When I was in Boot Camp, we were shown films of anti-Vietnam protests and police riots, which, back then, were still fresh in everyone's mind. While some of my fellow trainees hooted at the screen ("fuckin' hippies/commie faggots"), the point of the presentation was that we, the Army, were protectors of the Constitution -- that those filthy Hanoi Jane lovers had every right to protest the war, even if they were communist stooges. Not every trainee accepted this, openly fantasizing about shooting and beating dissidents. But our Drill Sergeants admonished them, though one was sympathetic to their views (he would pace our barracks before lights out, talking about fighting Charlie in the paddies, while spoiled college kids back home called him "baby killer"). Overall, the concept of Constitutional freedom was repeatedly stressed.
That was a long time ago. I don't know what Drill Sergeants tell their trainees now, but when it comes to police academies, it's clear that the war is domestic, the population The Enemy. At least, that's the impression I get after Denver and currently in St. Paul. What goes through these cops' minds when they bash a CodePink activist to the ground, calling her "bitch," which happened in Denver, or when they manhandle someone as small as Amy Goodman, which just happened in St. Paul? Not to mention all the anonymous people beaten, pepper sprayed and arrested in between? I mean, these big bad Alpha pricks dressed in riot gear, backed by massive force, beating the shit out of women? What the fuck is wrong with them? Obviously, they feel it's okay, as their superiors make excuses, citing "security risks," and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman -- a Democrat -- brags about police "restraint."
Welcome to Pig Nation, a bi-partisan production that will receive more of our money regardless who wins the White House. Right wingers, at least the reactionary wing (I'm cutting the libertarians slack), probably don't care, so long as police state activity doesn't inconvenience them. Most liberals pretend that police violence is strictly a Republican feature, if their lack of concern in Denver is any indication. They'll blissfully vote Obama/Biden, thinking that this will put an end to the GOP nightmare. That it merely shifts the nightmare to the other side is apparently overlooked if not dismissed. You certainly can't talk to them about it. I know. I've tried.
Over the past days, I've reached for various masks that hang on my office wall, then submerged myself into character while touring a number of liblog comments sections. It's not pretty. There are some truly twisted mindsets claiming to be "liberal," or worse "progressive." Even mildly broaching the idea that perhaps, just maybe, Obama/Biden is not the fix that is needed, that it is more of the same, only with tin halos and false smiles, will get you slammed. The Ticket will not be questioned, not in any serious way. The Republicans and the Republicans alone are the source of all evil in this land. Every tired retort is repeatedly aired -- McCainiac, Naderite, racist, sexist, etc. You know the script. Facts don't matter. Refuting their falsehoods, meaningless. We have entered the religious phase of the campaign, and only those embracing the faith may speak without being slimed. If it wasn't for PETA, I suspect that snake-waving would be part of the ceremony, provided that the snakes were registered Dems, of course.
This is The Opposition, soon to become The Rule, should the election play out as most of us suspect it will. Once Obama's president, many of these "progressives" say that they'll feel safe enough to challenge the Dems from within. I've heard this from a number of quarters, including from people I respect, and it's utter bullshit. Won't happen. The Clinton years are the template, and that's already ancient history. The Obama years will crank it to a new, obscene level. Power always attracts followers and servants, and the idea that "progressives" will go after President Obama as he fortifies the police state, expands war, and keeps private interests flush, is ridiculous and ahistorical. And Vice President Biden? Phew. Pig Nation incarnate.
While traveling through libland, I also encountered some pretty vile remarks about Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter, Bristol. Whore. White trash. Skank. Bitch. Occasionally, a thread-tender would pop in to tsk tsk these remarks, but for the most part, they remained popular with many commenters. I'm confident that some of you have seen this and worse at a few of the more popular sites. When I confronted these people, they defended their epithets by saying that it was "payback" to the right for how they treated the poor Clintons (whatever happened to them?) and liberals in general. But surely, my patient character countered, their abuse shouldn't authorize your own. I thought you were the humane alternative to such political poison. Didn't Obama say that we're better than this?
Fuck that and fuck you. This is life or death. Our very existence hangs in the balance. No time for niceties. This is war.
Some of these people would make fine riot cops.
I have no sympathy for McCain or Palin. Like Obama/Biden, they seek to rule us, and must be resisted and critiqued. But going after a pregnant 17-year-old? Yeah, yeah, I know -- the Palins are hypocrites, and this is the result of bad parenting and false premises when it comes to teen sex. Yet this thin cover has allowed some deeply misogynistic behavior to seep out, and should Palin remain on the ticket, it will only get uglier. Besides, when did liberals become horrified by teen sex, or sexual "controversy" overall? Certainly not when John Edwards or Bill Clinton were in the crosshairs. In those cases, we were told that sex was a "private" matter, despite the fact that they are grown men and were elected officials. For them, sorrowful understanding. For Bristol Palin, who to my knowledge is not running for public office, catcalls, sexist abuse, and conspiracy theories. At least by some. I haven't read every single sentence by libloggers on this issue, so I trust there are saner heads out there. But then, trust is a two-way street.
I'm so sickened by all of this that I nearly shut the whole blog down. Fuck it. I've had my political say and can only repeat myself. Time to move on. Go into my Bukowski period and write about the human condition instead. In longhand on notebooks. He was about my age when he wrote "Notes Of A Dirty Old Man," and after nearly four years of blogging, I feel very old and quite dirty. Better to swig vodka, smoke weed, and laugh at the sun. It would achieve about as much as I've achieved online, and would be a lot more fun. Certainly less stressful.
But after conferring with a few close advisers, and the fact that I'm still promoting "Savage Mules," I'll keep this pop stand open for a little while longer. Just know that I write my ass off for zero money, still perform blue collar work to pay the bills, and that my book, while selling well, has yet to net me a dime. The advance was laughably low, and already spent on gas. Meantime, I see others making a living writing socially acceptable, even "edgy" prose for larger outlets. So why the fuck am I wasting my time doing this for free?
Oh yeah. Because I care. For what that's worth.