MY FELLOW SCHLUBS
ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU
Ask What Are We All Doing Here In The First Place
Unfortunately both sides of the aisle think they are the rational one. The fact is neither side is.
Humans are inherently irrational. Our rationality is phylogenically recent. Everyone looks at the facts, makes an emotional decision about the facts and then IF they don't acknowledge that emotional aspect, they make up an explanatory fiction to make it all sensible. The challenge is to have a level of self awareness that allows: irrationality + facts = intuition. That takes a level of intelligence and/or common sense not all of us share.
People in general vote for their heroes. Single issue voters vote on an heroic issue. Who and what they perceive as their heroes depends on their values, their fears, and their personal experience before it ever gets around to facts. It takes a well functioning human being to get a really good mix to produce a good vote. Unfortunately, there are those among us who just can't get there from here.
They are the one's who are hurt by a corrupt process of campaigning. They are the one's who are caught up into the Rovian tactics and manipulated into voting against their interests. Do you think the average blue collar worker thinks his/her votes were wasted on Reagan? Nope.
Somehow, we have to instill a level of health into the process. Otherwise, those that play the game best win. I don't know how to do that.
We shouldn't be voting for the best game players.
Shining Light In Dark Corners
We're in the middle of that process now. Bush's people are trying to convince us that our primary concern is terrorism, although that has touched almost no one's life intimately. It's a maybe issue, a future issue, a rather chimerical issue. The potential embarrassment involved in taking our shoes off at the airport is the biggest actual threat terrorism poses to most of us. Of course, we all remember that awful live reality TV show about the World Trade Center, some years ago. But it was just a TV show, to most people. The fact is, most New Yorkers, who actually experienced 9/11, are voting against Bush.
Kerry's people, meanwhile, are plucking more immediate, more intimate strings: Health care, the economy, and fundamental issues of social justice that effect us all on a daily basis. Bush can promise pie in the sky on taxes and entitlements, but in four years, he has done nothing but make everyone's life worse. Besides talking about our own personal, very real issues, the best gamer has to deal with them. Bush hasn't. It's like that guy that already owes you money, and now he's trying to borrow more. At a certain point, you just say no. November 3rd is that point.
Yes, some dummies will vote their "gut." But everyone saw Bush on the debates, looking decidedly un-Presidential, and Kerry, looking as if he were actually the incumbent. This resonates, in the gut. You hear some niggling about Kerry, that's true. But there is only a really solid twenty-something percent unmoveably behind each candidate, with perhaps another shaky twenty-something percent on either side. That leaves nearly twenty per cent of the electorate who will absorb all the hoo-hah from both sides, and vote for the guy who looks the part. In 1980, Carter failed to look the part. In 1988, Dukakis failed. In 1992, Bush I failed. And now it's Bush II who is desperately flailing, and failing to look the part. In a way, Kerry would be better off to just shut his mouth, and wave and smile as if he were already the President.
As much as I am dismayed by the general increase in the population, with no corresponding rise in individual or general IQ, I do feel that there is a sort of collective wisdom that can win out, if properly appealed to. It's what gives us good verdicts from juries, and generally less than catastrophic results from elections. As Lincoln, the last great Republican (also the first, and only) said, you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
I do believe many lowly blue-collar workers regret voting for Reagan, and some smug self-satisfied white-collar workers, too. Somehow, "Dutch" convinced them he was one of them, and they found out otherwise, the hard way. The rust belt, the savings & loan scandals, the movement of jobs relentlessly south, hurt the average worker, blue and white, and they certainly felt it. Don't forget, Reagan only won in 1980 because of Anderson's third-party bid, which, like Wallace's in '68, Perot's in '92, and Nader's in '00, drew off just enough votes in critical states to cost the incumbent the electoral majority. Reagan didn't really win anything, or convince anyone. He benefitted from a lack of major catastrophes, and a weak challenge from Mondale in 1994, to hang on to power. But lots of workers voted against him.
And even more workers, blue and white, will vote against Bush, out of gut instinct founded on pure self-interest. Bush talks a good game, in carefully controlled environments. But, in the real world, he delivers little or nothing. When Joe six-pack gets in his six-year-old gas guzzler, and blows five bucks driving to the polls from his jobless union hall, he ain't a-gonna vote fer Dubya. Nawzir. And neither is Jo-Jo Merlot, in her highly-leveraged BMW, barely covered by "consultancy" fees (i.e., a part-time, temporary, no-bene's job). Nope. We are not simians. We are men. And I do believe we'll vote like it, this time. If they let us vote, and count the vote.
I simply don't agree with your statements about homo sapiens. Yes, we do still all exhibit some primate behavior, at times. And that's a good thing, since we still live in a bit of a jungle. But we are not quite monkeys, any more. We hold our mud, we don't piss our pants, we don't boink our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our daddies, our brothers, our sons; most of us. Instinct alone does not rule us, most of the time. Reason does, usually. If that were not true, this would be a hellofa lot more of a jungle.
To sum up, I believe in my fellow schlub, and in an over-arching collective wisdom that protects us all from the consequences of individual foolishness. I believe that wisdom will prevail in this election, as in most: If it is allowed to. Remember, Bush actually lost the last election. The question is, what will the Tribe do if he loses the next one, but refuses to give up power? Then we'll see about your theories.
- ratboy's anvil
- Just A Bump In The Beltway
- Shining Light In Dark Corners
- The American Street
- daily kos
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