. One comes to the table with a lot of dough, a good cover story and a knife stashed in the boot. And even if you win, the guys running the game still own the country. Hence, while a guy like Obama, who presumably does not take corporate campaign dough, may win, you'll never hear him call for the dismantling of the rapacious big corporations who own our every breath, such as big pharma and big food (which are now starting to merge), big med, big finance (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) and even our consciousness and awareness of our nation and the world, such as big media, upon who he must ultimately depend to gain access to the public at all.

As long as Obama can buy ads and deliver greeting card platitudes that have a sort of righteous sound, he has entertainment, emotional and dramatic value to us liberal couch taters out here in the Nembutal republic. As long as Hillary still has the the riotously titillating Bill Clinton blue dress scandal in the background. Frankly, I think it would be cool if she wore Lewinsky''s blue dress on American Idol and sang "A Man Ain't Nothin' But A Man" as a campaign stunt, or maybe delivered Lady Macbeth's "Out damned spot!" lines in an episode of American Housewives.

Anyway, as Lady Macbeth said, "Hell is a murky place." American politics is even more so. The capability for a president to make big progressive changes is nil in this country, although the capability to fuck things up remains boundless -- to wit, Sparky the Chimp Bush. If all of Congress cannot effect change because they are owned by big money, no candidate sucking down corn soup on the Iowa campaign trail is gonna either. And besides, America is dead broke and in hock up to her eyeballs. Even little changes in this country cost big money because there must be big profit in it for -- you guessed it -- big corp. Or big dough to slosh around inside big government bureaucracy. For instance, a Katrina victim reader of mine, who happens to be a cost accountant, tells me that it cost the U.S. government $38,000 NOT to get his family into one of those emergency FEMA trailer homes (hundreds of which are still sitting in storage areas unoccupied). He moved to Nicaragua and swears the quality of life there is better and with far less hair pulling.

I dunno. Come November '08 I'll be casting a vote for the manufactured candidate of my choice. And assuming I don't get cut from the voter list through fraudulent voter caging tactics (not too likely, since I am white) I'll be punching a touch screen voting machine with no accountability, and with no recount possible. Also, my vote will legally be reduced a set of digits that instantly become the intellectual property of Diebold.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that I just don't get a hard-on over U.S. presidential elections anymore. I just vote and go home, turn on the TV, and wait to see if the well groomed illusionary candidate of my illusionary choice won the stake race.

You folks watch out down there. Australia, near as I can tell, is at least half-way down the pike to the same sort of system we have.

Meanwhile, I've been reading about your drought in the Aussie newspapers online, Can I send you a quart of water?

In art and labor,


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