Halvard Johnson wrote:
> Yes, I hope that those in the world aspiring to democracy notice the
> "first Tuesday in November" part of this. It's important, in learning
> how to hold elections, to learn how to suppress the vote. Hold elections
> on work days (that will keep lots of folks from voting, particularly
> those who need to work for their livings), and hold them in some month
> when there's a good chance of bad weather (November's good for
> that in these latitudes). Also, it helps to make sure that polls in most
> of the country close well before polls in the rest of the country. I
> who wants to vote after the election's already more or less decided
> (except, of course, for destroying absentee ballots that aren't likely to
> do the powers that be much good).
Not so oddly, given the ongoing slide of my mind toward the condition of
asparagus (spiky and makes piss smell awful), the Tuesday "coincidence"
never before occurred to me. I always thought it odd that other
nations--even those in so-called "undemocratic" states in Central and
Latin America--held elections on weekends, most often Sunday(?). Now
it's not at all odd...especially in the States, where the candidate for
Whatever always has the same name: Ben Dover. I gather that this year's
Congressional and Senatorial things are really a referendum on Iraq and
on Bush himself, a figure increasingly reminiscent of the King of Id in
the comics, i.e., a little putz who wins a few only by accident because
all his subjects hold him in utter contempt if they notice him at all.
We're so frigging obedient it's like 95% of the citizenry graduated from
Captain Haggerty's School for Dogs. Because of the Gimme gene that
lives in us. Lars von Trier nailed it: "People are the same all over:
greedy as animals." The dogs are another story. They think for themselves.
Now perhaps I am getting it: why we have the shittiest voter turnout in
the world. Because by the time you get home from NYC after a day of
terrified ass-kissing to keep your job, you're too emotionally and
physically annihilated out to go vote. It won't change YOUR life so why
bother? The educated ones who might make informed decisions are too
beat. It's no lie. Our local school board vote...and I believe school
budgets are the most important things we vote on because most if not all
politics truly IS local...was defeated, thank God, but in Toontown only
400 of 1800 eligible voters turned out. Oh...why Thank God? The local
high school that draws students from four tank-towns--Toontown,
Hooterville, Petticoat Junction, and Bedford Falls--wanted to raise
$50,000,000 through our taxes to make some vague improvements, probably
to the zipgun and bong lathing shops. The high school is a pit. It is
the best recruiting poster imaginable for the half dozen Catholic high
schools around here; probably 1/2 the students are not Catholic.
The newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin, when he ran for City Council
President opposite Norman Mailer for Mayor, said "I will never again
participate in any process where they close the bars." They used to do
that in New York: I don't know that they do anymore, or whether they
care if you go to the polls as you would have in 1870, after Tammany
Hall bought your vote, shitfaced to the nth degree. It probably makes
the rape a bit easier to bear if you're tanked. At least back then the
Tammany Hall boys got you a job with enough money to feed your family.
There was no WalMart.
I try to avoid Jeremiads (good luck)--unless they're Jeremiah's--but
this is a good year to see how truly Jeffers wrote when he referred to
the Perishing Republic. We seem to be a dying nation: oh yes, the sins
of the past are still huge, but there was some degree of vitality too,
and some people actually could climb out of the collective shitpit. So
we are sliding away from inner strength and turning (if we haven't
already) into a nation that has sacrificed self-control in the name of
the aforementioned ethic of Gimme. It's Dogville. Lance Armstrong
running the NYC Marathon in 31 seconds under three hours gave me one of
the few people in my lifetime to admire. I don't know what he's like in
person and I don't give a damn. William Burroughs wrote an episode in
Naked Lunch about a talking asshole that consumes its human host: and
so, unoriginally, I think of G. W. Bush enervating the vitality out of
this country, his moronism a vacuum cleaner sucking the air out of us.
I have just begun reading Barbara Ehrenreich's "Bait and Switch: The
Futile Pursuit of the American Dream," and even if it mirrors 90% of my
hopefully-ended "career" as a "knowledge worker," it offers no
identification beyond knowing that Ben Dover has gotten me too. I must
be so out of it...I cannot imagine a kid just of of law school going to
work for Cravath Swain & Moore for $180K a year (at age 24!!) but then
working 90 hour weeks like any of the happy horseshit he does makes a
difference to anyone. Except the kid who is building a bank account you
would not believe, only to be bounced onto his ass at age 29 because
they have enough partners already.
Ken <what, me worry>
Ken Wolman andreachenier.net rainermaria.typepad.com
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
--from Christopher Smart, "Jubilate Agno"