Friday, March 07, 2008

The Fix Is In - Or is it?

I don't know about you, but I've had a problem with this election for some time, and it's an issue that is not so much with the apparent campaigns and the apparent candidates, but rather a growing suspicion that neither you nor I will be permitted a choice, and that "they" don't much care if we figure it out or not. I feel as if this has become political theater and the masses are requred to attend - in mute affirmation of a decision already made quite outside of any apparent party affiliation.

When it seems more likely that less obvious affiliations - like the Council on Foreign Relations or Skull and Bones - count for as much or more as overt support within a political party earned by hard work and honest passion, I start to wonder.

And I have cause to wonder about all the remaining candidates, in that regard, save Paul, who's been left in as he will provide some appearance of democratic process on the Republican side.

Of course, I've long harbored a jaded view of the actuality of democratic process within the Republican camp - it is very much a top-down group. But now it appears that even being a member of the overt hierarchy, of being in a position of apparent influence and power within a state or national party organization might just be a fond illusion.

Former NM Gov. Dave Cargo seems to be finding out that not only has the rule book been put aside, that many younger members of the NM party are unaware that there are rules, that do apply to them and that violations of these "silly rules" are actual felonies that even WHITE people could go to jail for. My God, even White Republicans!

I'll let Brad of the Brad Blog catch you up on the latest Republican scandal. Suffice it to say that there isn't even any evidence to suggest that those involved - and it involves media, a Senate candidate and high party officials - seem to have any idea that there are ethical lapses here that are serious enough that one should at LEAST be aware of in the breach. But it seems that they really do not think there is anything wrong at all with packing a convention with paid shills in order to come out with the "right" candidates - instead of the candidate that would have been seated by actual grass-roots activists.

They don't see a problem with that; the only comment has been something to the effect that "it's not illegal," although the state AG appears to have a divergent opinion in that regard.

But even if it turns out that a state party can run it's operations any way it chooses and pick candidates any way it likes... well, ethics are not an abstract, feel-good guideline to how to be a nice person. Ethics are a guide to living in a crowd of other humans without causing them to decide that your skin would be of much greater utility as a tasteful handbag.

I don't much care if various republicans and democrats have made willing bargains with The Forces of Evil, thinking they don't really need a soul all that much, and they would have gone to hell anyhow for all that masturbation. Ethics is about consequences in the real, in the here and the now. Surprisingly enough, it doesn't matter all that much whether you think that by controlling law enforcement and the courts that you are immune.

All you do is diffuse the consequences so that they splash about onto everyone around you. And sooner or later, the very people being used to shield you from the consequences of your actions become the agents of consequence. Oh, and since they have been raised up by such ruthless examples, the fall will be harder than an honest acceptance of responsibility would have been. I, Claudius is instructive in this regard.

There is another aspect of human nature that is not well appreciated - at least in this context. Anyone who's had a young child underfoot knows it immediately, though. People, at root, do not like getting away with stuff they should not be able to get away with, much less being put in a position where they have to "look the other way" or even participate in things they know to be wrong just to stay within their peer group or keep their job.

At some point, a constant presumption upon the forgiving nature of others for your efforts "on their behalf" or "for the cause" will backfire, and it's one of those things where a sudden cascade effect may be expected. There are enough whistle blowers and leakers now that they have apperently started their own professional organization!

I was almost surprised that only 7 of 9 core activists left the party. But then, I suppose I shouldn't be; I've been asking myself for years a rhetorical question regarding all the arrant bullshit from the wingnut right - "how stupid do you have to be to believe this?"

I say that as someone who is neurologically biased toward conservatism and who is passionately in favor of a nice, stable, predictable status quo ante. I'm on the Autistic Spectrum, and I hate change.

But on the other hand, that means that just about every other reflexive conservative I've ever met, I LIKE rules. I EXPECT fair play. I assume the rules are there for a good reason unless there's some reason to think they aren't. Finding that only those who write the rules profit from their application - by others - caused me to return to first principles and start evolving my own.

I take a very dim view of folks who think rules are for the other guy and snicker at all the "suckers" who believe that "fairy tale" stuff. It is not without some personal satisfaction that I see the political structure of this nation collapsing around the ears of those who thought themselves entitled to rule us by virtue of their willingness to abandon all standards of decency and all obligations to their constituencies if it led to a moment's advantage or an extra nickel in their political war chest.

It's somewhat disturbing, though, to see what happens when candidates forget themselves - like McCain has done from time to time - and act as if they were the persons of integrity they once aspired to be. It's amusing to see how suddenly and how hard their chains are jerked, how quickly and publicly they are forced to correct the impression that they might just have backbones and thoughts that diverge from the party line. One could almost feel sorry... but...

Sir; once you are a "made man," you are a made man for life.

Those who think I'm only talking about Republicans would be sadly mistaken. Of course, one could observe that the current Democratic Party is more accurately the Clinton Wing of the Republican party. It's snarky on my part to observe that Ms. Clinton is by far the best NeoLiberal in the race.

But now that Murdoch's media start shoving Clinton down my throat when I'd expect lascivious reporting on every "Swift Boat" style attack, I find myself reluctant to accept someone the establishment media wants me to support.

Aside from the politics, aside from the greed, aside from the corruption, the war-mongering, the killing and the lies, all things that I despise as a matter of principle, the thing that really works my last nerve is the sheer arrogance displayed, the amazing contempt this sort of thing shows for the average American voter, and the more they get away with and the longer they get away with it, the more obvious it gets.

And I'm afraid it's a fine bi-partisan contempt in many ways. Everyone in Washington, on either side has more interests in common with each other than they have with the people that supposedly employ them.

I'm starting to feel that it's coming up to one of those moments in history where the great majority are pretty much willing to roll the dice.

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