Far be it from me to disagree with the asskickingest writer on the political Interwebs these days (seriously, 12 times a day he writes something that makes me want to tear off my own head and eat it because what is the POINT, if I can't do it like that?) but I think this is a little unfair to the idiots of America:
And let's assume that Kasich gets kicked around, the way it looks like he might, and the way he thoroughly deserves to be, god knows. What happens next? Is there really an actual movement building here, a parallel mobilization among the largely white middle class that would parallel the one taking place in the Occupy camps around the country? Or will the people on the lawn go back to sneering about the drum-beating hippies sleeping in the parks? Will they all leave the state capitol in Columbus and go back to listening to the hundreds of sub-Limbaughs on their local radio stations, telling them that teachers have it too good because they have summers off, or that firefighters are gaming the disability system, and that "government" is merely a way for all of Them to steal Our money, and that voting is just a waste of time? Do they all go back to worrying about The Deficit, which is merely convenient shorthand for all the things they don't want to pay for? Do they all go home and prepare themselves, through ignorance and apathy, to vote for the next John Kasich who comes along?
There are other elections going on today, too. It looks as though the Democrats may lose the state senate in Virginia, which will hand the entire state government over to the Republicans. I am going to be very impatient, then, with Virginians who get angry in a year or so that their public services have withered and that a decent middle-class lifestyle is receding from view. In Mississippi, they are voting on a fantastical proposition whereby a zygote is declared to be a "person" protected by law. If it passes, I am going to be very impatient with any Mississippians who get angry in a year or so that they must remain childless, because every in vitro fertilization clinic in the state has fled to places where they don't see Jesus in the trunks of gum trees.
Here's the deal: Everybody should know by now what the results of these elections will mean.
How? How would they know this? I'm not saying people are devoid of responsibility for seeking out truth and knowledge, but it is more acceptable these days to have an opinion on the Kardashians' marriages than it is to have an opinion on politics that goes any deeper than "fuck 'em all, Charlie, they all suck." This, right now, is a sampling of stories on CNN's home page:
A bunch of random shit about Silvio Berlusconi's "gaffes," which is apparently what we call being a disgusting pig these days
Some throwaway stories about Greece and "austerity," as if there is a universal understanding of what austerity is
This Obama-Sarkozy open-mic thing, as if it is news that in the UN lunchroom nobody wants to sit with Netanyahu ever
The Duggars having another kid
Some freakjob buying John Lennon's tooth
Where, in all that, is Ohio? Where is Mississippi? Again, if you live in those states you absolutely have the responsibility to inform yourself on local issues because asking national news to do it for you is a long wait for a train don't come, but attacking people for not developing a national narrative that Republicans are backwards-ass necks seems a little ... I don't know, misplaced? There are people of my acquaintance who consider themselves very well-informed, who were comparing, the other day, Sarah Palin to Jesse Goddamn Jackson, as if Sarah Palin had spent her entire life fighting for the betterment of others and then fucked some stuff up along the way. I mean, there are people I know who are not morons, who think Brian Williams is authoritative and that Bob Schieffer is some kind of role model.
We are so utterly broken here, is my point. Out here where the message gets delivered, not just produced, we are so completely fucking busted. We are informed by people who have little information about politics they profess to find trivial or repulsive or both, and this meager diet of buzzwords is served in between 10 minutes of weather, three minutes of anchor banter and a bunch of commercials for Cialis, and then we cut to a story about a viral video of a baby giggling that, if you have Facebook or an elderly relative with e-mail, you've already seen 57 times. That's what you get for free. That's your bottom line, foundation media.
And the thing that makes developing an alternative narrative to the national media so goddamn critical is the same thing that makes it so hard: AMERICA IS REALLY FUCKED. The amount of time it takes to pay bills and argue with insurance assholes and four different online specialty pharmacies on the phone, for example, eats into a lot of reading and discussion time. If you're lucky enough to still be employed, on your commute home you mostly think about how much gas costs and how you're going to afford the increase in your mortgage payment because the bank that held your loan went tits-up and now nobody even knows who owns your house anymore. Your kids are sick, and the doctor can see you only during the hours you have to be at work or else, and the washing machine is making a noise, and your spouse saw a roach in the kitchen, and it never fucking ends.
My point isn't to let power-humping fetus-fetishizing union-busting dickheads off the hook here. My point is that I have a lot more contempt for the people selling this stuff than the ones buying it.