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The International Writers Magazine:Op-Ed

These are not safe times to call oneself a thinker, and dangerous ideas may run amock
Bryan Blake

“Republicans and conservative commentators added the [recent remarks by former Obama pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright] episode to their evidence portraying Obama as out of the mainstream -- his association with a former member of the Weather Underground; wife Michelle's declaration that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country" because of her husband's electoral success; his remarks about "bitter" small-town voters; and false rumors that he does not pledge allegiance to the flag, sparked by a photograph showing him singing the national anthem at an Iowa fair without his hand over his heart.”
Alec MacGillis, Washington, May 4th 2008

Sounds to me like I need to improve upon the cubicle fort I’ve recently built to keep out the babbling idiots and social golems of the office, who feel that it is perfectly acceptable, in any culture and regardless of how busy someone may be, to lean against another person’s hard fought real estate of mediocrity and shout at the next cube over, obliviously waving their civil-service behemoth tank asses in one’s face and complaining about today’s exchange rate and what misdemeanor crimes their zombie children committed against humanity over the weekend.  I’m going to need more empty wastebaskets and copier paper boxes to stack up, maybe get some concertina wire and cattle strength electric fencing, because soon there’ll be no other defense against this warmongering, fear-inducing butcher of a man who hates our country and wants to ship all of our soldiers, puppies and first-born children to the UN before cashing in his book sales, consolidating power with Ahmanidejad and Hugo Chavez, bombing Israel and ruling the world with an unstoppable iron fist of greed and orgiastic lust.
While this article isn’t exactly trying to further these ridiculous non-issues, the fact remains that as long as these media titans and bastard children of Rupert Murdoch continue to even put them in print, no matter how they skew the issue or try to remain objective, there are a large majority of people out there stupid enough to form what they consider an educated opinion based solely – and very strongly – on them. 

Just looking at the ‘message boards’ from the story – always a phenomenal way to finish reading an article with no substance: reading the comments from people with no brains – it’s clear that, for the most part, we are being force-fed these idiotic non-issues because we want them, we need them, and we’re eating them up whole.  When asked ‘what do you think?’ The People responded very clearly that they in fact do not:
“Not a chance. He's too young, too inexperienced, and his name sounds Arabic… Barak Hussein Obama - sounds like one of them Muslims in Africa, slaughtering Christians… You'd think that 'Barak Hussein Obama' would be DOA for anyone intelligent enough to vote… his heritage needs scrutiny… Obama is a wahabbi, think about what will happen.”
And so on.  I will admit that, granted, this is from the internet, that it is only a portion of the overall opinion, and that it obviously is going to be a bit sensational.  But these are the people that are reading the news in the first place, and it’s not as though they’re getting it all from Wiki-politics or whatever inane non-peer reviewed, free-flowing ‘fact database’ that most inept teenagers now use for essay research these days; this is a supposedly reputable news source, and we can see how they react to it. 

What we have here are 38,927 messages from 4,466 different authors, and I’ll not even attempt to try and read all of them – I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of anyone that masochistic – but it’d be a grim, sad, dark world if what these sort of people are hoping for ever comes to life (again).   All you need to do to have your faith in the Electoral College renewed is peruse these message boards on a daily basis, and you’ll begin to understand why the Founding Fathers sought to protect us from the rabble that could be easily swayed into joining the army by a well-worded pamphlet in the wintertime.  And the law saying that bars had to close on Election Day hadn’t even come to pass yet: they knew that people didn’t need Liquid Stupidity, that their own skewed, self-centered idiotic tendencies would be enough to throw an election to whichever crook got up on a stage and promised free animal lovin’ and amnesty for all the sodomites.

The difficulty in getting past all this, though, is that, according to Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, this has become an increasingly sound bite-free campaign season, with Obama going out of his way to avoid giving audiences – and journalists – at his huge rallies that one sweeping statement, that quick blurb that will sum up his feelings on the matter.  He’s going to make you think your way through one of his reactions and responses to some irreverent accusation, and if you’re not willing to sit through more than ten or twenty seconds of a YouTube video speech of his, you’ll miss his point completely.

As evidenced by him making one poorly-worded statement in San Francisco, which we’ve all heard to death by now.  Can anyone think of any other quick one-liner of his that he uses to sum up his feelings, on anything?  Keep in mind that the statement itself has been defended by him ever since he said it, only the wording he chose does he really regret, and he has not committed the typical backpedaling we’ve been expecting – some people hoping, because that would validate their cynical view that he’s just another hack, after all – but in the end, how many people have read or heard the entire speech he made that night?
“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. “
     H. L. Mencken
Which is quite possibly going to do him in, after it’s all said and done.  These accusations and baseless slanderings of being ‘elite’ and ‘out of touch’ all fall back to one simple concept: the average voter, it seems, is either too stupid, too pig-headed, too lazy or lacking any sort of attention span required to look beyond a quick headline or video clip to determine what it is they’re looking for.  Not to say that anyone who doesn’t vote one way or another is dumb: far from it.  It’s simply the reasoning process that a lot of people go through to figure out which way to swing that is so mind-bogglingly awful.

He is actually going to lose this election because he is smarter than people want him to be, than they think he should be. We constantly disapprove of everything W does, we pick on him for not being able to string together a public statement – hell, the man actually pronounces it noo-kyu-ler – and he has made some of the most spectacular misstatements and idiotic pronouncements ever to come from a podium.

But we’re happy when they’re like that: some of us actually fall for these stunts comparing a presidential candidate to an everyman.  It is an undisputed fact that in our modern world, one cannot hope to aspire to any elected office within the Beltway without an upbringing rife with money, connections and a penchant for getting oneself in other peoples’ debt, and then presenting oneself as being completely separate from and above such vile and degenerate scum.  (Well, maybe not money: the success stories of the pulled-up-by-their-own-bootstraps politicians are all over the place; but one doesn’t rise above in such a way without amassing some hefty favors owed to the powerful that helped along the way.)
I actually wouldn’t be upset if any of the three current candidates pulled it off, if I thought I could believe that people voted for them for the right reasons.  At least then I’d feel safe in the knowledge that while I may not always agree with the decision of yon system, yon system hath worked.  To know that people did their homework and chose based on principles, policies, facts, specific ideas – or broad ideas for that matter; nothing so wrong with an idea as someone shooting it down too early as too optimistic – and at least had an idea why as opposed to just not the other guy, well, I still may not step foot in the country after that, but at least I can respect the thought process that put such a cheap shit-heel crook in the job, that there was some thought there at all, some minor level of brain activity took place to determine the better of the two.

But people are going to vote the way they do because they see Obama bowling poorly, Clinton knocking back a boilermaker and McCain because he seems like he’s all-American, and all of them as just decent nice guys.  Nobody will think on foreign policy the way they should, won’t understand the intentions of each candidate for the economy or interest rates or farm subsidies or ethanol or Darfur or anything for that matter that can’t be found in a sound bite.
“I shit on the chest of Fun.”
   Hunter S. Thompson
I’ve got my cube fort though, and so all is safe in officeville, for now at least.  No power hungry monster drunk on its own blood and power is going to get inside my impregnable fortress of quiet competence.  Maybe I should skip the razor wire and just pose a political question at any would-be passersby, with the side note being that the answer can’t be that they ‘just don’t like Hillary,’ ‘it’s just going to be McCain’ or ‘Obama is too fresh.’  But I suppose that’s asking a bit too much of someone about to [hopefully] cast a vote to decide the next President of the United States .  It’s not their job to think like that, is it?

©BB May 6th 2008

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