Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wake Me on November 4

The Dull Debate

“And for the most part I agree with Senator McCain on many of the steps that have to be taken.” --Barack Obama, debating, October 7, 2008

A year ago in a letter to the NY Times Sunday Magazine, I wrote that: “ our political system voters get to choose between two corporatized parties, financed by the same moneyed interests, that agree on major issues, while elections focus on lesser issues, personalities and smears.” The proof of that observation has been confirmed, certified, bold-faced and underlined by this year’s dismal McCain-Obama duel and in particular last Tuesday’s deadly dull “debate.”
The economy is eroding and the empire is evaporating. McCain and the Reps have shifted the blame for the former from the rampant chicanery on Wall Street down to the shiftless poor who cleverly conned Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac and the Dems into letting them buy homes they couldn’t afford. This is in line with America’s great tradition of “kick down and suck up” by which we fault the poor and powerless for any problems caused by the ever praiseworthy rich and powerful.
As for the ruffles in the empire, all we need do is to vainglory our “victory” in Iraq, move the troops to Afghanistan and have them stand guard on both sides of the frontiers of Pakistan. The stupidity of increasing combat operations on the border of China, a country that can pull the plug on what’s left of our economy with a few mouse strokes, was not considered.
The rest of the talk about those ever disobedient foreigners consisted of some tepid bear-baiting of the resurgent Russkies, and a promise by Obama to divert some of the money we borrow from Russia and other countries that actually produce things like oil “to provide [the former Soviet satellites] with financial and concrete assistance to help rebuild their economies.”
On the home front, Obama agreed that health care was a right, but wouldn’t deny it was also a commodity in our particular social order. In first world countries, sick people go to doctors and hospitals. Here, of course, they have to obtain permission from financial companies who determine whether it’s profitable to allow the ill to be treated. Those other systems produce healthy people at a reasonable cost to society; ours produces billions in premiums which are then invested in toxic derivatives and such. The health schemes offered by McCain and Obama differ only in the ways in which they channel the big bucks from premium payers to the big boys on Wall Street. If you want a real health care plan, you’ll have to move to the first world.
All in all, the campaign and the “debates,” drivel duels were it not for the putrid pageantry of Palin, have comforted us amid the historical turmoil now tearing up the old order. Their message is that a young and dynamic candidate can be just as wedded to business as usual as an old and doddering one. And if our America is not business as usual even in hard times, what is it?
(To my reader: I'm heading out west for a week and a couple of days. Will be back at the blog soon thereafter)