Monday, October 27, 2008

Want Fries With Your Vote?

Driving through the neighborhood, under Douglas Sirk fall leaves and bright blue sky, I noticed that the small cluster of McCain/Palin households near the main road no longer had their yard signs. When the signs first appeared, I thought, how could Ann Arbor stand such a thing? I mistakenly assumed that this meant trouble for Obama, forgetting that McCain wrote off Michigan long ago. Those households were simply showing their defiance to the local liberal consensus, a weak middle finger before McCain goes down in flames.

"Looks like they've given up," I said to the teen, who still hears everything while listening to her iPod.

"They didn't take those signs down," she replied. "Some guy I know stole them."

"What? Why?"

"He hates McCain."

"Boo fucking hoo. That doesn't give him the right to take people's property."

"You used to say that property is theft."

"Yeah, about 300 hundred years ago. Way before you were born."

"What difference does it make? McCain's gonna lose big."

"Probably. But what that kid did was pointless."

"I agree. It's kinda stupid. But that's America for you."

No doubt. Now that our neighborhood has been cleansed of lingering McCain/Palin contamination, we can enjoy one hundred percent unanimity as the Obama Age approaches.

What a fucking bore. Everywhere I drive, it's Obama/Biden, Obama '08, Obama Save My Soul. Forget McCain/Palin -- I haven't seen a single Nader, McKinney, or even Bob Barr sign or bumpersticker. Given the local mood, a Nader bumpersticker would probably get your car keyed or dented. Just as well. While I still admire Nader and agree with most of what he says (he recently decimated the Constitution Party nominee on C-SPAN, with Chris Hedges moderating, and I imagined him on the same stage as Obama and McCain, kicking their asses), Nader's running for himself, unconnected to any semblance of a dissident party, much less a grassroots movement.

What the corporate parties did to him in 2000 was cowardly and unconscionable, yet it made sense. Why allow Nader to gain any national traction with a message that undercuts the corporate fix? Both the Dems and the Repubs made sure that Nader would be utterly marginalized by election day, and while Jonestown libs still believe that Nader deprived them of a glorious Gore administration, the owners and their employees did their job well. Since then, doubters and dissenters have been herded back into the corporate fold, told that Obama is the Agent of Approved CHANGE, and they've gone happily along, leaping to bite that ripe bait. The demolition of an earlier, momentary challenge is pretty much complete.

Personally, I don't see the point to political yard signs. Yes, it announces your preference, but it also solidifies your spectator status. All you are doing is providing free ad space to corporate candidates and parties. If one charged a party with yard rental fees, I'd understand the allure. But instead, people willingly display brand names that have little if any real connection to their personal lives. It's analagous to wearing NFL or NBA gear -- which is fine, if you like the look. I just wonder how long it will be before we simply cut to the chase and have bar codes tattooed to our foreheads.