Alex Blaze

Rank idiocy in American (meta)politics

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 07, 2008 7:36 AM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics
Tags: homophobic behavior, Mike Huckabee, Waymon Hudson

It seems like when I try to post about national politics here, the words are squeezed out of me as I'm pressed down by the massive ennui I carry daily on my shoulders.

I'm really not all that depressing in real life, trust me. (Or Bil or Jerame or Serena or any of the other contributors who know me personally, I'm sure they'll tell you I'm pretty happy.) I just get bothered by things, like this story Waymon Hudson related here last week. It's nothing I haven't heard before, but it shows a triumph of meta over substance:

With Mike Huckabee’s ascension to GOP front runner, the role of so-called “values voters” are once again at the forefront of media coverage. My disgust with this block of voters was challenged by one of these conservative evangelicals in a recent discussion I was having. His argument was that by allowing LGBT issues to influence my vote, I was doing the same thing I accused his ilk of: imposing my views on others at the ballot box.

It's similar to the argument one would hear over and over in the Reagan 80's about how discussing race is just as bad as being racist, see, because both of them are "agitating". And calling someone a racist hurts their feelings, probably just as much as racism would! (Not that the speaker would know, since s/he is almost always white, but whatever.)

The only way the argument Waymon's friend laid out works is if we all forget that the government is supposed to do stuff and focus instead on the "meta" of politics: the way people speak (not what they say), how people participate (not their goals), how politicians appear (not what they do), and polling, polling, polling. A "good performance" for a presidential candidate at a debate doesn't depend on whether s/he promised to bomb Tehran or create a single-payer health care system, it's whether s/he smiled enough, spoke forcefully enough, or was "attacked" by the other candidates (a total newsie favorite).

And all these only work in a world where politics is just something for the elites to yammer away about, not something that affects the lives of real human beings. The only way that opposing homophobia can be the moral equivalent of advocating homophobia is if policy itself means nothing.

But it does, and us peons have to live with the results, no matter whether an advocate of eliminating social security seems like a good hugger. (Yeah, that's a real one.)

So idiocy like this coming out of Time's political blog, "Swampland", just makes me throw up my hands and ask God what it's all about. Mike Scherer here is describing the GOP presidential field as if it were The Breakfast Club:

Mike Huckabee also fits in my mythical high school typology. He is the class clown with the weight problem everyone likes, who always seemed to have his heart in the right place. When he runs for class president, you are tempted to vote for him if only because you just know he would make the weekly assemblies more fun.

Ha ha! And then he'd quarantine HIV-positive people! That'd make those assemblies so much more fun! Or maybe he'd force women to submit to their husbands right before doing the Worm! I can't imagine an end to the hilarity!

But that windbag is actually getting paid for his "analysis". And lots of people are reading it. And it's part of how the system "works".

Normally I don't have a problem with adding a meta or another level of abstraction to a discussion. It can be helpful when it's not sophomoric.

But it can also be a distraction, or, worse, a masking of substantive problems and real ways to achieve change. All the while those of us who don't have the privilege of living exclusively in Meta-Land have to deal with whatever a president Huckabee could dream up to ravage America. (But at least the class clown won the election!)

The solution involves seeing electoral politics as a means to an end, not an end in and of itself, and keeping a focus on substance ourselves even when professional windbags give up on discussing policy itself.

Because when someone describes to you a world where fight homophobia is the same as being homophobic or where a fascist can also be a metaphorical class clown, we should be able to call it what it is: rank idiocy.

***

Speaking of Mike Huckabee and rank idiocy... (good part's right at the end)

(via Kos)


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Those Elites own the system.
Trey are playing us for what we (collectively) are
morons.

They have a considerable amount of control over what
is seen on TV and what polls they allow to see the light of day...
Example last week there was an AOL poll, one of those..
If the election was today who would win...
Ron Paul came out on top with Obama in second place.

They pulled the poll and on the republican side
instead of Paul they now have other....

Now You, I and everyone else i have seen comment here or contribute here are not Morons....
Clearly though given that video and the fact that twenty percent of the US public can't find the US on a Globe or nearly two thirds can't find Iraq on a map, just maybe the Elites who own the media outlets are doing a public service by playing the games they are playing... Or maybe it's time to institute a law mandating minimum educational requirements for voters. Perhaps 2 years of college and a test on US governments.

You know Alex in the end we get the society and government we deserve, Things are the way they are because of our inaction. I will be the first to own my own blame.

Very Good Post
Thanks i look forward to reading other's comments.
Take care
Sue

PS..
I apologize in advance for any typos...
I don't have my contact lens in and i am still working on my first cup of coffee....
:)

Good Morning everyone
Now its fun to watch the media types at work.Remember this most of the folks who do vote only get there news from CNN MSNBC Fox ABC and for what its worth nowdays CBS. Yes the tv network news.It's going to be a uphill battle to get all the issues out yes that means reporting on the things that even Democrats say that come across what they said that!A true free press beats up on both sides equaly.Hillarys excuse of the day for her loss in Iowa is my poeple couldnt vote because I had the blue collar workers and many of them work the night shift etc. So go after both sides there is lots of juciey stuff being ignored out there that gets perhaps a mention on the news.

Great post Alex! A lot to take in and digest....especially with the other post you must've had a lot of time on your hands today....

Good job!

:)