August 26, 2008

WRONG PERSON: McCAIN/BUSH. It’s Not Personality, It’s Conspiracy

Things have gone wrong. Dear God, I am glad we are not going to have Bush in office again. I bet you hope I won’t vote for the likes of him.

THAT WAS A MISTAKE.

Not long ago, in fear and hatred, we conflated reservations about Bush with unpatriotism and terrorism. Then, referring to that asshole as Bush rather than, with reverence, as President Bush would have seemed like a personally endangering betrayal to many Americans. Seriously: treasonous. That makes us Vulnerable to our Enemies. Somehow.

Now he is Bush. A tone of disregard, derision, dismissal and contempt has crept into the speech of press, pundits and philistines, even Right Reactionary True Believers. He is so over. Boy, was he the Wrong person.

John Ralston Saul has shown, in his profound book, Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason, how (and why), since the time of Napoleon, we no longer choose or judge our leaders by their policies or their leadership or their opinions. We have come to expect our leaders to be heroes: cult celebrity figures. We judge them by their gestures and their postures (and impostures) and their lapel pins. A Working Class White Hero pounds whiskey. A Black Hero…is what? Would you care to comment?

We expect our leaders to be celebrities, and we choose celebrities to be our leaders (eg. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger). Why then will it surprise us if our leaders act like Dennis Rodman?

We revile them and turn against them for their humanity and their mundane decency and uncertainty. When they act like people, they betray our expectations of cult heroes. When they are honest, they are partisan. When they opinionated, they are unbalanced. We expect them to spout only the most conventional of received ideas, and to do that so poorly and dishonestly that the questions of Power and Money and Identity that underlie them never surface. The massive theft of public goods remains invisible.

When they act like cult celebrities, knowing, we are vindicated. We know they are acting as predicted, are conforming to expectations, are in character, so we are not surprised. But we must revile them. So we shrilly, triumphally, affirm our own wisdom in having foreseen their fall.

Cult heroes must offer the promise of spectacular inhumanity, of grotesquery. Of foretold tragedy. Mere affairs and petty grafts will not do. Nothing less than the possibility (or promise) of superhuman (or subhuman) abominations will make for satisfactory dramatic theatre. Our leaders must be known to be capable of truly apocalyptic failure.

We are truly and completely screwed and befuddled by this. We can only be assured of the heroic status of our public figures if we are sure of their repugnance. We know they will damage us and endanger us. The only basis that we might have for judging whether we might trust them, or not trust them, would be their humanity, and the humanity of a person disqualifies him or her from public life. We encourage you, Reader, to see our Essay titled What Wouldn’t You Do and dated (Insert Date), and please read John Ralston Saul’s book.

By the same turn, our public figures cannot be policy makers, or thinkers, or leaders. These are human practices: they are the true gestures of real people in the mutuality of (public) trust, and as such could not be present in the true cult hero.

Policy, leadership, judgment, patience and respect are all practices that can be judged by the lights of real people in real civil relationships. As such, they cannot be tolerated in, and must be erased from, our cult heroes. These measures of a person’s humanity cannot be tolerated in our cult hero leaders, much less trusted as measures by which to judge them.

Our public figures are not leaders, or policy makers, or people of substance or even people. They are just cult heroes.

We will have no other basis upon which to trust them or not trust them. We can only not trust them. We can only have faith in their ultimate inhumanity and betrayal of us. We all know that they will ultimately, and inevitably, betray their inhumanity and grotesquery and brutality. Once this is all confirmed, then we can elect them, A-OK!

WRONG PERSON. WRONG PEOPLE.

So clearly Bush was the Wrong Person, right? Obviously he is a disappointment, a buffoon, unexpectedly stupid, inflexible, or something. Anyway, the wrong person.

After all, we knew our Hero to be congenitally flawed, and to inevitably be a Sacrificial hero. This much is foregone. On this matter, we refer you to our Essay titled Extremism Is Safe dated (Insert Date).

Maybe some of the other people in power around him are the Wrong People too, though this can stay a bit more fuzzy, can escape a more careful look, if we just focus on Bush and his now obviously distasteful Cult Figure Personality. We just need to crank up the blinding Kleig lights and focus on the casting call on the stage again and focus on who might be the Right Person. Um, one of, lets see, those… two people, right there.

Do you suspect that maybe Bush, and Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, and that other fat guy, and John McCain, and Karl Rove (oh, yeah, Karl Rove), and that senator guy, and, okay, Friedman and those neoliberal fundamentalists, and, well, Ken Lay, and those other corporatist people, and Abramowitz and those other people, and maybe those all of those extremists over there are somehow maybe not so reassuring, maybe even dangerous? Could they all be the Wrong People? John McCain?

It’s not just that turd-basket Bush was a disappointment and turned out to not be the Right Person. There is a real thread of ideas and beliefs and practices and, well, doctrines and policies and consequences that are woven together with –and produced by- these real people. And they are really wrong, really destructive and globally dangerous, and truly frightening. You could, if you cared to, see our Essay titled Wrong Ideas and dated (Insert Date).

These people really are glued together. They know one another. They build their power together. They enrich and cross-pollinate and inseminate one another. Occasionally they eat one another.

There is more to this than just the Wrong Person. There is a cadre, a corporatocracy, a network of related people with related ideas and related projects, with interwoven interests and organizations, many of them secret. Together they have created and caused the real events and circumstances that make up our global crisis. These are the people that impoverish us, deceive us and imperil us. If we are worried about the events, the outcomes, the products of their ideas and their activities, they are all the Wrong People.

We ask you, if you are thinking of voting for any of these people again, consider that there may be more to this than a Bush disappointment. We didn’t vote for Bush. Bush is the Wrong Person. If you voted for him, it was a mistake. There is a reason for everything, we know, and you remember yours, we know, but it was a mistake. If you voted for him again, that was a mistake.

It’s not just Bush. It is these people, and their ideas, and their beliefs, and their practices and policies and their imperial projection of power.

We cannot leave these ideas, and intentions, and indeed these people, unmolested and unexamined as we seek out the right things to do as individuals. We cannot underestimate or disregard their power, and their control of our public institutions, and their appropriation of our ideas and our voices and our judgment and our self-interest.

If you vote for any of these people again, you will be voting for the same ideas, beliefs, doctrines, lies, betrayal, arrogance, ignorance, righteousness, contempt for you and for democracy, follies and dangers, again. You will be endangering we, yourself, “democracy,” participatory government, world stability and ecosystemic viability, again. That is a mistake.

We depart from our promise to not attempt to persuade. Whatever you do, just don’t vote for those bad people again. That would be a mistake.

Bush was the Wrong Person. That was a mistake. Those are the Wrong People. Their ideas are Wrong. John McCain?

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editor @ 10:25 pm

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