Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Democracy Once Again DOOMED

Before we begin, a quick update on Try To Say Something Bad About "I, Robot" Every Day This Week Week. Scientists have determined that watching "I, Robot" can cause unsightly growths on your acronym.
And now, a memo to everyone panicking about the Election Delay Plan: DAMN, I HOPE YOU'RE DUMB.
This is the problem with being a liberal who hates people. It makes things difficult at times like this. Because on the one hand, the idea that the Department of Homeland Security is looking into ways to postpone the election in the case of a terrorist attack is deeply troubling. On the other hand, it also plays right into the deepest fears of the Paranoid Conspiracy Leftits. And I hate it when the PCL's are even remotely right.
When the PCL's come close to the mark with their apocalyptic predictions of the fascist police state that is right around the corner, two things happen. First, they become a bit more insufferable, which is difficult, but possible. And second, it points out just how well and truly fucked we are.
The Department of Homeland Security, for its part, claims it is just looking into the technical legalities of the situation for purposes of contingency planning. Which sounds reassuring, until you remember the last time a federal department looked into the possible technical legalities of something, it was "how much torture can we get away with" and lo and behold, the answer turned out to be "quite a bit, actually."
Depending on who you talk to, there are two precedents in play here. First, local elections in New York were delayed after the 9/11 attacks, because, well, New York's mayoral election date isn't actually enshrined in the Constitution, and there were piles of rubble and plumes of roiling smoke all over the place. The other precedent is, of course, Spain, where an Al Qaeda bombing right before their elections presumably "changed the outcome" and led to the election of a liberal candidate who pulled Spain's troops out of Iraq.
The first rationale makes no sense on a national level. Unless the terrorists devise a plan to simultaneously blow up hundreds of thousands of elementary school gymnasiums, the country will be able, for the most part, to get to the polls.
So that leaves Spain, which is a wonderful example of American retardation at work. If you look at the stories about the election delay, they all say that the Madrid bombing changed the outcome of the election, which is true, but roughly akin to saying it was the explosion in the chamber of a rifle in Texas that made Lyndon Johnson the president. People here think that all of Spain rose up as one and pissed their pants as soon as they got bombed, and voted in the liberals in the hopes of appeasing the terrorists. When what ACTUALLY happened is that the incumbent tried to use the bombing for his political advantage, blaming Basque separatists for it even though the evidence pointed toward Al Qaeda, and so the Spanish electorate fired his sorry ass.
The funny part is, either way, the reasoning still is "we don't want that to happen here". The fake reasoning is that we don't want overly emotional traumatized Americans making poor decisions in the heat of the moment, and the real reasoning is that we wouldn't want the public to actually judge the incumbent on how much he lied about terrorism in order to achieve his personal political goals.
I'm so glad that we have the Department of Homeland Security now to tell us, by the way, which world events we, as voters, should be allowed to use to sway our opinion on the candidates. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? I mean, let's say Bush gets caught in an open-mic moment telling a racist joke or something two days before the election. Would that "unfairly" sway the voting public? That's how the political game works. A big fuckup can cost you your job, even if it's not your fault. Given all the other ways the powers-that-be have at their disposal to prevent or delay the release of bad news, or just lie in reports, it's nice to have one part of the process they can't tweak for their own benefit. For the time being.
Of course, over the weekend, I watched what appeared to be a documentary about the inner workings at Homeland Security, called "The 4400". From this educational program, I learned that in the event of an emergency, Homeland Security will dispatch a pair of Mulder and Scully knockoffs to wander around aimlessly and bitch about their personal lives while dozens of alien abductees demonstrate mysterious supernatural powers. So maybe the paranoid lefies are right to be keeping an eye on this one.