Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What the Electaprise Means
Whether under Reps or Dems, the American polity has been rolling rightwards for the last 30 years. That pilgrimage to penury continued last night. The reason for it is simple. The U.S., unlike other countries, does not have a left. It has a right wing party and one that believes in getting along by going along. So politically our country remains on a one-way trip. John Stewart, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow aren’t going to change that.
Maybe this is a good time to define our terms. There are millions of shapes and shades of politics. But they all boil down to two notions. Some believe that wealth and power should be concentrated amongst themselves. Others believe it should be spread around. Thanks to the seating arrangements in the French parliament two centuries ago, we call the former rightists and the latter leftists. We have the right to thank for palaces and plutocrats and the left for democracy and the middle class.
Moving to the right doesn’t just mean that conservative politicians run the government. That’s the least of it. Moving to the right in this day and age means the continuing replacement of what’s public by what’s private, meaning none of the public’s business. It means we take orders from corporate bosses--an increasing number not even Americans--instead of leaders we elect. It means that corporate profit rather than peace, prosperity or public benefit becomes the focal point of just about everything we do. It means we turn from a nation into a multinational.
The evidence of this swirls around us in the windblown posters from yesterday’s election. That event, formerly a civic duty and now a commercial enterprise, posted revenues in the five billion dollars range. Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, anonymous investors the world over are now invited to get their bids in for the solon of their choice. The NY Times has called the endless attack ads that have become a staple of our electaprises “a goldmine” for local tv stations. By now, virtually all of us watch those stations over a cable network. Because we have a conservative polity in place, those cable companies are not constricted by the onerous regulations they have in other countries, like socialistic France.
For instance, the French have a law against cable monopolies. There are lots of competing companies and you can easily move from one to another. Costs for a package including highspeed internet, unlimited telephony to 60 countries, and 100 or so cable channels run to 40 Euros a month. We wouldn’t stand for that in conservative America. We make sure that every town has its own private monopoly cable company and are willing to pay for the privilege.
In any event, yesterday’s electaprise shouldn’t change much. The Obama administration was already aggressively following through on most Bush (meaning conservative) policies, particularly in re the economy and the empire. Expansionary policies and peace have been ruled out as too lefty. That means more war and more austerity. If your kid can’t get a job, there’s always the military. They will teach him or her that in conservative and corporate America, just as in the service, unquestioning obedience to authority is all.