Monday, March 29, 2004

Phony Political Discourse

Memo to political discourse in America: YOU ARE DUMB.
Could we just admit, once and for all, that politics in America is about one side fucking over the other however it can so that they can get what they want? Please?
Because it is. It's not even a question. It's how the system works. It may be how the system has always worked, but these days, they're not even subtle about it. There's this pro-forma Official Veneer where every tactical move you make is just dandy and every tactical move the other guy makes is evil incarnate, and we all know that they're just tactical maneuvers designed to fuck over the other side, but only the Official Veneer gets treated as news.
Especially during a campaign. I mean, there's a "big" story today about the R's being OUTRAGED that the Head D would DARE to use a BIBLE QUOTE during a campaign stop. A stop that happened to be at a church, where a lot of churchy, bibly types were there. It was basically "they talk the talk, but don't walk the walk", only said by some guy in robes a few thousand years ago, so suddenly it's a crime against humanity.
And, that complaint, that Mr. D was exploiting religion for political gain, was taken entirely seriously by the media, as if nothing had ever been exploited for political gain before, and this new transgression of our otherwise pure system merited dozens of column inches to claim, counterclaim, and mock-horrified reaction.
Or the judicial nomination thing, which is just getting completely insane. The guys in power want to put more of their guys in power. The guys not in power have a way to stop them. The guys in power have a way around the stopping technique. The guys not in power vow to make the guys in powers' lives difficult forever if they keep using that way around.
This is politics. This is the process. So why, every time someone makes a move or a countermove, do we have to hear how whoever made the move is "subverting the process"? Fuck that noise. The process isn't being subverted.
Essentially, American government is a like an out-of-print role-playing game. The rules were written a couple of hundred years ago, and we've been playing using those same basic rules ever since. So we've had a couple of centuries to figure out how to "cheat" within the rules, and now we're really, really good at it. Which makes for a really crappy game, sure, but nobody's actually cheating.
When two fat fucks with Cheeto stains on their t-shirts nearly come to blows over whether someone's fifth-level paladin can REALLY use that obscure skill to instantly kill a beholder, the rest of the players at the table do one of three things:
The smart, cynical players go home early, 'cause they know this won't be settled anytime soon, and they might as well get some sleep. In real life, we call these people "Internet rant columnists".
The naive players start poring through the rulebooks looking for the real answer, in the impressive but mistaken belief that the truth will stop the argument. In real life, we call these people "activists" and "journalists", and nobody listens to them.
The assholes jump in on either side, using past slurs, personal histories, their own imperfect memories of the rules and past situations and shouting at the top of their lungs. In real life, we call these people "the press".
And all the while, the basement that is America slowly fills up with the orange spittle of hypocrisy and the yellow spilled-Mountain-Dew of partisan vitriol, until eventually, we all get really grossed out or we drown. THAT'S politics. And pretending any different, or giving any credence to people who claim that their side is any different, just fills the room up that much faster.